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New to Audio world. need help upgrading computer set-up

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey. Sorry if these questions have been asked numerous times but here it goes...

I listen to music mainly from my laptop (gateway M-7332H) using iTunes and headphone out to an ancient logitech 5 speaker system.

I visited two audio stores to try to get an education and they were both telling me different things. One told me that i absolutely needed a DAC (such as audioquests firefly) before hooking up to any speakers because of "the law of diminishing returns" and how much benefit i would see because i use mp3 format. The other told me that there is no need for a DAC because the mp3 quality is so poor to start with that there will be minimal benefit. 

the speaker systems that were recommended to me are as follows

-B&W M-M1

- Kanto YUMI

-Kanto I-Pair5

- Bose companion 5

 

I do not want to spend more than 500$ and want to make sure i make a solid first purchase as i continue to explore audio.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Cheers

post #2 of 9
Yup, DAC for sure.
Search for review threads for DACs in your price range. I'd recommend the HRT Musicstreamer II or maybe the ODAC or Schiit Modi.

Speakers... I went with self powered monitors, KRK Rokit6 G2. Many people will recommend self powered monitors because they usually have a flat response curve, are made for near field listening and have decent amplification.

Screw both of those guys. Who's to say that you dive further down the rabbit hole in 3 months and decide to listen to FLAC files only. If you use a DAC instead of the Gateway built in sound card you WILL hear a pleasant difference no matter what speakers you're using. I noticed a difference when switching from my MacBook Pros built in sound to a $50 DAC. The built in MBP sound isn't crap.
post #3 of 9
For under $500 you can get quite a good setup. Of course, low bit-rate mp3s aren't going to help you, but you don't need to be using FLAC to get good quality sound. A capable DAC like the Audioengine D1 ($170) or HRT Microstreamer ($190) have both a line out and a headphone out in case you decide to go that route as well. From the line out you could connect a pair of powered speakers like the M-Audio AV40 ($140), Audioengine A2 ($200), or M-Audio BX5 D2 ($230). If you have a decent stereo receiver laying around, a pair of quality passive bookshelf speakers would also work well. I have been using such a receiver and some Klipsch speakers I've had for years.
post #4 of 9

Sorry to hijack the thread but this might also be of interest to op. If I output audio over the optical out in 2ch PCM to my AVR, is the audio 'pure' such that I get the benefit of my AVR's DAC?

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFujisawa View Post

Sorry to hijack the thread but this might also be of interest to op. If I output audio over the optical out in 2ch PCM to my AVR, is the audio 'pure' such that I get the benefit of my AVR's DAC?

 

Why won't it be? All CD-standard audio, including compressed formats, are essentially 2ch PCM. Unless you're downmixing a multichannel track or downsampling (or whatever) a high-res 24-bit/xxxkhz or DSD/SACD that is.

post #6 of 9
Emotiva Airmotiv 4s are on sale for $314 a pair right now. Get those and a Schiitt Modi for $100. Then save a little longer to buy a sub biggrin.gif
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

Why won't it be? All CD-standard audio, including compressed formats, are essentially 2ch PCM. Unless you're downmixing a multichannel track or downsampling (or whatever) a high-res 24-bit/xxxkhz or DSD/SACD that is.

Thanks, ive just never had the hardware to do it before. Anything obvious that needs to be set to be sure that the signal isnt processed in some way first?
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFujisawa View Post


Thanks, ive just never had the hardware to do it before. Anything obvious that needs to be set to be sure that the signal isnt processed in some way first?

 

Aside from Windows audio settings to output the native resolution of the music file;* also maybe install ASIO. However, as for when you have files in varying resolutions, I don't know if there's a setting that will automatically switch from 24/96 (or 48, 88, or 192) to 16/44 and vice versa.

post #9 of 9

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57439115-47/build-your-own-desktop-stereo-for-under-$70/

http://www.ebay.com/itm/140911022146?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

 

If you havent seen this little combo you should look now and read around, you can even get an active sub aswell and get very good sound for the money. A little jewel that deserves more and more love. Unless you wanna go out with alot of money for a dac, the cheap Hifimediy Sabre is really good and should be more than enough for you.

 

With this setup you end up at under 150$ and you got monet to get something else like some nice headphones or a active sub aswell to get more bass.


Edited by Leonarfd - 3/21/13 at 12:05pm
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