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  • HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

    Hello all.

    I have been researching HTPC for over a year now.

    I intend to build one when I can establish how to achieve a built in amplifier.

    The whole idea for me in HTPC is a 1 box solution for all media, so why is it I can not find a suitable amplifier with passive speaker solution that can be mounted directly in the HTPC case?

    Naturally there are heat issues that result from A, B and A/B class amplifiers but as a trade off D class have less heat build up for lower quality sound.

    I am aware that powering such a device (amp) will be an issue, so to avoid tapping into an exremely large PSU why not create an exteranl power supply into the case and by pass the PSU alltogether??

    There really are very few solutions to this.

    So far I have found these :

    Back in 2008 Msi released a AMD platform mobo with packaged PCI amplifier card.MSI Media Live Diva review - Motherboard reviews - TrustedReviews

    It appears this has been discontinued as no resllers have this in stock.

    Scythe has released a very small amplifier that can be installed in one of the drive bays.
    PC Hi-Fi: Scythe's Kama Bay Amp | silentpcreview.com
    But this really has little power.

    Another Concept would be to go all out and build a DD 5.1 amp with a modified version of this build:
    &#960-Amp - Introduction to the PC Integrated Amplifier System

    Possibly even modify a car audio amp and house this in the HTPC??.

    Here is an external amp that fulfills the user friendliness.
    Simplifi Digital, The world's first line of powerful audio amplifiers for the 21st century home

    I would love to take this amp and house it in my HTPC,.. Can it be done??

    What are the latest releases in regards to this issue??

    I am not alone here several other people want to establish the complete HTPC
    and although a complete system can be found such as this by asus
    ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

    I can't establish the intergrated amplifier component to this or the MOBO!!
    and..
    What I don't understand is in all my searches I am only really getting results from 2-3 years ago!! What has happened since and why is this not be being addressed?

    Many thanks..
    D.
    GAEP45 UD3P rev1.1
    Intel E8400 @4.2Ghz
    Corsair Cl4 DDr2 800
    Ati 4890
    Bequite 670watt
    Westerndigital Black 500gb

  • #2
    Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

    Hi D - What were you able to find out for the sound card with integrated amplifier question? I'm in the exact same boat as you, all my searches seem to find hits from a couple of years back. Surely there are better options out there? I desperately want to find an answer to the amplifier piece and then I can start building my dream PC!

    Thanks,

    Nisheeth

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

      Hi,.Nisheeth.

      I haven't been able to locate anything!! (hence my post)..

      From what I have learned there really are only 3 options.

      1. Find discontinued MSI motherboard from 2008.
      2. The Scyth drive bay mounted mini amp (only 10-15 watts!!)
      3. Build a complete amplifier yourself from various kitsets. (let me know if you think you'll go down this path)

      I have heard that MSI are still developing the Motherboard but haven't released any info.
      I also heard their motherboard with PCI amp had many problems and many simply did not work.

      I hope others will join this search for a Intergrated AMP for HTPC.

      D.
      GAEP45 UD3P rev1.1
      Intel E8400 @4.2Ghz
      Corsair Cl4 DDr2 800
      Ati 4890
      Bequite 670watt
      Westerndigital Black 500gb

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

        Someone sent me a link to a company that builds small 10 Watt drive bay amplifiers -

        Kama Bay AMP 2000: Scythe - The Cooling Experts

        Interesting solution, fits in a 5.25" drive bay.

        I will be updating my site with the the bi-amp version of the pi-amp over the next month. It is more complex (and expensive) but the sound and power are worth it.
        Last edited by pi-amp; 02-21-2011, 01:57 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

          Thanks,. have seen this one,...

          where's your site and what are doing with your bi amp??
          GAEP45 UD3P rev1.1
          Intel E8400 @4.2Ghz
          Corsair Cl4 DDr2 800
          Ati 4890
          Bequite 670watt
          Westerndigital Black 500gb

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

            Actually no I haven't seen all of these,... thanks heaps,...
            GAEP45 UD3P rev1.1
            Intel E8400 @4.2Ghz
            Corsair Cl4 DDr2 800
            Ati 4890
            Bequite 670watt
            Westerndigital Black 500gb

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

              Originally posted by Deafty View Post
              Thanks,. have seen this one,...

              where's your site and what are doing with your bi amp??
              You've been to it, listed in your first post. The bi-amped version uses an electronic cross over before the amps rather than passive cross overs in the speakers. I'm not an audiophile but I can tell you, the improvement is incredible. This build uses four Leach amps. It will be a couple of weeks before I get time to add the bi-amped version to pi-amp.com.

