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External sound card for music and movies at $100

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Anything recommended? I need it to have a Sub output too. It will be connected to a Macbook Air, and probably a pair of M-Audio BX5 D2 or Audioengine A5+.

 

Thanks,

post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by shonor6 View Post

Anything recommended? I need it to have a Sub output too. It will be connected to a Macbook Air, and probably a pair of M-Audio BX5 D2 or Audioengine A5+.

 

Thanks,

Is this for speakers only or for a headphone too?

Computer audio is really not designed for use with a separate sub-woofers and speakers, which is a 3-channel setting, computer audio settings are 2, 4, 6 (5.1) or 8 (7.1) channel.

2.1 (3-channel) for computer audio, is outputing a 2-channel signal and the speakers/sub-woofer themselves separating out the sub-woofer signal.

Some people have recommended using an external DAC with 2 separate line out signals for your kind of setup.

 

An A/V receiver with pre-outs would work the best.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Right, I forgot, a pair of Audio Technica AD700's will be connected to it occasionally, too.

And what would happen if I theoretically connected both of the speakers to the sound card, with a subwoofer to create 3 channels?

 

Additionally, I do have some spare Logitech X-540's I can connect to create 6 channels, but then I'd need to find a creative way of turning them off.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by shonor6 View Post

Right, I forgot, a pair of Audio Technica AD700's will be connected to it occasionally, too.

And what would happen if I theoretically connected both of the speakers to the sound card, with a subwoofer to create 3 channels?

 

Additionally, I do have some spare Logitech X-540's I can connect to create 6 channels, but then I'd need to find a creative way of turning them off.

Yes, you could technically connect them to the sound card, front speakers is normal and you might find a mono mini-jack that correctly connects the sub-woofer to the sub-woofer channel output of a sound card.

 

But what would you set the computer audio for?

2-channel....front speaker have sound, but you get no sub-woofer audio.

4-channel....front speakers have sound, lose some audio that was processed for surround speakers that are not there, but still no sub-woofer audio.

6-channel (5.1)....you would have sub-woofer audio, but lose voice audio that would be sent to a center channel speaker that is not there.

and you would lose audio that was processed for surround speakers.

8-channel (7.1)....like the 6-channel setting, but even worse audio.

audio processed for 8-channels, but only 3 work, so you lose 5-channels of audio because you can not hear them.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

 

6-channel (5.1)....you would have sub-woofer audio, but lose voice audio that would be sent to a center channel speaker that is not there.

and you would lose audio that was processed for surround speakers.

 

 

Actually, I do have a center speaker (again, the Logitech X-540). But when you say I lose "voice audio", you mean plain "volume", "quantity"? Or will I be paying with the quality?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

 

Some people have recommended using an external DAC with 2 separate line out signals for your kind of setup.

 

An A/V receiver with pre-outs would work the best.

 
Now that's pretty much Chinese to me...
Will the DAC be instead of a sound card, or additional to it? And what does "2 separate line out signals" mean? How will everything will be wired up at the end, what would be connected to which component? Lastly, what is an A/V (my guess, "audio/video"?) receiver anyway?
 
Sorry for the ignorance, as you can see I'm indeed a pure newbie ATM... I'd like you speak less theoretical and more practical - what should I buy?
 
Thank you again for your help, and sorry for the complete ignorance, again lol...

Edited by shonor6 - 8/13/12 at 12:32am
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by shonor6 View Post

Actually, I do have a center speaker (again, the Logitech X-540). But when you say I lose "voice audio", you mean plain "volume", "quantity"? Or will I be paying with the quality?

I was just checking up on the Macbook Air, does not come with outputs for an analog 5.1 speaker setup.

Just has one headphone output jack, so no way to even connect a sub-woofer.

 

In an analog 6-channel (5.1) speaker setup, the center channel speaker is were voice audio is sent, so no center speaker, no people talking audio, might still get some from the right and left front speakers.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
 

Can't get my quote button to work.

Anyway, in the past receiver were only 2-channel audio, so called "stereo" receivers.

Now that receivers process video signals and 5.1 & 7.1 audio signals, they are now called Audio Video receivers, A/V receiver for short.

 

You asked why 3-channel audio does not work with computers.

Want me to speak less theoretical and more plan english, cool.

 

Please stop try to hook stuff up to your MacBook Air that the Macbook air was not designed to do.

 

Give up hooking external speakers (and sub-woofers) to a (Macbook air) laptop, it does not come with the connectors for it.

You need to go to a website with an Apple/Mac forum to find out which add-on parts you need for hooking up external speakers to your Macbook Air.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I asked in a few places, and I don't think it's possible. The only creative idea I have is to buy a woofer that connects to a USB port, and then connect a 2 channel sound card to the headphone jack of the laptop. However, will the subwoofer be able to communicate with the speakers and somehow decrease/eliminate their low frequency sounds?

 

But anyway, the bass really isn't that important to me. In fact, I really like only very light bass when listening to music, so that I could hear the actual instruments playing. In movies however, it's a different story...


Edited by shonor6 - 8/13/12 at 11:02am
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by shonor6 View Post

So I asked in a few places, and I don't think it's possible. The only creative idea I have is to buy a woofer that connects to a USB port, and then connect a 2 channel sound card to the headphone jack of the laptop. However, will the subwoofer be able to communicate with the speakers and somehow decrease/eliminate their low frequency sounds?

 

But anyway, the bass really isn't that important to me. In fact, I really like only very light bass when listening to music, so that I could hear the actual instruments playing. In movies however, it's a different story...

I'm not a Mac user, so I have to assume that the Mac audio works somewhat the same as PC audio.

I do not think the Mac will send audio out the headphone jack and the USB port at the same time.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I'll just give up on a sub. I did use the Audioengine A2's with the Mac (connected with the headphone jack), so 2 channels are supportable. 

So anyway, which sound card would you recommend? Again, I want to be able to connect my AD700's to it without disconnecting the speakers, if that's possible. Or do you think investing in a DAC will be a better idea?

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by shonor6 View Post

Okay, so I'll just give up on a sub. I did use the Audioengine A2's with the Mac (connected with the headphone jack), so 2 channels are supportable. 

So anyway, which sound card would you recommend? Again, I want to be able to connect my AD700's to it without disconnecting the speakers, if that's possible. Or do you think investing in a DAC will be a better idea?

I have no idea if anyone even makes an add-on sound card for the Mac.

The Fiio E10 uses a USB input and comes with a built in DAC (WM8740) and a headphone amplifier and has a line-out which should (hopefully) connects to your speakers and is $70.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I got an answer here.

So anyway, I'd still like to hear recommendations for an extrernal sound card, and then I'll reaserch that specific model to see if it works with Mac OS.

Additionally, with my budget, which should improve the plain sound quality more, a sound card or a DAC?

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