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How's this for mid end computer audio?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

https://imgur.com/a/CVilY Please check it out and post any suggestions. I'm always looking to improve my audio! All the details are in the image descriptions.

post #2 of 35

I believe if you turn the towers so the front part is facing you, audio will sound batter.

Also might consider raising the towers up about 18 inchs.

Replace the HD595s with DT880 600-Ohm headphones.

 

How do you have the Essence STX connected to the other audio (receiver/amps)?

post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips! Yeah, the 880's are on my list but first I need a DAC. The interference I'm getting from my stupid video card is LOUD, never happened with my old GPU. Both the headphone amp and the receiver are sourced from the Xonar STX sound card. The Bijou is using a headphone plug to RCA cable while the receiver is just RCA.

post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ady1989 View Post
 

Thanks for the tips! Yeah, the 880's are on my list but first I need a DAC. The interference I'm getting from my stupid video card is LOUD, never happened with my old GPU. Both the headphone amp and the receiver are sourced from the Xonar STX sound card. The Bijou is using a headphone plug to RCA cable while the receiver is just RCA.

 

Have you disable the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS.

 

Might consider selling off the Essence STX and replacing it with a low cost Xonar DG or DGX,

Then get an external DAC like the Schiit Modi (optical), connect the DG/DGX to the Modi using an optical cable.

Hopefully that would solve your noise issue, at least for one of your amplifiers.

post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ady1989 View Post
 

https://imgur.com/a/CVilY Please check it out and post any suggestions. I'm always looking to improve my audio! All the details are in the image descriptions.

 

I see too many problems with using the towers in such a set-up:

1. The left tower will have too many reflections off that wall. Don't you hear how the left seems louder than the right, or that some notes on that side seem more forward?

 

2. Both speakers are too close to the rear wall, on top of the left being in the corner, and unlike a studio monitors these are less likely to have been voiced in such a position. What's the bass like without the dedicated sub? It will be either too weak or too loud and undefined, and chances are with most music the sub would otherwise not be that big an improvement (maybe even with most action movies). It will be like Heath Ledger's Joker slapping on all that make up to cover the scars, but not only does the make up make it worse, but you can still see them.

 

3. You are sitting too close and you are getting time alignment issues. Don't you hear the bass lower than the rest of the music, or the cymbals obviously above the other instruments? I had a pair of towers once and sitting just over five feet away still has the bass and treble like that, and you're sitting much, much closer than that. Raising the towers using some kind platform can help but I doubt it will be a lot of help. Try this: mark a spot roughly six feet away from those speakers where your seat has to be, then from the headrest, measure the distance to each driver in those towers, including the port if it's in front. Now do this again with your chair in its usual position. Compare the differences in the distance of each driver from your head - the closer the chair is the larger the distance, ergo, the bigger the time (mis)alignment issues.

 

------

 

What those amounts to is that you have created in a home audio setting a set-up that has all the problems of a car audio system, which is otherwise avoided at home because of a larger room where you can place nearly equal distance between the speakers and walls as well as sit in the center, where a car audio system needs a complex system using active amplification (ie, one amp channel for each driver in the system) in order to be able to use a separate time delay on each tweeter, midwoofer, and the subwoofer, so that all of them arrive at your ears at the same time as whichever of these drivers are nearest to you.

 

You can always just use studio monitors with that NAD CDP as well as your PC. The integrated amp can be used as a preamp and input selector too, as long as it has that Pre-Amp to Power Amp bridge in the back.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 5/20/14 at 9:37am
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Have you disable the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS.

 

Might consider selling off the Essence STX and replacing it with a low cost Xonar DG or DGX,

Then get an external DAC like the Schiit Modi (optical), connect the DG/DGX to the Modi using an optical cable.

Hopefully that would solve your noise issue, at least for one of your amplifiers.

Why bother getting a soundcard for optical out when you can get the USB input on the Modi in the first place?

post #7 of 35

Agreed about them being much too close for tower speakers. If you want them that close get a pair of studio monitors (in your case "passive" would work out best). You can keep the sub.

 

No DAC? I would add a decent DAC to any computer that's going to be used for audio.

post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

Why bother getting a sound card for optical out when you can get the USB input on the Modi in the first place?

 

OP might like the use of Dolby Headphone surround sound that the DG/DGX provides.

post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

I see too many problems with using the towers in such a set-up . . .

Yep. Better setup is bookshelves/monitors + sub for a desktop setup. And get a better sub if that's the PSW10. There are significant gains in sound quality and performance when you go up in sub quality.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Yep. Better setup is bookshelves/monitors + sub for a desktop setup. And get a better sub if that's the PSW10. There are significant gains in sound quality and performance when you go up in sub quality.

