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  • SharkyForums.Com - Print: 5.1 sound...worth it?

    5.1 sound...worth it?
    By dchakrab November 25, 2000, 12:17 AM


    Hi...have a question i'm hoping someone out there can help me with. I'm thinking about upgrading my sound set up, but i'm not sure exactly where i want to go with it. I'm thinking about the promedias vs. creative's dtt 3500 and a high end boston acoustics setup, but i can't make up my mind as to how important 5.1 sound is to a setup.

    If 5.1 is only really useful when i'm inputting from a dvd player, then i could just as easily go with the klipch. If playing music and things on a 5.1 setup is a definite improvement over 4.1, on the other hand, then i'm propbably going to be looking more at the high-end creative and B.Acoustics products...anyone out there recently upgrade from a 4.1 to a 5.1 setup?

    Can anyone give me a comparison of a 4.1 and a 5.1 system running games, music, and dvd's?
    How important is 5.1 sound capacity in a speaker setup?

    Thanks,

    Dave.

    By Acceptable_Risk November 25, 2000, 12:25 AM

    quote:Originally posted by dchakrab:

    Hi...have a question i'm hoping someone out there can help me with. I'm thinking about upgrading my sound set up, but i'm not sure exactly where i want to go with it. I'm thinking about the promedias vs. creative's dtt 3500 and a high end boston acoustics setup, but i can't make up my mind as to how important 5.1 sound is to a setup.

    If 5.1 is only really useful when i'm inputting from a dvd player, then i could just as easily go with the klipch. If playing music and things on a 5.1 setup is a definite improvement over 4.1, on the other hand, then i'm propbably going to be looking more at the high-end creative and B.Acoustics products...anyone out there recently upgrade from a 4.1 to a 5.1 setup?

    Can anyone give me a comparison of a 4.1 and a 5.1 system running games, music, and dvd's?
    How important is 5.1 sound capacity in a speaker setup?

    Thanks,

    Dave.


    Personnaly, I couldn't justify it. The four point Promedias/FPS's can be set up to simulate a center channel.

    By Chuki November 25, 2000, 12:38 AM

    Check out www.3dsoundsurge.com for reveiws on speakers, I went with videologics 5.1 digi theater dolby surround sound speakers. They're $150 and in the reveiw they scored 95 out of 100. I have a turtle beach santa cruz which has built in 5.1 support on the card so I think it will fare better when playing video games. 5.1 is really aimed for DVD type stuff. They gave it a good reveiw for games also.

    By jmorrell November 25, 2000, 09:59 AM

    I've got the Live MP3+ 5.1 with the Cambridge DTT2200 speakers (the ones without a decoder). I use DVD a lot on my computer, so good 5.1 is a necessity. I also listen to MP3's the whole time I am on my computer, so good sound is a must. I find the 5.1 output from the Live MP3+ 5.1 on MP3's and CD's to be exceptional. It truly adds depth to the sound. I can't speak about 5.1 output in games, as I don't play them. Why buy old technology (4.0 or 4.1) when you can get the latest technology for about the same price?Going the route I did (Live MP3+ 5.1 and DTT2200), the cost to get 5.1 is very reasonable ($200 shipped for the whole thing). No need to buy a decoder (as in the DTT2500 or DTT3500) unless you want to output Dolby Digital to a home theater system.

    By mayhem November 25, 2000, 10:21 AM

    I use a sound blaster Live Platinum 5.1 and dtt3500 speakers. they sound good dam good. I feel the full true 5.1 sound with the 5.1 simulation of sterio sound sorces exceptional. the bigest drawback to my rig is cost (500 bucks US retail). I would recomend SB live mp3+ 5.1 and DTT2200. you will get the most bang for your buck (230 bucks US retail). Ive red neck rigged (yes Iam red neck) an anolog 5.2 set up iam sure any one can do the same however my redneck rig up was not as powerfull or as clear sounding as my dtt2500 or the dtt2200. there are better 5.1 speaker set ups then the dtt2200 (but way more expensive) and the dtt3500 (some cost less most the same a very few more expensive)

