Greetings all. I have followed this forum for a long time, and I guess it's time for me to make my first post.
I am trying to figure out the parts I will need to set up active speakers and headphones to my computer. Right now, my setup consists of a optical out going to a receiver (Panasonix SA-XR50), which powers my bookshelf speakers. I just plug in my headphones (Sennheiser HD650) to the receivers headphone jack.
I want to transition to studio monitors (powered) so that I can get some speakers that were designed for nearfield listening, I want to improve my headphone audio quality, and I want to get rid of the receiver on my desk. Most receivers are huge and I would prefer something smaller.
I am having a hard time figuring out where to go from here. I need a headphone amp, a DAC, and a way to control the volume on the studio monitors. Should I be looking for a DAC/Headphone Amp/Preamp combo? Should I split the headphone stuff and the studio monitor stuff up? For example, a RME Babyface as the DAC/Volume control for my studio monitors (that would work right?) and a headphone amp/dac combo or headphone amp + dac for the headphones? What about something like the Asus Essence One? Reviews seem to say that it's not ideal when using balanced cables for my studio monitors...
I am looking for the highest quality solution. Price wise, keeping things in the 700 dollar range and below would be preferred for each item, unless it's an all in one solution. I can always buy one thing at a time to split up the costs, as I have a decent setup already.
Thanks so much for any advice. This is extremely confusing to figure out, which is why I went with the receiver/passive speaker method last time around.