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Active monitors connected to laptop

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi Guys,

I really want to improve sound quality on my current 40 buck laptop audio setup (integrated sound card->headphone out->Logitech X230). As a first step I want to replace my speakers. I've already narrowed my choices on two active monitors that accept unbalanced input, either KRK RP6G3 or JBL LSR305. Owner's manual of the latter one states that it accepts unbalanced input on it's 1/4 jack too. As a total newbie I've already spent few days googling just to increase my headaches from all the information. At this point I know it is not good idea to feed pre-amped headphone output into active monitors. So what do you suggest if I have only this output? Could an external USB HD sound card solve my problems? Creative SOUND BLASTER X-Fi HD card looks like the best bang for the buck. It has line out jacks for active monitor input. Or maybe should I rather, if it even helps, use external DAC on headphone output?

Thank you.

post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbass View Post

use external DAC on headphone output?

Thank you.

Well, a DAC is a Digital to Analog Converter.

The output of the headphone out is analog.

Hence this won’t help you.

 

Proceed stepwise.

Get a decent pair of active monitors.

This certainly will improve the sound.

Get used to them, fool around with settings, position, etc.

 

Probably the headphone out is not the best there is.

Once you know (and got used to)  your speakers, improving on the analog part is your next step

 

Success

 

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbass View Post

At this point I know it is not good idea to feed pre-amped headphone output into active monitors.

It will still work much better than Logitech X230s.

If you want to go with a separate DAC, do you need headphone output from it too? If not, you could just grab a Schiit Modi. Or for headphones output, too, to use with your laptop, and Audioengine D1.
post #4 of 6

If you do go the active monitors route (recommended) you will sooner or later want a handy, physical volume control.

 

There is a whole family of devices designed to work between pro hardware like active monitors and audio software.

Here is a sample of the available audio interfaces.

 

http://www.scan.co.uk/shop/pro-audio/all/interfaces/usb-audio-interfaces

 

I think this one might suit you.

 

http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-audio-interfaces/traktor-audio-2-mk2/specifications/

 

Barely $100 and you get transparent audio on two programs of audio each with it's own volume control. iOS compatible as well.

 

But like Roseval says above. If money is really tight just get the monitors now. That will give you at least 95% of the audible benefit. Get an interface later when you have a better idea what you want.

post #5 of 6

I used this el cheapo $49.00 Fostex PC- 1EX ( now discontinued ) for my desk top system with no issue.

 

Fostex PC-1EX Speaker Volume Controller

 

 

Since I have more than one set of Pro studio monitors, I am looking at this Big Knob instead.

 

 

 

post #6 of 6

If you need a DAC and a good analog volume control, I recommend the AE D1. ( $169.99) 

 

 

 

 

 

Best wish.

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