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Advice for a beginner setup?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey guys.. have seen this forum a number of times in searches. figured I'd join up.

 

I have.. not necessarily a budget setup, but I probably do comparatively. I just got a new pair of Grado sr60i's. In the past my main set has been my porta-pros. Anyway.. most of my listening is done on my pc that I built. The grado's sound great... but I definitely realize that even decent headphones aren't going to sound all that amazing through a computer without doing much else. The pc I built has a AMD M5a97 motherboard for onboard sound, but I generally use a presonus firebox as my external sound card. Its a device used for instrument recording but has high quality audio.

 

I'm wondering if maybe there is some good software that I can use to really improve my sound rather than buying a new headphone amp or new hardware. I'm not sure if I'd be best off with just a good EQ, or using something like DFX or SRS. I've used dfx before and it can really improve things for me... but I have a feeling you guys could recommend me something better to really dial in a good sound with the grado's.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 10

Unfortunately, no software can actually improve sound quality....

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

well... i know i'm obviously the beginner. but of course it can?

 

how would an eq or audio software not improve my sound? i'm not talking about technical numbers, sample rates,  here. i'm just talking about making listening as enjoyable as possible for my setup. 

post #4 of 10

download foobar 2000 its free and with the ASIO or WASAPI plugin you can "hog" your computers audio bypassing a lot of the OS processing and preventing notifications from interrupting your listening.  I can't comment on exactly how to do it as I use a Mac but I have heard set ups using foobar with great results.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgibsong002 View Post

well... i know i'm obviously the beginner. but of course it can?

 

how would an eq or audio software not improve my sound? i'm not talking about technical numbers, sample rates,  here. i'm just talking about making listening as enjoyable as possible for my setup. 

Why isn't the current music experience enjoyable to you?

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

Why isn't the current music experience enjoyable to you?

just seems a little dead without doing any type of eq or anything. It lacks power and punch. For example, if I kick in the dfx software.. I can all of a sudden feel it much more. Sure, I can just crank up the volume and hurt my ears. Kind of like a loudness dial would do on a stereo.

Which brings up another question. I have an older, decent quality denon 2 channel. Would I be better off running the computer audio to that and using the headphone out on the stereo?
post #7 of 10

Grados aren't exactly known for their insane bass, I've tried the dfx before and it really just bumps up the bass and treble to make it seem more exciting.  My advice would be to try another headphone if those aren't doing it for you.  

To answer your question though the Denon may be better but given that your using Grados which on paper don't need much amping I would think that the presonus firebox would be better.  Since you own both try it yourself and if you prefer the Denon, use it.  There is no wrong answer here as long as you enjoy what you're hearing!

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgibsong002 View Post


just seems a little dead without doing any type of eq or anything. It lacks power and punch. For example, if I kick in the dfx software.. I can all of a sudden feel it much more. Sure, I can just crank up the volume and hurt my ears. Kind of like a loudness dial would do on a stereo.

Which brings up another question. I have an older, decent quality denon 2 channel. Would I be better off running the computer audio to that and using the headphone out on the stereo?

What kind of music do you listen to?

 

EQ-ing changes the emphasis on the frequency range, this does change your music experience. It does not however increase the music quality. If EQ can make such vast difference in spaciousness or instrument separation/positioning, audio companies would go bankrupt 20 years ago.

What you should probably do is find test unit for amps or DACs and compare to your current listening experience.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Right.. again I know what EQ'ing and everything does. I know its not improving actual quality but it can improve the perceived sound. I listen to a pretty wide range of music. Lots of metal, indie, rock, post rock, and a ton of other stuff I can't really categorize. Certain genres like metal certainly sound good with some extra oomph. I knew going into buying the Grado's that they weren't bass heavy, but it didn't take much to figure out they could certainly handle extra bass. At this price range, I figured my best bet was just to find a good value, which pointed to the Grado's.

 

I tried to A/B the denon and the presonus. However, using the Denon I still had to run through the presonus since it's not like I can use the Denon as a DAC. Using the Denon, however, did allow me to adjust the EQ in a much more musical and not over the top sense like the DFX program does. So I do like this better.

 

Maybe if there was a very simple program for EQ that might be what I need? Basically I noticed that, to me... everything sounded much more clear and full with a bit extra treble from the Denon. 

post #10 of 10
Easy solution: try the Grado L-Cush pads. These are the pads used on the higher model SRs, and they work well, too, on the SR60i. They will unveil the treble and midrange (no pad covering the driver any more), giving you a little more detail resolution and certainly a little more emphasis on the highs. They will also help a little with improving bass response. A lot of people do this with both the SR60i and SR80i.
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