What's the real value of an Audio Receiver and Professional Speakers?

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#1 Posted by Barujin (308 posts) -

I've been thinking about upgrading my audio from a Creative X-Fi and 5.1 speakers with tweeters to a custom set of receiver and speakers. I've recently learned that this is the best method of doing PC audio since HDMI passes the audio through to the receiver so that it does the audio processing instead of the computer. What I'm wondering is if anyone else has a receiver sound system for their gaming PC and if they think that it's worth the extra cost. FYI, I'm considering a Denon receiver and Definitive Technology bookshelf studio monitors. Thanks for any input you can offer.

#2 Posted by spittis (1875 posts) -

"Real" audio equipment retains its value pretty well and gives you superior audio quality so yes I do think it's worth it.

If you're just going to use stereo speakers (2.0), I think it's a bit more convenient to have a DAC that feeds a stereo amplifier, and speakers connected to that. As an example this DAC which also gives you a pretty good headphone amp and volume control, with this Onkyo stereo amplifier. So you'd connect the D1 with USB to your computer, from the D1 with RCA cables to the amplifier, and from there with speaker cable to the speakers.

Another option is to get a pair of active speakers which have the amplifier built in. Then you'd be looking at mainly studio monitors since most "hifi" speakers are passive. Separate amplifier and passive speakers do give you more options especially for future upgrading, but many consider active speakers to be more convenient as a computer setup. Examples of manufacturers that make good active speakers are Genelec, KRK, Tannoy, Dynaudio.

#3 Posted by Barujin (308 posts) -

Below are the products that I'm thinking about getting. For $250, the Denon receiver has a DAC and nice audio options. With HDMI audio pass through from the video card to the receiver, I can have true surround sound at home theater quality. If I get a few pairs of the Def Tech speakers, then I'll have a great surround system. Apparently, those speakers are so good with bass that they don't need a subwoofer. Of course, I'd have to try them out to really know. Just imagine, though, having subwoofer quality from each satellite speaker. *drool* The final cost for full surround would be around $1,000. Compared to about $200 for my current audio setup, that's a huge difference in price.

Denon Receiver: http://usa.denon.com/us/product/pages/productdetail.aspx?catalog=denonna_us&pcatid=avsolutions(denonna)&catid=avreceivers(denonna)&pid=avr1513(denonna)

Definitive Technology Speakers: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325060

#4 Posted by spittis (1875 posts) -

Ah, well if you know you're going for surround sound then of course it's worth getting the receiver right away. You should do the setup a bit differently though, don't buy two pairs of the same 2-way speakers or something like that.

Ideally you want two large front speakers, a center speaker and two rear speakers that can be smaller, they're mainly for the atmosphere and ambient sounds. You should go to a hifi store where you can test listen to a well setup surround system, then you know what you want to aim for.

I would personally get two floorspeakers as fronts, a good center and then two small bookshelf speakers as rears. This is obviously going to cost much more than 1000$, but do it in steps, start with the receiver and a pair of nice floorstanding speakers which will already play well on their own until you can afford the rest.

#5 Posted by Barujin (308 posts) -

The problem with center speakers is that they don't have nearly the range of the ones I listed, even from Def Tech. As for large front speakers, I'm specifically looking for small ones. The bookshelf speakers do everything I want and are very high quality, from what people are saying about them.

#6 Posted by kraken2109 (12682 posts) -

I use my Denon 1912 with my PC. Not through HDMI though since my graphics card has no HDMI :(

#7 Posted by FaustArp (1038 posts) -

I've been passing audio to my AVR via HDMI for as long as I've been into PC Gaming, so I don't know exactly what to compare it to.

But I'd say yeah, a proper surround sound system is always a good choice. :)

#8 Posted by Blistrax (1071 posts) -
Sound is a big part of an immersive gaming experience. I consider it half the fun, and it lets you know where things are. Those speakers look good (they're heavy), but you can't really tell about speakers unless you hear them. I am running DDL to an AVR through optical, and it's good, but I'm going to go to HDMI audio soon. I posted in an audiophile forum about it, and they all agreed that a very important factor is room setup facilitated by some form of Audyssey MultEQ, such as that in some of the Denons. You could get a somewhat mismatched center speaker, and the MultEQ would adjust itself to make it match. The speakers you name come in pairs only, I believe. The subwoofer is not a critical factor, I think. You should only hear it during explosions, anyway.
#9 Posted by FaustArp (1038 posts) -

The subwoofer is not a critical factor, I think. You should only hear it during explosions, anyway.Blistrax

I'm gonna disagree with this, and say get a powered sub and get a good one.


My words should be taken with a grain of salt though; my home forum is an A/V forum. I just started using this one because I wanted to talk about games more. :P Lol.

#10 Posted by Blistrax (1071 posts) -

[QUOTE="Blistrax"]The subwoofer is not a critical factor, I think. You should only hear it during explosions, anyway.FaustArp

I'm gonna disagree with this, and say get a powered sub and get a good one.


My words should be taken with a grain of salt though; my home forum is an A/V forum. I just started using this one because I wanted to talk about games more. :P Lol.

I just meant that it's a waste to throw a lot of money at the subwoofer. Spend it on the others.
#11 Posted by spittis (1875 posts) -
[QUOTE="FaustArp"]

[QUOTE="Blistrax"]The subwoofer is not a critical factor, I think. You should only hear it during explosions, anyway.Blistrax

I'm gonna disagree with this, and say get a powered sub and get a good one.


My words should be taken with a grain of salt though; my home forum is an A/V forum. I just started using this one because I wanted to talk about games more. :P Lol.

I just meant that it's a waste to throw a lot of money at the subwoofer. Spend it on the others.

