How to set up 4.1 / 2.1 combo?

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How to set up 4.1 / 2.1 combo?

Postposted on Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:29 am

I'm planning to sort out my speaker set up when I get back to uni, and there's a bit that's confusing me...

At the moment, I have a decent 2.1 set which is awesome for all my music. I'd like to add another pair of speakers though to give me positional sound in games (and films to a lesser extent). I'd rather get 2 cheaper speakers for this than shell out for a whole 4.1 system, if possible.

The catch is that the 2.1 speakers connect through a single line jack, which i have plugged into the line out jack on my mobo (GA P35 DS3L). The mobo has the line-out, and lots different separate outputs for centre, left, right and rear etc channels.

How will I have to connect additional speakers to get surround sound? Cheers, pizza
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Re: How to set up 4.1 / 2.1 combo?

Postposted on Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:41 am

Many or even most "2.1" setups plug in through a single jack and do the crossing over to the sub themselves. It's not really a "catch".

The standard configuration for outs is to have mini stereo jacks that carry the following signal pairs: front(left/right), surround(left/right), rear(right/left), and center/sub.

The realtek drivers will (by default) ask you what you plug in when you plug in something, so you don't even need to plug into the "correct" jack. If you get satellites that don't have any bass capability, you might want to not have them set as full-range in the control panel.

You can pretty much just pull up the realtek control panel, plug in your speakers, and go.
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Re: How to set up 4.1 / 2.1 combo?

Postposted on Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:18 pm

This is good... So with my current 2.1's connected to the 'front' jack, and a new 2.0 pair connected to 'rear', I should get proper positional sound in games? Reason I'm confused is that a friend tried with a similar setup, and the rear speakers were playing the exact same thing as the fronts, rather than sound being positional, which is the whole point of doing it.

Also, should the 2.1 pair be connected to 'front' or 'centre'? What is the difference, and is one more advisable since that's where the sub will be?

cheers
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Re: How to set up 4.1 / 2.1 combo?

Postposted on Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:26 pm

pizza wrote:This is good... So with my current 2.1's connected to the 'front' jack, and a new 2.0 pair connected to 'rear', I should get proper positional sound in games? Reason I'm confused is that a friend tried with a similar setup, and the rear speakers were playing the exact same thing as the fronts, rather than sound being positional, which is the whole point of doing it.

Also, should the 2.1 pair be connected to 'front' or 'centre'? What is the difference, and is one more advisable since that's where the sub will be?

cheers

Not "Rear", "surround" or "side". 7.1 adds rears, technically. If you set them to rear you won't get sound. Center is only a single channel for a speaker centered on your display. Front is for the left and right front speakers, which is what you have. Normally, the other channel of the port used for "front" has a signal for a dedicated subwoofer output. You do not have a dedicated subwoofer input to connect to this. You need to run your existing speakers as "full-range" which will include all bass signals that go to your your subwoofer. Your speaker system will handle splitting bass for the sub from the rest of the audio that goes to your main speakers. As far as your sound card is concerned, you just have a pair of full-range speakers, not 2 satellites and a sub.
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Re: How to set up 4.1 / 2.1 combo?

Postposted on Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:34 pm

Epic. Thanks muchly for the help...now I'll try to pick out the right 2.0's to complement my current ones! thanks again, pizza
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Re: How to set up 4.1 / 2.1 combo?

Postposted on Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:28 pm

- Plug both sets in.
- Select "Quadraphonic" in the speaker setup, or 4-speaker, since as matt explained, 2.1 sets do the cross-overing themselves so as far as the source (your PC) is concerned, it's a 2.0 set anyway.
- Enjoy your positional sound.

FWIW, I spent 10 years with two different 4-speaker setups and very much enjoyed the experience. I moved to a 5.1 last year.
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