              What are you looking to build? I noticed that you are interested in "surround sound". A few years ago I realized that two large speakers driven by a good amp was the sound I was missing (lot more simple than messing with small 4+1 speaker cabinets). Just my preference though.
              Last edited by pi-amp; 02-21-2011, 02:46 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                havent tested it yet but ordered them a couple of min ago. for 5.1 sound you'd need 1x2014 and 1x4028 www.prel.de

                rgds
                Alex

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                  I am also looking for such, It is very hard to believ that this is not a popular idea.


                  Several years back 1997 I built a setup with a car amp.

                  I picked up the 12VDC off the PSU then drilled into the mobo @ the audio out jack and soldered in the new wires.

                  It did work great then.

                  I would like an HD amp inside my PC.

                  Anyone pull this off lately thats could share your recipe/work?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                    I am an electrical engineer and I have been planning on designing a PCI card amplifier for myself and hopefully to sell as well. I am wondering what features are most important to most people. I plan to build a simple and cheap two channel stereo version and a higher powered stereo version at least. I am also considering a surround sound version. I am open to input and encouragement if you feel so inclined. I hope to have something ready for sale in a couple months. Thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                      7.1 HD card would be best to be marketable,

                      PCI express, x1 bus slot,

                      or
                      better

                      9 pin ribon wire connector,
                      or if possible multi connection configuration.
                      (maybe able to connect to the IDE bus) for the boards that still have them.

                      Mobo seem to have a shortage of PCI bus slots these days.

                      Make the board mountable to the bottom of the case with two sided tape, and optional mount for those that can drill the bottom. run a ribon wire long enough to mount the controls in a 5 1/4" front bay.

                      include volume control dial, left and right RCA jacks with a rear mount speaker connector.

                      A connection pannel for standered store bought gear to be able to interface the card would truly be and exceptional option.

                      Not sure how long you have been planning this but your time fram to market seem very eager and un realistic.

                      It is not possible to hide the identity of circutry but try to protect you idea at least till it pays for your work.

                      will you out source PCB Mfg and then sent it to a seperate stuffing plant or will you breadboard this yourself and do your own soldering.

                      ?

                      Atmel is good stuff with strong security

                      Also you must consider most folks only have a 430 watt power supply in their box, so you must calculate what should be avalible for your component to consume max.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                        esswok,

                        Thank you for your input, that is exactly the type of information I need.

                        The shorter time frame is for a simple two channel version, the more advanced version will require much more time for sure.

                        I have considered a 1x PCI-E connection as I have experience with FPGAs that have ready IP for PCI-E endpoints, but it seems that many motherboards still don't have PCI-E slots or only one for the video card. This seems to be especially true for ITX boards that fit nicely in small cases for HTPCs. For the advanced surround version I'm leaning to make it fit into a 3.5" hard drive bay, or maybe an option to just bolt it to a random free spot in the case, but airflow is going to be critical.

                        I plan to use the SPDIF output from the motherboard and decode the surround info on the amp, with control coming from an internal USB connection.

                        The amplifiers will be some form of high end class D and will be in the ballpark of 80% efficient overall even including the DC-DC converter losses. Audio power requirements for are not steady, so a 100WRMS amplifier that is 80% efficient would not draw the 125W from the power supply unless it is driven with a waveform generator. Only a few very high end commercial amplifiers can handle that without melting down. The amplifier would have to measure it's power draw and have the ability to self limit the load so the computer doesn't crash, and surely a larger supply would be required.

                        I will design a PCB and have it made as the density requires nearly 100% surface mount parts. I already have a relationship with a company that can do final assembly and ship them to customers.

