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Noob compy question

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

As you could probably gather from the title, I'm not big on computer audio. I was thinking tho, since a lot of my listening is done through my audio, how would I upgrade it? I assume a soundcard, and it then has a built in amp because of it's nature?

 

If I did buy a better sound card (mine is the factory one, which I assume is not audiophile quality), how would I go about installing it? Do I need a proffesional?

 

Also, does it have an amp built in?

 

 

This is a desktop btw. If you need any specs from me I could post them (I just have no idea what to post)

 

I also probably should've posted my setup. Right now it's just ATH M50s (so would that even help?) and my hypothetical budget is US$250


Edited by Rich77 - 10/22/10 at 10:54pm
post #2 of 12

The best way to upgrade audio coming from your computer depend on your budget.

If you do decide to get a sound card, then it's very easy to install, just take the old one out of its socket and put the new one in.
I'm not sure since i've never looked into soundcards, but I think they all have amps.
If you want audiophile quality music, however, then I would strongly advise you to get a DAC (digital-to-analog-converter).
I'm a noob myself and I'm not quiet sure how dacs work, I think it involves bypassing the internal soundcard. So think of it as a external soundcard.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well from what I understand DACs just convert the audio signal from Digital to Analog (Converter, DAC) but I was wondering how I went about doing this.

 

I suppose I should've put a budget in, so that'll be....US$250.

post #4 of 12

I'm not experienced nor well read, so I probably can't advise you on that matter.
However, what I can do is to tell you is what I have. Minus the headphones, adds up to just about 200.
What I would do with the extra 50 dollars is to switch the UCA202 with a M-audio transit. or, if another 50 can be squeezed out, then the UCA202 can be switched with a hiFace.
Again, I have absolutely no experience in this matter, this is the best I can do to help.
You should probably consult with other people.

Edit: in the main time, you could probably get your softwares sorted out.
Get neither Foobar2000 or Winamp, Then get neither Asio or Wasapi output device,
and finally, if you have the extreme patience needed (which i do not), eq your headphones


Edited by TSTY - 10/22/10 at 11:40pm
post #5 of 12


Installing a sound card should not require a professional, though if you are unfamiliar with opening up your computer, it can't hurt to get help from someone a bit more experienced.  If you have any friends who know about computers, I would suggest asking one for some help if you are unsure.  The first thing you probably want to know is whether the "factory one" you refer to is a sound chip on the motherboard, or a separate discreet card.  If it is on-board sound, then you could directly install the new card.  If there is already a discreet card, you would probably want to remove that card before installing the new one.

 

In either case, you will have to install driver software after installing the hardware.  Drivers will probably be included on a CD-ROM accompanying the product, though they can generally also be found online.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich7View Post

If I did buy a better sound card (mine is the factory one, which I assume is not audiophile quality), how would I go about installing it? Do I need a proffesional?  

post #6 of 12

Uninstall onboard audio drivers

Disable onboard audio in BIOS

Put new card in

Install new drivers

Restart

Adjust settings

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by taiyoyuden View Post

Uninstall onboard audio drivers

Disable onboard audio in BIOS

Put new card in

Install new drivers

Restart

Adjust settings

 

No reason to uninstall onboard drivers or turn them off in bios, more than one audio device can co-exsist on the same machine.  Just need to install the hardware/drivers and set it as the new default device in the control panel.

 

@OP

 

Before you do anything like buy a sound card make sure your machine is capable of supporting it.  If its one of those OEM pre-builts they may not have a slot open to put a card in, also you need to know what kind of slot it is.  It used to only be PCI but now there are also PCI-E slots and they are totally different.

 

Wikipedia or google to reference what they look like and how to identify them.

 

Honestly your best bet if you want sound quality and ease of use is to just get an external USB DAC/AMP.  You will have nothing more to do than plug it into a USB port and them plug your headphones into it (and change the DAC to the default device in the control panel)

 

This way you know you get quality sound, no need to open the computer, no room for error.
 

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ViciousXUSMC View Post

 

Honestly your best bet if you want sound quality and ease of use is to just get an external USB DAC/AMP.  You will have nothing more to do than plug it into a USB port and them plug your headphones into it (and change the DAC to the default device in the control panel)

 

This way you know you get quality sound, no need to open the computer, no room for error.
 


that's true. however, the usb--dac, unless some sort of interface is used, will cause jitter, which is terrible. personally, if I had to choose between a $250 sound-card and a $250 dac I'll take the sound-card - just to avoid the usb - hands down.

post #9 of 12

they can, but don't always. i just installed an x-fi elite pro in my computer and it was flipping out randomly when i was playing games, i went into the device manager (no need to do it in bios) and disabled the onboard sound card and it hasn't given me any issues since. although on my previous computer with an audigy 2 in it i never needed to do that *shrug*
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViciousXUSMC View Post

No reason to uninstall onboard drivers or turn them off in bios, more than one audio device can co-exsist on the same machine.  Just need to install the hardware/drivers and set it as the new default device in the control panel.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ViciousXUSMC View Post
Honestly your best bet if you want sound quality and ease of use is to just get an external USB DAC/AMP.  You will have nothing more to do than plug it into a USB port and them plug your headphones into it (and change the DAC to the default device in the control panel)

 

This way you know you get quality sound, no need to open the computer, no room for error.
 

Really, it's that easy?

 

EDIT: I looked into the price abit, I could easily get it. Any comments about it's price/quality ratio, and if it would help my M50s any more?

 

That's pretty sick tho, I didn't think something so simple could work well. While I'm at it, could you explain in a nutshell why the USB put's out better sound than the jack? I'd love that, now that I think about it, because I hate crawling in the back of my compy to reach the 'good' jack, (the other picks up intereference from the compy, just sounds fuzzy)
 


Edited by Rich77 - 10/26/10 at 6:18pm
post #11 of 12

What's a compy?

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Computer

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