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HELP NEEDED FOR BEGINNER

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone, im very new to this game and would like some good advise. As a graphic designer, i am pulled away from my passion of music, i am thinking of going in the direction of music production. I love all kinds of genres but my main passion is dubstep/electro/complextro. I have lots of fun playing around with Reason 5 and recently with Ableton live 8. I would like to persue this passion by going to study this. I would like to know where would i start, seeing that i will have always loved and only trust my Windows based applications on my pc. Any information would be appreciated concerning, e.g. sound card, headphone dac/amp, which headphones possibly 100-150 price range, etc.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 27

Heya,

 

For production with headphones, keep it neutral so that when it translates to audio on speakers, it won't sound anemic. People using bassy headphones to produce music will have it sounding less bassy on speakers for example. So this is why you want flat response headphones for production. That said, you don't need fancy equipment for what you're doing. You can get into mix boards and stuff later, but that's hardware stuff. For now you're using software for all your stuff in Windows. That's fine. All you need to continue is a good flat response headphone and something to drive it, which does not mean you have to spend very much.

 

I would suggest Brainwavz HM5 (MP4nation.net has it on sale for $99 shipped with a free stand) and a Fiio E10 DAC/AMP ($65) or Asus Xonar DG ($30) sound card to get you started on simply having a good basic audio setup to work with. Good flat response, good extension, revealing, and isolating so you can focus on what you hear in the music (and not your environment). You don't really need a separate DAC/AMP or new soundcard (note, you would only use one or the other, not both) but I generally recommend it to get off the internal workings of laptop/computer built-in solutions (usually realtek stuff). They're ok, but it's nice to be able to separate your source from the computer itself and keep it clean, quiet and free of mechanical/electricity noise/interference/jitter, etc, from the moving parts of a computer that conduct over the touching metal bits. Alternative headphones: Shure SRH840, KRK KNS 8400, AKG K271 MKII.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

Wow thanks MalVeaux, i did not expect such a fast response and quite enlightening aswell. I was leaning towards a soundcard the Asus Xonar Essence STX, my question is would this make my experience better over the DG you have suggested and what is the difference. What about monitor speakers, acoustic creating materials, etc. Would it be better or some what the same if i got a cheaper say 5.1/7.1 surround sound solution.

post #4 of 27

I view 5.1/7.1 more as a problem than a solution. Its great for those who like a diffuse sound picture with random sounds coming from behind. If what you want is realistic sound it is a lot easier and cheaper to achieve with 2 channels.
 

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks hooster, but what if i would get something like the Logitech Z623 THX-Certified 2.1 Speaker System and combine with Asus Xonar Essence STX? How would this affect me creating music in such a fashion rather than the more expensive monitors/headphones. Still not quite sure about which headphones to geton a some what tight budget. I really want a great and smooth experience.

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

Sorry that i double reply but i was looking into the Sony MDR-V6 pairing with the Fiio E10 DAC/AMP and the E11 version, seem the later is more stable cause peoples reviews have picked up that the E10 version the input headphone jack gives a noisy cranky scratchy sounds and there is only ONE setting that works is 16bit 44100Hz on windows 7 plus it gives blue screens. Could you guys please shed some light on this subject aswell to my previous reply. thanks

post #7 of 27

Heya,

 

You will not be doing anything different with the STX than you will be doing with the DG. You're not mixing multi-channel, you're mixing stereo. And even then, even if you are mixing multi-channel, the STX isn't going to give you any advantage in the creation process, it simply has playback for more channels. You're paying a big price on the STX for it's onboard amplifier and extra bells & whistles. I would not bother unless you need the amplifier. Which you do not. I'd stick to something simple. I wouldn't even get a sound card frankly. I would get an external AMP/DAC.


Very best,

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

You will not be doing anything different with the STX than you will be doing with the DG. You're not mixing multi-channel, you're mixing stereo. And even then, even if you are mixing multi-channel, the STX isn't going to give you any advantage in the creation process, it simply has playback for more channels. You're paying a big price on the STX for it's onboard amplifier and extra bells & whistles. I would not bother unless you need the amplifier. Which you do not. I'd stick to something simple. I wouldn't even get a sound card frankly. I would get an external AMP/DAC.


Very best,

Thanks MalVeaux, please bare with me you can see im clearly new to this. Im abit clued up now, ok so im looking at the Sony MDR-V6 pairing with the Fiio E10/11 DAC/AMP because they are within my budget of about 150-200 max. Do you think this would be a wise desicion.

post #9 of 27

It is actually the Xonar DG that supports multichannel (5.1), the STX is stereo only. It has a better DAC (but I would not bet too much on being able to tell them apart), a better ADC for recording (assuming that you have something high quality to record in the first place), a better headphone amplifier for headphones that need either much voltage or current, and EMI shielding for the playback related analog parts. It might not be worth the extra price if you take it from the headphone budget, however.

post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AK86 View Post

Thanks MalVeaux, please bare with me you can see im clearly new to this. Im abit clued up now, ok so im looking at the Sony MDR-V6 pairing with the Fiio E10/11 DAC/AMP because they are within my budget of about 150-200 max. Do you think this would be a wise desicion.

