Want to upgrade, but can't choose what?!
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Destroysall

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Hello all!
 
 
I've been looking to upgrade from my old and current standard audio configuration, and while I have a few upgrade possilibities in mind, I'm still having trouble settling on one.  I primarily listen to music (metal, rock, pop, electronica, classical) and watch movies/videos.  I don't game ever so often, maybe every few days here and there or so.  Just getting that out there.  I plan on purchasing a sound card, a 2.1 channel speaker setup, and a good set of headphones (no headsets).
 
 
So, there are two sound cards which I've drawn down to, they are the Asus Xonar D1, and the Asus Xonar Essence ST.  I can't use a PCI-E Interface soundcard due to the fact that I don't have any more slots available, just PCI.  I liked the Xonar Essence ST because of the dedicated headphone amp.  I think it would be perfect for the Sennheiser HD555 (the headphones I have already been set on).  I also liked it because of the RCA outputs it has, which I think would come in handy for a decent speaker setup.  I considered the D1 if I were just to get a speaker setup, but I still wish to purchase the HD555s and use them to their full potential, so I am not too sure if the D1 is the right choice.
 
Now as far as speakers go, here is my primary problem.  Which one??  At first, i initially was going to go with the Klispch ProMedia 2.1 Speaker System, but then noticed that both the Bose Companion 3 and the Corsair SP2500 are only $50-$70 more than the Klipsch.  The other speaker system that falls in that price range that I was recommended to are the Audioengine A2s.  While those do not come with a Subwoofer, they have the option to have one added on later on.  I like all of these speaker systems, but can't decide between any of them.  I am of course, open to any other suggestions.  My budget currently is $250 max.
 
 
Anyways, I hope someone can help with this,
 
Thanks in advance,
 
 
 
Destroysall
 
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trog

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Hmm u need to squeeze a sound card, speakers and Sennheiser HD555 with $250? How did the AE2 get in the equation cos these come @ $199 brand new 

 
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nyjets28

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i agree with trog..you might have to expand your budget or only get 2 out of the 3 for now or some combination of the two...AE2's are great. i used to have promedia 2.1 but the bass was too bloated and i decide to go for the AE2's. and recently i purchased a separate sub to go along with it. sounds so much better than the klipsch set.
 
afaik, you don't NEED to amp your HD555 so i wouldn't worry about an dedicated amp portion of whatever sound card you are planning on getting.
 
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TexasBuck

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I've had the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1's for about 4 years.  I've been itching to upgrade to Swans or M-Audio's for several months, but I can't seem to part with the Klipsch.  They sound great to me.  I'm scared to death I'll spend 2-3 times more on new ones and not like them as much.  I'd definitely recommend the Klipsch for the price.
 
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nyjets28

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if you could stretch it jsut a bit more, i'd def go for the a5's. can't say i heard them but i've read that the bass is more than sufficient and you can always add on a sub later on down the road as well. a5's go for 325 brand new; so maybe you might even be able to find a used pair for 250 though.
 
otherwise i'd go for the a2's and use the extra money for better headphones..or start saving up for a sub :)
 
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Destroysall

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I'll have to think about the A5s.  Maybe if I can find for a good price used I'll jump the gun.  However, I do have a question or two about the A2's though.  The only gripe I'm having with these is that I read on Audioengine's website that you can't turn it up all the way without it becoming heavily distorted.  I mean, I normally don't do that, but sometimes I do.  They say the distortion is caused by the bass.  If I were to add a subwoofer to the A2, would that help eliminate any distortion?  Also, do they have both good mids and highs?
 
On the other hand, I did manage to hear the Corsair SP2500 today, and I was really impressed with the bass, however it was very overpowering when turned up.  I heard this set at a local store, so I'm not too sure if they were connected to a sound card or anything.  I'm hoping they weren't because I wasn't too excited about the sound of the mids and highs like I was for the Bose.  However, along with the subwoofer, what impressed me was how you could turn it up all the way and have no distortion of any sort at all.
 
 
 
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trog

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Destroysall

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Quote:
if you could stretch it jsut a bit more, i'd def go for the a5's. can't say i heard them but i've read that the bass is more than sufficient and you can always add on a sub later on down the road as well. a5's go for 325 brand new; so maybe you might even be able to find a used pair for 250 though.
 
otherwise i'd go for the a2's and use the extra money for better headphones..or start saving up for a sub :)
 
Hmm, suppose I go with your second recommendation, wouldn't I need at least a DAC for the headphones??  I know people say you don't need an amp or anything for the HD555, but I read somewhere that they are 120 ohm headphones, wouldn't you need a DAC to get the most out of them?
 
 
And I like that deal, trog, I think I might just start looking for some decent receivers on craigslist and see what I can find.  I would have jumped on one of those two deals, but I don't live in either of those states, =P lol.
 
 
On another note, while on Amazon, I found the Sennheiser HD558s, which they are saying is the newer version of HD555, are these any good?
 
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trog

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Yep $60-$100 in the used market can get you some rather decent AVR/stereo amps so an avenue worth snooping into 

 
Quote:
And I like that deal, trog, I think I might just start looking for some decent receivers on craigslist and see what I can find.  I would have jumped on one of those two deals, but I don't live in either of those states, =P lol.


 
 
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Destroysall

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I'm gonna keep my eyes peeled for any good deals that may pop up around my area.  I hear a lot about Onkyo receivers, so I always search for them, but what are some other good-branded name receivers I should keep an eye out for?
 
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trog

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Well you could read up on any AVR/amp deal that interest you where u at but i wouldn't dismiss stuff by brand alone cos all brands makes both lemons and gems hehe Typically Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, Sherwood, HK  are very readily available preety much everywhere but if a not so familiar sounding brand pops up these can be just as good 

 
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nyjets28

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you did say you are getting a sound card no? if so, then you have your dac covered. afaik, an amp won't really improve your hd555 too much. DAC is to bypass the onbaord sound - its has nothing to do with the impedence of the headphones. the impedence is what may or may not drive you to getting an amp to sufficiently power your headphones.
 
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Destroysall

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Quote:
you did say you are getting a sound card no? if so, then you have your dac covered. afaik, an amp won't really improve your hd555 too much. DAC is to bypass the onbaord sound - its has nothing to do with the impedence of the headphones. the impedence is what may or may not drive you to getting an amp to sufficiently power your headphones.

I did say I was getting a sound card.  However, last night I was looking at the FiiO E9, and I was wondering, couldn't this be used the same way as the Asus Xonar ST?  Like it seems you could run both speakers and headphones through it.
 
 
 
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trog

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the E9 drives headphones only not speakers. I do however have a E7 + L7 feeding a stereo amp/bookshelf speaker set up and am very pleased with the results/flexibility/price-performance 

 
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