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questions from a newbie (5.1 system for computer+xb360)


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First post here, and I am a newbie at this stuff, so bear with me...


My current setup is just sennheiser 555hd headphones plugged into onboard sound on my mobo. I plan on buying the Forte sound card and want a 5.1 speaker setup that I can use with computer and xb360. Hopefully the forte is a good choice for my headset and whatever speakers I decide to get.


What I will use the system for, in order of preference and frequency:

1) gaming

2) music

3) movies


My budget is $500 (CDN).


And now, my many questions...


Should I be looking to "mix and match" 5 speakers and a sub? Or should I buy one package that has it all?


If I go passive, then my assumption is I need a receiver since the speakers won't be powered? If I go active, then I don't need receiver, correct?


If I buy something like Audioengine A2 speakers, then I'd need the rest of the system to be active/powered as well, and I'd need some way of switching between computer/xb360?


My assumption is that it would be better, for me, to buy passive speakers with a receiver so that I can switch between comp and xb360 easily, and potentially hook up other stuff to the receiver in the future. Is this correct?


Do I need to worry about magnetic shielding with the speakers? If I have center + front speakers close to monitor?


I would appreciate any advice you have, and suggestions/recommendations on what speakers/sub and maybe receiver to buy, for my purposes described above.


Thank you


PS -- sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but because it didn't deal with speakers alone, I posted here..


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hmm, it's tough to say what is best for the money because there are so many options. Personally, I would put my money into two channels that are decent rather than five channels that are less good. If I went 5.1 with passive I would look at used PSB alphas or Paradigm atoms with an older receiver (at this level, they'll all sound pretty similar, but see if you can score a deal on receivers that came out around 2000, they sell at about 1/5 of what they originally sold for).


Shielding isn't an issue with LCD monitors like it was with CRT monitors.


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Thanks for the response!


Taking your advice, I started looking for used speakers and found the following:

4 Paradigm speakers

PSB Alpha's & PSB Alpha Mite's

PSB Surround Sound Speaker Package


How can I tell what is a better deal, really? I don't know much about speakers, so the price-speaker pairings above mean very little to me. Note that I might not be buying the above, but they are just examples. I may not want the entire package they are offering or I may ask to buy separately. At any rate, the above are examples more than anything else - I have not made a firm decision. The only thing that seems certain is that I'll want passive speakers + receiver.


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