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Introduction and council for using studio monitors

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Never posted much on these forums, but have been lurking on occasion for some time.  Long time music enthusiast, although I don't make any; I certainly enjoy it.  Much of my experience has been with old and rather cheap plastic computer speakers, or car audio.  It wasn't until I picked up a set of Klipsch Promedia 5.1 speakers that I became really picky about what I was missing from my music, and demanding from my speakers.  After a long run with those speakers, the amp finally failed and went without any home audio for a while until I picked up a set of Audioengine A5 speakers.  Had mixed feelings about them as they lacked in some areas compared to my Klipsch speakers, but made up for it in others.  Stuck with them for a long while and eventually got the upgraded A5+ speakers and a Polk sub.  After a while, I must say they are nice for general listening, but the upgrade but is biting again and the wife and I are strongly looking into some studio monitors. 

 

Over the last few weeks we've discussed our options and how much we enjoy a nice sound setup.  We mostly listen to music from our computer, but also enjoy movies and reading with some instrumental music playing.  We don't have a 'tv' or cable, and we use our speakers for much of the evenings and occasionally during the day.  After much discussion with the wife, we are looking to upgrade to a pair of JBL LSR308 speakers.  Fits the budget nicely and with the warranty JBL has on their products, we feel this is the next logical step.  Our existing hardware consists of a Polk Audio PSW10, which is a low powered 10" sub, and my Asus laptop.

 

 

What I could use advice on is how to connect and use these studio monitors.  I know much will be gained from the source format, but not all of our listening is 'critical' listening.  Much of our personal music collection is in the 320kbps MP3 format, and I am just starting to look into the FLAC format.  We both enjoy Youtube playlists for the convenience factor as well. 

 

What I'd like to be able to do with the new setup is to get everything balanced to the room and to match it with the sub, assuming it adds any tangible sound value that the JBl's don't provide.  How would I connect these speakers to my computer properly?  I don't know anything about a DAC, or audio mixers and am rather clueless about what else is out there.  Basically I want to have a volume knob nearby that I can control the two speakers, my sub, and possibly room for another pair of satellite speakers down the road. 

post #2 of 7

How do you have the Audioengine A5+ studio monitors connected to the Polk Audio sub-woofer and has is this all connected to the Asus laptop?

Just spend $65 to $100 for an external DAC might decently improve the audio quality of your current audio setup.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

How do you have the Audioengine A5+ studio monitors connected to the Polk Audio sub-woofer and has is this all connected to the Asus laptop?

Just spend $65 to $100 for an external DAC might decently improve the audio quality of your current audio setup.

 

The speakers connect via a 3.5mm jack and the sub makes use a pair of RCA outputs on the back of the speakers.  The current setup doesn't allow me to control the cutoff for the speakers, only the cutoff for the sub.  The Audioengines have served us well, but we were never that impressed with the speakers honestly.  Not sure if the input cables, audio card, or source was the cause, but they just sound a little flat in the mid's. 

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but the DAC is basically just an upgraded sound card of sorts? 

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroDrift View Post
 

 

The speakers connect via a 3.5mm jack and the sub makes use a pair of RCA outputs on the back of the speakers.  The current setup doesn't allow me to control the cutoff for the speakers, only the cutoff for the sub.  The Audioengines have served us well, but we were never that impressed with the speakers honestly.  Not sure if the input cables, audio card, or source was the cause, but they just sound a little flat in the mid's. 

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but the DAC is basically just an upgraded sound card of sorts? 

 

A DAC is more like a sound card that is missing sound sound features.

Chances are the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chip used in the on-board audio of your Asus laptop is a low costing DAC chip.

External "DACs" usually come with a better DAC chip and better components built in, then what you would find built into a desktop computer or laptop's on-board audio hardware.

Also using an external DAC keeps any electrical "noise" that might be inside the computer case (desktop or laptop) out of the audio signal.

An external DAC, like the Hifimediy Sabre U2 USB DAC ($57+shipping) might make a noticeable improvement in the over all audio quality.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the clarification on the DAC's.  Would a DAC with a volume control be sufficient to adjust the volume of the JBL's or is there a different way of doing that.  Each driver has a volume knob on the back and ideally it would be preferable to adjust both simultaneously. 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Would the Asus Xonar U5/U7 be an acceptable DAC, and would it work correctly with the studio speakers and sub?
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroDrift View Post
 

Thanks for the clarification on the DAC's.  Would a DAC with a volume control be sufficient to adjust the volume of the JBL's or is there a different way of doing that.  Each driver has a volume knob on the back and ideally it would be preferable to adjust both simultaneously. 

 

To the best of my knowledge, external DACs do not normally come with a volume knob.

But an external DAC that also comes with a built in headphone amplifier will usually come with a volume knob.

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