Help Me Pick A Surround Speaker Set

Zwhaler

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
Jun 10, 2006
6,746
1,023
Hey all, I was just wondering if you guys, girls too :) can help me pick out a nice set of either 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 surround speakers. I am going to be using them for an upcoming iMac, and since The computer will be in my room, I want to fill the room with speakers :D So anyway, I don't really know where to look for good 6.1 or 7.1 surround, but I would also be more likely to go with a set of 5.1's rather than 6.1 or 7.1. I took a look around and probably my most likely candidate's are these: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/productlist/US/EN,crid=2172,categoryid=422

Either the Z-5450 or the Z-5500

Anyone have any experience with these, or know anything else that is just as good/better? And by the way, I don't want to spend more than $500.

Thanks.
 

matticus008

macrumors 68040
Jan 16, 2005
3,336
0
Bay Area, CA
I really think that in that particular budget range, you're best served by buying an actual home theater system (either a not bottom-end "in a box" system or piecing it together yourself). You'll be able to use it for more devices, you can move it from room to room if you so choose, and you'll get overall better sound quality. It's also more future-proof in the sense that it will always work with any computer, whereas the PC-surround systems often require a specific sound card with multiple connections, which have already changed at least once. I had a neighbor who had to replace his PC surround system a year or so ago because the connections on the "surround" sound card in his new computer didn't match up.

Just the fact that you can connect an iPod or two to it along with a TV/DVD player and a computer is quite enough to convince me, personally. $500 is a comfortable budget (I spent $300 on a second room surround setup and didn't feel the $1200 system in my living room was four times better!). If you poke around Craigslist a bit, you could even find a bargain set (always go listen in person first and make sure everything works and is in good cosmetic condition).

Edit: The Logitech you linked actually does have sensible inputs (optical), so it's a step above most PC systems. It's a toss up, I guess. More inputs on the "real" setup vs. convenience of THX-certified components in a single box.
 

esaleris

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2005
313
3
I'd go for home theater as well. It takes just as much space.

Onkyo HT-590 - $~250
Onkyo HT-790 - $~350

If you're bumping to the $800 region, I'd consider:
Polk M20, Polk M10, Polk CSM, Onkyo SR-504

All of these options would arguably sound better than the Logitech.
 

apfhex

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2006
2,670
4
Northern California
Hmpf. Well I *would* recommend the Logitech Z-5500/5450's. They're NOT your typical "home theater in a box". They sound great despite all the other speaker sets Logitech makes totally sucking.
 

Zwhaler

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
Jun 10, 2006
6,746
1,023
wmmk said:
go with onkyo or klipsch.
Yeah, I'm looking at those right now as a matter of fact. I really like them, but I am a little confused on how I get a home theater system to work with my computer. Do I need the home theater box? Or do I just plug in the speakers? Can someone explain this to me?
 

matticus008

macrumors 68040
Jan 16, 2005
3,336
0
Bay Area, CA
Zwhaler said:
Yeah, I'm looking at those right now as a matter of fact. I really like them, but I am a little confused on how I get a home theater system to work with my computer. Do I need the home theater box? Or do I just plug in the speakers? Can someone explain this to me?
You need a receiver, like the "control module" in the Logitech set. You connect it from your computer's digital out to the input connection on the receiver.

Digital connections can be optical or coaxial. One end needs to be a 3.5mm minijack (headphone connector) and the other either has to be a TOSLink optical or a coaxial digital connector (RCA jack). You can buy the cable as a unit or use an adapter (the adapter route is cheaper, especially for longer cables).

You'll also need the proper cable if you buy the Logitech you linked, so it's not really a factor in the decision.
 

theBB

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2006
2,453
3
matticus008 said:
Digital connections can be optical or coaxial. One end needs to be a 3.5mm minijack (headphone connector) and the other either has to be a TOSLink optical or a coaxial digital connector (RCA jack). You can buy the cable as a unit or use an adapter (the adapter route is cheaper, especially for longer cables).
Does not the new iMac have an optical audio out? You could just connect a regular optical cable between the receiver and computer, as long as the receiver has an optical digital audio in port and most of them do nowadays.
 

Zwhaler

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
Jun 10, 2006
6,746
1,023
matticus008 said:
You need a receiver, like the "control module" in the Logitech set. You connect it from your computer's digital out to the input connection on the receiver.

