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Computer Workstation - Audio Setup Help

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello all. As my post count would suggest, im new. :)

 

In the next few months I will be building/buying myself a new workstation, probably 4.5ftx2ft surface space just as an indication.  None of my equipment is bought yet, but I have a few things in mind and would like help figuring out the rest as I am also buying a record player and would like to incorporate that into the setup. I also enjoy playing/recording a bit of guitar.

 

So, my planned setup is as follows :-

 

Monitor - Dell Ultrasharp U2414H 23.8"

Computer - Macbook pro, probably the 13" but maybe 15"

Record Player - Project Debut Carbon (White)

Mic - Blue Yeti Pro

Headphones (monitoring) - Audio Technica M50x's

 

Like I said, nothing bought yet but have the above in mind. If anything above/below is overkill, inconsistent or incompatible please let me know.

 

Below is where I am needing help.

 

DAC - Do I need one?

Headphones (listening) - ?

Speakers - As I have will have the monitoring headphones as mentioned above, should I just get a pair of speakers for listening to music or monitoring as well?

If possible, I want speakers that will hook up to the record player, laptop and my phone when required.

 

I should mention that I am predominently going for a black and/or white high gloss theme where possible, if not then silver.

 

May be asking a bit much due to the space ill have but thats why im here to find out. :)

post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 

Not sure how to edit my post but I forgot to add.

Ill have a tv on the wall by the workstation so if the audio can be attached to that too all the better. I feel I am pushing it quite alot now though haha.

post #3 of 23

Actually, with that number of inputs, you need to find a suitable preamp or integrated amplifier - one with a phono preamp built in or you'll need an external phono preamp.  I would concentrate on that first as there are some available that have a built-in DAC and some have a headphone jack.  You should probably start with that first.

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

You're talking to a complete novice here bud, lol, do you mean a speaker with a preamp/integrated amplifier?

 

I should say, the most important input for the speaker is the record player, everything else comes secondary, so if I just have to use headphones for the computer thats fine.

post #5 of 23

OK, "bud".  You'll need a cartridge for that turntable.  It may come with one as part of a package.  It will most likely be a moving magnet type.  It will have an output level of 5mV or less.  Way, way too low to be used without a phono preamp.  The phono preamp also adjusts the response curve for your records.  Without it, things will sound odd.

As far as speakers go, you can use powered or passive.  With powered speakers, all you would need is a primary preamp with at least enough inputs for all your sources.  It may or may not have the additional phono preamp you need for your turntable.  You want some way to switch between your computer, turntable and TV and a simple way to control the volume of all those things.

Passive speakers will require a power amplifier to drive them.  That can be an integrated amp - one that has a preamp and power amp in one box.

Go look at something like the NAD 3020 and you will see what I mean.

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

Not sure why the quotation marks with bud, I wasnt being rude its how I address people, friendly like lol.

Alrighty thats starting to sink in a little, I think! I am fairly sure the cartridge comes with the turntable but will double check.

Ill check out the amp you suggested, thanks for that.

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLX34 View Post
 

Not sure why the quotation marks with bud, I wasnt being rude its how I address people, friendly like lol.

Alrighty thats starting to sink in a little, I think! I am fairly sure the cartridge comes with the turntable but will double check.

Ill check out the amp you suggested, thanks for that.

 

I think DrKC was just calling you bud back, trying to be funny in a mocking way.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Ah, well good, didnt want to come across as rude in my 2nd ever post haha.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLX34 View Post
 

Hello all. As my post count would suggest, im new. :)

In the next few months I will be building/buying myself a new workstation, probably 4.5ftx2ft surface space just as an indication.  None of my equipment is bought yet, but I have a few things in mind and would like help figuring out the rest as I am also buying a record player and would like to incorporate that into the setup. I also enjoy playing/recording a bit of guitar.

So, my planned setup is as follows :-

Monitor - Dell Ultrasharp U2414H 23.8"

Computer - Macbook pro, probably the 13" but maybe 15"

Record Player - Project Debut Carbon (White)

Mic - Blue Yeti Pro

Headphones (monitoring) - Audio Technica M50x's

Like I said, nothing bought yet but have the above in mind. If anything above/below is overkill, inconsistent or incompatible please let me know.

Below is where I am needing help.

DAC - Do I need one?

Headphones (listening) - ?

Speakers - As I have will have the monitoring headphones as mentioned above, should I just get a pair of speakers for listening to music or monitoring as well?

If possible, I want speakers that will hook up to the record player, laptop and my phone when required.

I should mention that I am predominently going for a black and/or white high gloss theme where possible, if not then silver.

