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Budget 'Home Theater' Without a 'snakefarm' of cables?

 
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Mini_Owl
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:29 pm    Post subject: Budget 'Home Theater' Without a 'snakefarm' of cables? Reply with quote

Hi, folks. This is my first forum post to 123Macmini.

I'm on a fixed income and, with that in mind, I'd like to set up a 'home theater.' I put that in quotes because said theater would consist of the speaker system; my Mini 1.42/512 MB RAM; and my recently-purchased Dell 2005FPW. I don't want to go the 'home-theater-in-a-box' route, if possible, and going wireless would end up costing a fortune in batteries. So, could anyone recommend a sub-$200 home theater speaker solution for me (THX-certified surround-sound, if possible)? If it helps, my apartment is 300-400 square feet in size.

Many thanks in advance.
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druber
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mini can't pass 5.1 audio on its own. You need a ~$100 device for just that. On your budget, I'd suggest a solid 2.1 computer speaker system. I like my old Yamaha set, which was sadly discontinued. Head to a local computer store that has lots of computer speakers set up and test them out. I don't know that THX-surround can be had with the mini for that price.
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Mini_Owl
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, druber. I'm leaning toward the JBL Creature II's or JBL Invaders, but it seems there are many 5.1 options (Logitech, Creative Labs, Altec Lansing, etc.) in my price range, based on what I see in the 'User Setup' gallery on this site.

Thanks again for your suggestion.
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mini_Owl wrote:
Thanks, druber. I'm leaning toward the JBL Creature II's or JBL Invaders, but it seems there are many 5.1 options (Logitech, Creative Labs, Altec Lansing, etc.) in my price range, based on what I see in the 'User Setup' gallery on this site.

Thanks again for your suggestion.


Someone on this site is selling their Creature II's for $40 + shipping. Check out the classified section. It was part of an entire system.
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Mini_Owl
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Bandit. The Creature II's and Invaders seem to be popular on this site, but how do you get surround sound with those?
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mini_Owl wrote:
Thanks, Bandit. The Creature II's and Invaders seem to be popular on this site, but how do you get surround sound with those?


Check out this site.
http://www.machtpc.com/

You need an external USB device to get more than stereo. Then you need the speaker set up. Check out the site I listed it will give you all the info needed.
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Mini_Owl
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been advised against buying so-called 'HTIB's,' as well as the inferiority of Logitech & Creative Labs. Also on this 'Don't waste your money' list are Boston Acoustics and Cambridge Soundworks. Is this advice sound (no pun intended)? The first two have some rather enticing 'HTIB' packages available. As of right now, that narrows my list of candidates to: M-Audio (at the higher end of my budget); JBL Creature II; Bose Companion 3; Event PS5; Soundsticks II; JBL Encounter; Bose Companion 2; Alesis Monitor I Mark 2; Altec Lansing 3.1; Altec Lansing FX6021; Apple Pro speakers; Harman Kardon 'Champagne.'

Comments?
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druber
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mini-Owl, surround sound is not possible without an extra USB device to decode and output a surround-sound signal. Plugging a THX-certified 5.1 speaker set into a Mac mini won't give surround sound. Simple as that.

To get surround sound, you need a device like M-Audio's Sonica Theater, which costs $100. If surround sound is really important, save up for this and check out reviews by folks who have it--see what speaker systems work well with this. If not, get whatever 2.0 or 2.1 system sounds best to you. There's no review of speakers that will give you better information than listening to them yourself. What one person finds very satisfying, another person finds unlistenable.
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Silver Samurai
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the best you can get would be Dolby Surround Pro-Logic.
Thats the equivalent of what the GameCube can do since it does not have an optical output.
HTiB is prob the best overall bet, but the USB dongle is prob. what you are looking for.
Enjoy! Cool
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Mini_Owl
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'm not ready to buy yet, but I went 'window shopping' with my ears today. At this time, it's a toss-up between the Klipsch Quintet III's http://tinyurl.com/8j7qf and the Klipsch SLX's http://tinyurl.com/8embk .
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solomalee
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

druber wrote:
The mini can't pass 5.1 audio on its own.


I found this place via the Apple Website, seems like a nice place to learn all about the MacMini!

I wondered whether anyone knows if the New MacMini changes anything about the pass through of Digital Optical Signals?

I am basically wondering about using a MacMini as a replacement for my Pioneer Integrated Amp/DVD Player. I intend to couple the Mini with a set of 5.1 powered speakers (Creative or something), hook up my Set Top Box Digital optical to the line in and the speakers to the optical line out.

Anyone know, would this work, does the DD5.1 signal get passed out from (a) DVD (b) from the line in.

It would be a real shame to end up with only stereo.

In any case, I'm not going to buy right now, but if nothing better appears in April then this is a route I might take.

Looking forward to any answers

Solo
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Mini_Owl
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:05 am    Post subject: Update on my speaker question Reply with quote

I ended up buying the JBL Creature II speakers...not the home theater experience I wanted, but oh, well...sufficient for now.
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