I agree, a good subwoofer is expensive and good bookshelf speakers with ~6.5" woofers can give very satisfying bass as long as it's not in a very large room.
The problem with center speakers is that they don't have nearly the range of the ones I listed, even from Def Tech. As for large front speakers, I'm specifically looking for small ones. The bookshelf speakers do everything I want and are very high quality, from what people are saying about them.Barujin
I'm not sure what you mean with the center thing. If you want a proper surround setup you probably want one. The ones you linked will most likely do good as fronts too, they're not exactly small. But I don't think it's sensible to get one more pair for the rear speakers, in default mode the receiver will probably send mainly ambient sound to them anyways. As an example, you could get the smaller version of the DefTech's as rears http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325059
#12 Posted by Barujin (308 posts) -

[QUOTE="Blistrax"][QUOTE="FaustArp"]

I'm gonna disagree with this, and say get a powered sub and get a good one.


My words should be taken with a grain of salt though; my home forum is an A/V forum. I just started using this one because I wanted to talk about games more. :P Lol.

spittis

I just meant that it's a waste to throw a lot of money at the subwoofer. Spend it on the others.

I agree, a good subwoofer is expensive and good bookshelf speakers with ~6.5" woofers can give very satisfying bass as long as it's not in a very large room.
The problem with center speakers is that they don't have nearly the range of the ones I listed, even from Def Tech. As for large front speakers, I'm specifically looking for small ones. The bookshelf speakers do everything I want and are very high quality, from what people are saying about them.Barujin
I'm not sure what you mean with the center thing. If you want a proper surround setup you probably want one. The ones you linked will most likely do good as fronts too, they're not exactly small. But I don't think it's sensible to get one more pair for the rear speakers, in default mode the receiver will probably send mainly ambient sound to them anyways. As an example, you could get the smaller version of the DefTech's as rears http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325059

The Def Tech speakers go from 24Hz to 30KHz. That's their range and one reason why they're high quality. The lowest that humans can even hear is around 20Hz. Most center speakers have a significantly higher low end. Since a lot of movie audio happens at the center, I'd like it to be high quality.

#13 Posted by spittis (1875 posts) -

The Def Tech speakers go from 24Hz to 30KHz. That's their range and one reason why they're high quality. The lowest that humans can even hear is around 20Hz. Most center speakers have a significantly higher low end. Since a lot of movie audio happens at the center, I'd like it to be high quality.Barujin
Wrong. Like I said in my first post you should go somewhere where you can audition a real surround system. The center speaker is mainly for reproducing dialogue (voice) in a natural way. The main "action" sound-wise happens in the two front speakers, be it music or movies.

Blindly following frequency responses is also a bad way of evaluating speakers. It might give some direction, but it doesn't tell you anything about how they truly sound.

#14 Posted by Barujin (308 posts) -

[QUOTE="Barujin"]The Def Tech speakers go from 24Hz to 30KHz. That's their range and one reason why they're high quality. The lowest that humans can even hear is around 20Hz. Most center speakers have a significantly higher low end. Since a lot of movie audio happens at the center, I'd like it to be high quality.spittis

Wrong. Like I said in my first post you should go somewhere where you can audition a real surround system. The center speaker is mainly for reproducing dialogue (voice) in a natural way. The main "action" sound-wise happens in the two front speakers, be it music or movies.

Blindly following frequency responses is also a bad way of evaluating speakers. It might give some direction, but it doesn't tell you anything about how they truly sound.

I'm wondering if you're intentionally trolling, because that makes no sense. As long as a speaker has a good balance in the audio through the entire range (as people have reported for that speaker) and as long as it has a wide range, then who cares what it is used for? This whole discussion, I've had to keep correcting you on things. I'm done talking, now.

#15 Posted by spittis (1875 posts) -
You're not making any sense in wanting to build a surround system from speakers that only come in pairs. I don't care what you use as a center, but there's no point in spending an equal amount of money on that part when you're on a tight budget. And I do hope you are done talking, because you clearly need to do more research instead.
#16 Posted by kraken2109 (12682 posts) -

[QUOTE="spittis"]

[QUOTE="Barujin"]The Def Tech speakers go from 24Hz to 30KHz. That's their range and one reason why they're high quality. The lowest that humans can even hear is around 20Hz. Most center speakers have a significantly higher low end. Since a lot of movie audio happens at the center, I'd like it to be high quality.Barujin

Wrong. Like I said in my first post you should go somewhere where you can audition a real surround system. The center speaker is mainly for reproducing dialogue (voice) in a natural way. The main "action" sound-wise happens in the two front speakers, be it music or movies.

Blindly following frequency responses is also a bad way of evaluating speakers. It might give some direction, but it doesn't tell you anything about how they truly sound.

I'm wondering if you're intentionally trolling, because that makes no sense. As long as a speaker has a good balance in the audio through the entire range (as people have reported for that speaker) and as long as it has a wide range, then who cares what it is used for? This whole discussion, I've had to keep correcting you on things. I'm done talking, now.

The fact is that in this case 24hz-30khz means nothing without a measurement showing +/-db (e.g. 20hz-20khz +/-3db) Any speaker with 2 cones can do 24hz-30khz, what matters is how flat it is.
#17 Posted by Barujin (308 posts) -

The fact is that in this case 24hz-30khz means nothing without a measurement showing +/-db (e.g. 20hz-20khz +/-3db) Any speaker with 2 cones can do 24hz-30khz, what matters is how flat it is.kraken2109

I'm glad that you said that. I can't find an amplitude number for those speakers anywhere. Even though people have said a lot about how amazing they are, I'm hesitant to invest that kind of money without knowing the key details. Thanks for the info.