I'm posting in this forum because I'm hoping to get some input from both headphone and hifi people.
Being a relatively poor college student, a computer geek, and a big fan of headphones, my music-listening "setup" takes the form of my trusty PC, my Grado sr125s, and a hell of a lot of (high quality) mp3s. While I realize this is far from an ideal situation in terms of sound quality, I'm really not going to be able to afford a real hi-fi system or even an amp for at least a couple years. However, software and soundcards are cheap.
So my question is this: does anyone on this board use their PC as their main listening hardware? Describe your setup. What type of soundcard? How about software tricks to reduce noise or enhance headphone listening?
Also, does anyone have "computer speakers" that they think are decent quality for music listening? It's hard to filter through all the marketing noise.
Since you have a desktop PC, you should go for the ART DI/O, which costs about $120. This is a no-compromises solution that (with minor mods) some have compared to dedicated CD players costing more than $1000. Do a search on this board or Audio Asylum and you'll find lots of praise for this little box.
You'll have to add a headphone amp too, and there are plenty of low-cost solutions there. Most people would recommend getting a Meta42 from either JMT, Eric, or Tangent (about $140), or a CHA47 if money is tight.
Top Mall-Fi poster. The T in META42. Formerly with Tangentsoft Parts Store
Sep 27, 2001
I only use headphones on my computer for occasional gaming, so I've put the lowest-end of everything I have on it, more or less. I used the Creek OBH-11 amp, partly because it had no other home, but also because of the loop-through jack: the amp goes to the sound card, and the regular PC speakers go to the OBH-11's loop-through jacks. Since my speakers have a Mute button, I can turn them off when I want to listen through the headphones. The amp sits on top of the computer box, where it's easily accessible for changing the volume.
At first for headphones I used the Senn HD-570s, but something about the combination was really horribly bright. The Senns themselves have some brightness, but this was exceptional -- it was literally painful to listen to, even after fiddling with software equalization a bit. I'm now using Grado SR-60s with the headband well-stretched. This is quite well balanced -- to the extent that I can play Diablo II without my headphones making me want to quit faster than my interest wanes. I can play Diablo for hours on end, so that's a pretty significant statement about the listenability of this combo.
For what it's worth, the sound card is a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz.