Leaving out the back story, I'm thinking of dropping a couple of subtle hints to the parents for a new sound system for Christmas.
Currently, I'm using the X-540 from Logitech. It's a 70W RMS 5.1 system. Recently however I swapped my sound card for an Auzentech X-Fi Forte, and this has support for a bunch of Dolby decoders that require optical input, which my system doesn't have.
I've also noticed that because of the acoustics in my room, I have to boost the rear speakers more than I'm used to, and because of this, the bass gets a little messed up - it's to do with how the X-Fi software handles channel volume.
To this end, I've been looking at the Z906 from Logitech as a replacement. It's a 500W RMS system, with a host of inputs (including optical), is THX and DTS certified, and has built in support for volume leveling from a control hub.
Has anyone had any similar experiences? (upgrading from budget to decent surround sound), or any other recommendations?
Oh, and I'll be using it mostly for music, movies, and TV. Gaming as well certainly, but I'd more music/media focused.
Probably one of the better if not best 5.1 PC speaker sets in it's price range. It's said to be similar in performance to it's Z-5500 predecessor, though not quite as deep in bass having an 8 vs 10" sub. I think I'd probably prefer that given a 10" needs a lot of wattage to run well, esp depending on size of room. When I listened to a set of Z-5500s in store the bass always sounded boomy vs tight.
It is said that these don't sound nearly as loud and clear when used in analog mode, which makes sense since they seem to be more geared toward digital decoding. For TV, you're not likely going to make much use of your Forte if you run a digital pass through. For games and anything else run off your PC though, you'll at least make use of it's opamps in digital mode.
As for the DACs, fugetaboutit, you won't even use them in digital. This is why many skip sound cards anymore, esp expensive ones, and buy an entry level receiver and small HT speaker set, or complete HT receiver/speaker kit instead. You get a LOT better amp that way and still get digital Dolby, DTS, etc, decoding. It costs a bit more, but results in better, fuller sound.
PC speaker sets basically use an inexpensive sub grade amp for all channels with as much as 10% THD, vs some entry level receivers (Pioneer for instance) producing only .06% THD. It doesn't matter if the sub itself is powered that way, but in the other channels, esp the front satellites and center, you can tell the difference quite a bit, esp with two way vs these full range speakers.
A fairly good way to go is something like a set of Energy 5.1 Take Classic speakers and entry level receiver. Amazon.com: Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System (Set of Six, Black): Electronics
Denon also makes fairly good HT receiver/speaker sets in the $400-$600 range. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=denon+home+theater+system&sprefix=denon+home+theater
I'm almost a bit reluctant to even offer suggestions within your desired 5.1 plan given your primary intended use is music though, as 5.1 channel amps, esp simple ones built into a set like the Z906, aren't nearly as good for music as a stereo amp. Just know going in that you WILL be compromising if you like listening to music in stereo, even with a HT 5.1 receiver.
To be honest, I'm not very well informed when it comes to HT stuff. I usually don't listen to music in stereo. I've been using Dolby's NeoPC and that seems to handle stereo-5.1 better than Creative's CMSS-3D. My main problem is because of my setup, I have the rear speakers quite a ways off, and my front speakers (particularly the centre) quite close. With the way CMSS-3D handles channel leveling, the bass gets pretty screwed up at times.
Thanks for the links, but I don't have the room for a setup as big as (I think) that is. I'm only in a small apartment at the moment, that's another reason the 906 appealed to me. For what it is, it's quite small, not a lot bigger than my current setup.
If I was using it, it'd be probably run with coax. I'm thinking I'd also invest in some better speaker wire too. (The system comes with 18-gauge, and from what I've read going to 14 can make a big difference).
*Daedalus;5580868I'm thinking I'd also invest in some better speaker wire too. (The system comes with 18-gauge, and from what I've read going to 14 can make a big difference).
Probably minimal difference at best. The biggest difference in that set from what I've read is using digital vs analog, but most would probably use digital to get the decoding anyway.