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Starting my desktop PC audio setup

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for an decent SQ desktop setup, just for music listening and of course, with headphones, I need to go step by step, first I want to buy sound card / dac / amp (whatever will be the best choice), then, I'd go for a decent headphones, I'm thinking in Sen HD600 (I prefer open than closed headphones). I really need some advice about what can be my best choice to start, I'm lost on tons of fiio, asus, amps, dac, reviews, advices, and I don't know what can be my way to go, right now I'm listening my music on a PC with a Realtec ALC892 chip + ATH AD700 + Foobar2k + Asio + good music source, and I know I can improve it without spend tons of money, I can pay the price, just going/buying step by step, so, if there is some kind people that can give me some advice/help about what can be my best way to start, I will apreciate it.

 

Cheers

.

 

 

:bigsmile_face:Long version:

 

Hi all, I was a happy dude with my hi-fi system, but is a monster based on a Harman Kardon amp + JBL speakers, I was alone, but now I have neighbors, and now I need to care about people around me (inside my house too) :(

 

2 months ago, I build my new PC, I got a internal sound chip Realtec ALC892  (Gigabyte Z87X-D3H motherboard), I was looking around for a solution to keep enjoy my music (music is my drug), and to not bother the new people that I have around, then, I buy a ATH AD700 headphone, wich are not expensive, and I was surprised in a good way, how that "cheap" headphone can make me enjoy my music, so, I saw a light in the darkness.

 

Now, I'm reading, and doing some research, to make my desktop based audio system, just for exclusive use with headphones, I don't need portability, dont care about, but man, really as much I read... as much I'm feel lost, ¿better internal sound card? ¿better external combo pre amp + amp + dac? ... so, I'm here to ask you for a desktop PC audio setup, I want to start for a amp+dac (combo or not), and around May-June buy some decent headphones, I don`t know if I go better with an Asus Sonar Essence, or maybe I go better with an JDS Labs Objective2 amp+dac combo, but like I'm here, and I know this is by far the best place to ask about, tell me, what's my best way to go? I use it only for music listening, I don't care about games, movies, etc, and I don't care about mobility, I'm not a pro, and I don't pretend to be, just want to have nice feelings again listening my music (rock, metal, jazz, blues, electronic, soul, classic), without get enraged people around me. I have some hard time invested to convert my music collection to 320kbps mp3 lame 44.1khz and 16 bit for my less apreciated music, and my more favorite music just to lossless flac, I need to thank you for all the info that I find here, thanks to the info on head-fi forums I have almost all my music collection properly riped :beerchug:

 

post #2 of 7
You forgot the most important thing: What is your budget for the DAC/Amp?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

You forgot the most important thing: What is your budget for the DAC/Amp?


Around 200$, even more if really worth the invest.

 

But, I assume that for you the way to go is amp/dac, not for internal sound card?

 

I ask because here some people said that even Asus Sonar Essence is not build just for music, but for gaming too (and in general all internal sound cards), and you pay for things that you dont need, can you tell me if I'm right?

 

cheers

post #4 of 7
I would agree - I think that if music is your primary focus, then you should look for a decent DAC + Amp (one box or two). PC soundcards focus on gaming and home theater, not stereo audio. I'm not saying they are bad - some of them are quite good - but you don't need Dolby/DTS 7.1, you don't need voice processing for your mic, etc.

I don't know the Asus Xonar Essence - it appears to be a nice unit that *is* targeted for music playback. So, the question then becomes, what does it cost, and is that a good deal compared to all the other audio DAC/Amps?

I see the Essence III for $400 at NewEgg. That's about the price level where you move from the popular lower cost DAC/Amps to the middle tier of audiophile units. I have no idea how the Essence III compares to the typical $200-$400 DAC+Amp like the Schit Modi+Magni, JDS C5D, O2+ODAC, etc.
post #5 of 7

No mention of Schiit Vali? Well, that one as well..

 

You could also get some hard to drive hifiman planars and use them with your speaker amp :o

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I would agree - I think that if music is your primary focus, then you should look for a decent DAC + Amp (one box or two). PC soundcards focus on gaming and home theater, not stereo audio. I'm not saying they are bad - some of them are quite good - but you don't need Dolby/DTS 7.1, you don't need voice processing for your mic, etc.

I don't know the Asus Xonar Essence - it appears to be a nice unit that *is* targeted for music playback. So, the question then becomes, what does it cost, and is that a good deal compared to all the other audio DAC/Amps?

I see the Essence III for $400 at NewEgg. That's about the price level where you move from the popular lower cost DAC/Amps to the middle tier of audiophile units. I have no idea how the Essence III compares to the typical $200-$400 DAC+Amp like the Schit Modi+Magni, JDS C5D, O2+ODAC, etc.

 

Yep, this is the point, so, I'm going for a amp+dac, because even if I go for the nice Asus Sonar Essence, I know the internal amp is not the big deal, so, better external amp+dac, thank you billybob_jcv :beerchug:

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post
 

No mention of Schiit Vali? Well, that one as well..

 

You could also get some hard to drive hifiman planars and use them with your speaker amp :o


I know, was my first idea, but my Harman Kardon is big, very big (800watt), I'm even thinking about sell my entire hi-fi system, but for now my heart hurt badly just thinking about, I know finally is better sell my loved hi-fi system and get back some nice money, than just give the system in the junk room forever.

 

I'm taking a look on Schiit Vali, thanks mate.

 

Cheers

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