Looking for some advice about my current audio setup
Jul 5, 2012 at 9:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

bobby92

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Hey there everyone,
 
I've been browsing these forums for quite some time now, I'm considering buying some new audio equipment. I've got a pair of M-Audio BX5a deluxe monitors, Grado SR-60i's, and a Yamaha MW10 mixing board.
My main question is whether if it would be a good idea to purchase a DAC, I really don't need to have a USB mixing board at my desk anymore. I've been looking at the TubeMagic D1 and the DAC from Emotiva, as a possible options that would have the features I would want.
I also was considering potentially getting a portable DAC like the uDAC2 because the internal audio in my thinkpad is terrible. I do plan on getting better headphones eventually, but should that come before the DAC? Will my studio monitors benefit from a better DAC, rather than my MW10 board? Thanks for your input! 
 
Jul 11, 2012 at 12:35 AM Post #3 of 10

bowei006

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A good DAC would be nice but considering the price of those monitors....hmm. How about just a standalone DAC? You are paying for the combo package of other's as well as an amp.
 
Kiteki likes the AK4396 or the Musiland Monitor O1 so I guess you can give those a look see, they are $80 and use some high quality DAC's. Not many head fiers have tried it but the people at DIY audio seem to really like it. The aK4396 uses the same DAC found in the AudioEngine D1.
 
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=AK4396&_sacat=0
 
 
Oh and "Welcome to head fi!" Sorry about your wallet!"
 
Jul 11, 2012 at 12:46 AM Post #4 of 10

bobby92

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Okay, I'll definitely consider those. Do you think that my current monitors/headphones will benefit from a DAC, or would I be better off buying better headphones at this point?
One of the reasons I considered the D1 is so that I could also connect headphones to it, would I have to get some sort of splitter and headphone amp setup for the AK4396?
 
Jul 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM Post #5 of 10

bowei006

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Quote:
Okay, I'll definitely consider those. Do you think that my current monitors/headphones will benefit from a DAC, or would I be better off buying better headphones at this point?
One of the reasons I considered the D1 is so that I could also connect headphones to it, would I have to get some sort of splitter and headphone amp setup for the AK4396?

There is little to no info on the DAC in the MW10 other than 96/24 operation, how it's intergrated could also affect sound. Just because it's a name brand doesn't mean that they did the circuits for the DAC or other parts fully correct. As in least amount of noise and distortion. Think of spending hours on the circuits to FINE TUNE the device, the device can still work if there are circuits in it's path that add noise or just random things, but as audiophiles we like devices that have good circuits and intergration so that noise, distortion etc won't be unnecessarily be added.
 
IT's easier to tell the difference with more expensive studio monitors and headphones, but at $80, it might be ok. I'll ask Kiteki and bring him here to this thread, as we are on a tipping scale. Personally I would say to wait till you get more expensive equipment and headphones to get a DAC as you are currently rightt in the middle. The $150 studio monitors aren't expensive but you are also entering the range of starting to care.
 
Jul 14, 2012 at 10:02 PM Post #6 of 10

bobby92

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Yeah, I also tried to find some information about the MW10 and didn't come up with much. The studio monitors are getting old, I did pay 300 for them new a while back but I know that they are only entry level speakers. I really don't use them as much as my headphones, so I guess that would take priority over speakers at this point as they aren't bad.
Essentially, if I did buy a DAC now I would want to spend the extra money to ensure that it will perform well with a nice pair of speakers and headphones later. However, if it would make more sense to get more expensive headphones at this point, since I use them way more often, and buy a DAC later, that also would be okay with me. 
 
Jul 14, 2012 at 10:34 PM Post #7 of 10

bowei006

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Quote:
Yeah, I also tried to find some information about the MW10 and didn't come up with much. The studio monitors are getting old, I did pay 300 for them new a while back but I know that they are only entry level speakers. I really don't use them as much as my headphones, so I guess that would take priority over speakers at this point as they aren't bad.
Essentially, if I did buy a DAC now I would want to spend the extra money to ensure that it will perform well with a nice pair of speakers and headphones later. However, if it would make more sense to get more expensive headphones at this point, since I use them way more often, and buy a DAC later, that also would be okay with me. 

With your current headphones($60)....it would not be justifiable right now. Save it, and put a DAC and headphone fund up. IT's worth it to wait when you have the money for a new headphone setup!
 
Are you using a Mac or a Windows PC? Are you plugging the headphones into the mixing board when mixing or using them with your comptuer after you are done?
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 5:57 PM Post #8 of 10

bobby92

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I'm using both Windows 7 and Ubuntu. I actually don't use the mixing board for recording that often anymore, I just use it to run my studio monitors and headphones. It has a switch to toggle between the two outputs which is handy. I've got some other audio gear that I might sell, so I'm considering possibly buying a pair of headphones in the $300 to $400 range and a good DAC to go with it. 
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM Post #9 of 10

bowei006

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Quote:
I'm using both Windows 7 and Ubuntu. I actually don't use the mixing board for recording that often anymore, I just use it to run my studio monitors and headphones. It has a switch to toggle between the two outputs which is handy. I've got some other audio gear that I might sell, so I'm considering possibly buying a pair of headphones in the $300 to $400 range and a good DAC to go with it. 

Good for you!
 
There are some options but full desktop seems to be best, in that range you could get
STandalone DAC +Standalone amp
Combo amp and DAC
 
or combinations of the few like a Combo amp and DAC lining out to another amp for consistent testing (if you just want to test the amp section) etc etc.
 
Don't go too crazy when you sell stuff, make sure it's what you want and everything!
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 9:03 PM Post #10 of 10

proton007

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Headphone > Amp/DAC.
So get a nice headphone first. You'll be able to better appreciate the Amp/DAC upgrade.
 

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