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Computer Audio Setup - Opinions?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

So I recently have been becoming an audiophile, and its great.  I am also a PC gamer.

 

With these needs, I want to know what I should buy to get better audio

 

I currently own Klipsch Promedia 2.1's, and they are awesome. Is there some kind of device (DAC, Amp?) that I can buy to enhance quality

I plan on buying Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro's very soon, (oh and i listen to rock music if that matters) and I'm looking at the Schiit Magni + Modi Combo for ~200 bucks

Is that a good decision? Is there better? 

Sound cards: Asus xonar phoebus? like I said, Im mostly a gamer. the total for the magni, modi, and phoebus is basically my top budget *right now* And I do plan on upgrading/adding to the setup later. 

 

SO basically what gets me the most out of my speakers and headphones for under 400 bucks, knowing that i already have the promedias, what are your suggestions

 

Also, is there a better pair of headphones that the Beyerdynamic custom one pros? Oh and I need closed back.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 22
Either an internal soundcard or external DAC setup should improve the sound a little for your Promedia's over your motherboard audio. Most motherboard audio is not that good.

Internal sound cards offer an advantage over external DACs/amps in that, because of DSP enhancements, they can improve positional audio in gaming. You'll have to decide whether or not that's important to you.

As far as DAC/headphone amp in general, in my opinion, the Schiit Modi/Magni stack would be better in SQ than an internal sound card in the same budget range.

Since you plan to use headphones and a DAC, realize you would have to plug and unplug the Magni/Klipsch Promedia in order to use one or the other. Better to have a setup that has a pre-amp line out for controlling your speakers and a headphone jack. The Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 Plus DAC could be a good choice. It's a combined DAC/headphone amp/pre-amp with line outs to hook up your speakers. In addition to having a USB DAC, it also has an optical DAC. You could get the Xonar DG or DGX and use the optical out to run to the TubeMagic and have the sound card process the audio with Dolby Headphone to get better positional audio (USB DACs completely bypass internal sound cards).
post #3 of 22
One more thought. The price of the Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 Plus DAC and a Xonar DG would leave some room in your budget, right? Unless you have to have closed headphones for gaming, why not pick up the ATH-AD700 in addition to the Beyer COPs? They are considered some of the best headphones you can buy for gaming, as good as headphones costing four or five times as much. Check Mad Lust Envy's gaming headphone guide and notice their rating compared to other headphones.
post #4 of 22

You could get the Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sound card for $100.

Plug the speakers into the Sound Blaster Z.

Spend the rest of your budget for headphones.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Either an internal soundcard or external DAC setup should improve the sound a little for your Promedia's over your motherboard audio. Most motherboard audio is not that good.

Internal sound cards offer an advantage over external DACs/amps in that, because of DSP enhancements, they can improve positional audio in gaming. You'll have to decide whether or not that's important to you.

As far as DAC/headphone amp in general, in my opinion, the Schiit Modi/Magni stack would be better in SQ than an internal sound card in the same budget range.

Since you plan to use headphones and a DAC, realize you would have to plug and unplug the Magni/Klipsch Promedia in order to use one or the other. Better to have a setup that has a pre-amp line out for controlling your speakers and a headphone jack. The Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 Plus DAC could be a good choice. It's a combined DAC/headphone amp/pre-amp with line outs to hook up your speakers. In addition to having a USB DAC, it also has an optical DAC. You could get the Xonar DG or DGX and use the optical out to run to the TubeMagic and have the sound card process the audio with Dolby Headphone to get better positional audio (USB DACs completely bypass internal sound cards).
Thanks for this reply. So it would be good to have a xonar Phoebus and magni/modi combo? What I don't understand is where to plug what in. Promedia plug in with a 3.5mm jack into the green port on the pc. I have been plugging the headphones into the promedia control satellite. So with a magni/modi, would I be able to plug my speakers into the magni/modi and then the magnj/modi into sound card, then when I want to use headphones, just plug in the headphones to the promedia satellite?

Thanks
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antuna View Post

Thanks for this reply. So it would be good to have a xonar Phoebus and magni/modi combo?

