So I'm brand new to all of this. I never really intended to get into this stuff, but after getting some decent headphones I have found that I pick up on differences in quality pretty easily and there's now no going back. I also blame my Chinese tea hobby (more complex than wine), which gave me an appreciation for complexity, nuance, and refinement in pretty much everything.
So now I'm trying to figure out the best way to get started; here's my situation:
I have a 1 bedroom apartment, and all of my media is digital and centralized on an HTPC. My computers are in my living room, and it's how I currently listen to most of my music. I have an ASUS Xonar in my main desktop, but the speakers are pretty cheap. I do want surround sound on the computer, but really just for computer games (positional sound). I also use J River for playing music on both my desktop and HTPC. My desk is also a door-desk, so there's plenty of room.
Unfortunately it seems that most good speakers setups are just 2 speakers; it seems like surround sound is going out of style. However, using 2 sound cards (or an otherwise "complex" setup) would actually be okay with me. I've also considered putting together a good 2.1 setup, and then using cheapy computer speakers for the rear speakers, as it doesn't seem like quality is as important for the rear.
My stereo is really crappy, and connected to the HTPC. It's only about 6' behind my desk, but situated perpendicular to the desk (so the front speakers are to my left and back speakers to my right). I don't care about surround sound for this one. I could set up a decent stereo system and listen to music through that, even when I'm on the computer.
It kind of seems like I might be able to get a decent setup on my computer with more flexibility and less cost. OTOH it seems like there's more available for a regular hifi system, and my local shop (Echo Audio) advertises that they can set you up with a great used setup for hundreds of dollars that would rival the newer ones that cost thousands. Unfortunately the only powered speakers I saw there were the Audioengine 2 and 5.
A friend of the family has a nice older system that seems to saturate the whole house with wonderfully crisp yet warm sound, which doesn't seem tied to any single source. Ideally, this is what I would like.
So what do you think? Better to start with computer or stereo? When it comes to the computer, what would you recommend for surround?
P.S., I apologize if this isn't the right forum. If that's the case then let me know, or if a mod just wants to move it then that would be cool too.
Edited by ABx009 - 11/8/13 at 10:24am