    By dchakrab November 25, 2000, 04:01 PM

    quote:Originally posted by mayhem:
    I use a sound blaster Live Platinum 5.1 and dtt3500 speakers. they sound good dam good. I feel the full true 5.1 sound with the 5.1 simulation of sterio sound sorces exceptional. the bigest drawback to my rig is cost (500 bucks US retail). I would recomend SB live mp3+ 5.1 and DTT2200. you will get the most bang for your buck (230 bucks US retail). Ive red neck rigged (yes Iam red neck) an anolog 5.2 set up iam sure any one can do the same however my redneck rig up was not as powerfull or as clear sounding as my dtt2500 or the dtt2200. there are better 5.1 speaker set ups then the dtt2200 (but way more expensive) and the dtt3500 (some cost less most the same a very few more expensive)


    True, high-end dolby digital setups are powerful, and the sound reproduction is generally clear, but from what i've heard and read, the klipsch speakers are more powerful than most dolby digital setups. They're also high-end, they also create clear sound, and they're also rated highly for gaming, music, and movies, and as someone pointed out in the first or second post, they create a virtual center channel to mimic a 5.1 setup. Why go with a 5.1 setup when the klipsch is more powerful?

    A high-end 5.1 setup is basically a good home theatre system, and those cost significantly more than the klipsch or the creative 3500's. Is it better to go with a really high end set of 4.1's, or with a lower end range of 5.1's?

    Back when the whole 4.1 thing was catching on, it was definitely better to go with a really good set of 2.1 speakers than to go with a cheap 4.1 setup; sharkyextreme's value gaming pc has been recommending a 2.1 setup over a 4.1 setup for months because they say it's better to invest in a few really good speakers than to go in for a bunch of crappy ones.

    So now i'm thinking of the klipsch as really high-end 4.1 speakers, and the desktop theater range as low-end 5.1's...and since they're more or less in the same price category, i'm trying to decide whether or not it's worth it to move up to 5.1 sound, when that means going to less powerful speakers. The klipsch look great, sound great, and are incredibly powerful; the onyl reason they're not 5.1 speakers is because that would put them way beyond their current price range...and then they wouldnt be an option for me anyway.

    Has anyone actually had both...or experienced both? The klipsch and a good quality low-end 5.1 setup?

    Dave.

    By hex21cc November 26, 2000, 10:40 AM

    is there a way to hook up a center channel with my pro media's?

    By mayhem November 26, 2000, 05:29 PM

    I like the klipsch Pro Media's Ive used them (don't own them) and I would have to say there probably the best 4.1 speakers you can buy. they sound better then my 5.1 dtt3500 runing in 4.1 mode. but on the same token midilands set up is probably the best 5.1 set up they sound as good as the KMP the only disadvantage the Midilands have over my DTT3500 is the lack of imputs and support for 4.1. Unless you get a real good Home 5.1 set up (ussually cost a grand or more) its probably best to stick in 300bucks or less mode for a computer.

    By dchakrab November 27, 2000, 07:39 PM

    quote:Originally posted by mayhem:
    I like the klipsch Pro Media's Ive used them (don't own them) and I would have to say there probably the best 4.1 speakers you can buy. they sound better then my 5.1 dtt3500 runing in 4.1 mode. but on the same token midilands set up is probably the best 5.1 set up they sound as good as the KMP the only disadvantage the Midilands have over my DTT3500 is the lack of imputs and support for 4.1. Unless you get a real good Home 5.1 set up (ussually cost a grand or more) its probably best to stick in 300bucks or less mode for a computer.


    You say they sound better than the 3500's running in 4.1 mode...but what about the 4.1's running in normal 5.1? Even if i keep it to less than 300 for a setup, the klipsch is in the same price range as a lot of 5.1 setups, and it's only 4.1, so my original questoin still remains...is it better to go with an incredibly powerful 4.1 setup, or with a crappier 5.1 setup in the same price range?

    Btw, mayhem, your other post on the differences between the sblive plat and other breeds of "live" cards was REALLY helpful, even though i wasnt the one who posted the thread. Thanks!

    Dave.

