Entertainment center set up
Build a big loud F'n stereo / guitar playing monster
For around 500 bucks
After you read this, your head is going to explode with the possiblities of reworking your entertainment environment into something new that will melt your face off.
Parts you will need
1. PA 2. Big Speakers 3. Your Home Computer 4. TV / DVD / Video Games 5. Guitar 6. Amplifier Simulator 7. Midi Controler 8. Phonograph 9. Microphones (not required) 10. LOTS of wires and power strips
First I suggest going on Ebay and searching "powered mixer". The powered mixer is going to be the heart of your system. A lot of guitar plyers think what do I need a PA for, I play guitar, I don't sing? EVERYONE should own their own PA. You can plug 100 things into it no matter how many channels it has, just make sure if you find one that it has RCA inputs on it. You can find old beat up ones for around 30 bucks sometimes.
Next, you run speaker wire out of the powered mixer into your speaker cabinets. Generally, a good rule of thumb is the bigger the speaker the more universal applications you can use it with if you have an EQ. Example: if you are watching a movie you would crank up the bass and 17" speakers could pound it out better. If you are playing guitar thru it using an amp simulator, you can turn up the mids on that to counteract the bassyness of the larger speaker. You can get two cabinets and set them up on opposite ends of the room for a more submersive environment or you can just buy one speaker if you are setting this up in a small room where it won't matter as much.
- note* you know that giant magnet on the back of your guitar amp? well PA speakers have the same thing. You don't want to go setting them to close to your tv, or your football game is going to look like a magic acid trip kids program from the 70's. PA cabs and viewing monitors don't mix.
The next most important part of your system- next to the powered mixer- is your computer. I recommend using your own home PC for this. Depending on what kind of audio INPUTS your computer has, you need to get yourself a little 2 channel RCA mixer for all of your entertainment gadgets to plug into. Or you could go the classy route and get your self a full blown audio interface for your computer, sound card with multiple I/O's and the works. For what we are working with all you need is a device that you can plug R/L audio jacks into and a male/male headphone lead into the AUX jack on the back of your computer. Keep note that this will work for digital devices only like TV/DVD/Video Games. If you want to hook up a turntable, you will need a preamp for the signal or it won't make any noise. If you already own a record player you already know this though. If you don't own records by now, don't bother with them, old people like me listen to them make up wacky excuses like "analogue warmth"....don't bother.
So you go to Radio Shack or wherever and you buy a bunch of RCA cables. The quality DOES NOT matter with the system we are building. get the cheapest ones you can find. We are not building a HIFI. we are building a big loud F'n stereo/guitar playing monster. So get a big wad of these cables and duck tape little labels around the end the componets you are going to plug into the computer. then run all your audio cables to the proper places. The path that worked best for me was Video Games > DVD > into TV > TV out to computer. This way you can still play your XBOX with sound coming out the TV if you don't want to mess with getting your lazy ass up to turn on the PA across the room. Conversely if you just run the XBOX audio line direct into your computer you can use the tv speakers if you want to.
You know that collection of 10000000 stolen mp3s you got? And how it sucks coming out of your little stupid computer speakers? Throw those speakers out, you will never need them again. Your collection of mp3s will become this giant fire breathing monster of rock 'n roll coming out of your used, 50 dollar 500watt PA amp. After you rip out the wire that went to those little speakers, plug in another wire that you were supposed to buy at radio shack. Its got a male headphone jack on one end that goes into the computer, and red and white RCA tips at the other end. plug these into the RCA INPUTS on your powered mixer. Once this is done, you can play music out of your computer super loud, you can watch DVDs super loud, you can watch Buffalo Sabres games super loud, you can play Legend of Zelda III: A Link To The Past super loud, you can crank up a NASCAR race on tv- go turn on your gas stove in the kitchen and pretend you can actually SMELL the exhaust at the track. It's all up to you at this point.
Ok so you got to this website because you probably play guitar. Well you can play that thru this rig too. AND IT SOUNDS AWESOME. All you have to buy is a POD or a VAMP, or some sort of other multi amplifer simulator with (and here's the cool part) stereo 1/4 outputs on it. Alot of PA systems and powered mixers have stereo output to thier own speakers, depending on how fancy of a one you scum off some kid on ebay. plug the L output on your POD into channel #1 on your PA. plug the R into channel #2 on your PA, mess with the EQ a bit and you can have real stereo effects coming out of two speaker enclosures on opposite sides of the room. Flange your ass off! go nuts! and.....it sounds 200x better than that Crate / Peavey POS practice amp you got. trust me.
Put It All Together
After it's set up, you can play along on guitar with your massive 300 song library of Dio songs. If you plug a MIDI controller into your computer, you can play along with your massive 300 song library of Elton John. Whatever floats your boat. Chances are you already have all this crap laying around your house anyways. All you need is the PA to plug everything into to turn your room into a movie theater/practice space/dance hall/racecar track/lazertag fun zone.