Stereo v Home Theater for audio.

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Stereo v Home Theater for audio.
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Jim Hillier
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March 5, 2009 - 8:53 pm
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Hi All - For years I have connected my PC's audio out to a little stereo unit, via AV jacks. My trusty old Panasonic finally died last week and I was forced to go out and seek a replacement. Now, it's a looong time since I have searched for this type of equipment and I discovered a lot has changed. The prices, I thought, were extraordinarily high.....$249au for a mini stereo with just 2 speakers and basic functions. Anything which included sub-woofer...$400au or more. On top of that, only a few included AV inputs for auxiliary connection (e.g. my computer!!)....all were fitted with iPod thingees and USB port......I guess that is not only a sign of the times but of the inexorable aging process as well.
As I wandered from electrical store to electrical store I started to wonder about home theater systems....they seemed to have a lot more to offer for around the same sort of $$$. After some initial inquiries at the specialist stores, I ascertained that the cheaper units do not include any input connections.....only the more expensive ones do. Then I remembered seeing an ad for an el cheapo home theater system at Woolworths....so off I toddled to investigate. Turns out this cheapie ('AWA' for $138au) included 2 input connections, one via AV jacks and another via microphone jack...ripper!!!
Long story short, it is all set up now and works a treat, great sound for my music....plays CD's, impressive AM/FM tuner, lots of nice features and options.

My point, after this rather long-winded dissertation, is this: Mini stereo unit, 2 speakers, basic functions = $249au versus home theater system, 5 speakers, passive sub-woofer, nice features = $138......no contest!!

cheers now.....JIM

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Mindblower
Montreal, Canada
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March 6, 2009 - 6:48 pm
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The simple truth ozbloke, provided you have the space, is to use an old(er) computer (gathering dust - hopefully you don't junk them), even buy a second hand one, and use it for your audio pleasure. Just wait for a super special on the speakers, and with an excellent program like Spider, you're in business. Otherwise using the computer speakers on an older DVD player works equally well, after you burn the audio files onto CD or DVD.

A simple way to use old(er) technology properly, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Jim Hillier
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March 6, 2009 - 8:15 pm
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Hey MB, sorry but you have lost me. Why would I want to use an older computer with external speakers when I can just add external speakers to my new computer for the exact same effect? I must have put my case badly. I wanted a completely separate, amplified audio system which I could also connect to from my computer. This has some personal benefits for me; 1) I can listen to local AM/FM radio 2) I can run extra speakers via splitter/switching box to other areas of the house and, above all, the resulting sound is awesome. Sorry, I should have explained better.
Anyhoo, the main aim of my story was to highlight the benefits of home theater equipment over an ordinary stereo (including financial), an alternative I think many may not have considered.

BTW: Me, throw out an old computer....no way Jose!!!

cheers mate...JIM

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Chad Johnson
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March 22, 2009 - 4:13 pm
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I'm not picky when it comes to my audio, so I just plug a set of trusty speakers into whatever I need audio out of.

I've looked into building a receiver with multiple inputs, and one output and frankly it hasn't seemed worth the trouble to me. One method I was thinking of using would be to repurpose an older computer, drop a 75 dollar sound card in with multiple inputs and 5+ out and manage it with some software or another. But...I never cared that much. I use mostly splitters in reverse (one set of speakers, followed backwards, is fed by 5 devices, for example). It only becomes a problem if I turn too many things on at once.

--zig

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