Connecting Home Theater Speakers to PC

So basically the title says what i want to do.

We are moving and i have ended up with a spare set of home thater speakers that i want to hook up to my pc to replace to crappy logitech ones i have now. (the new set is home theater, so theres a central, a front left, front right, back left, back right and a sub).

I have a Xonar Essence STX sound card, so driving them shouldnt be a problem. It also supports 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound.

Each speaker at the moment has its own wiring, terminating in a '+' and a '-' wire respectively.

My best idea at the moment is to connect all the speakers to a DVD player and then run an audio cable out from my sound card and connect it to an audio in on the DVD player. Only proiblem with this is that i'll have to have the DVD player on to use the speakers which seems like a bit of a waste. If there's any reason why this wouldnt work, somone let me know, because at the moment this is my best option.

Otherwise, i could splice the speaker wires into audio cables. This is what a couple of people have said elsewhere on other forums, but that leaves me with 6 audio cables. I assume that there's some kind of adapter or something that can convert them all into a single (or dual stereo) jack.

So let me know if there's a good way to do it, because it shouldn't be that difficult really.

So all the speakers individually connect to whatever device is sending the signal? they all dont connect to a central speaker (usually the sub) and then the sub connects to the source?

You'd need to get an amp, from what it sounds they are not powered speakers

they are home theater speakers, not pc speakers, so each one has their own pair of wires (+ and -).

Here is the stuff

The DVD player then has a set of slots at the back that you clamp in each pair of wires. (12 slots total, 2 for each speaker). They are all labeled front left, front right etc.

The speakers that im using at the moment are like you say, all connecting to the sub and then the sub to the audio out.

Yeah they're unpowered but that shouldnt matter, the DVD player + sound card should be providing the power. (atleast i assume this is the case since they run when watching a dvd with the dvd player).

Then your method will work, youd just be using the dvd player as an amp and sending your audio signal to the dvd players on its aux input connection.

or you can look around for a standalone amp with an aux in.

k, so  the only other alternative is getting a proper dedicated amp?

Also, this will give full 5.1/7.1 surround yes?

Id assume that the DVD amp is dolby and should pump out surround sound providing the source is 5.1 (ie if you set 5.1 in sound options on PC it will play 5.1)

I don't think your able to turn the unpowered speakers into 3.5mm jack connections and im pretty sure your soundcard wouldnt have the juice to power them solo.

yeah thats what i looked at first and then came up with the dvd idea.

I have previously considered this however how do you get 3 x 3.5mm audio jacks (1x front left/right, 1x center/sub & 1x rear left/right) in to a AMP? Normally you would have inputs for a toshlink/optic, hdmi, etc. I know on my yamaha amp there are a bunch of RCA inputs but never tested so I assume these are the only option...(can not remeber seeing a combined sub/center RCA!)

what speakers are they? because they dont sound like pc speakers (too many jacks) and home thater ones usually use the speaker wires like mine.

It sounds like they might be powered, is that right?

id use a DVD player like im doing at the moment. I got it set up and it is powered fine. You should be able to find a new one for about $40 bucks or a cheap second hand one for $20 or something. only thing is you need an out from your computer.

Dont splice the wires, its alot of effort and lots of people have problems with interferance and signal loss etc. The speaker wites should be able to plug into the back of the DVD player directly (check that its 5.1 surround compatible).

Next you need to work out how to connect your pc to the DVD player.

I have a sound card so my situation might be a little different, but this should work. Your motherboard should have a black covered port that says S/PDIF out. Then the DVD player should have an S/PDIF in. To connect the two, you need a toslink cable. You can find them on ebay for pretty cheap ($5-$10, try to avoid the really cheap ones). If the DVD player doesnt have a S/PDIF in then you can get a toslink to rca adapter, which will allow you to plug it ito the stero in jacks on the DVD player.

Let me know if this helps or if you have any more problems.

