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How's this for mid end computer audio? - Page 2

post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 

The 880 600ohm have been in the mail for a few days, forgot about that. Really long day, you know how it goes. It was a good deal and I can sell the 595s and some other random electronics and come out on top. The onboard audio is disabled. The main reason why I love the STX is because I can switch from headphones to speakers using a single button. I should also add that I'm not getting any interference on the speakers. The headphone amp is the only one affected, that's why I'm driving it with the NAD CD player for now.

 

I realize the speaker setup is less than ideal but I got a really good deal on the towers. I was originally planning to use them with my HTPC setup and that would probably be a way better choice. I ended up really liking the sound so I kept them in my room. I'm using the receiver balance to take a bit away from the left speaker and that worked out pretty well. When it's in the middle the sound is HORRIBLE. I know it's a PSW10 but it's turned WAY down. I generally find the towers themselves have more than enough for my tastes. I usually listen to a lot of acoustic stuff and classic rock.

 

Thanks to everyone who posted, I'm enjoying reading the discussion. Eventually I will get monitors instead for this setup, but it won't be for a long while. Probably a year or more. Any recommendations? I don't want to spend over a grand on them.

 

As far as the sound card and DAC deal goes, how much difference in sound quality is there between the Schiit Modi and Bifrost? I figure if I'm gonna get one, might as well get a good one and not worry about it again. Either that or I can build one, but I haven't looked into what kits are available.

 

A final thing: I enjoy the way the STX colors the sound before it goes to the receiver and headphone amp. I have different op-amps on the card too. I assume all of that will go away when I switch to a dedicated DAC, right? Maybe I got used to it but I ended up liking the way it sounds :(

 

Thanks again everyone!


Edited by ady1989 - 5/21/14 at 11:25am
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

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

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.

Nearfield use with a computer setup is different from an HT or music setup in a room. Room acoustics have less impact on the the frequency response.

Before you give up on home audio subs yourself, you should (a) try a higher class of sub, (b) use dual subs, and (c) use room correction or EQ to help with further smoothing the response after optimum placement has been determined. This is where car audio differs from home audio, in that you can potentially have more placement options in a room to provide better response. And higher quality subs do make a good bit of difference in SQ.

As for the OP, he's currently using a $100 budget sub. So I think he could obviously get some very good improvement by simply buying a better sub.
post #18 of 35

If you like what you have - why upgrade?

post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

If you like what you have - why upgrade?

 

Because I'm having noise issues from the sound card with a GTX 770 video card. It's coil noise that I can hear on the card itself if I move my head close and REALLY hear when listening to headphones, hah.

 

Also the way I had these speakers set up before I changed desks recently was that they were on the sides of a corner (L) desk pointed right at my ears and they sounded better. Not ideal, but better. They will work famously for home theatre/ HTPC speakers and sub. I like their sound, just not the way they sit in this room.


Edited by ady1989 - 5/21/14 at 11:35am
post #20 of 35

Did you try moving the soundcard to another slot? Perhaps moving it slightly further from the GTX will help.

post #21 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

Did you try moving the soundcard to another slot? Perhaps moving it slightly further from the GTX will help.

Yeah, I tried a ton of combinations. Nothing helps too much.

post #22 of 35

By chance did you ever try another cable? I mean the one that goes from your soundcard ---> headphone amp.

post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

By chance did you ever try another cable? I mean the one that goes from your soundcard ---> headphone amp.

I did, a few actually. Everything from a cheap 3 dollar one to my custom made one with quality components and really good insulation. The problem is inside the computer, not between the amp and sound card :(

post #24 of 35
What kind of soundcard are you using? If internal, an external DAC might help a lot.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ady1989 View Post
 

I did, a few actually. Everything from a cheap 3 dollar one to my custom made one with quality components and really good insulation. The problem is inside the computer, not between the amp and sound card :(

 

Yeah I figured it would be worth a shot. The problem is that even if you go with an external DAC this noise might come through the USB/SPDIF cable so I don't want to tell you to buy one if you're going to end up having the same problem...

 

There are solutions to this, such as taping the 5V link on the USB cable and powering the DAC with an external PSU but that will definitely have you spending more money.