 

The problem with using a sub with a desktop system is that it will still be in a less than ideal place. Sure, subbass notes are omni-directional, but that's only in how they emanate from the subwoofer. Sitting to close to a sub that is under the table will still pull the bass downward,more so with the glass table blocking a more direct path for the soundwaves if not rattling when it gets hit by them.

 

In the same way my car's sub was still pulling the bass towards it when I ran an experiment and put the subwoofer in the cabin (anywhere in it save for my friend's Nissan that had a Bose sub on the dashboard from the factory). In that case I still needed to use the time alignment feature on my processor to delay all other speakers relative to the sub, not to mention it was even more easy to localize it coming from behind the center console when the bass notes are coming out of that. Studio set-ups that use subwoofers have them and the monitors mounted at the same height with the sub in the middle. Basically, I need to either gut the dash, or live with a little bit less space for groceries. I went for the third option and got rid of the sub - I'll just build one in a crossover vehicle so it drives like a car but I'll have a lot more space for the audio system and the occasional cargo (trips to Home Depot, groceries and pet supples, a huge dog in the back with my cat in a carrier in the second row, etc).

 

This might be easier to mount somewhere convenient, but I can see it more for a bedroom HT system and have two of those on either side of the flat panel, next to the front left and right speakers. Then again, if it's in a bedroom, a bigger sub might more ideal for experimenting with 5hz tones and their effect on your date's crotch, which is why I put the sub in the cabin in the first place, and suffice to say that a 10in sub in a sealed 0.6 cu ft box does not produce the effect of anything like Spanish fly, even if it is mounted in the footwell. Not to mention that one experiment wasn't a date, but I drove a friend home (who has quite the reputation with guys who are not her friends), or that having a crappily "installed" POS down there might have actually been a turn-off.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 5/20/14 at 8:30pm
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

The problem with using a sub with a desktop system is that it will still be in a less than ideal place. . . .

I'm quite happy using my sub--rather than not having one--without worrying quite so much about all that. You just try the sub in a few places and see where it seems to perform best. That's definitely going to work better than tower speakers that are (a) being placed for more optimal treble and midrange peformance and soundstage and (b) aren't going to perform as well at the lower bass frequencies. And if the towers are removed, there are several places the sub could be tried in or close proximity to the front soundstage.

Meanwhile, the MM-6 measures pretty bad. There are bookshelf speakers and powered monitors that have equivalent bass frequency response (lol).


(blue trace is the sub)



For the cost of the MM-6, I would recommend the SVS SB-1000, which I own. Here is how it measures (from SVS's product page):

post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I'm quite happy using my sub--rather than not having one--without worrying quite so much about all that. You just try the sub in a few places and see where it seems to perform best. That's definitely going to work better than tower speakers that are (a) being placed for more optimal treble and midrange peformance and soundstage and (b) aren't going to perform as well at the lower bass frequencies. And if the towers are removed, there are several places the sub could be tried in or close proximity to the front soundstage.

 

When I had a full 2ch set-up - first with the Diamond 8.4 towers and then later the Pacific Pi10 - I also had a JBL subwoofer that I got on discount. I was using it in a more conventional manner (ie not near field), and the sub always had the tendency to pull the bass downward. I had to use an old car subwoofer box as a stand for it just to get the bass off the floor. This was a downfiring design though so that might have been a huge factor in this problem.

 

When I first put the sub back in its box and put it in storage, I didn't really hear a difference with music, unless I turn the bass high enough to really feel bass drum hits on my chest. For movies, instantly there's a difference, primarily that my windows were not rattling anymore, but over a few weeks I didn't mind anymore. When I upgraded to the Pi10, as to be expected it seemed to need the sub a lot more, but eventually boxed it up again when I realized how much tighter and more precise the overall bass presentation was. The only thing the sub really does better is kick me in the chest like I'm front row at a small bar.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Meanwhile, the MM-6 measures pretty bad. There are bookshelf speakers and powered monitors that have equivalent bass frequency response
For the cost of the MM-6, I would recommend the SVS SB-1000, which I own. Here is how it measures (from SVS's product page):

 

I actually suggested that Mirage to a friend when he said he was looking for the smallest subs possible, and I found it on the website by accident. We first planned to use  four Tang Band 6in subs at first, two each in a rectangular (vertically oriented) enclosure between the center and the mains. He eventually just went for an HTiB for his bedroom (free with the plasma he bought) so I never got to see how well the Tang Bands would have done in such a set-up.

