Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Overwhelmed! Want to Overhaul My Computer Audio
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Overwhelmed! Want to Overhaul My Computer Audio

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hello, fellow Head-Fi'ers.  As you can tell, I'm pretty new here, and TBH, my hi-fi fu is not adequete to handle something like this, so I wish to ask for your help.

 

Initially, my desire was to originally buy only a new 2.1 system for my computer, as my pair of JBL Creature II's are starting to show signs of age, and I knew they weren't that good to begin with.  The option I decided on then was a Klipsch ProMedia 2.1, since they sound godly (I've actually sampled using my iPod [straight; no amp/DAC, maybe somethng to address later]) and the reviews have been awesome for years.

 

However, when I joined here (initially for headphone recs), I knew I was starting to see problems.  As some of you are aware, there have been manufacture quality issues with the product, and while I can't get more specific about it, I was scared off.

 

Now, I haven't a clue what to get, as now, I was offered this advice here:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

 

I say budget for a sound card or find an existing digital output AND input on your computer and do an audio loopback and process your audio using Cantabile Lite to correct speaker response and compensate for room modes and such. Here's my computer audio controls (using maybe $100 worth of hardware in speakers, "amp" and subwoofer):

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

 

 

 

Right now, my sound is going through the SupremeFX X-Fi card that came with my ASUS Rampage II Extreme.  So now, I come asking for additional input on this issue.

 

What 2.1 (or 2.0 + sub) setups would you recommend?  Should I think about getting an actual sound card?  An amp and/or DAC?  Do you agree with the advice above?

 

Any help would be appreciated, as long as we keep most of the hi-fi jargon out if it remains unexplained.

 

Per Laborem ad Astra,

JbstormburstADV

post #2 of 30
How much do you have to spend? redface.gif

And regarding the ProMedia - I'd agree on steering clear due to the concerns over sudden-death. frown.gif
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 

I don't have a definite budget yet, but I know the most I'd be willing to spend w/o a sound card is ~$300 ATM, although I'm willing to adjust a bit more up if need be.

post #4 of 30

If you want to do what I suggested, all you need to add to your purchase is a sound card capable of both digital output and input.

 

A good sound card should be fine outputting directly to your 2.1 system.

 

So your checklist would just be

1. Sound card with digital intput and output--but will connect to (2) using conventional analog output.  The digital I/O will be used for loopback audio processing.

 

2.

(i) 2.1 active system or

(ii) 2.0 + sub active system or

(iii) stereo amp, a pair of passive bookshelf speakers, and active sub.

 

(1) can connect directly to (2).  If you go the passive (iii) route make sure to get an integrated amp (i.e. one that has a volume knob).

Like I said they will be connected using analog line out, so no need to look for separate DACs or 2.1 systems or stereo amps with digital input (although if you end up with a digital output to spare, ie one already integrated to your motherboard, it would be possible to connect with (2) digitally as well.

post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 

Well yeah, but I know next to nothing when it comes to gear, so I figured bring it over here to see what the established speaker-fi experts say of this.  Also, is there a way to tell if a S/PDIF is line in or line out, for either the TOSLINK or the coax?

post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

If you want to do what I suggested, all you need to add to your purchase is a sound card capable of both digital output and input.

A good sound card should be fine outputting directly to your 2.1 system.

So your checklist would just be
1. Sound card with digital intput and output--but will connect to (2) using conventional analog output.  The digital I/O will be used for loopback audio processing.

2.
(i) 2.1 active system or
(ii) 2.0 + sub active system or
(iii) stereo amp, a pair of passive bookshelf speakers, and active sub.

(1) can connect directly to (2).  If you go the passive (iii) route make sure to get an integrated amp (i.e. one that has a volume knob).
Like I said they will be connected using analog line out, so no need to look for separate DACs or 2.1 systems or stereo amps with digital input (although if you end up with a digital output to spare, ie one already integrated to your motherboard, it would be possible to connect with (2) digitally as well.
OP, do it right the first time and get an active system for your desktop setup. A great start for $300 will be 5-inch Powered Studio Monitor Speakers (pair) for $165, and the HRT Music Streamer II either used or new, low as $130. Outstanding deal for $300. You can always hook up a sub later on. You'll also need some RCA to TRS cables to hook up the speakers to the DAC, cost less than $10.
Edited by brunk - 3/7/13 at 1:07pm
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JbstormburstADV View Post

I don't have a definite budget yet, but I know the most I'd be willing to spend w/o a sound card is ~$300 ATM, although I'm willing to adjust a bit more up if need be.

Need based on what? There are definitely SQ performance gains going up in price some from there. Once you get up a little higher in price, I personally think the benefits are worth it. YMMV

If you want some good powered speakers, I'd suggest the Emotiva Airmotiv. Then decide if you want to add a sub later on.

