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zuggerat
Oct 14, 2003, 01:34 PM
is it possible to stick a 5.1 card in my TiBook so i can listen to music and watch movies in 5.1 stereo sound. i wanna buy a big pre-amp and get some nice 500 watt speakers so i can have a system...think it's worth it or should i wait till after college to get a G5/G6 desktop which would better suited for an all around entertainment/multimedia purpose?

bousozoku
Oct 14, 2003, 01:38 PM
M-Audio provides two solutions that use USB, which are compatible: sonica and sonica theater. sonica has 5.1 sound with optical out as well as analog out. sonica theater supports 7.1 and has similar outputs.

zuggerat
Oct 14, 2003, 01:48 PM
any recommendations for home theater systems? ...how do the sony dream systems stack up?

strider42
Oct 14, 2003, 02:21 PM
Originally posted by zuggerat
any recommendations for home theater systems? ...how do the sony dream systems stack up?

Don't the sony dream systems come with the DVD player too. Seems like a waste to me. You can probably pick up a better DVD player on your own.

I did a lot of reasearch in the low end home theater setup. I ended up getting a kenwood from some little electronics store in New Jersey or New york called 6th avenue electronics (I live in California). It was by far the best deal out there. 600 watt system with 8 inch subwoofer. The cost of the system was like 230 bucks (retail is like 4-500 according to the manufacturer website) plus 70 bucks shipping. I know, shipping sounds expensive, but when you consider best buy was selling the kenwood system two tiers down for 300 bucks with free shipping, I ended up witht he much better deal. plenty of inputs too (3 digital inputs). setup was pretty easy. Speaker cables could be better, and the speakers are a bit on the large side, but in the lower end market, it was a steal, and I can always upgrade speakers later on. First time I used it my roommates thought there was an earthquake because of the subwoofer rumbling.

So in short, i can recommend kenwood systems. I found the best deals using epinions.com and would recommend that site as well.

Powerbook G5
Oct 14, 2003, 02:47 PM
Sony dream systems aren't the best for the money since it has to incorp. all of those features into one unit, which leaves you with a lower quality system than if you were to buy your own system from different components. I personally have a 600 watt Pioneer DTS EX receiver, a 100 watt Pioneer sub, two 3 way front Infinity speakers, and a Pioneer center and two Pioneer rear speakers that I connect to the Xbox via a HD AV box with Monster Cable optical audio cord and Monster Cable component video to a 27" Samsung HDTV. It provides for a nice system for a decent price, and definitely better than using the PowerBook or an all-in-one system. I got it all at Best Buy on sale, so the system was actually a bit cheaper than the Sony, all I had to do was add the Xbox for the DVD player.

illumin8
Oct 14, 2003, 03:55 PM
Originally posted by zuggerat
any recommendations for home theater systems? ...how do the sony dream systems stack up?
I have the Sony DVD Dream System (the DAV-C990 I believe), which is the really pretty looking one with a silver subwoofer (looks like a G4 cube but taller) and a 5 disc DVD changer and the speakers on nice stands.

Here are the pros and cons of buying a "home-theatre in a box":

Pros

Great picture quality - The progressive scan DVD player is top-notch.
Easy to install - it's a snap to install it, all the wires are color coded and come with the system - no extra parts to buy.
Looks great - the system I got would look hot connected directly to the optical output of a G5.
Small form-factor - the speakers are easy to hide and integrated stands mean no mounting on the walls.
Overall the looks are good enough that your wife/girlfriend will probably let you keep it in the living room.


Cons

Sound quality is not as good as a component system - This is primarily due to only having a passive subwoofer instead of an active one. The bass just isn't as good. If you live in an apartment this may actually be a plus...
Only one optical input - If you only have a digital cable box or satellite receiver to plug into it, this is fine, but if you want to connect your G5 also you'll need to buy a lame A/B switch from Radio Shack.


I like my DVD dream system, but my friend bought a Denon 1604 receiver and some Infinity speakers (paid about the same price for everything but the DVD player), and his stereo sounds much better. It looks a lot uglier, but the sound quality is nicer.

It's kind of like the Mac vs. PC argument. Sure you'll get a faster PC if you buy components, but it won't look nearly as good or be nearly as well integrated, or work right out of the box. You get that with the Sony DVD dream system.

BTW, use Pricegrabber (http://www.pricegrabber.com) to find an online reseller if you're going to buy some stereo components. I only paid $750 for my DVD dream system, but I would have paid $1000 plus tax at Best Buy.

illumin8
Oct 14, 2003, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
Sony dream systems aren't the best for the money since it has to incorp. all of those features into one unit, which leaves you with a lower quality system than if you were to buy your own system from different components. I personally have a 600 watt Pioneer DTS EX receiver, a 100 watt Pioneer sub, two 3 way front Infinity speakers, and a Pioneer center and two Pioneer rear speakers that I connect to the Xbox via a HD AV box with Monster Cable optical audio cord and Monster Cable component video to a 27" Samsung HDTV. It provides for a nice system for a decent price, and definitely better than using the PowerBook or an all-in-one system. I got it all at Best Buy on sale, so the system was actually a bit cheaper than the Sony, all I had to do was add the Xbox for the DVD player.
That sounds like a great system that you have but after you add the cost of a good progressive DVD player (I know, Xbox is $149 plus $70 for monster cable, plus $30 for DVD remote, plus $50 for mod-chip to enable progressive DVD playback), you're looking at much more than $1000.

plinkoman
Oct 14, 2003, 04:38 PM
while were on the subject, anyone know how good usb audio is? i heard that it's performence can be questionable at times.

bousozoku
Oct 14, 2003, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by plinkoman
while were on the subject, anyone know how good usb audio is? i heard that it's performence can be questionable at times.

Audio output using USB is fine and the overall system performance using sonica is better, due to not using on-board audio hardware.

Audio input using USB is questionable at times, according to those using professional applications. This seems to vary on various hardware/software combinations but still doesn't seem to be correct yet.

billyboy
Oct 15, 2003, 04:29 AM
My sonica "surround sound emulator" is very impressive. I have noticed though a tendency for the sound card to not be recognised. It never cuts out in use, but sometimes I start iTunes and nothing happens and I have to either go to system preferences just to switch it off and on, or remove the usb connector and plug it back in. I have it plugged straight into the PB and not via a powered Keyspan hub, which it definitely didnt like for some reason. Minor glitches, all solvable really easily, and no doubt an upcoming version of OSX or a driver upgrade will iron that conflict out.

Oh yes, and I think the sound card and 4 Creative speakers and a beat box cost about $150 which, for me and my neighbours, is quite good enough. A PC friend of mine looked at me sideways when i said I was going to get the system. Why do you want to use a poxy computer as a home cinema system? How about because its not a poxy computer like his and the set up is as loud as his and half the size and price.