EDIT: I'll also get good cables later, any recommendations?
Edited by gopanthersgo1 - 11/4/12 at 4:13pm
I would recommend getting speakers with at least 5" drivers. Larger drivers generally give you better mid-bass. Even though the P4's claim a low end of 58hz, I wouldn't count on them to produce any significant bass.
Or better yet, get 6" drivers if you have room for larger speakers. Something like the Kef iQ30.
To hook up a sub, either
1) Split the analog out from the receiver to both the sub and Emotiva amp. You'll need a sub with left and right RCA inputs. Adjust the gain(volume) on the sub and the Emotiva amp volume to level match and integrate the two. Then use Windows to control the volume from there.
2) Get a sub with speaker level inputs and outputs. Run the speaker out from the Emotiva amp to the sub, and then connect the speakers to the sub. You then integrate the sub by adjusting the gain (volume) on the sub. You can then either use the Emotiva amp or Windows to control the volume.
I use the HK 3390. It's full-sized stereo receiver with remote control, subwoofer line outs, AM/FM, multiple inputs if you want to hook up other audio equipment (including a turntable), and headphone jack. So for a little more than the Emotiva, you get a slightly more powerful receiver (probably not significant) with a pre-amp built in. If you have the room for it, it's definitely worth it because of how much more versatile it is. Even if you don't need the features now, you might want them in a few years.
However, if you are into gaming and would like the option of upgrading to full surround, an entry level HT receiver can be a good choice. Most modern graphics cards have HDMI out with full audio. Plug it into an HT receiver, and you have the option of running 5.1 surround if you ever want to expand to that. Plus, HT receivers have bass management, which means you can select a crossover for the sub higher than the low end roll off of your speakers--there's a high pass filter built in to cut the speakers off at a higher frequency.
Which speakers? The Kefs? Yeah. They came out with a new version of the iQ line about a year ago and are closing out the old line. So you get them really cheap direct from them.
The Kefs may not last at that price because they may run out.
The HK 3390 has fluctuated around $250, but even as low as $200 (wouldn't count on that again). I think I got it for $225. For a while this year it was out of stock everywhere, and then came back. Here's the price change on Amazon (scroll down to the chart).
+1 for the Kef's
Don't get me wrong, dedicated near-fields are great sounding, but if you don't want the laser precise sound desktop/near-fields come with then book shelf is the way to go.
And by the way, what budget are we talking for cables? One could easily spend in excess of 10 times your speaker/ receiver budget on cables alone.
Well talking about bookshelf v. desktop, most desktops monitors (hyper-near-field effectively) have super directional tweeters, where when you get out of the very small sweet spot they lose sound quality.
No worries, Im supporting your choice in speakers fully.