    By mayhem November 28, 2000, 07:41 AM

    The KPM are 4.1 speakers my DTT3500 are digital 5.1 speakers. the only way your going to get the KPM to do true 5.1 is add a speaker and thats the hard part. Ive put together two anolog redneck rigged 5.1 speaker systems and they normally don't sound as good as the dtt2200 (anolog 5.1 speakers)in 5.1 audio. the dtt3500 sounds cleaner and louder then the dtt2200 but the improvement doesn't justify the 200 bucks more your will spend on them unless you really have a need for the inputs otherwise your better served with the midi land speakers witch also cost around 300 and the have near the same power as the KPM and sound as good (actually a little cleaner).

    By dchakrab November 28, 2000, 11:27 AM

    quote:Originally posted by mayhem:
    The KPM are 4.1 speakers my DTT3500 are digital 5.1 speakers. the only way your going to get the KPM to do true 5.1 is add a speaker and thats the hard part. Ive put together two anolog redneck rigged 5.1 speaker systems and they normally don't sound as good as the dtt2200 (anolog 5.1 speakers)in 5.1 audio. the dtt3500 sounds cleaner and louder then the dtt2200 but the improvement doesn't justify the 200 bucks more your will spend on them unless you really have a need for the inputs otherwise your better served with the midi land speakers witch also cost around 300 and the have near the same power as the KPM and sound as good (actually a little cleaner).

    Hmmm...haven't really considered midilands yet....i'll take a look on their site and see what they're like. I do remember that the kpm's LOOK a lot nicer, or seem to, than the midi's, but i have no idea what they're like as speakers.

    So you'd recommend the midi's? Thanks!

    Dave.

    By spanner November 28, 2000, 11:47 PM

    I have a live mp3 5.1 and midiland 7100's. For music the live does not use the center channel(atleast in defaut mod) cos it ruins stereo so 5.1 is worthless for music. DVD and games is where 5.1 makes a difference. I can't tell you much more as I just got this setup a couple of days ago and since i live in an appartement I can't really push it to its limits. My last speakers were fps1000's

    By spanner November 28, 2000, 11:55 PM

    ohya, I have heard the ddt2500's and I can tell you that the midiland 7100's are way better as far as sound quality goes. go to www.3dsoundsurge.com, they have a full review of these speakers.

    By mayhem November 29, 2000, 09:47 AM

    I couldn't recomend the Midiland 7100 I was refering to the midiland 8200. If you can't get simulated 5.1 audio from your speakers there either incompatable with your soundcard or you don't have your settings right. first you need ac3 enabled your speakers need to be set to 5.1 (in both the creative mixer and in the multimedia control panel.) you need your enveroment set to "watch movie" and movie mode one. this is the same as CMSS in a few other other apps. your not getting true Dolby digital ac3 5.1 but all 5 speakers are being used in soemthing thats more close to dolby prologic surround sound. I use the live Plat 5.1 with dtt3500. keep in mind the dtt3500 are awsome speakers they can't get as load as the KPM or Midiland 8200 but they sound really good and clean and have all the inputs I require. even though they can't really goto 100% (soundcard) + 100% (speakers) volume without some distorsion effects 50% volume was enough to get thy cops called on me by my neighbors (I was watching saving private ryan on DVD as a test) Ide say there good to about 80 or 85% volume with the loudest sounds. my biggest gripe is they cost the same as the Midiland 8200 do perty much the same thing and the midilands are louder and more powerful. Ide really like to see a 5.1 solution from klispch even anolog. but for the most bang for your buck the DTT2200 and a Live mp3+ 5.1 would probably do the trick for most people and only cost around 200 bucks (sound card and speakers) compaired to the 500 bucks I spent on my stuff. one thing you must consider is how big of a room do you want to put sound in my dtt3500 or way more then enough for my apartment. However if you want to get good sound in a large room in a large house your probably better with the midiland 8200 or a consumer home theater 5.1 setup (witch is more expensive).

    By AlmostDigital November 29, 2000, 10:54 AM

    The Klipsch speakers are sweet no doubt, but depending on exactly how loud/responsive/clear you want your desktop speakers to be, you can take the DTT3500s and add a new sub to them--that way you get nice bass and digital support. That's what I did with the 2500s so I could get the bass response I wanted. 5.1 is nice when you watch a nicely engineered DVD. The phantom center of a 4.1 just can't get the job done. I've been a home theater enthusiast for years and I can tell ya, if you are sitting 3-5 ft away from your monitor, you will not be using all of the ProMedias juice. No distortion, but your ears won't let the volume get high enough to where it makes a difference.

