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Help a newbie build a good hifi/headfi setup.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well my Bose QuietComfort 15's finally bit the dust. I had purchased them a couple of years back to deal with excessive background noise of the room I was to be in. Having since moved all my server equipment to a dedicated soundproofed server room, background noise is now no longer an issue so I am no longer in need of noise cancellation. One side effect of originally shopping for good noise cancelling headphones was being introduced to higher quality audio from the 50 dollar headsets I had been buying. Before my Bose headphones broke, I was planning a hifi purchase of the following.

 

Marantz PM 6005 Amplifier with Integrated DAC.

http://us.marantz.com/us/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=HiFiComponents&ProductId=PM6005

 

Monitor Audio BX-2 Speakers

http://www.monitoraudio.co.uk/products/bronze-bx/bx2/

 

 

What attracts me to the previous setup is the integrated dac with that amp and the fact that it can handle a digital in so I can plug my computer into it. This sound system will be used exclusively with my computer doing the following:

  • Playing Music From Spotify
  • Playing High Quality Music From My Media Library
  • Playing Games
  • Watching Movies

 

I should also note that I listen primarily to movie scores *Road To Perdition, Tron *. I like good quality war scores as well. Typically I listen to music without lyrics. As such my preferred music type is classical. I do listen to some current genres of music but typically look to get lyric free versions of them. To a lesser degree I listen to some music with lyrics. Eric Clapton, Billy Joel to name a few. I do not listen to much rap at all. So for a sound system I am looking for something that is very well balanced. I want it to have the power to punch the bass during war movies or games *bombs etc* but not over bass during normal listening if that makes sense. I am looking for clarity throughout the sound range which is what I would describe happened when I upgraded from the 50 dollar headphone jabbers to the Bose QuietComfort 15's. Overly bassy or muffled or tinny sounding is not what I am after.

 

After doing some basic research into headphones I have zeroed in on the Sennheiser HD600. Everything I read about them seems to point out that they are very well balanced and used as reference grade headphones by a lot of manufacturers. What I do not have the experience in figuring out, is if my chosen amp above will be able to run the HD600 properly? And that is what brings me here. Can the Marantz PM 6005 run the HD600's to their full potential or will I need a dedicated headphone amplifier? Additionally, is the Sennheiser HD600 a good choise of headphones for my listening preferences and desired quality?

 

Thanks in advance to anyone who replies. :)

post #2 of 17

The Marantz PM 6005 comes with a dedicated headphone amplifier :)

Per Marantz it would seem it can handle headphones up to 600-Ohms.

So 300-Ohm Senn HD600 should work fine.

The PM 6005 comes with a CS4398 DAC chip, which I think should provide good audio quality,

So no need to add an external DAC between your PC  and the PM 6005.

Best connect would seem to be an optical (or coaxial) cable from your PC to PM 6005.

You can use the motherboard's optical output or add a sound card (with optical) to your PC.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah I like the idea of having just one unit on my desk that controls the speakers and the headphones. I had read that some of the speaker amplifiers treat their headphone jacks as an afterthought which would be disappointing after buying a good set of headphones. Right now my PC uses a creative sound blaster Audigy X-Fi Titanium. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/creative-sound-blaster-x-fi-titanium-sound-card/9716175.p?id=1218172864730&skuId=9716175

 

I assume that when I use the optical out it bypasses the sound cards internal DAC and would instead be using the DAC in the PM6005 correct? In other words since I would be using the DAC in the PM6005 I shouldn't need to worry about upgrading sound cards?

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomore View Post
 

Yeah I like the idea of having just one unit on my desk that controls the speakers and the headphones. I had read that some of the speaker amplifiers treat their headphone jacks as an afterthought which would be disappointing after buying a good set of headphones. Right now my PC uses a creative sound blaster Audigy X-Fi Titanium. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/creative-sound-blaster-x-fi-titanium-sound-card/9716175.p?id=1218172864730&skuId=9716175

 

I assume that when I use the optical out it bypasses the sound cards internal DAC and would instead be using the DAC in the PM6005 correct? In other words since I would be using the DAC in the PM6005 I shouldn't need to worry about upgrading sound cards?

Personally I think my Yamaha's RX-V671, which I believe uses it's speaker amplifier(s) to drive headphones, does a fairly decent job, with my 250-Ohm& 600-Ohm headphones.