No. It wouldn't make sense to buy both. The Modi is a USB DAC, which when enabled, would completely bypass any soundcard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antuna View Post

So with a magni/modi, would I be able to plug my speakers into the magni/modi and then the magnj/modi into sound card, then when I want to use headphones, just plug in the headphones to the promedia satellite?

No. You would plug the Promedia into the Modi. It is a DAC that produces line level output for amplifiers. Plugging the Promedia into the Magni, which is a headphone amp, would provide worse sound quality than going straight to the Modi.

And I never used the headphone jack on the Promedia when I owned them, but usually speaker headphone jack sound quality is not that good. Certainly not on par with the Magni.

If you want the easiest hookup, you get either an internal sound card with separate headphone amp output and line out--like the Xonar STX. Or you get an external DAC/headphone amp/pre-amp like the Maverick Tube Magic.
Edited by cel4145 - 9/9/13 at 7:19am
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antuna View Post


Thanks for this reply. So it would be good to have a xonar Phoebus and magni/modi combo? What I don't understand is where to plug what in. Promedia plug in with a 3.5mm jack into the green port on the pc. I have been plugging the headphones into the promedia control satellite. So with a magni/modi, would I be able to plug my speakers into the magni/modi and then the magnj/modi into sound card, then when I want to use headphones, just plug in the headphones to the promedia satellite?

USB bypasses on-board and add-on sound cards and the Modi only connects with USB.

I would say just to get the Asus Phoebus or Essence STX sound card, they come with a headphone amplifier and a separate speaker output.

Spend the rest of your budget on headphones

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

OK, so now I am (I think) set. I am planning on a Xonar Essence STX, my current promedias, and audiotechnica ath m50's.sound good? this totals me at 160 for stx and 150 for headphones. good?

post #9 of 22

If you have a limited budget, you may get better sound overall with the SBZ and better headphones, although the closed back requirement does limit the choices.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antuna View Post
 

OK, so now I am (I think) set. I am planning on a Xonar Essence STX, my current Pro Medias, and Audio Technica ATH-M50's.sound good? this totals me at $160 for STX and $150 for headphones. good?

My two cents, better to spend more for the headphones, then you do for the DAC/Amp.

 

The Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sell for around $105 (shipped), leaving around $205 of your budget for headphones, which should be enough for Audio Technica ATH-A900X closed headphones.

Might even find a good deal on used.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

My two cents, better to spend more for the headphones, then you do for the DAC/Amp.

The Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sell for around $105 (shipped), leaving around $205 of your budget for headphones, which should be enough for Audio Technica ATH-A900X closed headphones.
Might even find a good deal on used.

+1

I think the A900x are a very good step up from the M50s. Alternatively, for headphones with a little extra bass, the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250 ohm are step up, too, from the M50s. Although the A900X are even better, but not quite as much bass to my ears at the DT770. Little more balanced sound.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

+1
I think the A900x are a very good step up from the M50s. Alternatively, for headphones with a little extra bass, the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250 ohm are step up, too, from the M50s. Although the A900X are even better, but not quite as much bass to my ears at the DT770. Little more balanced sound.

From my very limited understanding, the headphone amplifier on the Sound Blaster Z (& Zx) is not as good as it could be for driving 250-Ohm headphones, so it's a little safer to get lower impedance (Ohm) headphones.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

From my very limited understanding, the headphone amplifier on the Sound Blaster Z (& Zx) is not as good as it could be for driving 250-Ohm headphones, so it's a little safer to get lower impedance (Ohm) headphones.
Good to know smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 22

Hi,

 

   If I were you I'd buy a decent USB DAC and when the funds allow it buy a linear power supply for it. It really does make a difference.. and don't cheap out, spending more now will be worth it on the long run, it will keep the upgrade bug sleeping for longer. If you need suggestions regarding the LPSU send me a PM..

 

Hope this helps. 

post #15 of 22

Heya, I was also looking for a good set-up for my computer, I will be using a laptop fairly soon though so a sound-card is out of the question. Another constraint is that I live in the UK but my budget is similar (£200-£300).

 

I'm in need of new speakers and a DAC/Amp to hook up to my laptop.

Just wondering what kind of set-up you guys could recommend.

 

EDIT: Just received the automated pm haha, will use the other forum for help :) My bad!


Edited by Ridai - 9/26/13 at 9:26am
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