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Audio for dummies

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've been noticing that my current setup (laptop and JVC HA-NC100s) are not quite up to snuff and aren't very satisfying when I want to listen to music. While I do not have hundreds of dollars to throw away on headphones at the moment, I do have some questions that, hopefully, someone more knowledgeable will be able to answer for me given my specific monetary constraints.

 

A little about my equipment at the moment.

I am currently building my first computer in over a decade. My new build does not include a sound card, and the motherboard will either have the Realtek ALC892 or 898. I also came into a Sony STR-DE697 Receiver and a set of speakers (not sure about the brand but they aren't particularly good). I also purchased a Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer recently. I am also looking to purchase a pair each of the Superlux HD 681 Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones and Panasonic RP-HTF600-S Stereo Headphones.

 

Now given my current equipment listing, I'm wondering,

a) Should I purchase a dedicated sound card, like the ASUS Xonar DG/DGX/DS? If so, can you explain to me which one and why?

 

b) If I do not need a dedicated sound card, why do I not need one?

 

c) In the next 6 months or so, I'll be buying new speakers (not sure what spec, but looking to spend around $200). Keeping that in mind, what is the best way to route my computer audio to my receiver? (no HDMI on receiver)

 

d) The reason I'm looking for 2 sets of headphones is that I'll be listening to Indian classical music (vocal intense) and some rock/heavy metal etc. I've heard that an pair of open headphones will be better for vocal based music, and closed for the latter. Is that true? Will I be better served by buying just one of the above headphones? Or should I abandon both (around $56) and consider buying 1 that will satisfy both needs?

 

e) This one is purely for informational purposes only, but what level of sound quality difference will I see if I plug one of those headphones into my receiver vs the Xonar? I apologize if this question is redundant based on answers to the above questions.

 

Thank you everyone, for taking the time to read my verbose and painfully long post, and a very grateful thank you in advance to everyone that tries to point me in the right direction.
TheDoormat

post #2 of 3
Since you already have the receiver, I'd suggest starting with an optical cable to connect your computer audio to your receiver (you will need it anyway), and then try your headphones and see what you think. Could be that receiver will have decent headphone output (I don't know).
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Since you already have the receiver, I'd suggest starting with an optical cable to connect your computer audio to your receiver (you will need it anyway), and then try your headphones and see what you think. Could be that receiver will have decent headphone output (I don't know).

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions. So, if I understand you correctly, if I use an optical cable, I can do without a sound card (assuming receiver quality> sound card quality). Is that correct?

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