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Headphone amps, Monitors, and connections... I need some help please - Page 2

post #16 of 27

  Quote:

Originally Posted by Kalixin View Post

 

A balanced signal? So unbalanced is one the really high end items? The JBLs are just really good, but are still not considered hi-fi? And does my computer send an unbalanced signal? I am just pretty confused here.

 

When I mentioned unbalanced and balanced audio in my previous reply, I meant that professional audio gear tends to have it, but for home audio or hi-fi or audiophile gear, only the more expensive units tend to have it. Again, this is not the same kind of circuit, which is why the tendency is for home audio products sitting on top of each other just use unbalanced circuits since they're good enough while pro units are built to have some flexibility in how far one component will be set-up from another. I never said the JBLs were not good, I just said you can get the Focusrite Scarlet for $150 and get an ADC (recording) with it and

balanced output vs getting a $1,000 AudioGD or Schiit DAC with balanced output.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalixin View Post
 

Ah! I get it. Unbalanced is the singular auxillary jack, or the singular toslink. The two 6.3mm jacks coming off of the JBLs cause it to be balanced. two is balanced, one is unbalanced.  I think I got that. My computer has unbalanced audio.

 

You missed this link I put in my previous reply (it's a link in the blue-colored "balanced audio") : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio

 

Skipping the science on it, a balanced analog connection uses three cables to carry the signals whereas in unbalanced audio you use only two cables. Typically, unbalanced audio runs off an RCA cable, or when they do on TRS connectors, it is from a 3.5mm* going to a single 3.5mm* or 6.3mm,* twin mono 6.3mm** or twin RCA. Balanced audio travels through XLR cables, or when they use TRS conncectors, they use 3-conductor TRS* cables. Those JBLs have both of these.

 

An active monitor for example can still have unbalanced inputs even with two 6.3mm jacks on each speaker, mainly because professional monitors are symmetrically designed - each monitor has its own amplifier built into it - whereas active monitors built more for home audio listeners are simplified. These have a master speaker, which has the amplifier for both, and these are the ones that have only the "singular (TRS) jack" and only a speaker cable carrying  the signal to the speaker on the other side. Here, you only hook up one speaker to AC power, and some have an iPod dock on the master speaker cabinet.

 

 

*this one will have two rings on the plug, indicating a third conductor (see below)

**this one will have one ring on the plug, indicating only two conductors (see below)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalixin View Post
 

So my JBLs are good and balanced. My computer is unbalanced. This is why I need an audio interface. So again - what is the best way to hook them to my computer then, where I won't lose signal, or degrade the signal. What brands are good? Am I able to stay around the 50-125 dollar price range for it? Also - would My headphones work with it (this is a curiosity, not a necessity.) My headphones have a 6.3 and 3.5mm jack

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalixin View Post
 

Ok scratch everything. I guess I know less than I thought. Basically my computer has no sound card. It only has a built in audio chipset, because of the motherboard. The only jack I have is toslink and 3.5 auxillary.  Simply put - what is the best way to hook them to my computer then, where I won't lose signal, or degrade the signal. What brands are good? Am I able to stay around the 50-125 dollar price range for it?

 

Get something like the Focusrite Scarlet. However, being USB audio devices, I cannot guarantee whether your motherboard can run any of these properly as there have been cases where the USB ports don't work right. Still, between $150 for an interface where your budget is, and a $1,000 or so home audio DAC that has balanced connectors, the choice should be clear.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 1/20/14 at 3:41pm
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 

Alright. I completely understand now. I think. Unbalanced can run into noise problems over a long distance. But since home use spears are so close, unbalanced is fine. Balanced Is better for running a long amount of cables where you cannot afford loss.

 

So, to hook up my JBL LSR305s to my computer, I need an interface, or a simple DAC.

 

The JBL connects via 6.3mm. I need to go from 6.3mm, to RCA, and then from RCA, to 3.5mm or toslink. Is that correct or am I overcomplicating?

 

Am I correct now?

post #18 of 27
Wouldn't it be easier to just use different monitors that do not require balanced inputs?? The path you are on just seems way more complicated than it needs to be and it is primarily because you are trying to use speakers that are made for someone using pro studio gear, not a headphone amp.

If you want to use those speakers, then I recommend you look at a proper audio interface that is intended to be used for balanced connections. Those don't have to be super expensive - something like a Presonus or Focusrite USB audio interface would do it.