Digital connections can be optical or coaxial. One end needs to be a 3.5mm minijack (headphone connector) and the other either has to be a TOSLink optical or a coaxial digital connector (RCA jack). You can buy the cable as a unit or use an adapter (the adapter route is cheaper, especially for longer cables).

You'll also need the proper cable if you buy the Logitech you linked, so it's not really a factor in the decision.
Ok, I get it now. Thanks, and I think I will go with the logitech because I don't want to have a home theater reciever because I already do that is hooked up to a TV in another room.
 

matticus008

macrumors 68040
Jan 16, 2005
3,336
0
Bay Area, CA
theBB said:
Does not the new iMac have an optical audio out? You could just connect a regular optical cable between the receiver and computer, as long as the receiver has an optical digital audio in port and most of them do nowadays.
It has optical out via minijack as far as I know, like the MacBooks. Receivers have optical in via coax or TOSLink. You need an adapter/adapter cable either way
 
F

freakonguitar

Guest
imacs currently do have optical audio out from what i have read...but it would require a cable like this (yeah it looks like a normal 1/8" ....but its meant for optical audio out through a minijack....to optical audio out)http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/xpresscable/ second, the logitechs sound pretty good, and i only have the x-530's, which are the budget set, ive heard both of the other two you mentioned and they both sound awesome. If you want surround sound for another set and don't have the option of optical audio and its miniplugs...look at the griffin firewave http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/firewave/
 

Rickay726

macrumors 6502
Dec 29, 2005
341
0
New Jersey
im preety sure you cannot use surrpound sound on an iMac only on a power mac G5 and the new mac pros becasue they dont have the rite audio ports, HOWEVER you can buy a converter but it take a large amount of quality out of the speakers. so your better of going with a nice set of 2.1 like the creatures or sound sticks,or even some itrigues wich i have. 2.1's work really great.
 

rickvanr

macrumors 68040
Apr 10, 2002
3,256
11
Brockville
I'm very happy with my Logitech 5.1 setup I bought last summer. Plugs in via optical out. It's slick, sound great and the price was right.

Linky
 

theBB

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2006
2,453
3
matticus008 said:
It has optical out via minijack as far as I know, like the MacBooks. Receivers have optical in via coax or TOSLink. You need an adapter/adapter cable either way
Thanks for the clarification.
 

purelithium

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2006
355
0
Kingston, Canada
I LOVE My Z-5450...

3 mini jack inputs, 2 Toslink optical ins, headphone jack, what more could you ask for? it's a PERFECT set up for a smaller system. If you try and look for a traditional home theatre, you will not find one that has the same feature set INCLUDING speakers for anywhere near the price. I looked everywhere, and no one has the right combination of sound and features that these logitech ones have.

The reason is that home electronics have a slightly thicker profit margin for everyone, and the exact opposite is true for computer electronics. So you get a better deal.

Plus, you can wow your friends with the wireless rear speakers ;)

I guarantee you won't be sorry if you buy the Logitech speakers. I've used mine for about a year now, and I can't believe the deal people get with these speakers. Go for it.
 

Zwhaler

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
Jun 10, 2006
6,746
1,023
purelithium said:
I LOVE My Z-5450...

3 mini jack inputs, 2 Toslink optical ins, headphone jack, what more could you ask for? it's a PERFECT set up for a smaller system. If you try and look for a traditional home theatre, you will not find one that has the same feature set INCLUDING speakers for anywhere near the price. I looked everywhere, and no one has the right combination of sound and features that these logitech ones have.

The reason is that home electronics have a slightly thicker profit margin for everyone, and the exact opposite is true for computer electronics. So you get a better deal.

Plus, you can wow your friends with the wireless rear speakers ;)

I guarantee you won't be sorry if you buy the Logitech speakers. I've used mine for about a year now, and I can't believe the deal people get with these speakers. Go for it.
Quick question - is there much of a sound difference between the Z-5450 and the Z-5500, because I would rather run wires to the corner of my room and save $100, but if there is a difference in sound I might go with the Z-5450.
 

rickvanr

macrumors 68040
Apr 10, 2002
3,256
11
Brockville
Zwhaler said:
Quick question - is there much of a sound difference between the Z-5450 and the Z-5500, because I would rather run wires to the corner of my room and save $100, but if there is a difference in sound I might go with the Z-5450.
From my understanding the Z-5500 has better sound quality. The extra cost simply lies in the wireless speakers.