After switching to the Mac mini, I haven’t been fully utilizing my 5.1 speakers. The Mac mini only supports stereo mini and optical outputs and my Logitech X-530s are analog computer speakers. Currently, only the L/R speakers are enabled and I wanted to remedy that.
First I tried looking for some cheap surround sound optical speakers, but hardly anyone seems to make them these days. Back in the day, there were Creative Soundworks, Klipsch, and Logitech. The only one I found was the Logitech Z-906, which many reviews are saying aren’t as good as its predecessor, the Logitech Z-5500. Either way, the Logitech Z-906 costs ~$300 and for that price, I might as well go for a real receiver.
Second, I tried to see if there was any device that would take optical input and output surround sound. Apparently these devices aren’t exactly that popular. I did find 2:
- HDV-18A 5.1 CH Dolby Digital DTS AC3 Sound Audio Decoder
- Sewell Digital to Analog 5.1 Dts/ac-3 Decoder Surround Sound (Toslink/coax to Rca)
They cost about $60-80 and are made from brands I’ve never heard of. The build quality from the pictures also look rather crappy.
If I were indeed going to get a receiver, I wondered if I’d be able to reuse my existing speakers. Was there something that would convert 3.5mm stereo mini / RCA to regular speaker wires. Apparently a quick search showed me how stupid I was for thinking that. I forget the terminology they used, but it had something to do with computer speakers being powered and you may end up damaging your hardware if you ever mix them.
I wonder if a home theater setup for my computer will be overkill… Then again, I sit in front of my computer multiple magnitudes more than I sit in front of my TV. Hmmmmm… I don’t really need something that fancy. I’m currently looking at the Onkyo HT-S3400 (Newegg / Amazon), both which have it for $260 and appear to be the lowest it’s been (price comparison).