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How do I connect hi-fi speakers to an Amp to my PC?

 

New member
Username: James_the_god

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-05
I'm going to buy a pair of the new Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 speakers and I have also got an amplifier but I'd like to connect them to my computer.
Now I don't know how to do this because theres so many types of plugs, scarts etc... but Ive also remembered computers have sound cards so would this affect the sound quality that my amplifier produces? I know these speakers can be 'bi-wired' but that, I also don't know how do do.
So basically is there anyone out there who can tell me which cables I need to bi-wire my speakers (for better quality), directly to my ampifier and then which cables I need to link up my amplifier to my pc?
Thanks everyone
p.s. I'm from the UK so will the computer links be any different and no i don't have a MAC/APPLE
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 185
Registered: Sep-04
James,

I'm glad you mention the amplifier in this chain. The soundcard in your machine performs much the same function as the board found in any source, such as a CD player. It contains a small pre-amp stage with an output to your amp, while transport only is provided by the CD/DVD drive. The sound card does not provide any useful amplification, unless specifically stated, so you can't attach speakers directly to it, in the same way you can't to a CD player without an amp. I suspect yo know this already, so onto the important bit....

The interconnect you'll most likely need is one which goes from 2 stereo RCA (phono)plugs to a small jack - most commonly 3.5mm, usually the same size as on 'Walkman' 'phones. So - Small jack goes into the sound card's 'OUT' socket and the x2 RCA end goes into any input of your amp you have free, apart from 'phono'.

Bi-wiring is simple. Either you have an amp with a double set of speaker terminals, or you don't. It works either way, it's just that some amps provide you with more terminals and slightly more effective splitting ability.

First, purchase either an apropriate double length of 'bi-wire' strand cable, or four runs of mono-wire. The proper bi-wire cable is more convienient, but the use of different grade cables can serve as an interesting tweak for bass against treble.

Next, find at the back of your new speakers a set of metal bridges which connect the two sets of terminals together and remove them. This is the part which makes their internal crossovers work. You won't be needing x-overs from now on, so Remove them and store in a safe place.

Bi-wire cable is often marked 'HF+ / HF-' and 'LF+ / LF-' to make things easier. I personally further mark the cables with red and black tape, leaving a tab hanging to write L+ and H+ on the reds.

If your amp is bi-wirable, then hook up the HFs coming from each speaker to the top set and the LFs to the bottom set, making sure to observe correct polarity at all times.

If you have only a single set of terminals on your amp, bi-wiring will still work by twisting together both HF and LF wire ends of each set and wiring them into the terminals together. If the terminal accepts both bare-wire and banana plugs, you can always screw a pair onto one set of ends to make connection easier.

When purchasing your wires, always make sure both runs are exactly the same length - otherwise you'll get phasing problems.

When purchasing your interconnect, buy the best quality budget allows, avoiding the thin stringy cheapo types sold in computer stores. You'll benefit from this move in the long run.

Yes, the quality of the sound card will affect overall sound quality in quite a drastic way. Even a decent one, I find lacks the quality of my CD player, which is why I use one in in the computer system, prefering it to my computer's onboard drives.

The drive has a lot to answer for in determining the sound, but I feel the most significant differences are found between different cards.

What you hear will largely depend though, on what you are used to hearing. If your CD player is rather good, you might not like how your sound card performs with CDs, but on the other hand, if your CD is an older, or run-of-the-mill type, you may find a huge improvement using your computer as a giant replacement.

In any case, it's going to be perfect for games, internet radio and recording. 10, 20, maybe 100 times better sounding than those horrible little PC speakers with the active circuitry. That depends on you amp, but with the Diamonds, you're already streets ahead on the speakers.

Hope this helps. Any more questions, just ask.

I'm in the Uk too. What amp do you have?

V












 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 186
Registered: Sep-04
P.S.

As far as I am aware, the only differences between U.S. and British equipment is the power rating. We draw 240v, where America and Europe draws only 110v. Audio connections however, remain the same throughout the world I think, so unless you're talking volts and video modes, you're pretty safe talking to any of our buddies across the pond in here.

Regards,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 187
Registered: Sep-04
Oh, and before I forget....

You asked about speaker cable quality. Any of these are good, so try this link.

http://ws4.richersounds.com/productlist.php?cda=productlist&sgroup=SPEAKERESSENT IALS1&sort=price&SID=abeeeaa3e320f7cff4f39ebbb47ad67e

V
 

New member
Username: James_the_god

Post Number: 10
Registered: Jan-05
Thanks Varney, it sounds like you know a lot about audio and amps. I sold my amp, BUT thats the thing I have a budget of about 140 pound for an amp. Right now im looking at the Sony TAFE370 and the Pioneer A-209R. Are you familiar with these amps at all. Ive worked out the ohm conversion and both amps would be perfect (i think), as the diamonds are 6 ohms. The thing is when some speakers say 100 watts (as on hifibitz), does that mean between a pair making them 50 Watts each???
I've never actually had experience with 'real' speakers and amps before but I find it all fasinating. My computer is a little old now and has a Cambridge SBLive! soundcard along with the cambridge soundworks matching speakers (4.1) and I can now notice a HUGE difference with cabinet speakers.
I can't wait till I have finally saved up the money...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 65
Registered: Nov-04
i'd recommend upgrading your sound card if you are going to be using your computer for most for your music. the creative audigy 2 NX i believe is about $100 now but im sure you can find something of equal quality at a lower price. i have heard that sony makes fairly poor quality audio equipment. i dont know much about audio equipment so i cant make a suggestion. im still trying to learn with a very low budget. the wattage question you have, no, the ratings that are given for speakers is for each individual speaker, just as reciever or amp wattage ratings are for each channel. i also noticed a huge difference going from computer speakers to cabinet speakers.
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_the_god

Doncaster, South Yorkshire England

Post Number: 31
Registered: Jan-05
The Audigy 2 is very good and Im getting a new computer soon, so I'll spec it up with that included! I've changed my mind about the amplifier and decided that the Cambridge Audio A5 is a good match!
 

New member
Username: Mailman

Paarl, Western Cape South Africa

Post Number: 6
Registered: Nov-04
About the connection from the PC to the amp, nyou say its a 3.5 mm little hole, is that not precisely the real problem ? the PC has no proper
output, although i see now output ieee1394 appearing, to what entrance of the amp is it connected ?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 66
Registered: Nov-04
peter, all major interconnect makers have a cable converting rca to mini plug. whether it be a simple adapter or a full length cable. i have my computer hooked to my stereo system using a Monster Standard THX-Certified Mini to RCA Audio Interconnect Cable.
http://www.monstercable.com/thx/productPageTHX.asp?pin=1613&LastPage=Audio%20Int erconnects
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