Or, I run passive speakers, the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, with a separate receiver powering them. Passive speakers can be a great option, too, depending on what your goals are.
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post


OP, do it right the first time and get an active system for your desktop setup. A great start for $300 will be 5-inch Powered Studio Monitor Speakers (pair) for $165, and the HRT Music Streamer II either used or new, low as $130. Outstanding deal for $300. You can always hook up a sub later on. You'll also need some RCA to TRS cables to hook up the speakers to the DAC, cost less than $10.

 

If I'm willing to spend the money for the HRT MS II, shouldn't I just move parallel to the FiiO E17, or is there a reason for it involving the sound signature?  Also, where can I find some detailed reviews on those Monoprice speakers (or even better, comparison reviews), since I checked and Head-Fi doesn't list them.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Need based on what? There are definitely SQ performance gains going up in price some from there. Once you get up a little higher in price, I personally think the benefits are worth it. YMMV

If you want some good powered speakers, I'd suggest the Emotiva Airmotiv. Then decide if you want to add a sub later on.

Or, I run passive speakers, the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, with a separate receiver powering them. Passive speakers can be a great option, too, depending on what your goals are.

 

...Yeah, Emotiva is WAY out of my price range right now.  Maybe something ~ $150 if we're talking just speakers?

post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 

Well, after a day, I know the HRT Music Stream II is out, because I saw a comparative review and the reviewer said that the HRT was cold.  No thank you.

 

The other interesting bit is that one of my friends is willing to sell a pair of KR RP6 G2s with broken tweeters for $150, and I know that I can get replacements for ~$14 each (beofre you ask, he likely does know it's a bit lopsided, but considering he a) bought an M-Audio BX8 D2 to replace them, and b) can afford to buy from both McIntosh Audio and Sonus Faber, I'm pretty sure it's pocket change).  The thing is, I have nothing to solder with and know even less about it, and I don't know if I should buy new now or buy used, refurbish, make a profit, and then buy new.  Experts, any views on what to do from this point?

post #10 of 30
Are you sure that the tweeter is soldered in? Sometimes they are only held in by clips.

And by a replacement tweeter, do you mean an OEM? Putting a different tweeter in the speaker might not sound very good because the crossover and driver are designed to work with that tweeter.
post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 

They're not OEMs; in fact, this is the listing right here: http://www.fullcompass.com/product/330476.html?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=googleps&gclid=COaI8oaS7rUCFYje4AodrR8AHw.

 

And I don't know how they're held, and I can't find pics of the internals.  Any chance you could help with that?

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JbstormburstADV View Post

They're not OEMs; in fact, this is the listing right here: http://www.fullcompass.com/product/330476.html?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=googleps&gclid=COaI8oaS7rUCFYje4AodrR8AHw.

And I don't know how they're held, and I can't find pics of the internals.  Any chance you could help with that?

LOL. I have no idea what the inside of a KRK looks like.

But verify those replacements tweeters are good matches, not just something that fits in the hole. Could be they are fine.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JbstormburstADV View Post

 

If I'm willing to spend the money for the HRT MS II, shouldn't I just move parallel to the FiiO E17, or is there a reason for it involving the sound signature?  Also, where can I find some detailed reviews on those Monoprice speakers (or even better, comparison reviews), since I checked and Head-Fi doesn't list them.

 

 

...Yeah, Emotiva is WAY out of my price range right now.  Maybe something ~ $150 if we're talking just speakers?

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/647965/monoprice-just-came-out-with-5-3-studio-monitors-165-75

No reviews on head-fi so far.

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/647965/monoprice-just-came-out-with-5-3-studio-monitors-165-75

No reviews on head-fi so far.

 

Many thanks for the link.  I'll be watching to see if the OEM prediction is true...  Also, I'm planning on heading to J&R Audio (maybe also Canal Hi-Fi) sometime next week, so I'll come back with impressions from over there.

 

Anyways, since I at least know I will be getting a set of powered speakers, I need some recommendations on a dedicated DAC I'm hoping for ~$150 or less, but I think I'll be fine with going to $200.  Oh, and I'd prefer S/PDIF to USB, as I actually do have both TOSLINK and coax optical with the SupremeFX riser card

post #15 of 30
Unless you do a lot of gaming, there's no real benefit in going optical/coxial over USB. Optical/coaxial will allow you to still use the sound cards features for supporting game audio. But if that's not important, the USB will work just as well, and you can even remove your sound card and sell it.

The difference between a $100 DAC and a $200 will be marginal with $150 speakers. You are better off putting your extra budget towards better speakers.

However, do you expect to use headphones, too? If so, you do need a DAC/headphone amp combo (or separates), not just a DAC. A DAC is not meant to drive headphones.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Overwhelmed! Want to Overhaul My Computer Audio