 

In the end it might even be cheaper for you to just upgrade your motherboard instead, as that could solve the problem altogether also. Unfortunately it's hard to say what exactly could fix it with you spending as little as possible.

 

Personally I would try many things with the PC first:

 

- Completely take apart the PC, motherboard out of case included, clean off all dust (esp from the GTX's fans), then put it back together.

- Try another case

- Try another PSU

- Try another motherboard

- Play with NVidia fan settings, see what gets rid of the noise, if anything.

 

However I have 3 computers in my house so all this I could do without spending money.


Edited by elmoe - 5/21/14 at 12:09pm
post #26 of 35
Thread Starter 

I'd prefer to go optical or coax with the DAC. I think USB would sound fine though. I switched to a USB mic and other people can't hear my GPU whine on Skype any more. cel4145, I'm using a Xonar STX.

post #27 of 35

Optical/Coax/USB is all the same thing. You will be sending a digital signal to your DAC, meaning it will bypass your soundcard entirely even if you use your soundcard's SPDIF outputs. USB will simply enable you to not have to use the soundcard at all (which you can sell, and get back some of the money you spent on a DAC).

post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Nearfield use with a computer setup is different from an HT or music setup in a room. Room acoustics have less impact on the the frequency response.

 

Actually my concerns with nearfield use is a lot more with localization, which is what I started out with in this thread. My post on the response and the tiny subs had a lot more to do actually with a strategy I had before for just doping the upper bass response so that a pair of smaller subs for a smaller room will add punch and even some tactile bass (well, maybe with the help of a bass shaker), which I am alright with given the primary goal would be to get a surround set-up in a relatively small room.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Before you give up on home audio subs yourself, you should (a) try a higher class of sub, (b) use dual subs, and (c) use room correction or EQ to help with further smoothing the response after optimum placement has been determined. This is where car audio differs from home audio, in that you can potentially have more placement options in a room to provide better response. And higher quality subs do make a good bit of difference in SQ.

 

I haven't totally - when I set up my HT I'll still use subs - you can't have a real HT set-up without them. However for 2ch aside from all I've discussed previously I would then need to use an HT processor in order to have room correction, EQ, and adjustable high- and low-pass crossovers to smooth out the transition and overall system response. These features that you can find in a car audio processor, which is why I brought it up not thinking of it as over thinking it. Also, as when I used the Nissan as an example, it was an example of how placement isn't that limited - there won't be the same number of options of course however they require a lot more creativity and skill to pull of properly. 

 

And also the dual sub set-up - I did consider that when I was helping a friend brainstorm what to do with his bedroom HT; unfortunately he went for an HDTV with a free HTiB rather then let us see how a pair of taller sub enclosures with twin 6in woofers do instead of 8in subs that tend to be deeper and won't fit that well where he planned to use them. When I do my own HT I'm planning on using two good quality 8in subs in omnidirectional towers (with a "diffuser" on top, which is just a heavy piece of wood, basically putting a down-firing sub upside down) along with omnidrectional towers for the other 5 channels. The goal, again, has some compromise to prioritize a few things over others. In this case, a relatively small rectangular room but minimizing imaging issues for people seated farther out left and right (as it won't be one of those huge theaters, there's not enough space for an elevated row of seats behind the first one), hence the omnis. It will take a lot of prototyping but I'm very excited for it - I might even start on it here at the house I grew up in (my parents got a new house, effectively leaving this with me), but I have to keep in mind that the speakers I design for the room here might not work as well elsewhere! :tongue_smile:

 

For my two channel system though I'll still use "subwoofers," but still not sure in what form aside from that I'd build them myself instead of using active subs. What's sure though is that there will be subwoofers, one on each side, but not sure if I will integrate them into the same tower enclosures as the midwoofer and tweeter or build them shorter towers separately. Or if I should just go for these, which already employ 8in woofers and huge ports (and by all accounts did not end up with loose bass), and also I won't need to have the crossovers customized (not to mention the diffusers on these have been properly designed already). I was impressed with the entry level product when I got to try them over here; unfortunately no one has ordered those speakers and so the dealer hasn't yet either. I'll egg them to bring one for the November Hi-Fi show though.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

As for the OP, he's currently using a $100 budget sub. So I think he could obviously get some very good improvement by simply buying a better sub.
 

