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General Amp/Controller/Speaker confusion

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Hey all -


I'm a long time audiophile who only recently decided to put my money where my ears are. I've recently purchased a nice higher-end internal sound card (I do as much gaming as I do music listening so I was hesitant to go full on music-production equipment that would not be as fast and would prevent me from doing 7.1) - an HT Omega Claro Halo XT.


Now, I've got a nice pair of active monitors for my left-right channel, and the DAC on the HT Omega (especially with the swappable op-amps) is supposed to be pretty great. So my goal is to run RCA from the analog out into the monitors; since they're active, I don't need to worry about what kind of power the sound card can put out. However, I'm now confused what to do with the other 5.1 channels in my setup (they're going to be old creative speakers I've got, I'm going to try to only use them during gameplay or movies). Currently, they are powered by the box Creative supplied with them - it's got RCA outputs to the speakers and multiple inputs, including optical, coaxial and line-in; right now I've got optical from the comp going into the box.


So basically, if I understand my digital audio correctly, currently my D-A conversion is being done in that box. However with my nice new card I don't want to just go optical out into that box to get the full 7.1 - that would be wasting the money I spent on a really nice internal DAC. BUT, I can't just go straight from the analog outs on my new sound card to the speakers, because I'm sure they aren't powered(?).


Does this sound like I'm reading the situation correctly? The card won't power the speakers, and is expecting to be put through an amp?


Well, if that's the case, can anyone recommend a super-simple analog amp? All I seem to find are recievers with lots of bells and gizmos, but it seems all I need in this situation is a box that takes the analog input, juices it up to power the speakers, and then analogs out (maybe with a volume knob). Does such a thing exist?


Thanks in advance!


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I'll take a shot at this but my advice is worth what you paid for it.


So my goal is to run RCA from the analog out into the monitors - okay and easy


other 5.1 channels in my setup - well since you used two above, you really have 3.1 left to manage.


The .1 is probably a sub output so run RCA direct to a powered sub.


Does this sound like I'm reading the situation correctly - uh huh


That leaves the 3. which are center and two rears. You will need a 3 channel amplifier, or more powered speakers, or some combination of amps to amplify three channels. Should be able to run RCA direct.


Does such a thing exist - yes


The trick here is that you have two powered speakers and the rest isn't. That makes it a bit quirky. I'd consider two things


1) buy more powered speakers


2) put the powered speakers on the rear, get two new main speakers and a center and buy a regular 3 or 5 channel receiver. That will give you radio and cd inputs too. That receiver will probably be cheaper than 3 mono amps. Look for a used Harmon Karden, Yamaha, NAD ... anything like that.


Hope I came close!




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Defintely! You confirmed that I was indeed looking at it correctly.


So the easiest solution seems to be to just purchase a 2.1 powered speaker set - but what if I'm trying to just use what I've got?


I miss-counted, It's 7.1, so there's two extra speakers, but the situation is the same with them.


I bet there isn't something perfect out there - a 5 channel RCA amp that's small like my current box :(


What kind of mono-stereo amps are available?


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