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Old 14th November 2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default Beginner with Computer as Media Center

So I have a computer as my media center using primarily Xbox Media Center to access all my video and audio (on top of Ubuntu Linux). We do not get broadcast tv so everything comes from just the computer. I have some speakers and would like to do a 4.0 sound set up (more later as I build some speakers) but I am wondering a good way to output my sound. Should I buy some cheap AV receiver or would it be better to buy 2 (or 4) Lepai Tripath TA2020 and hook them up to my sound card? Currently I am using a VGA to composite adapter to get video on my old tube tv, but I can output via hdmi from my computer.

What will sound better? I was looking at the Sony STRDH520 7.1 Channel 3D AV Receiver for $170 from amazon, but there are some mods I can do to the TA2020 that look like fun. For a complete new guy to audio (from a practical point, I am a physics major) the Lepai TA2020s look fun and from what I have read sound good. That is the direction I am leaning but not sure what extras a receiver may give me. I am totally sorry if this is a bad place to post.

Also any good suggestions on some not to expensive starting audio projects for me.
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Old 14th November 2011, 02:26 PM   #2
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Welcome to forum.

I also use a computer as a media server with DIY or modified amplifiers. But I run 2 channel only, so it's easy. Sounds like you want more of a Home Theater setup. If I were you, I'd go for the receiver (Sony or other) as a reference and back up system. It's works and it's easy. There is a LOT to be said for that.

Once you've got that going, then think about driving Lepai or something from the soundcard. As you tinker with the amps and the soundcard settings, at least you'll have something to listen to.

FWIW, I've used a modified Lepai for 2 years as my TV amp. It's hidden in the speakers so runs 24/7 365. Never a problem.
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Old 14th November 2011, 03:24 PM   #3
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Thanks. I will look into the receivers a bit more.
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Old 14th November 2011, 04:00 PM   #4
boris81 is offline boris81  United States
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Originally Posted by kresso View Post
That is the direction I am leaning but not sure what extras a receiver may give me.
Remote Control!!
The Lepai might sound better but it may not be worth it if you have to get up all the time to adjust the volume knob.

You don't need a new high end receiver. You can find good quality used receivers on eBay for about $150.
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