May be asking a bit much due to the space ill have but thats why im here to find out. :)

 

Spend a little more for a 27" display monitor ($349) and get something very close to an Apple $1000 display monitor.

27in IPS-ZERO-G Slim Monitor WQHD 2560x1440 - Dual Link DVI, VGA

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=114&cp_id=11401&cs_id=1130703&p_id=10509&seq=1&format=2

Will need a display-port to dual DVI-D adapter

 

Monoprice 5" studio monitors, $170.79

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=115&cp_id=11504&cs_id=1150401&p_id=605500&seq=1&format=2

 

I'm guessing for under $20, you can get an audio input selector box.

Getting an external DAC, for use with the Macbook is optional.

 

The ATH-M50x headphones have a loud bass and recessed mids, so for a few dollars more should be able to find something with a more quality bass and stronger mids.

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLX34 View Post
 

Ah, well good, didnt want to come across as rude in my 2nd ever post haha.

No, it's not a problem - just poking fun at you.

I suggested the NAD 3020 so you could read about it - maybe download the manual and peruse it - as a way to learn about some of this stuff.  There are other similar products.  I picked the 3020 because it had Bluetooth for your phone, USB for your computer, an analog input for your turntable and phono preamp and a coax and optical input for your TV.

I should ask if your emphasis will be on recording since you were referencing a monitor function separate from your music listening.  If recording is a big part of your set up, then that's a different kettle of fish.  You want an audio interface (most likely USB) with low or zero latency monitoring for that.  These interfaces will usually have phantom power so you can use condenser as well as dynamic mics.  If you are trying to set up a DAW - Digital Audio Workstation - you should probably start with your local Guitar Center or something like it if you have one in your city.  If not, I'll recommend Sweetwater sound as a good place to call.  They will stay on the phone as long as needed to help you find what you need.  You can get their 800 number from their website.  You should probably get your recording stuff set up "right" before you tackle a music listening system.

That doesn't change what I told you earlier about the turntable or having a way to easily control all your listening stuff.  I'll help with any questions I can factually answer for you.


Edited by DrKC - 5/10/15 at 5:50am
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

Is there a reason to not get the NAD D3020, rather than the NAD 3020?

I ask because as I was looking at the 3020 I came across the other one and it looks like it has much about the same features in a more pleasing form factor for me personally.

 

With regards to entertainment vs recording, entertainment is more important. I would like to get into recording more which is why I would like the option but it will not be the most important part of my set up, just an added bonus.

 

I should mention that I am in the UK not US so calling Sweetwater may cost an arm and a leg haha. I have been on their website and emailed them before though and they have been helpful. I do not have any electronics shops near me as I live in a fairly remote part of the world, so thats why I signed up here for advice. :)

post #12 of 23

Yes, you want the new digital product.  The original NAD 3020 is a much older analog product.  It's the D version you want.

OK on the UK, I didn't know.  There are good sites for setting up DAWs at home - HeadFi isn't really the place for that.  Search on DAW for forums that specialize in that or maybe check the Marshall, Peavey ,Gibson, etc sites and see if they have a DAW section you can read and post questions about your specific needs.  Latency can be a real drag.  It's the delay between when you pluck a string and you actually hear in your headphones or monitor speakers.  If you're riffing furiously and you have a lot of latency, it will f*** you up.

Just something to keep in mind.

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Ill put the recording side of things on the back burner for the moment and look into that once I have the initial set up done, at the moment ill just concentrate on getting the whole tv/record player/laptop speaker set up in order so that I know what im doing.

 

I have been reading up some more on the NAD D3020 and have seen in a few places that in order to connect it to the record player ill need a phono box (NAD PP2?). Does that sound right or am i getting mixed up?

post #14 of 23

You're correct.  The NAD PP2, if I remember, is a pretty good phono preamp or phono stage as their often called.  It's not too expensive,I hope.  Phono preamps can range in price from around $15US to more than $2000US.  Your turntable will connect to it and it's output will connect to the analog in on the 3020.

Now you get to look at and select some speakers.  There's only about 300 or 400 models to choose from lol.

Since you're in the UK, check out some of the Wharfedale bookshelf speakers.  They are well regarded and maybe there is someplace you can go and listen to a few different pairs.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Reading a bit more on the record player I mentioned, it has a built in preamp which I dont think can be bypassed/turned off, so looks like im gonna have to search out a different record player if built in preamps arent that great. One step forward... lol.

Yeah the speaker side of things will be a whole other challenge, again going to have to throw my mercy at internet reviews as I have no audio shops of any kind near me. Ill check out the wharfedale ones.

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