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New audio setup guide/help! urgent.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey OCN team, I am ready to buy a new Audio setup but would like some suggestions and opinions as to if it is worth it or just stay the way i am. Ok, so my current setup is basically my sig rig which you can see paired with a sound blaster ZXR, and for audio i have a Logitech Z906.

I am considering getting a An A/V Receiver with speakers but i am lost. I see they sell the receivers separate from the speakers and some that come pre-equipped in a box ready to go. Would any of these be better than my Logitech Z906? Does anyone use there PC paired with an AV receiver?
Oh and if i do go with the receiver, how in the world do i get speakers for it? I dont understand that,
post #2 of 7
Read this first. Then we can answer your questions

Requesting Some Audio Advice Here? READ THIS FIRST!

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post #3 of 7
Active speakers (aka. powered speakers): Have their own amplifiers integrated inside them.
Passive speakers: Needs an external speaker amplifier, for example an A/V receiver.

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And read the sticky about requesting advice^
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Silent Hawk
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post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Bonez View Post

Hey OCN team, I am ready to buy a new Audio setup but would like some suggestions and opinions as to if it is worth it or just stay the way i am. Ok, so my current setup is basically my sig rig which you can see paired with a sound blaster ZXR, and for audio i have a Logitech Z906.

I am considering getting a An A/V Receiver with speakers but i am lost. I see they sell the receivers separate from the speakers and some that come pre-equipped in a box ready to go. Would any of these be better than my Logitech Z906? Does anyone use there PC paired with an AV receiver?
Oh and if i do go with the receiver, how in the world do i get speakers for it? I dont understand that,

Many people use amps/dacs/hifi speakers with their computers. You are best off going to the computer audiophile forums (google it) and asking there.

To answer your question, you go to a HIFI shop and you buy an integrated amplifier (don't buy an A/V receiver unless you have to. A stereo amp for $500 will sound much better than a 7.1 A/V receiver for $500) and some speakers. You should also consider a DAC.

Or, if you want to go the easy, and very good sounding route, you can pick up a pair of KEF X300A's. They will murder (viciously) your Logitech speakers, and have internal 24/96 DAC for high res music enjoyment. That'll run you about $900 for a pair. I have the bookshelf version with the same driver. It's impressive.

If you want real big boy sound, you should look into a proper setup. Yamaha makes high power integrated amps at a low price and they really don't sound too bad. Maybe pick up a 75W>8Ohm integrated amp from Yamaha and pick up something like the Totem Kin 2.1 setup (Two Totem Acoustics Kin bookshelf speakers + the Kin subwoofer). That'll run you about $1700 all in. Since you're spending that much, you really ought to get a DAC as well, as the sound quality from even the best internal soundcard can't compete. Look at something like the Schiit Bifrost ($400ish).

Then from there you can grow your system by adding a headphone amp like a Gustard H10 and high(ish) end headphones like Hifiman HE 560s and you'll be all tricked out.

Now that you have a Mid-Fi audio setup you'll want high resolution music. Get your hands on some 24 bit tracks and enjoy. You should get a TIDAL subscription too. Streaming flac. 20 million tracks.

If you want my opinion- in terms of bang for your buck getting into SERIOUS quality audio, just get the KEF X300A's. They're a good deal considering you're getting dual DACs, class A/B amplification, and the equivalent of Q300 speakers for like $900. You can buy them online from KEF's website.

"But Mistersprinkles, I don't want to spend $900"

Ok. Pick up a pair of Presonus Eris E5's for $360 and hook them up to your soundcard ( you will need a stereo TRS 1/8th inch to dual TRS mono 1/4" cable. Get it on Ebay.)

That'll murder your Logitech Speakers just fine and come in on budget. Don't expect anything close to the KEF's from the Presonus. It's an inferior product. That's why it costs half as much.

If you happen to live in Toronto or near Toronto message me privately and I'll tell you some good places to go to buy your stuff.
Edited by mistersprinkles - 10/11/15 at 8:28am
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistersprinkles View Post

If you happen to live in Toronto or near Toronto message me privately and I'll tell you some good places to go to buy your stuff.
Or at least be able to listen to what differences you'll hear from different components. That will help you answer questions like "If I spend twice as much money, will it sound twice as good?"

