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.