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Recommended hardware for setup

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey there, I'm beginning to learn about computer audio outside the amplified speakers most people use, and I've already made the purchase and have been using the following:

 

  • Cambridge S30-N speakers
  • AT ATH-AD700 headphones
  • AudioSource AMP-100 Amplifier
  • Behringer UCA202 DAC

 

I've been running the speakers from the USB DAC into an RCA splitter into the amp, and the headphones directly from my mobo's audio jack, because I hear using the headphone jack on the DAC for headphones isn't that great.

 

Which made me wonder about improving the sound when using the headphones, so I purchased an Asus Xonar DG sound card. I was wondering if this overall setup would be good or if there are better options?

 

For example, is there a DAC I could use to run both my speakers and headphones off of together? Perhaps I could have both connected and choose which to use versus having to select an audio device from Playback Devices?

 

I am also curious if I'd be better off running the speakers directly from the sound card versus my current DAC? 

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali-kun View Post

Hey there, I'm beginning to learn about computer audio outside the amplified speakers most people use, and I've already made the purchase and have been using the following:

 

  • Cambridge S30-N speakers
  • AT ATH-AD700 headphones
  • AudioSource AMP-100 Amplifier
  • Behringer UCA202 DAC

 

I've been running the speakers from the USB DAC into an RCA splitter into the amp, and the headphones directly from my mobo's audio jack, because I hear using the headphone jack on the DAC for headphones isn't that great.

Which made me wonder about improving the sound when using the headphones, so I purchased an Asus Xonar DG sound card. I was wondering if this overall setup would be good or if there are better options?

For example, is there a DAC I could use to run both my speakers and headphones off of together? Perhaps I could have both connected and choose which to use versus having to select an audio device from Playback Devices?

I am also curious if I'd be better off running the speakers directly from the sound card versus my current DAC? 

If possible, return the Xonar DG and get the Sound Blaster Z.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey PurpleAngel,

 

Why that Sound Blaster? Is that particular card just better for what I have? I have read mostly good stuff about the Xonar DG, so I was partially biased to that, but I'd be happy to hear other opinions.

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali-kun View Post

Hey PurpleAngel,

 

Why that Sound Blaster? Is that particular card just better for what I have? I have read mostly good stuff about the Xonar DG, so I was partially biased to that, but I'd be happy to hear other opinions.

The Sound Blaster Z comes with separate headphone and speaker jacks (jack for amp-100), on the back panel.

 

Or with the Xonar DG, plug the speakers into the DG's back panel jack (green) and the headphones into the computer case's front panel audio jack (green)..

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

So basically I'd use the Sound Blaster and stop using my Behringer DAC altogether? This would be accomplished by using the sound card's two jacks as you described?

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali-kun View Post

So basically I'd use the Sound Blaster and stop using my Behringer DAC altogether? This would be accomplished by using the sound card's two jacks as you described?

Yep, no need for the Behringer.

The SBZ's (Sound Blaster Z) CS4398 DAC should be a fair bit better then whatever DAC chip is in the Behringer.

Also, in the future you can hook up just about any headphone you like to the SBZ.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Perfect, thank you so much. I'll order one with the microphone since I was in the market for one anyway. Cheers.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Follow-up to this initial question now that I've become a little accustomed to my setup.

 

With my sound card, I've noticed that to change from headphones to speakers, I have to press the Headphones>Speakers button in my SBZ's software panel, but also reduce the volume on my PC to <10% to not make the volume practically too loud to bear.

I am curious if there's an alternative to this in the DAC department where I could have both devices plugged in and switch or simply have one override when it is plugged in? Basically a DAC that would replace the functionality of my current sound card? Is this even worth it? I still want something that lets me control the volume of my headphones with a knob without having to adjust the Windows volume. I normally just use the knob on my amp for the volume on my amp when using speakers otherwise. 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

tl;dr I'm looking for a device to plug my headphones AND speakers into that I can switch between that offers a physical dial to control volume per the device I'm actively listening to

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali-kun View Post
 

tl;dr I'm looking for a device to plug my headphones AND speakers into that I can switch between that offers a physical dial to control volume per the device I'm actively listening to

Any stereo receiver should do this... but the SBZ probably has a better headphone amp than a receiver would.

 

I use my Asgard 2 as a speaker preamp to do just what you want; but the Asgard 2's outputs are for powered speakers unfortunately.

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