Need help setting up a sweet system!
Nov 25, 2009 at 8:24 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

syrianrue

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Hi guys,

I just recently ordered a sennheiser hd595, and as a huge music lover, i simply can not wait for it to get here!! However, i was wondering if anyone could give me some ideas for a sweet audio system?

*goal* to set up a nice system with computer as the source (with digital music being more prevalent these days and with the quality of the lossless music files and the ease in organization) it just seems like the better way to go.

I will be using my headphone while on my desktop (where i spend a lot of time at) However, i also have a laptop that i would love to use to play music in the living room when i have guests over for dinner parties and what not.

I know that i probably would need a great soundcard for my desktop (that would probably be the first priority i'm guessing.... any suggestions?

also, i hear people talking about DAC, and amplifiers (what does the DAC do exactly? what's better? tube dac? how does this actually make the digital sound sound better?

Amp, i hear a lot of amps for headphones.... but can i also use them if i decide to not use the headphone, but to play music through the speakers? for example, when i'm entertaining guests?

lastly, are there any good computer speakers that rivals the regular speakers? like bmw, jbl?

oh, and let me know if i missed anything!!
 
Nov 25, 2009 at 9:48 PM Post #2 of 17

ipumuk

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a dac, digital analog converter, is a soundcard.

at the same price a soundcard usually provides more features like 7.1 sound and a recording ability. the dac will have better soundquality but only turns the digital input into an analog signal.

some dacs also come with an built in amp. you can recognize them by their volume knob.

as you want to use your desktop pc and your laptop you need an external dac or soundcard.

tube amps are not better. they are different. they distort the sound in way that usually gives the listener the impression of a "warmer" sound.

you should find out what you need. an external soundcard with lots of features or a simple dac to playback stereo signals only.

so far I would recommend a DAC+AMP combo at your given price range. they start at $70.

by computer speakers you mean speakers that you can turn off and on right? they haven an built in amp. no they can not rival regular speakers. but they are also at a different price range and size.
stereo computer speakers cost less than 300$.
simple passive stereo speakers go for around 250$ (new). in addition to that you need a stereo amp for 100$ (used on ebay). it will sound better than any computer speakers.
 
Nov 26, 2009 at 5:19 AM Post #3 of 17

syrianrue

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so a DAC is basically the same thing as a computer soundcard?
what's 7.1 sound by the way?

and since i want to be able to use the dac (or sound card) for my desktop AND laptop, it would be better to get an external dac or external soundcard right?

another question of mine is... if i have some nice JBL speakers.. can i somehow use those speakers can somehow connect them to my computer?

lastly, can sound quality of a computer source system rival that of the traditional system (receiver, amp, speakers, cd player) etc ?
 
Nov 27, 2009 at 6:53 AM Post #5 of 17

fraseyboy

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Sound cards do have built in DAC's but they never really very good quality. The best way to get quality audio from your PC is with an external DAC and a sound card.

You buy an external DAC of some sort (like the Beresford TC-7510 for example) and then use either the optical or coaxial output from your soundcard to get the music to it. Since optical and coaxial is digital, its just bits and bytes so you can get away with buying a cheapo soundcard (I do believe the Chaintech AV-710 is a favourite here) since the sound will end up at the external DAC untouched by the soundcard. All a DAC is does is convert the 1's and 0's from the computer into sound that you can hear it.

Some DAC's have built in amps which aren't too shabby, or you could get an external headphone amp which would plug into the DAC. You would then plug your headphones into this external amp.

Presuming you get standard PC speakers with 3.5mm output, you probably shouldn't run them through the headphone amp. You would, however, run them from your soundcard which would be fine.

In my experience, a good external DAC will make a bigger difference than a headphone amp.
 
Nov 27, 2009 at 9:19 AM Post #6 of 17

oqvist

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There is many soundcards that rival even more expensive DACs that´s for sure.

But as mentioned an external DAC is practical since you can jump between different computers or location more easilly. But you will have to pay more to get equal sound quality in general.
 