But lower impedance headphones, like my 40-Ohm ATH-A900Xs do not do as well, with the Yamaha headphone jack's high impedance (which I'm assuming is caused by using the speaker amps).

 

The Titanium (non-HD?) should be fine (optical), can't see any good reason for replacing it.

Hopefully you have disabled the motherboard's on-board audio sound card.

Using optical will bypass the Titanium's CS4382 DAC chip, the PM6005's CS4398 DAC chip should be better.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah I have already disabled the onboard audio. Now when the sound card says 24-bit multichannel performance and 96kHz stereo is that figure given for what its DAC can output? What I mean to say is will it limit the optical out signal to the PM6005 to 24bit 96khz because I see the PM6005 says it can handle 24-bit 192kHz.

 

So if I do optical out from the sound blaster to the PM6005 will it run at 24 bit 192kHz or be limited to the sound blasters 24bit 96kHz?

 

 

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomore View Post
 

Yeah I have already disabled the on-board audio. Now when the sound card says 24-bit multichannel performance and 96kHz stereo is that figure given for what its DAC can output? What I mean to say is will it limit the optical out signal to the PM6005 to 24bit 96khz because I see the PM6005 says it can handle 24-bit 192kHz.

So if I do optical out from the sound blaster to the PM6005 will it run at 24 bit 192kHz or be limited to the sound blasters 24bit 96kHz?

The Sound Blaster Titanium might be limited to 24-bit/96Khz, but some other program might be able to send (piggy back) 24/192Khz thru the Titanium's optical port. But I doubt you have a need to go above 24-bit/96Khz.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The Sound Blaster Titanium might be limited to 24-bit/96Khz, but some other program might be able to send (piggy back) 24/192Khz thru the Titanium's optical port. But I doubt you have a need to go above 24-bit/96Khz.

+1

Still, if you must have 24/192Khz, get a separate DAC that has 24/192Khz capability (or want an amp that can drive low impedance headphones), get an Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amp, and a different amp. I'm currently running the pre-amp out in the Asgard 2 to the main in on an HK 3390 (bypassing the pre-amp in the HK), and it sounds quite good smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by cel4145 - 10/3/13 at 6:57pm
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Would this be a good sound card to run the PM6005 at 24/192?

 

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile192.html

post #9 of 17
I think you should first verify one way or the other whether or not the X-Fi Titanium can output 24/192 via optical. If so, no sense in replacing it smily_headphones1.gif
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Actually I just checked.... my onboard audio spdif out can output 24bit 192kHz but my sound blaster spdif out can only output 24 bit 92kHz :O.....

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomore View Post
 

Would this be a good sound card to run the PM6005 at 24/192?

 

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile192.html

Just checked, it looks like the 24-bit/96Khz limitation is only with the Titanium DAC when it's doing 8-channel (7.1) conversion. The Titanium's DAC can do 24-bit/192Khz in stereo (2-channel)

But as you bypassing the Titanium's DAC chip anyway, can't see a reason to replace it.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 10/3/13 at 9:15pm
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomore View Post
 

Actually I just checked.... my on-board audio S/PDIF out can output 24bit 192kHz but my sound blaster S/PDIF out can only output 24 bit 92kHz :O.....

Where did you find the 24-bit/96Khz limitation?

(I can't find it anywhere)

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Where did you find the 24-bit/96Khz limitation?

(I can't find it anywhere)

 

When I right click on the SPDIF out in playback devices and choose properties... then select the advanced tab and in the Default Format dropdown the highest available is 24bit 96kHz.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Just checked, it looks like the 24-bit/96Khz limitation is only with the Titanium DAC when it's doing 8-channel (7.1) conversion. The Titanium's DAC can do 24-bit/192Khz in stereo (2-channel)

But as you bypassing the Titanium's DAC chip anyway, can't see a reason to replace it.

 

So even though the optical cable would be connected to the optical out on the Titanium, its DAC wouldn't be in use because its outputting a digital signal thus no need for it to perform the Digital To Analog conversion correct?

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomore View Post
 

 

So even though the optical cable would be connected to the optical out on the Titanium, its DAC wouldn't be in use because its outputting a digital signal thus no need for it to perform the Digital To Analog conversion correct?

Yep.

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