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Driving 5.1 computer speakers with an external sound card in an unorthodox arrangement?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have a set of Klipsch ProMedia 5.1's that just have the Green, Black and Orange "Front", "Rear" and "Center/ Sub" channel inputs. 

 

I'm looking to get an external sound card, so that I can connect them to my laptop rather than the old desktop with a Creative Audigy 2 soundcard. (Whatever I do, I want it to sound at least as good as the Audigy 2.)

 

The only external 5.1-capable sound card I can find is the "Creative Sound Blaster XFi Surround 5.1". So this seems to be the easiest option, and the only way that I could just keep the green/ black/ orange channels. 

 

Now, here's the rub... I'm not using the 5.1's in a surround sound configuration to begin with. I have the speakers all clustered in between my living room and kitchen, trying to fill my place full of music rather than get a "true surround sound experience". (see diagram) Obviously not an audiophile arrangement, but all I'm really looking for is to have the same system provide music for doing the dishes and for making out on the couch. So ideally, all of my stereo music would come out of all six of the speakers at the same time. 

 

http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t130/Begle1/SpeakerArrangement_zpsbc40730b.png

 

So, my question is, do I need to have a "5.1" sound card to run these 5.1 speakers? Or could I buy a better sound card, something that only has stereo outputs (like a "Creative Sound Blaster XFi HD" or any of the many "real" audio interface cards), and somehow use those standard RCA stereo outputs to drive the Front, Rear and Center/ Sub channels on the Klipsch's? 

 

Thanks!


Edited by Begle1 - 6/22/13 at 6:22pm
post #2 of 9

You could just plug the green cable into the laptop, you would at least get the two "front" speakers (2.0) and maybe the sub-woofer to work (2.1 speaker).

If your Klipsch comes with an "expanded stereo" setting, it might output audio to more then a 2..0 or 2.1, maybe "expanded" stereo (to all six channels)

 

If your laptop comes with S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) digital output,

I would think you could find a device that takes in a S/PDIF digital signal and expands it out to a 5.1 (6-channel) analog audio signal, also "expanded stereo".

 

Might be better to sell off the Klipsch 5.1 and invest in a 2.1 speaker setup.

post #3 of 9

you can try to find a splitter and hook all of your inputs together and plug them in that way.  That would be the easiest solution

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
Might be better to sell off the Klipsch 5.1 and invest in a 2.1 speaker setup.

+1 in fact with all the hassle and puny sats, i would have just fished out a stereo receiver with speaker A + B outputs and go with bookies/floor standers - a far more musical set up tongue_smile.gif

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
No "expanded stero" option I know of. No switches or anything anywhere. Just the three channels in. The laptop in question has absolutely horrid sound output, so I need to get an external card if I'm using it.

Is it possible to split one stereo output into three without severe problems?

I guess the question boils down to, if I put a standard stero signal into the "center/ sub" channel, will the speakers themselves just pick up on the frequencies that they're supposed to respond to? Or does the sound card itself process that "center/ sub" channel differently than the front and back channels?

I could get something with two stereo outputs, split one and use it for fronts and rears and then use the other, with different equalizer settings if need be, for the center/ sub... If that'd even come close to working for the center/ sub channel? I just can't figure out how special the signal for that channel is.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Begle1 View Post

No "expanded stero" option I know of. No switches or anything anywhere. Just the three channels in. The laptop in question has absolutely horrid sound output, so I need to get an external card if I'm using it.

Is it possible to split one stereo output into three without severe problems?

I guess the question boils down to, if I put a standard stero signal into the "center/ sub" channel, will the speakers themselves just pick up on the frequencies that they're supposed to respond to? Or does the sound card itself process that "center/ sub" channel differently than the front and back channels?

I could get something with two stereo outputs, split one and use it for fronts and rears and then use the other, with different equalizer settings if need be, for the center/ sub... If that'd even come close to working for the center/ sub channel? I just can't figure out how special the signal for that channel is.

What setting/switchs are there on the Klipsch control box?

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

The speakers and "control module" all plug into the subwoofer box. There aren't any switches on the subwoofer box, unless they're hidden somehow. The "control module" has an on/off button (which doubles as a headphone-out button), a big primary volume control knob, and three little knobs for volumes of the center, rear and sub.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I really can't find this answer anywhere.

 

Is the signal processing for the center/ sub channel done by the speakers themselves, or is it only done by a 5.1-capable sound card?

 

Would wiring the center/ sub channel to a stereo output, as shown in the diagram, achieve the desired result of having the center speaker and subwoofer make decent-sounding noise?

 

http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t130/Begle1/CenterChannelDiagram_zps63e36067.png

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Begle1 View Post

I really can't find this answer anywhere.

Is the signal processing for the center/ sub channel done by the speakers themselves, or is it only done by a 5.1-capable sound card?

Would wiring the center/ sub channel to a stereo output, as shown in the diagram, achieve the desired result of having the center speaker and subwoofer make decent-sounding noise?

http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t130/Begle1/CenterChannelDiagram_zps63e36067.png

Unless the surround sound features are built into the 5.1 setup (everything is usually built into the sub).

Usually computer surround sound is processed inside the computer before it's sent threw the 5.1 sound card outputs

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