Nov 27, 2009 at 10:33 AM Post #8 of 17

Gbjerke

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The hifiman EF2 is a good choice. DAC and Amp at the same time. Since the HD 555 benefit from amping you'll hear difference from both the DAC making the analog signal better, and the hd 555 sounding better because of the extra power.
Head-Direct.com | YUIN
190 Bucks. And you get tooobs. It sounds pretty good with the HD 600 as well, if you'd like to upgrade sometime, though i'm sure this system will idd please you

Never really liked computer speakers. I'd get some bookshelves and a cheap power amplifier instead. or you can check out some active speakers (inbuilt amp) but don't go after the small PC ones.
 
Nov 29, 2009 at 6:47 AM Post #9 of 17

krohm

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im in a similar situation, im wanting surround sound from my computer to do video editing on but would also like the option of playing stereo for my headphones.

so i need a soundcard that can have two channels, is that right? one could connect to the surround sound speaker system, say, the logitech z-5500 system, or are the edifier's considered better?, and the other channel could either directly plug into my headphones, or plug into a dac +/or amp, then plug my headphones into that.

what kind of soundcard would i need for that.. or what options should i be looking at.
i have sennheiser hd650s and am not taking advantage of their supposed power and am wanting to change that. but also need the surround sound, so what is my best option here. ild like an external sound card probably, sick of plugging my headphones in and out of the back of my pc. so i need a good soundcard option initially, and a good surround sound option, then i can easily add a dac/headphone amp for my headphones after...

any help would be appreciated...
 
Nov 29, 2009 at 8:22 AM Post #10 of 17

Neil.Heretical

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Quote:

Originally Posted by krohm /img/forum/go_quote.gif
im in a similar...any help would be appreciated.


PRESONUS, Echo Audiofire and many firewire 1394 sound cards are good enough. Still HD650s require an amp.
 
Nov 29, 2009 at 2:33 PM Post #11 of 17

leeperry

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fraseyboy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sound cards do have built in DAC's but they never really very good quality. The best way to get quality audio from your PC is with an external DAC and a sound card.


humm? are you mixing DAC chips and DAC devices? the best soundcards run AK4396 or PCM1792A chips, these are some of the best DAC's...and some external headphones amps are the other way around, you get a nice sounding amp w/ a low quality USB input DAC.
 
Nov 29, 2009 at 6:09 PM Post #12 of 17

ROBSCIX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fraseyboy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sound cards do have built in DAC's but they never really very good quality. The best way to get quality audio from your PC is with an external DAC and a sound card.

You buy an external DAC of some sort (like the Beresford TC-7510 for example) and then use either the optical or coaxial output from your soundcard to get the music to it. Since optical and coaxial is digital, its just bits and bytes so you can get away with buying a cheapo soundcard (I do believe the Chaintech AV-710 is a favourite here) since the sound will end up at the external DAC untouched by the soundcard. All a DAC is does is convert the 1's and 0's from the computer into sound that you can hear it.

Some DAC's have built in amps which aren't too shabby, or you could get an external headphone amp which would plug into the DAC. You would then plug your headphones into this external amp.

Presuming you get standard PC speakers with 3.5mm output, you probably shouldn't run them through the headphone amp. You would, however, run them from your soundcard which would be fine.

In my experience, a good external DAC will make a bigger difference than a headphone amp.



Some of the newest soundcards have some of the best DAC's available.
Many of these cards also, have the sam DAC chip as many of these high end DAC's. There are only so many good units out there.
There are good and bad units from internal and external.
 
Nov 30, 2009 at 5:39 AM Post #13 of 17

krohm

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ok sounds like i should be getting a great sound card (considering they have great dac's in them) that can run two channels, one for my headphones, and a headphone amp at a later stage, and the other for my surround sound speakers for vid editing..

now what and what should i be getting.. what soundcard and what surround sound speakers... like to get a pretty good sound card, willing to spend a few hundred, and likewise with the speakers, willing to spend 5-700

the headphone amp can come later..

if i get a decent set of surround sound for the pc, can i plug them in temporarily to an amp/receiver ill be getting for another room...
 
Nov 30, 2009 at 7:00 PM Post #15 of 17

game_fanatic

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Sorry to thread jack here, but if I'm looking at using my Macbook as the source with lossless audio, all I would need to get is a DAC/AMP, correct? Then I could connect my laptop to my home theatre receiver or stereo receiver through the DAC/AMP combo? Or am I missing something? Thanks!
 

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