Listening before you buy (even if it isn't listening to what you actually end up with) is very important to helping you understand the differences (in sound quality) that you get from different components. Knowing that will go a long way in helping you pick the components what will give you the best sound you can get for your budget.
My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
MouseAudio
Logiteck G400s none 
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My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
MouseAudio
Logiteck G400s none 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 7
Hi there, been dabbling in Home Theatre for 16ish years now. I'll throw in my opinion.
If you go the A/V receiver/speaker route or the stereo amp/speaker route - make sure the speakers you buy are meant to sound decent in the locations you plan to put them. Some designed for stand mounting can still sound decent on bookshelves and others really ought to be put on stands with lots of breathing room. Also don't get sucked into the complication of a/v gear - 90% of the features and 'benefits' you see offered from one piece of gear to the next are so subtle that they're realistically not worth your money - OR they require every piece of equipment in that chain to be of equal calibre to garner any noticeable improvement in sound. True differences in fidelity are noticed from going between a $2000 amp and a $15,000 amp - not between a $800 amp and a $1000 amp. So do this:

-listen to everything before you purchase anything.
-bring music you're familiar with in the highest quality
-listen to amps/speakers at LOW volumes - salesmen have a tendency to crank up volume when demoing a unit because high volume will always sound better and more exciting to the human ear. Make sure you see how the gear sounds a moderate to low dB. Also listen to a track that has dialogue (especially if doing a 5.1/7/1 setup)
-purchase what sounds the best to you. in the end this matters more than any technical jargon or sales pitch.

on a personal note i strongly recommend a Yamaha reciever or stereo amp for a VERY solid entry level punch to your setup. I've listened to many and at the entry - mid level price point the Yammys blow everything else away to my ears. Denon are also good, Pioneer make beautiful receivers in their Elite line but they sound a but 'gutless' compared to a Yamaha or Denon. Also look at Onkyo although I've heard how they're notorios for running hot which may be an issue depending on where you place it. Marantz are also very solid. HarmanKardon are generally cheaper but decent if your budget is squeezed. Sony's new models got glowing praise so they're worth looking at too. It's only when you get into the higher end of amplification that you may want to look at more specialized brands.

good luck.
Edited by uacGALACTIC - 10/22/15 at 8:08am
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by uacGALACTIC View Post

Hi there, been dabbling in Home Theatre for 16ish years now. I'll throw in my opinion.
If you go the A/V receiver/speaker route or the stereo amp/speaker route - make sure the speakers you buy are meant to sound decent in the locations you plan to put them. Some designed for stand mounting can still sound decent on bookshelves and others really ought to be put on stands with lots of breathing room. Also don't get sucked into the complication of a/v gear - 90% of the features and 'benefits' you see offered from one piece of gear to the next are so subtle that they're realistically not worth your money - OR they require every piece of equipment in that chain to be of equal calibre to garner any noticeable improvement in sound. True differences in fidelity are noticed from going between a $2000 amp and a $15,000 amp - not between a $800 amp and a $1000 amp. So do this:

-listen to everything before you purchase anything.
-bring music you're familiar with in the highest quality
-listen to amps/speakers at LOW volumes - salesmen have a tendency to crank up volume when demoing a unit because high volume will always sound better and more exciting to the human ear. Make sure you see how the gear sounds a moderate to low dB. Also listen to a track that has dialogue (especially if doing a 5.1/7/1 setup)
-purchase what sounds the best to you. in the end this matters more than any technical jargon or sales pitch.

on a personal note i strongly recommend a Yamaha reciever or stereo amp for a VERY solid entry level punch to your setup. I've listened to many and at the entry - mid level price point the Yammys blow everything else away to my ears. Denon are also good, Pioneer make beautiful receivers in their Elite line but they sound a but 'gutless' compared to a Yamaha or Denon. Also look at Onkyo although I've heard how they're notorios for running hot which may be an issue depending on where you place it. Marantz are also very solid. HarmanKardon are generally cheaper but decent if your budget is squeezed. Sony's new models got glowing praise so they're worth looking at too. It's only when you get into the higher end of amplification that you may want to look at more specialized brands.

good luck.

I would recommend Yamaha for another reason- it's not very colored sound. Most brands have a "brand sound" like Marantz which is smooth and warm or Onkyo which is bright. Yamaha is pretty un-colored and that's a good first stop on the HIFI train. If you don't know what kind of sound you want, buy the generic sound. Also, Yamaha is good bang for buck in the sub $1000 segment.

Also, remember that for $1000, a 2 channel amp will ALWAYS sound better than a 5 or 7 channel amp will because you are only amplifying two channels. It's common sense.
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