In any case I just read that the OP has his sub turned way down, which is generally the same idea with how I use my car subs so that they just fill where the midwoofers roll off (my crossovers were at HP 80hz@12db/oct, LP 60hz@24db/oct; sub amp gain at proper setting then -6db on the processor output so I can easily just turn it up if the music needs it). In his case though the towers probably go down to 40hz before it rolls off sharply, which is why in my previous 2ch set-up I was able to do without a sub.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 5/21/14 at 12:12pm
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

And also the dual sub set-up - I did consider that when I was helping a friend brainstorm what to do with his bedroom HT; unfortunately he went for an HDTV with a free HTiB rather then let us see how a pair of taller sub enclosures with twin 6in woofers do instead of 8in subs that tend to be deeper and won't fit that well where he planned to use them. When I do my own HT I'm planning on using two good quality 8in subs in omnidirectional towers (with a "diffuser" on top, which is just a heavy piece of wood, basically putting a down-firing sub upside down) along with omnidrectional towers for the other 5 channels. The goal, again, has some compromise to prioritize a few things over others. In this case, a relatively small rectangular room but minimizing imaging issues for people seated farther out left and right (as it won't be one of those huge theaters, there's not enough space for an elevated row of seats behind the first one), hence the omnis. It will take a lot of prototyping but I'm very excited for it - I might even start on it here at the house I grew up in (my parents got a new house, effectively leaving this with me), but I have to keep in mind that the speakers I design for the room here might not work as well elsewhere! tongue_smile.gif

Where the towers are placed is typically not the best place for subwoofers to be. I would encourage you to join this forum and start learning about home audio subwoofers and their integration. Avoid the frankenstein subwoofer/speaker setup and small 8" driver subs. There's lots of good advice about subwoofer choice and integration in home theater and home audio setups, and your strategies don't reflect an understanding of the basics. Time and time again over on AVS, newbies have come back for help because they found that out that subs integrated into towers are the wrong way to go. And 8" driver subs are very ineffective for home theater usage because they typically don't have the SPL output and they definitely lack the low end bass extension. So I would encourage you to learn more from the home audio subwoofer experts instead of just trying to apply what you learned in car audio. smily_headphones1.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

In any case I just read that the OP has his sub turned way down, which is generally the same idea with how I use my car subs so that they just fill where the midwoofers roll off (my crossovers were at HP 80hz@12db/oct, LP 60hz@24db/oct; sub amp gain at proper setting then -6db on the processor output so I can easily just turn it up if the music needs it). In his case though the towers probably go down to 40hz before it rolls off sharply, which is why in my previous 2ch set-up I was able to do without a sub.

That's a good strategy for the PSW10, because it's a cheap sub, and speakers can probably produce better SQ midbass. However, for better quality subs that can be well integrated into a setup with room correction and bass management, the best integration is a good bit above the tuning point of the speakers, as speakers produce more distortion at or near the tuning point (and then that whole factor of speakers typically not being placed well for bass response for the listening position).
Edited by cel4145 - 5/21/14 at 12:27pm
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Where the towers are placed is typically not the best place for subwoofers to be. I would encourage you to join this forum and start learning about home audio subwoofers and their integration. Avoid the frankenstein subwoofer/speaker setup and small 8" driver subs. There's lots of good advice about subwoofer choice and integration in home theater and home audio setups, and your strategies don't reflect an understanding of the basics. Time and time again over on AVS, newbies have come back for help because they found that out that subs integrated into towers are the wrong way to go. And 8" driver subs are very ineffective for home theater usage because they typically don't have the SPL output and they definitely lack the low end bass extension. So I would encourage you to learn more from the home audio subwoofer experts instead of just trying to apply what you learned in car audio. smily_headphones1.gif
That's a good strategy for the PSW10, because it's a cheap sub, and speakers can probably produce better SQ midbass. However, for better quality subs that can be well integrated into a setup with room correction and bass management, the best integration is a good bit above the tuning point of the speakers, as speakers produce more distortion at or near the tuning point (and then that whole factor of speakers typically not being placed well for bass response for the listening position).

