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General Audio Situation for PC Build

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm a first time PC builder and have went ahead and found some components I like. However, I'm not sure if they make sense or how to properly connect them. I was hoping thats where you all could come in at.

 

http://i.imgur.com/8PQXJj6.png

 

So one thing that was important to me was good quality audio recording. With the Audio Technica 20 SERIES AT20 I'm wondering if phantom power would be an issue; if instead of using the USB, I opted to use some kind of XLR connection to the back of my sound card (pictured). The reason for me trying to do this is that I've heard that the XLR has a slight audio advantage over USB.

 

Also, I'd love to hear a general critique of my Amazon shopping cart. lol

 

http://i.imgur.com/hY1JsSw.png

 

Thank you in advance for any and all responses.

 

PS, If any of this makes no sense or If I totally have the wrong idea, let me know.


Edited by JustinJG - 9/14/13 at 11:44pm
post #2 of 8

It looks like your AT microphone comes stock with a XLRF (female) to XLRM (male) cable.

I guess they expected you to plug the microphone into a mixer, not a computer sound card.

I would assume you can buy a XLRF (female) to 1/4" (6.35mm) TRS mono plug and connect that cable between the AT microphone and the STX's microphone input.

 

As your inputing a microphone signal into the STX, I would assume you only need a TRS mono plug, not TRS stereo plug.

But I know zero about microphone requirements.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Easy enough, thanks!

 

http://goo.gl/ato2yI

 

Also, some audiophiles I've seen around on different forums claim the STX is a good DAC. As I do on occasion play PC games I've been told an external DAC for such an application is out of the question.

 

However, purely hypothetically would a external AMP coupled with the STX give me higher performance or would it be redundant and not really offer me anything. Granted I was smart with my purchase and was willing to spend in the 100 to 300 dollar range.

 

I'd like to know this purely out of curiosity, as I've all but given up on finding an external AMP to couple with the STX. I've also tired of wrestling with the idea of its necessity.

 

As a very broad observation the world of high end PC components and high end audio contrast in price sharply. While there are parallels between the two, they are at the same time, vastly different. Audio seems much more daunting to get one's mind around. lol


Edited by JustinJG - 9/15/13 at 12:59am
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinJG View Post

Also, some audiophiles I've seen around on different forums claim the STX is a good DAC. As I do on occasion play PC games I've been told an external DAC for such an application is out of the question.

However, purely hypothetically would a external AMP coupled with the STX give me higher performance or would it be redundant and not really offer me anything. Granted I was smart with my purchase and was willing to spend in the 100 to 300 dollar range.

I'd like to know this purely out of curiosity, as I've all but given up on finding an external AMP to couple with the STX. I've also tired of wrestling with the idea of its necessity.

As a very broad observation the world of high end PC components and high end audio contrast in price sharply. While there are parallels between the two, they are at the same time, vastly different. Audio seems much more daunting to get one's mind around. lol

I think the Essence STX comes with a good DAC chip (PCM1792A).

An external headphone amplifier hooked to the STX's RCA jacks, might give you improve audio quality, but the STX can not send Headphone Surround Sound thru the RCA outputs.

You can hook an external S/PDIF (optical/coaxial) input DAC & headphone amplifier to the S/PDIF output on a (used $60) Xonar DX sound card, be able to use the Xonar's Headphone Surround Sound and have the advantage for a DAC/Amp (external $200- $300) not been affected by electrical noise from inside the computer case.

Or just get an external headphone amplifier, like the Schiit Magni, $99, with a used ($60) Xonar DX.

The Xonar DX DAC chip (CS4398) should be almost as good as the STX's DAC chip (PCM1792A).

And the Schiit Magni can be used with more then just a computer.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Very interesting and informative.

 

I never even considered the effects of the RCA ports. Its funny you should mention the Magni and a cheaper Xonar card. I was considering similar options. However, even purchasing the Xonar suggested and getting the Magni would result in this combination being slightly more expensive. Mainly because of the shipping & handling to where I live.

 

That pretty much settles it. I'm locked in with the STX unless anything changes.

 

Thank you so much for your help Purple Angel, you were extremely helpful in my decision!

 

If I have any more questions or ideas of this nature, I know where to come.

post #6 of 8

Heya,

 

You're spending way too much effort focusing on dac chipsets and components when you really should be looking at a really nice microphone, and not a USB one.

 

What's the purpose of the microphone? Are you looking to record an instrument, or voice? It actually matters.

 

By the way, the STX is fine all on it's own for all your purposes. Though personally I would get something external to avoid having to get to the back of the PC, drivers, software, etc.

 

Very best,

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello.

 

So the reason why I've chosen a USB mic is because this mic, in particular, is SO competitively priced. Just last night I missed buying one for 38 dollars. Its MSRP is 150 if I'm not mistaken and has a solid and well-made feel in the hand.

 

As for its primary purpose? Voice recording and perhaps Skpe calls. I just didn't like the idea of having a integrated mic in my headset such as a modmic or even an attached one. As far as going for a straight-up XLR mic? Well I'm dubious of this as I would need a mixer and the price seems to go up exponentially from there.

 

As a broad observation, I've found that even if you can find premium audio products at a deep discount, the needed accessories can negate the value of the product. Especially if you didn't know what you were getting into and overbought for your intended purposes. I don't really think a higher end mic would be put to good use for my purposes.

 

As far as internal vs. external sound for my PC? I've considered several different options but I feel confident enough in what I've seen from the STX. I think it'll meet my expectations. That being said, I understand I could go much, much deeper down the rabbit hole of audio devices. However, I feel all of the parts I've picked finds a sweet spot for me personally.

 

Reaching to the back of the case won't be an issue as well. I feel like I've made preparations for clean cable management already.

 

I'll have to take all of this information into consideration! Time will tell if I made the right decision. lol


Edited by JustinJG - 9/15/13 at 4:43pm
post #8 of 8

Heya,

 

If you're looking for voice recording, look at a condenser mic. When it's omni-directional like the one you linked, it picks up everything from every direction. Vocal recordings are done with condensers that are limited in the capture area. Get a pop filter to go with it.

 

Very best,

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