I intended to use 5.1 analog speakers because the ZxR supports Dolby Live and DTS Surround, which are both lossy formats. [...] just to use lossy speakers. [...] than I would get from digital speakers or from low-end speakers.
Quote from: Dragonne on 17 November, 2013, 05:00:34 AMI intended to use 5.1 analog speakers because the ZxR supports Dolby Live and DTS Surround, which are both lossy formats. [...] just to use lossy speakers. [...] than I would get from digital speakers or from low-end speakers.Could you explain what you mean by analog, digital and lossy speakers? AFAIK, all speakers are kinda lossy (depends on what you call lossy?) and all speakers are analog, except a few academic tries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_speakers
It just looks like you need either an active speaker package that has an amp and takes in analogue 5.1 (if you want the card to do the decoding) or far easier, just get a cheap AVR and some speakers, I think you could do that for low hundreds.
I always suggest you go to a store and listen for yourself. Every speaker sounds different, different people have different preferences, and the specs for speakers are usually not that useful.If you want to hear some really good speakers, I recommend that you go to an audio/video store and listen to some home theater speakers. Generally, they will be better than computer speakers, but you will need a receiver because unlike computer speakers, home theater (and hi-fi) speakers don't have built-in amplifiers (except for the subwoofer).
It's not that the speakers are lossy, it's the encoding format. Both Dolby Live and DTS Surround compress the audio data which results in data loss and degradation of the signal compared to directly driving the speaker. The digital data is sent over the optical link, decompressed, run through a DAC (probably low quality) and then to an amp to drive the speaker. The analog path has the uncompressed data drive a high-quality DAC which is then sent to the speaker and to an amp to drive the speaker. There are non-lossy Dolby and DTS formats, but they only support stereo and are not supported by sound cards.
I don't keep everything in FLAC format just to use lossy speakers.
That doesn't work if they don't have them. So far everything I have found that is "home theater", except for the z960, doesn't take analog inputs. They are strictly Dolby, DTS and HDMI (which is still Dolby and DTS).
run through a DAC (probably low quality) [...] drive a high-quality DAC
That's the point of my question. So far I have found discontinued productions, low end Creative Labs and Logitech. Logitech has a slightly higher end z960, but its reviews are pretty much always "LOUD, good for gaming, bad for music - has trouble with high end sounds like violin".
We know what DD/DTS are and how they work cheers. You said the speakers were lossy. I don't think you understand perceptual encoding from your "data loss and degradation" comments.QuoteI don't keep everything in FLAC format just to use lossy speakers.You're mixing your definitions, it is not an analogue path from the lossless data to a DAC, it's analogue from the amp to the speaker.
I'd be very surprised if these speaker packages didn't take an analogue in in any form at all, even if it's stereo.As I already said, you're better off buying a cheaper AVR and getting some proper speakers for it, that will support everything you want. It sounds like you're quite picky so you're going to be better saving for what you want instead of getting a cheaper product that you're not actually happy with. Try eBay or other such places and look for reviews online. I have a cheapo Logitech setup which is fine for computer stuff, it's also hooked to an AVR when I want to listen to music.
I do have the Logitech z906, and I don't think they're bad. Sure, what you get is what you pay for. I only bought them to evaluate whether I would spent thousands of euros on surround or buy better stereo speakers(right now they're hooked up to an game console), but I've done a few listening tests on them. They aren't bad, but I didn't expect much for ~ € 270 incl. VAT. If you want something really good be prepared to spent thousands of $/€/£ or something similar in another currency on speakers and acoustic treatment. It all depends on what you want, but you can't have your cake and eat it.
Sorry, I wasn't being precise in that statement. I know that its analog from the amp to the speaker. That is unavoidable. The point is the data path from the digital format to the amp. In on case it goes the sound card high quality DAC and then to the amp. In the second case the data is compressed (this is the first half the bad part!)
then goes to the receiver which decodes it and then sends it through a DAC which is probably much lower quality (the second half of the bad part) and then on to the amp and then the speaker.
I believe that I may have found a solution.Sound card ==> Emotiva UPA-500 5 Channel Power Amplifier ($349) ==> 5.1 speakers (LFE w/amp)With reasonably priced speakers (to be researched), I think that will do the job. The amplifier is all analog (of course) and doesn't include anything in an AVR which isn't needed and which drives up the cost. The UPA-500 can drive 80 watts on each channel simultaneously into 8 ohm speakers and 120 watts into 4 ohm speakers. It appears to have a very flat response curve, has a THD + noise of less than 0.01% and a SNR of 96 db at 1 watt which increases to 117db at load. There is also an UPA-700 which is 7 channels. It also does 80 watt per channel at 8 ohm, but only 100 watt at 4 ohm. Same total power as the UPA-500. Otherwise the specifications are essentially the same.Does this sound like an appropriate solution? So far as I can tell, I should be able to drive the UPA-500 directly from the sound card (it only needs 0.85 V swing with a 47k impedance which the sound card should be able to provide), and in turn directly drive the speakers (except for the subwoofer which would be directly driven from the sound card). All volume control and speaker equalization would be from the computer.http://shop.emotiva.com/products/upa500
I love to pick on the UPA500 because its pretty much an AVR without a whole lot of useful things that all modern AVRs come with. For the about same money you have the choice of any number of AVRs that have 5 or 7 power amps, as well as nifty things like a master volume control, bass management, a lot of digital decoders, a remote control, automated system optimization (Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO etc.) etc. I don't know what country you are in, but in the US a high value, high quality route every day can be found by searching by price for Denon AVRs at http://www.accessories4less.com/ .