 

Actually, going back to that SVS you posted, and also with some sub experts, I remember I had this one session at a local Aurum Cantus dealer who had somebody from the SVS distro come in and set up one of their 10in subs. Still didn't work for me - the bass from the sub was not in sync with the speakers they set up. The subs don't reinforce the impact of the upper bass notes, and the decay of the bass guitar notes tended to last too long. By contrast the towers with I think 8in bass drivers had tighter bass without much sacrifice in the deep bass extension, but of course that required a powerful stereo amp. In any case I did not say that using subs with towers was "wrong;" what I was saying was that by the looks of it the placement of that sub is far from ideal, given he can feel the bass on his pants and the glass desk a few microseconds before he hears the actual note (which is what localizes it), and sometimes having it in front while sitting in the more usual position relative to the speakers will still require a lot more tweaking on the system to get right, which in some cases the very low notes (which a lot of music aside from, say, Beethoven and Lil Jon don't have much of) can be sacrificed in favor of better integrated bass straight out of both channels if the tweaks will require too much work, especially if it's two channel and you don't want to use a receiver with a processor.

 

In any case the reason why I'm going for "Frankenstein" subs is because there is a reliable speaker fabricator in my city (well, on the opposite end of the metro actually - we don't have the same mayor) that can help me out with this, especially with crossover designs and finish (not likely as I plan on using paint, for reasons that will be discussed below). I want to explore omnidirectional speakers given the room shape which is a a very wide rectangle, meaning there will be people too far from the opposite side mains; this is in the house I'm in right now but even a larger room closer to a square if I build my own house later will still benefit from properly-designed omnis. That same shape of  the room can also be a problem for the sub. Unless I can put the sub in the center of the room. Like I said a few posts ago, even though a sub is generally omnipolar, it doesn't mean it is impossible to localize.

 

The other reason that I forgot to mention as to why I am designing the speakers as such is because if I  do get to build my own house, I want the living room to be the HT room. Again, I am not after absolutely perfect acoustics, but I am still minimizing very problematic ones instead of just throwing an HTiB in there, but the main priority for me is that I see HT as a very social thing where people can sit down, watch movies or play video games, and have easier access to the kitchen (unlike my 2ch rig which will be hidden away in a room inside another room for sound isolation, where I can listen loud or be tortured in a home invasion and no one will hear me). Putting the HT in a room, more so a room on the upper floor as in the library that I might convert (thanks to digital books) in this house, means that we are too far from the kitchen, and I'll have to tell everyone to get rid of their shoes before going up the stairs since we don't track outdoor muck from under our footwear around the upper areas; not even our pets can be there unless they're fresh out of the shower (and all litterboxes are downstairs). Speaking of pets, there's the practical reason for the omni speakers: it's a lot easier for them to scratch the drivers if they're on the front. No speaker grill will stop a cat with claws climbing up them, whereas a grill to cover the space between the diffuser and the driver will have more space between them and the surrounds. Finish on the speakers will necessarily need to be tough while maintaining some degree of elegance inside a house -  like coating the wood enclosure with fiberglass to protect from moisture (you never know when they'll cough up a hairball on it, or piss on them if they're sick) then coated with auto paint or something.

 

Oh and one more thing with "Frankenstein" subs: the enclosure design. Even the subs great for music are designed with the need to make Transformers and LOTR exciting for buyers, but from my (admittedly not as wide) experience with home subwoofers, I would need to spend a lot of cash just to get one that can keep up with the mains on Dream Theater: Live at the Budokan and Kamelot: One Cold Winter's Night, like JL Gothams. If I "Frankenstein" my subwoofers, I can use a relatively high-Q sub that does well in a sealed box if necessary for my goals (although a small ported one will do, but have the slot port exhaust on the same side as the woofer baffle), design it to reinforce the lower notes on really fast double-pedal bass drum action, while the surface area of the sub for the most part as well as turning it up when necessary (movies like LOTR, Star Wars, Transformers, etc) will still have a heck of a lot of improvement over not having any subwoofers (even with quality towers). Essentially, instead of, say, JL Gothams, I can just get a used pair of 8W7 or 8W3V3 (just as an example; I'll still use home audio sub drivers) and get them on enclosures with the aforementioned design parameters.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 5/21/14 at 10:54pm
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