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Buying a cheap surround setup

Angel9
08-26-2005, 02:23 PM
Hey guys, I am purchasing a surround sound system which will be used with my 27" LCD HDTV and the new XBOX 360 [plus my old xbox]. I am just wondering, will Pro-Logic II be okay? Because I was going to buy a klipsch system with optical toslink out, but it seems it is too out of my budget. I am looking into the Logitech X-530 speakers, which are more in my league [okay, maybe a little too cheap at 55 dollars], but they only do pro-logic. I have two concerns here:

I am still confused a little bit. My TV's included speakers are 10 watts each and I keep them to almost a minimum and they are very very loud. I am looking into this (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002WPSCG/qid=1125087430/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-9304224-7794251?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002WPSCG/qid=1125087430/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-9304224-7794251?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846) for my setup, but it is only 70 watts, as opposed to the klipsch which was 1000 watts. Am I going to get an extremely quiet sound output with 70 watts split up between 5.1 channels? I don't know the dB on my TV's speakers but if the X-530 can even tap those I will be fine. I am running my TV's speakers at about 10/100 volume and they are plenty loud.

My second, and more valid concern, is about the encoding. The one thing I loved about the Klipsch system was it was the only surround system with optical for $150 or less. Now for pro-logic, is it really as good as people [who aren't experts but my fellow gamers] say it is? They say it plays perfect surround just fine, which is exactly what I need. They experience maybe not the best quality, but at least they are getting accurate surround with just the RCA L/R cables. Oh, and just to clear things up, the X-530 doesnt take RCA, it converts them into a stereo plug like one of my friend's setups.

I just want accurate surround portrayal with a decent sound output. If this is the right system for me, let me know!

PS: I'm only using it for games.

Angel9
08-30-2005, 06:24 PM
Any help? It would be appreciated since I can't find my answers on the net....

Blue_Tech
08-31-2005, 01:25 AM
The 7 watts per channel of the Logitech system would be fine for a small room. Just dont expect ear splitting highs and thundering lows. As long as you are not deaf, the volume will be more than sufficient... as I'm sure it could be turned up loud enough to annoy folks in another room of the house. Personally, I would be shopping for something with 30-50 watts per channel, just to get that added clarity and definition (decent bass and good projection).

ProLogic and PLII are nice, back when they were the only technologies available, they were nothing short of spectacular. It will definately put you "in the game" per se, but PL is not very accurate in terms of sound location. The front stereo pair will image the locations pretty well, but the surround channels are matrixed into the stereo pair, so you get mixed sounds on the rear speakers.

The only surround technology that will give you pin-point accuracy is 5.1 or higher. These are using 5 or more channels of dedicated audio, meaning each of the 5 speakers can be playing something totally independently of all the others. Wheras the PL setups are giving you a mish-mash of sounds on the rear channels. Put your ear up close to a rear speaker on a PL system, and you will hear stuff that is coming from almost all the other speakers in the system, including muffled on-screen voices. In the 5.1 system, at times, you may hear nothing at all from the rear channels. Other times, they may burst to life with gunfire that is actually supposed to be behind you, or cars whizzing by in the background.

rbinck
08-31-2005, 12:33 PM
Games is where the 5.1 systems shine as they will as Blue Tech noted utilize the 5.1 as true multichannel audio as opposed to 5.1 surround you get in movies. The difference is the game is intended to alert you to some enemy sneaking up behind you and over which shoulder, so you know which way to turn. Much like your ears would do in real life. In the movie soundtracks the producers are reluctant to do much of this same audio positioning as it tends to divert viewers attention away from the screen. They tend to just add surround effects as opposed to discrete sounds in the surround channels. Since there are multiple channels in the 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 systems, the can put different surround effects in each channel to further enhance the surround effect. Their dream is crowd noise and gunfire, etc where the exact location really does not matter.

If your use is primarily games, I'd try to get a 5.1 system as it will add some good gaming audio information you can use. If you were going to primarily use the system for movies, the move up to 5.1 is less of an improvement.

Angel9
08-31-2005, 05:42 PM
thanks for the responses guys. So, the difference between a 5.1 and PL2 system is that I will be hearing some of the front channels with the rear system? I guess 5.1 would be optimal, but my friend says that he can barely hear his rear speakers when playing games. Is this typical of a pro-logic 2 system or is it just his crap speakers?

rbinck
08-31-2005, 06:31 PM
It could depend on the game.

Angel9
08-31-2005, 09:34 PM
he says it was his cables that were messed up. Once he grabbed the HD [same audio cables, just component video], it was all good. But now I am just a tad nervous. Since these are computer speakers, does that mean they will not have Pro-Logic II? I mean, I would expect it since you can buy a gaming adaptor for it, and what good is a 5.1 set if it can only do 2.1? But it doesn't say on amazon OR the logitech site if it supports it.

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2177,CONTENTID=9067

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002XJAKG/qid=1125545472/sr=8-2/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-3342191-7952122?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846

Blue_Tech
09-01-2005, 12:46 AM
The Logitech setup is indeed truly 5.1 capable, but getting 5.1 channels of audio into the system is the problem.

It uses 3 mini-jacks intended for 5.1 PC Sound Cards and will require the use of This Adapter (http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2177,CONTENTID=10036) to connect it to conventional sources.

The problem is, using this adapter, you will only get PL since it uses the consoles Red-White Audio connection. Looks like you would have to almost build a custom adapter to play 5.1 tracks on it, or hook it up to a compatible PC sound card.

I found the really nice Logitech Z-5300 (http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2177,CONTENTID=9586) for $167 at WalMart (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=2413248).

It accepts true 5.1 inputs from DVD players and Consoles using Optical or Coaxial audio connections. Plus it runs 35 watts per channel. This is the first time I've seen this particular setup, it looks really nice for the price.

However, if your cool with PL only, grab that first system. I dont think you can beat the price. And the adapter is only 5 bucks.