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Rebuilding the Hi-Fi system... need suggestions!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone, so, for reasons that I won't be getting into due to their incredibly boring and personally infuriating nature, I'm in the process of rebuilding my HiFi system, and I'm looking to incorporate my computer into it.

So, right now, here's what I have:
• 1 computer with plenty of USB plugs, S/PDIF coax and optical ports
• 3 pairs of headphones: ATH-M50, Shure SE215, Turtle Beach HPA2 (strictly for gaming)
• 1 FiiO E5 that I use with my iPhone
• 1 truly enormous collection of music (vinyl, CD, FLAC and 320 mp3)
• 1 set of Harman Kardon 2.1 Champagne speakers: [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Champagne-3-Piece-Computer-Speakers/dp/B00005B9AU"]Amazon.com: Harman Kardon Champagne 3-Piece Computer Speakers (Black): Electronics[/ame] (For the record, I have had these for 11 years and they still function fine, but they sound exactly like you'd expect. They came free with a Dell laptop I got when I went away to college.)

Here is what I am looking at acquiring (In the order listed):
• NuForce uDAC2
• M-Audio AV40 speakers
• Receiver
• Direct Drive turntable (probably Audio Technica)
• CD player

Ok, so here's the deal (and my questions):
• It looks, though I am not certain about this, that the uDAC 2 has both a headphone port and a stereo RCA out. Is that correct? Would I be able to run the computer to the uDAC 2 via USB and then the uDAC 2 to the receiver via RCA line out?
• What stereo receiver (preferably with an AM/FM tuner, I've seen several that don't have these... odd) would you recommend?
• What about a turntable and a CD player?

These are my considerations:
• I am a musician. I make music, listen to music, love music, etc. I am not really an audiophile, though. Or at least I wouldn't really self-classify as such. In other words, yes, I can hear and appreciate the differences between Audez'e headphones and my M50s, but I can not justify the difference in price for it. I'm all about bang for buck and getting up to the point of diminishing returns and not an inch further. I'd rather listen to my music than my equipment and I'd rather have more money for more music and more concerts.
• Price, price, price, price and also price. I just spend $2,200 building a new PC. I would like to get the best bang for my buck, not the best equipment money can possibly buy. So, for the purpose of establishing a budget, I will spend no more than $200 per piece here. And, in an ideal world, I'd spend less.

If you have suggestions for other DACs or whatever, please feel free to chime in. I've got RealTek onboard audio now and it blows. It pops and cracks and catches interference from the rest of my machine, but it's just going to have to do until the DAC can be bought. In my mind it's imperative that the DAC have a line out for the receiver.

And that's about it. Thanks!
post #2 of 5
I just recently upgraded my audio set-up and have the M-Audio AV40 speakers. I love them. Seriously for the money they sound great. The low end was surprising as well even though I can see myself getting a sub in a couple of months when I have the money. Go give them a listen somewhere if you can.

Now for the real fun part and the complications:

I also got myself a turntable. If you want to save money and get a decent turntable you will have to go oldschool and ebay/craigslist/garage sale. These newer USB turntables at the low end price point do not compare at all with older ones at the same price. I picked up a Technics Sl-5300 for 70 bucks and it sounds amazing.

With these older turntables however you will need a phono pre-amp. The signal coming from the TT is not like a signal out of a say a mp3 player or CD player - it is not line level. To plug an old TT into a receiver or even the powered AV40s you will need a phono pre-amp. I got mine from amazon for 20ish bucks. [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-PP400-Ultra-Compact-Phono-Preamp/dp/B000H2BC4E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304354455&sr=8-1"]Amazon.com: Behringer PP400 Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp: Musical Instruments[/ame]

Also, because those speakers are powered, so far you will not need a receiver. This is my setup:

Inputs: Computer, Turntable, Cassette deck
Those three run through this mixer: [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-502-XENYX502-5-Channel-Mixer/dp/B000J5UEGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1304354546&sr=1-2"]Amazon.com: Behringer XENYX502 5-Channel Mixer: Musical Instruments[/ame]
Output: M-Audio AV40s
Molly
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Molly
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post #3 of 5
to answer the first question: Yes, you would plugin the uDAC into the computer by USB and then you can use the RCA outs to connect to the receiver.

are you going to be using the receiver just for the turntable and CD player?
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmiles;13356253 
are you going to be using the receiver just for the turntable and CD player?

Receiver will be for FM, vinyl and CDs at first. The M40s are a stopgap, really, too. I want some nearfield monitors like the Rokits, so when I can afford them, I'll upgrade from the M40s and run those off the receiver too.
post #5 of 5
If you plan on using active speakers, you'll need to make sure whatever receiver you buy has preouts.
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poo
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