How to Get Great Sound From Your PC
By Peter Logan Senior Technology Trainer, Crutchfield Corporation
It's a good bet that most students' PCs are used for more than just term papers. Thousands of college students have turned their personal computers into high-tech entertainment centers by downloading songs from the Internet, using CD-R and CD-R/W drives to create "mixes" of their favorites, and even watching DVD movies.
With help from some great innovations, it's easier than ever to get excellent sound quality from a PC -- and save the precious dorm room space that a much larger stereo system might occupy. Here are some pointers for upgrading your PC's sound quality -- and saving some space:
Get a Set of High-quality Speakers
The basic speakers that come with many PCs are fine for the blips you hear from a Windows program, but they're not powerful enough to deliver full, rich sound. A pair of desktop powered speakers can dramatically improve the quality of your listening experience.
These speakers usually require only two connections -- one to your computer's sound card through the line out stereo mini-jack, and another to an AC power source. You'll be amazed at how much better every audio source will sound -- especially the deep bass notes that give music much of its flavor.
Consider Headphones for Personalized Listening
The dorm environment can be pretty noisy at times. To enjoy your music, movies, or video games in relative peace, you might want to invest in a set of quality headphones, especially models with a full, "over-the-ear" design. Just plug them into your PC's line out stereo mini-jack and immerse yourself in a private world of CDs, MP3s, streaming Internet broadcasts, and more. Some headphones even produce an out-of-phase signal to cancel distracting, outside noises!
Integrating your PC with your Stereo System
If you already have a separate stereo system in place, you can use a USB audio adapter to connect your computer to your system. This type of adapter routes your computer's audio signal through the USB port while it's still in digital form -- a huge plus because it removes the analog conversion and signal routing from the PC's noisy internal environment. The result -- all your PC sound is "beefed up" by the more powerful stereo system.
Add a Desktop Receiver
Another way to achieve excellent PC sound without a room-hogging stereo system is to couple your computer with a desktop receiver. Some companies offer vertically-styled receivers, amplifiers, and processors -- all of which work with your computer and greatly improve its audio delivery.
These desktop components include Windows and Mac-based software, as well as stereo audio inputs, so it's easy to manage your music sources. With a little imagination, you can make dorm life a little more enjoyable, and still have plenty of room to sprawl out and hit the books.
Before you decide what's right for you, check out the free Crutchfield buyer's guide at www.crutchfield.com/greatpcsound. This friendly, information-packed resource will help you get the most from your PC audio. For info on the versatile components mentioned above, check out www.crutchfield.com/pcaudiocomponents.
Courtesy of ARA Content