Cheapest 5.1 surround speakers for a C2D iMac?

PCMacUser

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 13, 2005
1,698
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Hi there,

I'm still weighing up the pro's and con's of buying an iMac, and one of the areas which is causing me doubts is the surround sound capabilities of the machine.

I've seen a lot of people on this forum say that they are using Logitech Z-5500's plus a TOSlink adaptor to get surround. That's great - if you've got hundreds of dollars to spend! I don't have that much money to throw at digital speakers, and would like to use some analogue surround speakers instead, which are much cheaper but still sound great.

Is this possible?

Otherwise, can someone recommend some cheap digital speakers that would work?


Cheers!
 

Killyp

macrumors 68040
Jun 14, 2006
3,862
3
PCMacUser said:
Hi there,

I'm still weighing up the pro's and con's of buying an iMac, and one of the areas which is causing me doubts is the surround sound capabilities of the machine.

I've seen a lot of people on this forum say that they are using Logitech Z-5500's plus a TOSlink adaptor to get surround. That's great - if you've got hundreds of dollars to spend! I don't have that much money to throw at digital speakers, and would like to use some analogue surround speakers instead, which are much cheaper but still sound great.

Is this possible?

Otherwise, can someone recommend some cheap digital speakers that would work?


Cheers!
At that kind of price, you're going to be MUCH better off with a pair of stereo speakers. Surround sound is just more sound, not better sound.

Are you looking for a sub/sat package, or two larger speakers? (sonically, the second is hugely superior).
 

PCMacUser

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 13, 2005
1,698
17
Killyp said:
At that kind of price, you're going to be MUCH better off with a pair of stereo speakers. Surround sound is just more sound, not better sound.

Are you looking for a sub/sat package, or two larger speakers? (sonically, the second is hugely superior).
The quality of the sound isn't too much of an issue. I'm mostly interested in it from the perspective of gaming. Playing Half-Life 2 with 5.1 surround is a much more immersive experience than with front 2 channel speakers.

If an iMac will work with analogue 5.1 speakers, then I could pick up a set for about £50.
 

dreamsINdigital

macrumors 6502
Sep 4, 2006
289
0
An inexpensive yet good set of 5.1 speakers is the Logitech X-530. You can get it for around $60 at Newegg.com.
 

sycho

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2006
865
1
just get a cheapo 5.1 usb soundcard as well to go with it, both OSX and XP will play nice with pretty much any generic one.
 

trainguy77

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2003
3,571
1
I recommendation would be if your going to spend the money to get surround sound which would be atleast $100 anyway, then just upgrade a low end surround sound package. I got a decent Yamaha system for $350 cdn. And you can go cheaper then that if you wanted.
 

sycho

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2006
865
1
trainguy77 said:
I recommendation would be if your going to spend the money to get surround sound which would be atleast $100 anyway, then just upgrade a low end surround sound package. I got a decent Yamaha system for $350 cdn. And you can go cheaper then that if you wanted.
the OP stated that they wanted to play half life 2 in 5.1 sound. You need a usb soundcard for this, the onboard sound will only provide stereo unless you are watching a movie with SPDIF passthrough enabled. Any 6channel usb (2.0!) soundcard will work with both XP and OS X, it doesn't really matter which one you get, as long as it has a 6channel output.
 

trainguy77

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2003
3,571
1
sycho said:
the OP stated that they wanted to play half life 2 in 5.1 sound. You need a usb soundcard for this, the onboard sound will only provide stereo unless you are watching a movie with SPDIF passthrough enabled. .
This is not true, if you use the optical out to a decoder that will work just fine. The OP even mentioned it. What I was suggesting was going with a low end surround sound package with a built in decoder.
 

sycho

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2006
865
1
trainguy77 said:
This is not true, if you use the optical out to a decoder that will work just fine. The OP even mentioned it. What I was suggesting was going with a low end surround sound package with a built in decoder.
I'm sorry, but that isn't what the OP wants, they want to play games in 5.1 surround, which is not possible with the onboard sound, since it will only provide 2channels, unless watching a DVD. A Dolby Surround Prologic II decoder suck at decoding games mixed in stereo.

To play Half-Life 2 in 5.1 surround on an iMac, you NEED a USB soundcard, since the onboard only provides 2 channel stereo. The OP knows this and wanted options, the only real option is a USB soundcard, since it could be useable in both OS X and Windows XP.

PCMacUser said:
The quality of the sound isn't too much of an issue. I'm mostly interested in it from the perspective of gaming. Playing Half-Life 2 with 5.1 surround is a much more immersive experience than with front 2 channel speakers.
Very true, HL2 is a blast in discrete surround.:p


PCMacUser said:
If an iMac will work with analogue 5.1 speakers, then I could pick up a set for about £50.
You're most inexpensive bet is to pick up a USB soundcard and some 5.1 speakers. There are a couple other options, but it is necessary to get a USB 5.1(or more;) ) soundcard.