                        I wasn't planning on putting external controls on a front panel because I wanted to be able to control the amplifier from anywhere in the room with a remote or wireless keyboard/mouse. If both options are desirable enough I could surely add them in, but it would raise the cost.

                        Thank you again for your input!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                          I took a brief look at the FPGA, wow sure is different from when I was in the industry. Ceramic dips with silicon wafers and UV erasers. Looks like the FPGA is simler to a Arduuino Duemilanove 2009 AVR Atmega328--20PU USB Board. Some time ago and went the Cisco network engineer route.

                          anyway if your product will be affordable for anyone you may want to target the music industry to help get established. It would make a recording studio in a pc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                            Hi Buk. Sorry to take so long posting. but here goes.

                            Sounding good,.My preferences that you ask for,.would be fairly normal if this hardware you speak of was readily available in most shops,..

                            As it's not,.I'll just write em:

                            Mounting,installation:
                            * Std 5 1/4" drive bay or PCI express mounted with rear jacks (later sounds good but shielding presumably is a problem here??)
                            Running cables out of the back of the case is important,.so perhaps consider cables from the drive bay location to a "dummy mounted" expansion slot where you can house the speaker wire terminals.
                            Even make use of the motherboard audio headers in a more appropriate manner.

                            Aduio type:

                            * I really would prefer a dolby digital 5.1 std setup. I know this might not be so easy but that is my preference.

                            Shielding:

                            * Quality shielding. I currently have 1 full free stack of 5 drive bays. I will happily fill this up with 1 decent amp! surely there's a way to create a 1 box solution using a double or triple case mounted drive bay system.

                            Looks:

                            * Can't forget the looks,.or it won't sell too good,. Nice touch would be a little LCD screen with track info etc.
                            Could be stupid here and suggest pairing this amp with a full colour touch screen panel (would really make use of some of those HTPC cases!!

                            That's bout it for me here in these early stages of a fantastic product,.I might start getting worried if you're serious about taking this to the Shelves.

                            Cheers,.

                            D.
                            GAEP45 UD3P rev1.1
                            Intel E8400 @4.2Ghz
                            Corsair Cl4 DDr2 800
                            Ati 4890
                            Bequite 670watt
                            Westerndigital Black 500gb

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: HTPC built in Amplifier Passive speaker PCI card or drive tray

                              1st saw this on eBay and then stumbled across this thread and immediately registered just to post my thoughts
                              MUSE PC21 T-AMP AMPLIFIER 2*25W TA2021 For Desktop PC | eBay
                              Decided to take a screenshot and post pic just in case item poofs from site hehe

                              Click image for larger version

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                              I think given the size limitations of such a device

                              1. Perhaps look to put out quality clean Class T power over say 100w/chn into 8 ohms just on 2 channels? (could play Floor standers loud)
                              2. Audio signal in via SPDIF out header on mobo to amp and there is a high end Wolfston DAC in the amp perhaps?
                              3. Two unit: main is amp + dac with speaker out (prolly spring clip style) then control unit fits in a 3.5" bay and maybe has 2 x headphone jacks (3.5mm and 6.3mm) and has a headphone amplifier section. There are control knobs for bass, treble and volume? Control unit draws both data and power from main unit and possibility of a simple remote maybe :P
                              4. Maybe form factor/shape of main unit could be styled like a high end GPU and even have a 6pin PCIe to draw power from PC PSU
                              5. Main unit would have @ rear
                              a. L + R speaker out
                              b. Pre out for sub woofer
                              5. Maybe it merely needs to be able to be secured to the rear of PC case via PCI expansion slot and not actually need a PCI/PCIe interface to rest on so as long as case has PCI expansions slot it's all good hehe
                              6. So in summary its a PC version of the Topping TP-30 but with beefier power output and superior DAC/Headphone amp perhaps?
                              I realize some of my ideas may seem far fetched or some concepts even wrong but i was extremely interested if something like this is available with a lot more beef/features than the MUSE PC21
                              Last edited by hodak; 08-26-2011, 05:58 AM.

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