    Peace quote:Originally posted by dchakrab:

    True, high-end dolby digital setups are powerful, and the sound reproduction is generally clear, but from what i've heard and read, the klipsch speakers are more powerful than most dolby digital setups. They're also high-end, they also create clear sound, and they're also rated highly for gaming, music, and movies, and as someone pointed out in the first or second post, they create a virtual center channel to mimic a 5.1 setup. Why go with a 5.1 setup when the klipsch is more powerful?

    A high-end 5.1 setup is basically a good home theatre system, and those cost significantly more than the klipsch or the creative 3500's. Is it better to go with a really high end set of 4.1's, or with a lower end range of 5.1's?

    Back when the whole 4.1 thing was catching on, it was definitely better to go with a really good set of 2.1 speakers than to go with a cheap 4.1 setup; sharkyextreme's value gaming pc has been recommending a 2.1 setup over a 4.1 setup for months because they say it's better to invest in a few really good speakers than to go in for a bunch of crappy ones.

    So now i'm thinking of the klipsch as really high-end 4.1 speakers, and the desktop theater range as low-end 5.1's...and since they're more or less in the same price category, i'm trying to decide whether or not it's worth it to move up to 5.1 sound, when that means going to less powerful speakers. The klipsch look great, sound great, and are incredibly powerful; the onyl reason they're not 5.1 speakers is because that would put them way beyond their current price range...and then they wouldnt be an option for me anyway.

    Has anyone actually had both...or experienced both? The klipsch and a good quality low-end 5.1 setup?

    Dave.

    By dchakrab November 29, 2000, 03:23 PM


    Thanks guys...i wasn't even thinking about usable volume, i got so into the 4.1 vs. 5.1 argument that i forgot about the room size i'm planning to use it in.

    We're talking college dorm room here, so basically it needs to be able to get loud on weekends, but nothing like what the promedia and the 3500's seem to be capable of, so power shouldnt be a problem.

    If the kpm's costs the same as the midi's, though, then i'll probably just go with those instead...basically the same quality with more power, is what it sounds like to me. Still, it's tempting to just drop down to the 2200's with a mp3 5.1, as mayhem suggested for a value setup...poor college kids cant always afford the high end stuff, and i'm in the position of being able to, but only if i pay my plastic back for it over a few months.

    Tough choice....thanks for all the people who gave me their input.

    Now that a lot of people've mentioned midiland, is anyone familiar enough with their product line to tell me the basic differences between their speaker setups, in terms of cost, features, and power...? Which ones are worth the money, which ones arent, which ones are incredible deals, which ones are bad buys...that kind of thing?

    By soundjunkey December 02, 2000, 01:59 PM

    To Dave's question:
    "Has anyone actually had both...or experienced both? The klipsch and a
    good quality low-end 5.1 setup?

    Dave."

    I've listened to 5.1 and 4 ch speakers ranging from $80 to over $300 in price listening to music, games and DVD. I am convinced of two things:

    1) The quality of the speaker is much more important than whether it is 4 or 5.1 channels, even for DVD's.

    2) The sound card is equally important.

    After playing with MIDILand, VideoLogic and Klipch speakers and hearing how bad the new Creative speakers are from several friends I bought the Klipsch Promedia's and love them. They sound way better than most living room systems the subwoofer rocks! and they sound great even with it turned off!

    I just installed the new Philips Acoustic Edge 5.1 sound card and it gives a whole new meaning to surround sound. Unlike the SBLive 5.1 I played with a few weeks ago it actually creates 5.1 channels even for music. Different sounds actually come out of the rear speakers! And the virtualization is so great sometimes I put it in 2 speaker mode to hear the cool 3d effects.

    For me I'm in heaven with only 4 speaker channels, but I'm also glad to know my card will go to 5.1 when Klipsch or someone else comes out with the right 5.1 speakers system.

    By dchakrab December 02, 2000, 05:33 PM

    quote:Originally posted by soundjunkey:
    To Dave's question:
    "Has anyone actually had both...or experienced both? The klipsch and a
    good quality low-end 5.1 setup?

    Dave."

    I've listened to 5.1 and 4 ch speakers ranging from $80 to over $300 in price listening to music, games and DVD. I am convinced of two things:

    1) The quality of the speaker is much more important than whether it is 4 or 5.1 channels, even for DVD's.

