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Dolby Digital and DTS

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I'm looking for a 5.1 sound system and there is sooo much to choose from. I've found 4 I really like, but I have a few question to ask before I make the decision.

1. I hear all this stuff about Dolby Digital and DTS hardware decoding built in. All the expensive sets seem to have this. The thing is I already have this stuff in my computer (It comes with Realtech HD audio Manager) So does my sound system have to have it, or am I ok as long as I have the software?

2. Whats the deal with this THX stuff. I know what THX is. It means the sound system is capably of theater like sound or something like that. The thing I want to know is if it's worth it. I sit 2 ft from my front speakers, 2ft from my back speakers, and 1 1/2 ft from my sub-woofer. Is THX worth it for me?

3. Which is better. A down-firing sub, or a forward firing sub?

4. How can I tell if it's a GOOD sub-woofer?

In case you're wondering here are the systems I'm looking at:

-Logitech Z680 5.1 Computer Speakers

-Logitech X-530 5.1 Computer Speakers

-Logitech Z506 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers

-Logitech G51 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

Thanks for the help!
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    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

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1. The speakers don't care about that.
2. THX is a certification saying the system meets certain requirements. Speaker makers have to pay THX for testing and certification. Not being THX certified does not mean less quality or poor sound.
3. To many variables for a general answer. You would have to listen to specific models to determine which you like best. Then sadly, once you got it home it may sound different. But my way of thinking is front (or rear) firing is better than downward firing because the floor materials have less of an impact.
4. Listen to it.

Understand "good" surround sound systems for home theater environments are very expensive with a single speaker easily costing a $1000 or more - and that does not include the electronics (amplifiers) to drive it. You are buying an entire 5.1 system with 6 amplifier stages built in for less than $250.
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