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Getting started on a computer audio system

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm new to the sound industry and the audiophile world.

 

I'm planning to build a decent computer mod for listening to music of all kinds through this new build. I am a gamer at heart, so my other computer builds have been focused for that purpose. However, I would like to jump into the world of awesome quality sound, being able to appreciate great sound, when I hear one.

 

I have done some research and my understanding is that many components are at work to produce great sound. I recognize that the music file themselves should be of lossless (I have come to prefer .flac). However, I'm not sure which hardware is the utmost importance, when considering sound.

 

I have gone and looked around for decent sound cards (~$100-$200: Asus Sonar Essence STX), different amplifiers (~$100: FiiO E09K), and head phones (~$200: Sennheiser HD 598 Headphones). I'm flexible on the budget, but not going over $500 total.

 

So, here are my questions. Any advices on choosing equipment? Or something missing? What needs to be the focus, while I make a great music producing computer? I would like someone to explain the step-by-step process that should be going on inside my head.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 4

A sound card and headphone and you're done. At least with that budget and considering you are a gamer IMO. I suppose you want virtual surround for your games, right?

 

There are soo many options out there. Just mentioning one: Asus xonar STX or Creative ZxR and phillips fiedlio x1

 

Cheaper: xonar DG and sony ma900

 

Look into Mad Lust Envy's gaming thread too.

post #3 of 4
I agree that you should start with Mad Lust Envy's gaming guide: http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-update-3-29-2014-ultrasone-hs-15-added-edits

Note that the best headphones for gaming will always be open headphones because they will create a bigger soundstage than most closed headphones, which is a plus for gaming AND for music. I also agree that you should look into a good sound card over an external amp/dac for gaming because of the virtual surround features. Xonar STX is one of the best choices for optimum sound quality. Go with that, and you would have ~$300 left over for headphones. Open headphones I would suggest looking into are

Philips X1
Beyerdynamic DT880 and DT990
HiFiMan HE-400
AKG Q701 and K701
Sennheiser HD598
post #4 of 4
A lot of people feel that virtual surround sound is a gimmick. Great headphones can sound terrible with certain genres of music. I'd keep that in mind as well.
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