Whenever folks try to mix audiophile with pro audio, confusion results. I think they are two different things.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalixin View Post
 

The JBL connects via 6.3mm. I need to go from 6.3mm, to RCA, and then from RCA, to 3.5mm or toslink. Is that correct or am I overcomplicating?

 

What's the RCA cable for?

 

PC >> USB Cable >> Audio Interface >> Balanced XLR or TRS >> Balanced XLR or TRS on JBL monitors

                                                       >> Headphone

 

Or you can do what billybob is saying and just get monitors with unbalanced RCA inputs - consumer models and a few pro models have them. Is there any particular reason why it has to be those JBLs? For example, you've already listened to them and like them enough you'd rather not risk buying and paying shipping cost for something else you haven't heard?

post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 

I have heard them and several models. They are the ones. :)

 

Thank you for all your help! This decision was much easier with this forum.

post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalixin View Post
 

I have heard them and several models. They are the ones. :)

 

Thank you for all your help! This decision was much easier with this forum.

 

Good luck. Just make sure you get the right DAC or interface and hook them up properly.

post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 

Alright! So I got the JBL LSR305s. I love them to death already.  I am using an XLR to 3.5mm cable to connect the speaker to my computer. It was 300 for the pair, and 16 bucks for the cable. After tax about 345-350 bucks. These monitors are fantastic, and they took up less room than I though. Plus, they have a rather good sound no matter where I stand/sit. Of course the sound the best when I am a couple feet from them (triangle), but I can walk around my room and stand up, or lay down. and they really sound good all around. The bass on them is surprisingly good for a 5 inch, and the highs are just beautiful. I can now hear that little cymbal "ting" at 2 minutes into the song, or the slightest pitch difference between the first and last crash. Also, the lows/mids sound so good. I listen to mostly rock and it captures electric guitars so perfectly. The lows don't bleed into the mids, so the vocals are still crisp, and the guitar still has a lot of power. I really enjoy them

 

One issue though. My graphics card hates them. Every time My graphics card ramps up my speakers start buzzing louder. Thy always have a very very small buzz (because they are powered), but when I play a game, they buzz louder, and depending on how intense the game is graphically, they buzz more or less. I did an EVGA O.C. scanner and ramped my card up by displaying a heavily detailed image with a really high density of particles, and depending on where the image moved, and how intricate I made the setting for it, my speakers output a different noise. The noise got louder the more I made the image hard for my graphics card to deal with. I put it on 720p, my monitors hiss a bit. I put it on 1080, they hiss more. I put it on 1080p with anti aliasing and make the image move a bit, they make a lot of racket.

 

It seems this is a common frequency issue with amplified monitor speakers/powerful graphics cards. Haven't been able to find a fix. Any ideas?

post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalixin View Post
 

One issue though. My graphics card hates them.

 

It seems this is a common frequency issue with amplified monitor speakers/powerful graphics cards. Haven't been able to find a fix. Any ideas?

 

No they don't hate them, but there's probably something wrong with your power supply design or there is otherwise a lot of noise going on inside the computer chassis that the soundcard is passing on to the speakers. Hooking up a single-ended output to a balanced input doesn't help either.

post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 

Power supply is gold rated and has been stable and strong for over six months, so I doubt its that. I have a lot of stuff in my case (2200 dollar pricepoint) so I'm sure something is interfering. Doesn't matter though. Also, the people at guitar center said the only problem with my connection type (balanced to unbalanced) is I will get noise.... so this minor noise is manageable.

 

So I guess I am all good. I will maybe get an interface or DAC or something to eliminate the noise later on, but for now, I am alright. Thanks again for all of your help. You and everyone else.

post #25 of 27
I suspect a proper balanced connection to those speakers, instead of connecting directly to your PC soundcard would probably cure the issue.

Another thing you could try is using a 3-prong -> 2 prong adapter on the power cord of the speakers. It sounds counter intuitive, but it might break the groundloop - if that is what is causing the issue.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I suspect a proper balanced connection to those speakers, instead of connecting directly to your PC soundcard would probably cure the issue.

Another thing you could try is using a 3-prong -> 2 prong adapter on the power cord of the speakers. It sounds counter intuitive, but it might break the groundloop - if that is what is causing the issue.

 

This. Actually, all these.

post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 

I read the ground could be causing the issue, so you are probably right.

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