Why Do You Need an Amp?


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Sir Topham Hatt

Why is it advisable to purchase an amplifier?

Does it actually improve / change the sound to movies and games?

My girlfriends dad has one and his sounds are great, really deep bass but not overpowering. I have a 5.1 system plugged in to a PC (just plain old motherboard connectors) but it was on the low end market, a Creative iTrigue 5600.

So I plug some wires from the PC into the amp, then the wires go from there to the speakers? Not sure I would want to buy a cheaper one (?100-?200) but then I can't really afford to buy a ?600 / ?700 one.

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Daedroth

PC connectors are generally different to the audio connections on an amplifier. PC sound systems are usually only the speakers and a sub-woofer, not an amp.

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richardsim7

The quality comes from the DAC (Digital to analogue converter) ;)

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cork1958

PC connectors are generally different to the audio connections on an amplifier. PC sound systems are usually only the speakers and a sub-woofer, not an amp.

Yeah,

Can't say as I've ever seen an amp hooked to a computer, although anything is possible. Don't know why anyone would want to hook an amp to a computer really either?

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neo1911

A good Amp will need good speakers to make use of its full potential and vice versa for good speakers. Sound quality is highly subjective beyond certain price point. So if you are satisfied by the motherboard sound sound, don't bother spending. It's an endless expense pit when it comes to the hobby of being an Audiophile.

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|Rapture|

Yeah,

Can't say as I've ever seen an amp hooked to a computer, although anything is possible. Don't know why anyone would want to hook an amp to a computer really either?

Amp as in a stereo amp or A/V unit not a guitar amp. Reason you do it is for sound quality. A pair of half decent bookshelf speakers sounds better than most PC equipment. There are also plenty of sound cards on the market with connectors for all kinds of amplifiers, the Asus Xonar Essence range is pretty good and not too expensive either.

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Glassed Silver

A good Amp will need good speakers to make use of its full potential and vice versa for good speakers. Sound quality is highly subjective beyond certain price point. So if you are satisfied by the motherboard sound sound, don't bother spending. It's an endless expense pit when it comes to the hobby of being an Audiophile.

There's some truth in that...

But it seems his desire for better quality is already there and he has heard the difference, so it's lost...

Also, in before cooky lol

Glassed Silver:mac

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g0dzilla

I don't think I've ever seen this setup before, i.e. PC sound system connected to an amplifier?!

If you want nice sound to be produced from your PC (particularly for movies and gaming), just make sure you have a good quality set of surround sound speakers such as the Logitech offerings and couple that with a good dedicated sound card; such as the Creative X-Fi or Asus Xonar ones :D

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Depicus

I hook up my MBA via an amp for 5.1 and boy does it make a difference, the sound on the MBA is quite tinny but via the amp sounds amazing. Even live TV from the net comes through as 5.1 although I think it may be stereo just pumped to the rear speakers as well.

For me worth every penny for the sounds alone. Mine was about ?6/700 but also makes life easier for switching between PS3/Xbox/TV/Mac

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Salutary7

The quality comes from the DAC (Digital to analogue converter) ;)

Absolutely.

Why is it advisable to purchase an amplifier?

...

For your purposes it might be better to get a quality sound card and use your existing speakers. Otherwise, you could spend a bit more and do digital out to a quality speaker system.

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Sir Topham Hatt

Amp as in A/V not guitar amp.

My friend's setup has his PS3 plugged into the amp I think, not his PC. However I only have a PC.

So basically to have a better quality of sound, I need some good speakers and a sound card.

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g0dzilla

Yes, that's correct; for your purposes the right surround sound speakers and possibly a quality sound card (if you can justify/afford this expense) would do the trick!

A dedicated sound card really enhances the gaming experience even through the use of traditional headphones :D

I also have my PS3 hooked up through a Yamaha receiver/amplifier via HDMI and Optical for the audio, but the PC is a totally different ballgame...

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Slammers

If you want better quality sound from your computer, buy better speakers and a good dedicated sound card.

You don't need an amp, computer IS the amp.....

You'd only need any amp if your using standard speakers that don't plug directly into your computer.

Even if you plug a $5000 amp into your computer, it's not gonna magically make your **** sound better on your same speakers. It's still getting the same signal from your sound card. You just need to get good computer speakers unless your wanting the home cinema kinda deal.

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threetonesun

You don't need an amp, computer IS the amp.....

I'm confused by this entire thread... yes, some computers have a class T amplifier in them, but most sound cards generate enough power to only drive an amplifier or headphones. The amplifier is built into the speakers (somewhere, usually in the subwoofer if it has one). Otherwise, you're limited to those 3-5 watt laptop type speakers.

So, you're going to use an amplifier either way. The real question is, what happens to the signal on its way from it's digital origin to your ears. If you want a better amplifier, you can buy a home A/V one, but in reality depending on what you listen to (compressed music / movies) and your sound card (on the motherboard?), it probably won't sound any different.

The real advantage of home audio amplifiers is that they're usually bigger, and can drive speakers with more power as they have more room to vent, which means you get clearer sound at higher volumes. Also, you can get a huge upgrade in sound by getting a better subwoofer... usually PC ones are designed to go "boom boom boom" to make shotguns sound better in games... they're not often well mixed with the other speakers, which can make them overbearing in movies.

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protocol7

I've never used PC speakers. Even when I had Amigas I had then connected to my hifi system. At the most basic level you just need any amp that has an input. My old hifi didn't have a AUX input so I used the CD player one as I was playing the CDs from the PC.

Currently my PC is connected to a home cinema receiver driving a pair of bookshelf speakers. I game and watch movies on this too, but it's primarily for music so 2.0 is good enough for me. My room isn't laid out properly to get the full advantage of 5.1 anyway.

If you have a home cinema receiver then you have the option of using digital output on your PC. This means that your crappy onboard soundcard will output the same ones and zeroes to the amp as a high end dedicated one. If you don't have a receiver you should be able to pick up a used one pretty cheap (especially if it's a non-HDMI one). Then just get some proper (i.e. non-computer) speakers.

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cacoe

You only really need an amp connected to your computer if you're using rather large speakers, also, obviously speakers which don't have 3.5mm jacks.

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neo1911

I have an Onkyo amp/receiver connected to my laptop using HDMI cable. The amp feeds the 5.1 speakers.

If you can do this type of setup, use a movie player like VLC/PotPlayer X64 which can perform bitstream / audio passthrough over HDMI. This way your amp does the job of decoding the pure audio signal (DTS/DTS:HD MA/AC3/DD) and you get the best sound quality your speakers are capable of.

I notice substantial audio quality improvement while doing a bitstream / audio passthrough.

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