    2) The sound card is equally important.

    After playing with MIDILand, VideoLogic and Klipch speakers and hearing how bad the new Creative speakers are from several friends I bought the Klipsch Promedia's and love them. They sound way better than most living room systems the subwoofer rocks! and they sound great even with it turned off!

    I just installed the new Philips Acoustic Edge 5.1 sound card and it gives a whole new meaning to surround sound. Unlike the SBLive 5.1 I played with a few weeks ago it actually creates 5.1 channels even for music. Different sounds actually come out of the rear speakers! And the virtualization is so great sometimes I put it in 2 speaker mode to hear the cool 3d effects.

    For me I'm in heaven with only 4 speaker channels, but I'm also glad to know my card will go to 5.1 when Klipsch or someone else comes out with the right 5.1 speakers system.


    Hey, but then why use a 5.1 capable soundcard for 4.1 speakers?

    Given that the speaker quality and the soundcard quality are both important, why go with a 4.1 system? Are you saying that the 4.1 klipsch are much better quality speakers than the 5.1 speakers discussed in this thread? Everyone i've talked to says the midilands are definitely high quality speakers...and many say that about the cambridgeworks ones as well, although mayhem adds that they're not worth the extra money you pay for one of them.

    Do you have a specific reason for preferring the klipsch over the midiland 5.1 setup...?

    Thanks for the info/ on the philips soundcard, though...i was wondering if anyone had any experience with it. How do you think it stacks up against the sblive series...do you like it better than the sblive plat?

    Dave.

    By soundjunkey December 07, 2000, 12:51 AM

    Dave,

    "Hey, but then why use a 5.1 capable soundcard for 4.1 speakers?"
    -Because none of the other 4 ch card (except Philips) generate different sound for the rear speakers (except for 3d audio games). Philips makes a 4 ch card but for $20 more you get a lot of extra features, their newest accelerator and capability for 5.1 in the future.

    "Do you have a specific reason for preferring the klipsch over the midiland 5.1 setup...?"
    I've heard the 8100's are pretty good but that the Klipsch are better for gaming . . . they have more power and a stronger sub and mid-range . . . but this may be personal taste. I've only personally used the 7100's which are not even in the same class but the 8100's are supposed to be much better.

    "How do you think it stacks up against the sblive series...do you like it better than the sblive plat?"

    All the 5.1 SBLives versions are exactly the same card and very similar to the original 4ch SBLives . . . I was suprised to find they don't have any new features except a center and LFE out. Unless your in love with the Platinum connector box for your drive bay the Acoustic has a lot more features. Check out the Acoustic reviews on sharkyextreme, gamersdepot and happypuppy.

    Good Luck!

    By flutguts December 07, 2000, 06:31 AM

    The 5.1 setup is a good idea, although mst of the sound systems run a phantom centre channel, and dont really need it.

    I saw a quote that said playing mp3's was good with the 5.1. Well no, the sound is great, but the base is lacking.

    I wouldnt go for the Cambridge, basically, they are a user level speaker and arent any good. The Klipsch, Boston or even Altec lansings are great for games and movies.

    Games are great, especially first shooters where you can hear a person walking behind you.

    Its your call though. they are your ears, not other peoples, but dont expect music performance

    By dchakrab December 08, 2000, 12:51 AM


    First of all, thanks to everyone who posted, especially mayhem and soundjunkie. Your posts were very helpful...

    quote:Originally posted by flutguts:
    The 5.1 setup is a good idea, although mst of the sound systems run a phantom centre channel, and dont really need it.

    I saw a quote that said playing mp3's was good with the 5.1. Well no, the sound is great, but the base is lacking.

    I wouldnt go for the Cambridge, basically, they are a user level speaker and arent any good. The Klipsch, Boston or even Altec lansings are great for games and movies.

    Games are great, especially first shooters where you can hear a person walking behind you.

    Its your call though. they are your ears, not other peoples, but dont expect music performance

    Are you talking about 5.1 speakers in general, or the midilands in particular, or...? I've heard that the BA 5.1 setups are great for music, and the Klipsch is supposed to have really good bass response, for anything...how much bass do you want?

    -D.


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