My mobo doesn't have a S/PDIF connector.  It has 3 audio out jacks to do 5.1 surround.  Each jack carries two channels.  The first carries L/R front, the second carries center/sub and the third carries L/R surround.  So it doesn't sound like this is going to work.  I'm pretty new to rigging up audio and stuff (I mean I can hook one up given a receiver and all that, but I don't have that luxury :p) so I don't know if I could use something like an amp for car speakers or a preamp.  I don't know enought about them.  Any ideas for my setup?

By the way, I appreciate the help.

k, i think we we can still get this to work. Your motherboard does have a green output though?

(maybe link me your motherboard)

Yeah it has a green output.  It's an MSI z77MA-G45 micro-atx.

Here's the link:

Actually, I was slightly off.  I read the manual for my board and it actually supports 7.1 surround instead of just 5.1.

Here's the link to the manual:

If you're looking at the picture of the audio ports on the back, they are as follows (this is straight from the manual):

Blue-Line in: Used for connecting external audio outputting devices.

Green- Line out: Used as a connector for speakers or headphone.

Pink- Mic: Used as a connector for a microphone.

Black- RS-Out: Rear surround sound line out in 4/ 5.1/ 7.1 channel mode.

Orange- CS-Out: Center/ subwoofer line out in 5.1/ 7.1 channel mode.

Gray- SS-Out: Side surround sound line out in 7.1 channel mode. 

okay, ive had a look into it and it seems in your situation that the best solution is to get an amp. Since the speakers arent powered, you need to have some powers source to those speakers apart from your compuiter. A DVD pllayer (like im doing) works really great but since you dont have a sound card, you cant output sound directly to it.

So that means you are pretty much left with buying a dedicated amp. As i see it, you can spend about $100 and do it pretty well and get good quality sound and all the parts will last you quite a while. Or, you can buy crappy fake amps from China and stuff that will cost you about $15-$20. I dont know because i havent used them, but i'd assume their sound quality isnt the best and they may well give out after a year or so. They should work though, so if you just want average quality sound coming through they should do the job i think.

I dno what your budget is, let me know and ill try find links to all the right sorts of products (you'll also need a few adapters and things that i'll also link)

Well, I got the 5 Sony speakers and a Sony sub for free because they were being thrown out.  So I don't want to pay a whole lot to run free speakers lol.  But if I can get something that is good quality and will last a while, I can live with spending around $100.  That's about all the higher I want to go.

I think each of the five speakers are 140W and the sub is 200W.  They all have 6 ohm impedance.

Oh, I also wanted to say thanks a ton for the help!  I've asked about this like 2 other times on here and didn't get much help other than "It won't work" or "go buy a receiver."

K sweet, here are some things,

I woked out you can in fact go like im doing and use the DVD option, it just needs a couple of things. Firstly, the DVD player has to act as a receiver and has to be 5.1 (or 7.1) compatible. This means that it has to have 6 pairs of slots in the back for the speaker wires. Then, you'll need a y-splitter, aux to RCA to take the audio from your pc to the DVD player.

the DVD player would be one like this link

the y splitter thing is this one link

Then you run the aux end of the y-splitter to the green audio out on your pc. Then run the other end to the DVD player and plug them in one of the input slots (AV 1 or AV 2 or whatever, doesnt matter).

Then, you have to set the input of the DVD player to whichever set of ports you plugged in the RCA cables (e.g AV 1).

I can find some more of those DVD players for you if you want if you want (i might try find a new one for you), but make sure if you go to buy one that its capable of acting as a 5.1/7.1 receiver.

As a side note, im not sure that this will give true 5.1 surround sound. It will give you proper 4 channel (left, right, center and sub) but i think the back two might just be on the same left/right channels as the front two. That may be wrong but i have a feeling that thats the case. Its not that big an issue as there will still be sound coming from all four corners, its just that i dont think there will be a difference between the front and rear left and right speakers if that makes sense.

Happy to help, let me know if you want clarification with anything

If I only use the green output on my PC, how am I going to get anything more than 2 channels?  Isn't everything just going to be identical to the L/R front?  My mobo does have HDMI, could I use that to hook up to a DVD player, since that would carry all audio like the S/PDIF you suggested earlier?  Also, I don't need the splitter because I already have one of those.