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5.1 surround for PC gaming?

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
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I have a rather large PC tower gaming system. I have an excellent 24" monitor and a gaming keyboard and a gaming mouse. I have 10 year old Altec 2.1 speakers. (honestly, they sound pretty good for what they are).

Anyways, I want to move to something 5.1 so I can play with surround sound. It looks like nobody really makes 5.1 PC systems anymore. The room that it's in is a small office (9x11 or so) that's perfect for a low-wattage system, and i don't need room shaking sound as it's not that big of a room (or house).

I already have a nice home theater system hooked up (kind of) to the TV in the family room, so I want something separate and cheap, at less than $150. I'm open to the notion of headphones if they're good quality with surround emulation.

My computer has optical and coax outs. The only receiver I have besides the home theater system is older and does not have the appropriate ins, though it otherwise works perfect.
 

JustMtnB44

Monkey
Sep 13, 2006
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65
Pittsburgh, PA
Wow you are not kidding only 3 choices of 5.1 speakers on newegg!

I have an older Logitech 5.1 set I picked up years ago for definitely under $100, but I don't remember how much. They work fine for games (not that I really have time for games any more) and casual music. I also have a home theater system in the living room so I'm not too worried about ultra high quality sound out of my computer. It looks like this is the newest version of what I have: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16836121044

I have to assume your computer also has analog 5.1 audio outputs, which is what you will need for most PC speakers. Digital outputs are great for movies, but most games do not output Dolby Digital or DTS, so if you used those outputs you would only get stereo sound anyway. Only the expensive speaker sets can decode digital signals.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
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May 23, 2002
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How do you like those logitechs? OK? Those are the ones I have my eye on.

My PC has optical, coax, and green flavor 1/8" outputs. I'm not sure what inputs those speaker systems have.

It looks like I can buy a newer sound card, the Asus Koran or something like that, and it'll give me "dolby headphone" which is the surround sound emulation for headphones. I can buy that for $25 or 40, and regular headphones, and bob's not literally my uncle.

Otherwise it's the logitechs or some yamahas of similar price.
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
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you wont find the cheaper products with a DD decoder built into them. Logitech's $400 system has it but thats a lot of money. there are actually a lot of games that are DD or DTS but ive found analog 5.1 is good enough for these small speaker setups.
the Logitech Z506 is fairly decent and has the inputs that you need:
 

JustMtnB44

Monkey
Sep 13, 2006
779
65
Pittsburgh, PA
How do you like those logitechs? OK? Those are the ones I have my eye on.

My PC has optical, coax, and green flavor 1/8" outputs. I'm not sure what inputs those speaker systems have.

It looks like I can buy a newer sound card, the Asus Koran or something like that, and it'll give me "dolby headphone" which is the surround sound emulation for headphones. I can buy that for $25 or 40, and regular headphones, and bob's not literally my uncle.
They are fine, no issues really. The bass knob is kind of finicky now from being pushed up against the back of my desk over the years. But sound quality is totally acceptable for a sub $100 set of speakers. The Z506 should be even better because there is a separate midrange and tweeter, where as mine are just one midrange cone.

Do you have a soundcard now, or the onboard mobo sound? Either way it should have analog 5.1 output, which is usually a green, orange, and black 1/8" jack. This is still the best way IMO since you will get full compatibility with any game. The Z506 only has analog inputs anyway.
 
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Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
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Onboard. It's hi quality though, or so I thought. It must have those outputs though, as it has optical...