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Help with 2.1 + headphones set up.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So after almost 6 years since my last build I've finally built a desktop pc for myself again, the only relevant part of this build would probably be the motherboard which is an Asrock z77 pro4-m which has a Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec.

 

I did a lot of reading here and hardforum and at the end decided to get a pair of Behringer MS40s since it would be easy to hook these up to my motherboard (optical) and would not (urgently) need a better soundcard/dac. I also have a set Sennheiser HD 558. There was no room left in my budget for any better sound equipment at the time, but now there's room for improvement and the first thing that came to mind was getting a soundcard and a subwoofer (I definitely enjoy a nice bass and the MS40 dont provide this but I knew this would be the case). 

 

As for the soundcard I had my mind set on a X-FI Titanium HD after reading its sound quality was almost as good as the Xonar Essence STX for music but better suited for gaming. I am still open to suggestions though, I do a good bit of gaming, music listening and movie watching on the computer, all equally as much.  

 

Then the subwoofer, this is when things got complicated, I cant find a way to connect most subwoofers I've been looking at (for example cambridge audio s90) with the MS40s. Trying to find a solution to this I read about the possibility of using a preamp, but the only one mentioned was the parasound 2100 and thats a lot pricier than I am willing to spend. Are there any cheap similar options? I couldn't find any.

 

I considered getting a receiver and using that as a preamp, before moving abroad I had an old denon receiver paired with 2 JBL E20 and a Yamaha sub (dont remember the details of these) and I quite liked it. I was connecting the computer from the motherboards optical output into the receivers optical in. There's a few problems I can think of with this set-up:

 

- Volume control could be a mess (volume knobs in the MS40s, in the subwoofer, in the computer AND in the receiver)

- Sound quality? How do low-end receivers DACs compare to a soundcard like the X-Fi Titanium HD or Xonar Essence STX? Something like an Onkyo TX-SR307S, Pioneer VSX-521-K, Denon AVR-1912. And how well will these receivers power my HD 558s?

- I feel using active monitors with these receivers that have amps makes no sense, also not sure about how to connect it other than some of the inputs that also have RCA outputs. Im guessing it would be possible though.

 

I might be missing the simplest option that would be using 2 RCA splitters at the RCA outputs from the Titanium HD and then sending each to the S90 (or similar subwoofer) and the MS40s. Is this the best option?

 

Thanks for the help guys and excuse my English. 


Edited by Pepiz - 6/4/12 at 10:13pm
post #2 of 9

I would say to just get the CL Titanium HD, it should have a better DAC then those MS40s.

So you would run RCAs from the Titanium HD to the RCA inputs on the MS40s.

The Titanium HD should also drive/power the HD558s better then your motherboard did.

 

Computer audio was not really designed to work with separate speakers and a separate sub-woofers.

 

Or look on craigslist or eBay for a used Yamaha receiver with 2.1 speaker setup.

Yamahas are one of the few A/V receivers that offer surround sound for headphones.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thats what I was inclining towards, I know the soundcard is not meant for using with separate speakers and subwoofer but using would there be any problems using a RCA splitter in this set-up?

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepiz View Post

 but using would there be any problems using a RCA splitter in this set-up?

Something I've never tried or thought about.

post #5 of 9

Don't know if this will help you or not, but here's what I did on my PC.

 

FiiO E7 and E9 combo ($180 for both).

 

USB from my PC to the FiiO gear.  The E7 is an outboard DAC, and the E9 is a headphone amp.

 

The E9 has RCA outs.  I used one of these cables to interface with the 3.5mm male wire on my 2.1 speaker system-

 

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5612&seq=1&format=2 

 

When I want headphones, I plug straight into the E9 and enjoy.  When nobody is home and I want to get loud, I use the 2.1s.  Both options sound great.   

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penarin View Post

Don't know if this will help you or not, but here's what I did on my PC.

 

FiiO E7 and E9 combo ($180 for both).

 

USB from my PC to the FiiO gear.  The E7 is an outboard DAC, and the E9 is a headphone amp.

 

The E9 has RCA outs.  I used one of these cables to interface with the 3.5mm male wire on my 2.1 speaker system-

 

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5612&seq=1&format=2 

 

When I want headphones, I plug straight into the E9 and enjoy.  When nobody is home and I want to get loud, I use the 2.1s.  Both options sound great.   

 

But I still have the problem of connecting the subwoofer and behringer MS40s together. The Titanium HD can give me DAC and amplification for the HD 558s like the E7 & E9 combo.

 

After some more research I'm leaning towards a Yamaha RX-V371 which has RCA pre outs. Am I right in thinking that this receiver will decode the digital signal taken in through optical and output it to these RCA pre outs? If so, how does the quality of this compare to the quality of the DAC in a Titanium HD?

 

Also, will this receiver power the HD 558s appropriately?

 

I am also assuming that the volume knob on the receiver works through the preout so that I can set the volume in the MS40s and subwoofer together and then just control through the receiver. If all of this works it would be the ideal set-up because I can also manage video and audio from other sources without any cable switching.

 

Anyone with a RX-V371 that can shed some light on this?

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepiz View Post
But I still have the problem of connecting the subwoofer and behringer MS40s together. The Titanium HD can give me DAC and amplification for the HD 558s like the E7 & E9 combo.

After some more research I'm leaning towards a Yamaha RX-V371 which has RCA pre outs. Am I right in thinking that this receiver will decode the digital signal taken in through optical and output it to these RCA pre outs? If so, how does the quality of this compare to the quality of the DAC in a Titanium HD?

Also, will this receiver power the HD 558s appropriately?

I am also assuming that the volume knob on the receiver works through the preout so that I can set the volume in the MS40s and subwoofer together and then just control through the receiver. If all of this works it would be the ideal set-up because I can also manage video and audio from other sources without any cable switching.

Anyone with a RX-V371 that can shed some light on this?

The Titanium HD comes with a better DAC then the Yamaha RX-V371.

The Yamaha receiver will work with headphones up to 450-Ohm (Per Yamaha tech support), so no problem with HD558 (50-Ohm).

post #8 of 9

Im currently running the X-FI Titanium Hd sound card with Logitech z300s 2.1 speakers, and i have to say it rocks, movies sound pretty dam good, i have pluged in headphones directly into the sound card and it drives them pretty well.

post #9 of 9

I've a Titanium HD, running to a Fiio E9 (no e7 as not needed), my E9's feeding into 2 yamaha hs80m speakers (great sound!), and the headphone out on the E9 is feeding my Senn 650's.  Running Jriver media centre, using Asio (as recommended for Creative cards), it's a pretty good sound setup.  I owned the Z5500 speakers and now i've stepped up to monitors the difference is breathtaking at times, at the time with the Logitech z5500 i really though i had the cream of the crop computer speakers. 
 

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