 

Heya,

 

The V6 with a Fiio E10 is a good plan for anything audio related. It's an excellent start for mixing and casual listening. It's inexpensive and effective. The good thing is that it will work on any machine too, not just a machine that takes 'soundcards' so if you're using a laptop it will still function where a soundcard cannot be installed into a laptop. It will also work on mac if you ever switched up there. The xonar DG is a great little sound card and very inexpensive, but for $30 more, you get the E10 which gives you portability, flexibility and a little more option for headphones in general.

 

If you don't go with the V6, I would say take a look at the Brainwavz HM5 (MP4nation.net) too. I like it a lot more than the V6. It's still good for mixing and great for casual listening. It's a bigger, bulkier headphone, but it also has deeper cups, bigger pads and a nicer sound stage for casual listening. For just mixing, the V6 is great though.

 

Very best,

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Heya,

 

The V6 with a Fiio E10 is a good plan for anything audio related. It's an excellent start for mixing and casual listening. It's inexpensive and effective. The good thing is that it will work on any machine too, not just a machine that takes 'soundcards' so if you're using a laptop it will still function where a soundcard cannot be installed into a laptop. It will also work on mac if you ever switched up there. The xonar DG is a great little sound card and very inexpensive, but for $30 more, you get the E10 which gives you portability, flexibility and a little more option for headphones in general.

 

If you don't go with the V6, I would say take a look at the Brainwavz HM5 (MP4nation.net) too. I like it a lot more than the V6. It's still good for mixing and great for casual listening. It's a bigger, bulkier headphone, but it also has deeper cups, bigger pads and a nicer sound stage for casual listening. For just mixing, the V6 is great though.

 

Very best,

Hey thanks, i will checkout the brainwavz. Just a little light on the sound card if i was going in that direction, the DG that you have mentioned, does it have good EMI shielding on it because i use my pc for gaming aswell and would not want any interference with my graphics card or other components.

post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AK86 View Post

Hey thanks, i will checkout the brainwavz. Just a little light on the sound card if i was going in that direction, the DG that you have mentioned, does it have good EMI shielding on it because i use my pc for gaming aswell and would not want any interference with my graphics card or other components.

 

Heya,


Sound cards in general that are discreet have plenty of design into them to keep moving parts of hardware in a PC from turning into noise on the audio output. It's no different adding a sound card to your computer than the bits that are already on the motherboard that perform audio function. The discreet ones on a card are simply better and well, discreet. Common sense here.

 

Very best,

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AK86 View Post

Thanks hooster, but what if i would get something like the Logitech Z623 THX-Certified 2.1 Speaker System and combine with Asus Xonar Essence STX? How would this affect me creating music in such a fashion rather than the more expensive monitors/headphones. Still not quite sure about which headphones to geton a some what tight budget. I really want a great and smooth experience.

 

Sorry I can't help there. I would really struggle to work within that budget. May I suggest you get the best phones you possibly can and save up for amps and dacs later.

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooster View Post

 

Sorry I can't help there. I would really struggle to work within that budget. May I suggest you get the best phones you possibly can and save up for amps and dacs later.

Yea i think your right Hooster, but i was suggested to look at so many headphones that i cant quite narrow it down. From AKG, Beyerdynamic, KRK, sennheiser etc. im just looking for good headphones with a flat response that will isolate sound very well and reasonably comfy over the ears under 150 seeing that im still a beginner. Also i have seen that some headphones comes with different ohms ratings of the same model, would this also play a factor say if i was to first purchase good headphones and later a good dac/amp?


Edited by AK86 - 9/20/12 at 12:16am
post #15 of 27

If you plan to do anything with vocals or midi down the line I would advise skipping the sound card upgrade and going with an interface (Focusrite is my favorite) which rolls the DAC/ADC, preamps, headphone amp, XLR, midi, etc into one box. A good MIDI controller is a Godsend for composing electronica and breaking away from the DAWs "piano roll".

 

If you get a sound card then decide you want to plug external sources into your DAW then you either end up buying an interface (which completely replaces the sound card) or use the sound card as a makeshift data converter for a dedicated pre-amp (this route gets expensive fast).

 

I've been building my home studio for a while and looking back it would have been way cheaper to get a one-time permanent solution instead of how I did it in reality (gradually scaled up, leaving a pile of obsolete sound cards, cables and software behind).


Edited by machoboy - 9/20/12 at 12:33am
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