How exactly did you reconnect the system? I'm having a hard time visualizing how exactly you rewired them. Most 2.1 speakers I've used had a 3.5mm stereo jack on the sub module and the 3.5mm cable goes into the left speaker, hardwired, then another hardwired cable goes from the left speaker to the right speaker. If your subwoofer module's amplifier outputs are independent Left and Right RCA then that's two separate signals, but if your new 2.0 speakers have a similar wiring where the cable goes into the left speaker then out to the right, then that could be where the problem is. Have you tested it hooked up directly to the soundcard or any other stereo 3.5mm output? If you still get the same problem then there's something broken with the wiring on the 2.0 speakers.
Also if you're using a desktop computer and not a laptop you can just use the FL/FR jack on the motherboard/soundcard to directly feed the satellites. You won't have unity gain on the sub module's main volume control (if it's even on the sub module as this is usually on the left satellite) but if it gets around the bigger problem, not to mention this will not have double amping, then you can just use Windows volume control.
Barring opening up the speakers and tearing out the active components and rewiring the cables to the drivers, this is somewhat difficult to do since most speakers with RCA inputs are powered speakers that need to take in a line signal or are passives from a set that has the amp on the sub module.
And independent passive hi-fi speakers might not have a high enough sensitivity to work properly with the output power of the sub module's amp, which tend to be around 5W or lower, as they were intended for 3in or smaller fullrange drivers with very high sensitivity (with trade offs to the linearity of the response).
Here's the best illustration I can give at the moment. If it's not clear then do let me know what needs elaboration.
At present, the source is a 96kHz optical signal being fed from a dedicated sound card into an amp, which the Altec is connected to by its supplied 3.5mm cable. Then the Altec subwoofer also has connections for its control module (volume/bass/treble/Loudness/sound field xpander
) and there are a white and red RCA output which at present I've reconnected the original satellites, which are passive.
The Gigaworks are 2.0 active speakers with their own power source and I connected them via a RCA-3.5mm cable to the outputs on the subwoofer. The left speaker is slaved to the right speaker (hardwired to the left speaker but not the right speaker), which is likely part of the problem. All inputs/power go through the right speaker.
If it helps, I believe the original satellites specification is 2x 10W@4Ω, so I was thinking that if I could find some similarly specced passive satellites it should be safe. That said I never play these things at max volume, though at this point I would hate to accidentally blow out the subwoofer by trying to drive something too strong through it. I'm not particularly familiar with all these electrical sides of things, too.
Again to emphasize, right channel audio comes out normally through the right speaker on the Gigaworks but the left channel comes out both sides.
They of course work perfectly normal with a normal line-in (3.5mm) input.
This is what you should do, one 3.5mm into the PC, one Y 3.5mm into the sub, other Y 3.5mm into the actives. Can't believe I did not think of it, good thing there are smart people here.
I don't think you are going to be able to do this very easily with your active speakers. Either way, the SFX and DSP are probably customized to the altec passives so might not be suitable for your new actives.
The main reason I'm trying to do this is the sfx
(sound field xpander
) DSP on the Altec Lansing. It has a genuine stereo expansion effect - the kind that actually makes the speakers feel like they're 10m apart, rather than the kind that adds some weird tinny echo effect.
Were I to split the signal via Y-jack (I have one on hand, that said, and even considered this idea in advance), I would lose the ability to control the Gigaworks with the Altec and the ability to apply sfx to the satellites, which is the reason I am trying to do this in the first place.
That said, while connected to the Altec, the sfx function worked on the Gigaworks.
Admittedly I should have probably done some research on this beforehand and I don't think I'm too optimistic this will work.
The PC speaker market is pretty quiet these days, so I'm not sure what out there would work. Most bookshelf speakers are too wide to fit in the space and I don't know what's out there among passive speakers with RCA connections that are slim and good sounding. Another option I suppose would be to cannibalize the satellites off another 2.1 system, if there's one that's suitable.