 

In any case the frequency range alone isn't the only determinant for the performance of a small sub. Provided that one can live with a not really fullrange response, just like with my 2ch (or 5ch) set-ups, if you have a proper crossover network in the system like with an HT receiver, you can still get more bass out of them than with just the 2ch speakers by cheating on the sub amp gain. The response of the whole system won't be flat, but if what one needs is a compact system, doing so will allow for a lot of audible bass that can be kept tight as long as you don't design an enclosure that squeezes too much low bass response out of the small subs (with his bedroom set-up, the plan also included using bass shakers on the bed to compensate for the very low bass that one can feel). Again, this is the case when the priority is fitting the sub into a smaller setting. Another example are cars with 6in or 8in subs on the dashboard - factory systems use smaller subs while I've seen some show cars (and even actual SQ competition cars) mount an 8in on the dash just to make sure the bass will be where the other notes are. For most other cars though the trouble of mounting it and getting only a free-air sub (which aside from not sounding tight enough might actually send bass notes out through the A/C vents) isn't worth the trouble of just turning down the sub a little bit and using the time alignment on the processor (which is necessary in a serious car audio set-up anyway) to delay the front speakers to sync with the sub.

post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

When I had a full 2ch set-up - first with the Diamond 8.4 towers and then later the Pacific Pi10 - I also had a JBL subwoofer that I got on discount. I was using it in a more conventional manner (ie not near field), and the sub always had the tendency to pull the bass downward.

Sorry. I have no idea what that means. Never heard that kind of statement about subwoofer output before. Can you explain? Are you saying the sound was localizable to the sub?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

When I first put the sub back in its box and put it in storage, I didn't really hear a difference with music, unless I turn the bass high enough to really feel bass drum hits on my chest. For movies, instantly there's a difference, primarily that my windows were not rattling anymore, but over a few weeks I didn't mind anymore.

A different sub choice might have helped. JBL home audio subs are consider budget level, not good enthusiast SQ class subs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

In any case the frequency range alone isn't the only determinant for the performance of a small sub. Provided that one can live with a not really fullrange response, just like with my 2ch (or 5ch) set-ups, if you have a proper crossover network in the system like with an HT receiver, you can still get more bass out of them than with just the 2ch speakers by cheating on the sub amp gain. The response of the whole system won't be flat, but if what one needs is a compact system, doing so will allow for a lot of audible bass that can be kept tight as long as you don't design an enclosure that squeezes too much low bass response out of the small subs (with his bedroom set-up, the plan also included using bass shakers on the bed to compensate for the very low bass that one can feel). Again, this is the case when the priority is fitting the sub into a smaller setting. Another example are cars with 6in or 8in subs on the dashboard - factory systems use smaller subs while I've seen some show cars (and even actual SQ competition cars) mount an 8in on the dash just to make sure the bass will be where the other notes are. For most other cars though the trouble of mounting it and getting only a free-air sub (which aside from not sounding tight enough might actually send bass notes out through the A/C vents) isn't worth the trouble of just turning down the sub a little bit and using the time alignment on the processor (which is necessary in a serious car audio set-up anyway) to delay the front speakers to sync with the sub.

I think you might be over applying car audio experience to home audio subwoofer setups. Cars are extremely limiting environments that have their own host of problems for subwoofer placement and integration.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

OP might like the use of Dolby Headphone surround sound that the DG/DGX provides.

 

Just use foobar's surround plugin - no need to waste money on a soundcard for that...


Edited by elmoe - 5/21/14 at 11:25am
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Sorry. I have no idea what that means. Never heard that kind of statement about subwoofer output before. Can you explain? Are you saying the sound was localizable to the sub?

 

Yep, that's what I meant - car audio manner of saying is "pull(tense sufix) backwards." 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

A different sub choice might have helped. JBL home audio subs are consider budget level, not good enthusiast SQ class subs.
 
Actually I did briefly try a front-firing sub - my car's while it was in the shop for repairs (wired to the plate amp on the JBL). Same issue, and this has a front baffle angled upward (not that I expected that to make a lot of difference); it did however when I put it on the JBL sub, using it as a stand.
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I think you might be over applying car audio experience to home audio subwoofer setups. Cars are extremely limiting environments that have their own host of problems for subwoofer placement and integration.
 

Not necessarily - the only difference really is that in a car usually all issues emanate from the sub being in the rear, here the sub is still in front. And as in one of my other examples, I did use the sub inside the cabin, which is like using it under a table, which is why I brought them up in the first place.

 

If anything perhaps in your set-up the room doesn't screw up the bass too much, but mine did. There are general principles but in the end each room can present its own surprises that make comparisons difficult, given we aren't even using 3D CAD maps of each other's room.

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