• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Help me choose an audio setup!

phirius

Junior Member
Aug 25, 2016
3
0
1
Im looking to buy a new set of speakers as i gave my old stereo to my brother. I've got about $200 to spend on speakers (I might be inclined to spend more, but that's pretty much what I've decided for my budget). From reviews and research it seems like the best i can get for my money is a pair of Polk Audio R150 bookshelf speakers and a PSW10 sub. I assume I can just plug the speakers into the sub and run my audio out from my computer into the sub right?

Is a dac/amp solution necessary? I have a z170a sli plus mobo with the Realtek ALC1150 audio chipset. Should this supply ample sound quality/loudness with this setup, or is an external dac or amp recommended?

I also have a pair of Audio Technica Pro700 mk2's, and sometimes play music from my phone.

Im sure people post this question a lot, but bear with me here. I've done a good amount of research and still havent found a solid answer im looking for.
 

mdram

Golden Member
Jan 2, 2014
1,508
207
106
your going to need an amp of some sort
the sub will just pass the signal from the pc to the speakers, adn i doubt the pc puts enough power out to drive a speaker

what exactly are you trying to achieve?
 

Mike64

Platinum Member
Apr 22, 2011
2,111
97
91
I assume I can just plug the speakers into the sub and run my audio out from my computer into the sub right?
Your assumption is incorrect. Assuming your music source has analog output (speaker outputs or at least a headphones jack), you don't "need" an external DAC, but you will absolutely need some sort of amplifier/receiver, or you'll have to go with powered speakers (which have amplifiers built into their cabinets.) There's simply no way a computer sound card/on-board sound, or any sort of portable device, will be able to power regular speakers of any useful size. They're just not designed to output a strong enough signal.

To make a much longer post short, you're going to have to spend at the very least another $50-75 to get decent sound at reasonable volume out of the speakers you mention, using either a mid-priced mini-amplifier or a used receiver.

It depends on the sound quality you want/can live with (within your price range, of course), but in general, you'd be better off getting decent/"better" un-powered speakers and skimping on the amp, than you would skimping on powered speakers. Powered speakers are simply more expensive, often quite a bit more expensive, than their sonic equivalents among regular speakers powered by an external amp/receiver.

And if you don't need a "home theater" receiver with HDMI inputs,etc., you should even be able to find a decent basic receivers (stereo or 2.1, audio only) at reasonable-low prices, even if it means buying a used one Ebay or something. They're mostly considered dinosaurs, so if you ignore the "audiophile" equipment that still sells for big bucks, they often go for a fraction of their original prices, even ignoring inflation. Plus you'll be able to upgrade the amplifier/receiver later without having to buy entirely new equipment. And while this probably isn't important in your specific situation (since it doesn't sound like you're trying to set up long-term/"major" sound system), there's the final point that regular speakers will probably hold up much longer than powered ones. There's less to go wrong, and if/when something does go wrong, it's usually much more easily repairable than a dead powered speaker is...
 
Last edited:

mdram

Golden Member
Jan 2, 2014
1,508
207
106
as far as budget i would look at it like this
speakers - @150-200
amp-@100 (as low as $20 up to $500)
sub - 200 (again under 100-over 1k)

it really depends on what you want to achieve
do you want a sub that shakes your walls? or just proves a bit of bass?
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
Look at speakers in the same light as the Monitor for a computer.
It is the primary component that you interact with, and typically be capable of outlasting the rest of it's supporting systems. This would suggest that you should likely spend the most time/ effort/ money into selection of that particular component, as it should far outlast everything else on the system.
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,503
736
126
Look at speakers in the same light as the Monitor for a computer.
It is the primary component that you interact with, and typically be capable of outlasting the rest of it's supporting systems. This would suggest that you should likely spend the most time/ effort/ money into selection of that particular component, as it should far outlast everything else on the system.
I agree. Spend on a good setup.

I use a pair of Dayton BR-1 Refrence bookshelf speakers with a Dayton APA-150 amp. Got both onsale from partsexpress for about $300, shipped to canada. Several years ago during a sale. I would recommend them, they have amazing sound quality for the price. Adding a sub would be easy if you wanted but i find the BR-1's suitable for a apartment audio setup.
 

phirius

Junior Member
Aug 25, 2016
3
0
1
I now understand that an amp is necessary to drive the r150 speakers. In this setup, would stereo 2 channel amp work? Would I plug the audio source into the sub, then wire the output from the sub into the amp and the amp to the speakers?
Or is it a better idea to go with a passive sub as well and get a 2.1 amp to power the whole system?

The setup is for a one room college apartment. Ive been reading about the gaincard and gainclone amps and am thinking it would be cool/fun to build an amp and possibly get some more bang for my budget
 

gus6464

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2005
1,846
27
91
2.1 for $200 is not happening if you have to buy the speakers, sub, and an amp. Just get decent speakers and call it a day. Nothing will beat the JBL LSR305 in that price range.
 

Mike64

Platinum Member
Apr 22, 2011
2,111
97
91
In this setup, would stereo 2 channel amp work? Would I plug the audio source into the sub, then wire the output from the sub into the amp and the amp to the speakers?
I don't own that subwoofer, but looking at its product page on Polk's website, that appears to be correct.

Or is it a better idea to go with a passive sub as well and get a 2.1 amp to power the whole system?
Frankly, at or near your price point, I doubt it would make a big difference either way. And since this is a presumably a short-ish term setup while you're in school, I don't think you need agonize over it...;)
 

WhiteNoise

Senior member
Jun 22, 2016
917
116
76
Why not powered monitors? If this is in the dorms then a sub might be a bit much anyway. Gonna tick off all those housed around you.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY