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post #31 of 38
Some people would say that the Z-2300's are a bit boomy on the extreme low end (the sub distorts) and lack in the mids and highs. It's a small difference, though, and comes down to personal preference.
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post #32 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyd View Post

Some people would say that the Z-2300's are a bit boomy on the extreme low end (the sub distorts) and lack in the mids and highs. It's a small difference, though, and comes down to personal preference.

Trick to 2300s bass is to keep the bass knob all the way down. Then adjust EQ to taste at desired levels. The mids and highs have always been crisp and bright on mine. Again... EQ.
post #33 of 38
Yeah it's personal preference and they trade blows, really. If you don't have a decent DAC or soundcard and use 320kbps MP3 at minimum, the difference won't matter.

So pick whichever one you think will fit your taste and take into account price, looks, and availability.
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post #34 of 38
I temporarily installed the new Xonar Essence STX sound card yesterday afternoon to feed my Corsair SP2500. The card itself is in permanently but I used a stock four pin Molex cable that came with the PSU to route power to the card and didn't bother to hook up the front panel audio cable yet; I'll deal with making a new cable for the PSU to the sound card and rerouting the front panel audio cable (that will be fun) on Monday or Tuesday after I get the pins I ordered (they've been delivered but I haven't gotten around to picking them up yet).

I'm still fooling around with the settings (between Media Monkey, the new sound card, and the new speakers, there are a few dozen possible combinations) but the new sound card is going to be a keeper. Already, the sound is significantly improved over the onboard sound. Tympani now have a nice, natural resonant sound instead of just a thud. I can now hear the bowing on cellos and double basses. The control panel for the sound card is a bit less than intuitive but, between trial and error (mostly the latter) and the instruction manual, I'm slowing sussing it out.

I was hoping for a dynamic compression option but the SVN (Smart Volume Normalization), designed to level volume between various inputs, works somewhat similarly to dynamic compression. The speakers also have a setting that provides some dynamic compression and boosts the treble and bass a bit called Dynamic Pop. I hadn't used it with the onboard sound because I liked the Wide setting better but the new sound card also has a Wide setting so that freed up the Dynamic Pop setting. By combining the two, I get an acceptable amount of dynamic compression. The curious thing is, with the slight bass and treble boost I get from Dyanamic Pop, I can run both of the EQs (Media Monkey and the sound card) flat and still get a reasonably decent sound. Right now I'm running a bit of manually set bass boost in Media Monkey's EQ tapering up from 125Hz going down and using the Classical EQ setting on the speakers.

The volume control on the control panel is a weird virtual rotary knob instead of the more traditional slider. It works fine but will take a bit of getting used to. Most of the time I use the audio controls on my Logitech G110 keyboard (that thing has me spoiled).

The only disappointment is the lack of a loudness setting. It doesn't lose too much when the volume is turned down but it could be better. Even the Realtech onboard sound had one of those. Oh well, one can't have everything. Someone makes a supposedly better driver for the card so I fired off an email to him, asking if it added a loudness setting.
   
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post #35 of 38
Might want to forget about some of those typical gamer-type sound settings, if you're moving towards the audiophile world, you'll lose those for more manual, customization heavy configurators.
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post #36 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyd View Post

Might want to forget about some of those typical gamer-type sound settings, if you're moving towards the audiophile world, you'll lose those for more manual, customization heavy configurators.

I went with the computer speakers due to space issues. The Corsair/Xonar combo sounds surprisingly good for a computer speaker system. I've had bigger, supposedly better speakers powered by a receiver/amp in the past and they didn't hold a candle to these.
   
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post #37 of 38
Yeah I don't get the hype over piecing together a speaker set at very low budgets.

All I'm saying is that you may be losing some of the features that you got with onboard sound for gaming motherboards.
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post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillyd View Post

Yeah I don't get the hype over piecing together a speaker set at very low budgets.

All I'm saying is that you may be losing some of the features that you got with onboard sound for gaming motherboards.

Fortunately, budget wasn't a problem for me (not much, anyway; I did wait for it to go on sale tongue.gif). The lack of space to put components is a huge one. The last component system I had cost far more than this one and didn't perform as well as the Corsair/Xonar combo. Even the Corsair alone would have beat out the component system.

I'm not a gamer so that isn't an issue. The only feature my onboard sound had that the new card and speakers lack is loudness control and I don't really miss it. Apparently, the new card has some of that function built in so the apparent loss of bass when the volume isn't all that noticeable. The features and degree of control I gained, not to mentioned the improvement in sound quality, far more than make up for the partial loss of that one feature.
   
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