Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Moving twords higher quality sound, need advice.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Moving twords higher quality sound, need advice.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey OCN!

I am wanting to make the switch from 3.5mm out of the back of my motherboard into something more quality driven. I currently am using my sig rig, with a pair of klipsch pro medias non wifi. I do game, i'd say 70% of the time. The rest is media. Not interested in headphones what so ever.

I have a few questions;

1. What should my next step be? New monitors? Amp?
2. What sore of cable type should I go for? Optical?
3. I'd like to stay 2.1 as you only have 2 ears and 2 ears is all you need for positional audio but if thats not possible, or if someone could explain why I need to add layers, LMK
4. I am on a budget, but things can be acquired over time. I am not looking for the best, just the next step.
5. I have a ADC SS 412x that my father gave me from way back in the day, could I use this for hardware EQ instead of software?

Any and all help is appreciated!

PS, anyone knowledgeable in old HIFI tech? I have a ADC SS 412x and a Sony TC K22 both in FANTASTIC shape. They look sweet and are the perfect size for a mini itx or micro ATX case. Are these worth anything? Or can I go ahead and stuff a media PC in there. -Thanks!
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 11
Some follow up questions

1. You say your on a budget but you'll need to be much more specific. You can spend anywhere form a few hundred to a few hundred thousand. How much are you looking to spend now and how much would you like to invest in a sound system overtime?
2. How much physical space are you dealing with? Do you want them on your desk or are you looking for more of an HTPC setup for "couch gaming"
3. What kind of sound do you like? Many times you can answer this by describing the genre of music you like.

To address some of your initial questions however
1. That really depends on what your target system ends up looking like.
2. Again it very much depends on how you plan on converting digital signals to analog
3. 2.1 is fine for most people, 5.1(or more) is good if you're primarily watching movies as movies do tend to be mixed for that a bit better but overall if you have a really good stereo setup you wont ever feel the need for more speakers.
4. Addressed above
5. You can use both of those if you want but an EQ is not needed in general IMO. You can try using it and see if you like it - note though that it may negatively affect the sound quality so you may end up taking it out. As far as the Sony goes - sure you can use that as a source if you have a bunch of old cassette tapes.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maeveth View Post

Some follow up questions

1. You say your on a budget but you'll need to be much more specific. You can spend anywhere form a few hundred to a few hundred thousand. How much are you looking to spend now and how much would you like to invest in a sound system overtime?
2. How much physical space are you dealing with? Do you want them on your desk or are you looking for more of an HTPC setup for "couch gaming"
3. What kind of sound do you like? Many times you can answer this by describing the genre of music you like.

To address some of your initial questions however
1. That really depends on what your target system ends up looking like.
2. Again it very much depends on how you plan on converting digital signals to analog
3. 2.1 is fine for most people, 5.1(or more) is good if you're primarily watching movies as movies do tend to be mixed for that a bit better but overall if you have a really good stereo setup you wont ever feel the need for more speakers.
4. Addressed above
5. You can use both of those if you want but an EQ is not needed in general IMO. You can try using it and see if you like it - note though that it may negatively affect the sound quality so you may end up taking it out. As far as the Sony goes - sure you can use that as a source if you have a bunch of old cassette tapes.

1. Looking to spend around $1200 over time. Currently look to make what I have better, adapters/cables?
2. I have 12feet of desk sapce. I have a huge nerd station haha.
3. I notice I have -3 on my 60hz, -3 on my 30hz and +5 on my 16k, +3 on my 8k. I like "clear" audio. I listen to alot of 80s style metal and 80s retro synth. Also listen to trap, future house and 90s gangster rap haha.
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 11
Alright so lets address some of this

First off - as a general rule your best bang for your buck(to a point) will be buying better transducers - basically the speaker. Buying more expensive cables is generally not going to improve sound by any significant degree if at all. The exception here is obviously if you have super trashy cables that are all screwed up. I'm going to assume your don't chew on your cables so we'll ignore buying any new cables.

By adapters you basically mean a DAC, that is a peice of hardware that handles the dequantization of audio files in digital form to produce an analog waveform. Generally using on-board sound is not suggested because when the audio processing is done there is usually not well shielded and you can introduce varying degrees of EMI(Electromagnetic Interference) that can affect the sound quality. From here you can do one of several things - you can get a motherboard that does a better job isolating the sound card portion of the board. You can get a dedicated PCIe expansion sound card. Or, what in my opinion is the best option, opt for an external USB or TOSLINK/SPDIF DAC.

USB DACs will generally be the easiest to use as they will for the most part be plug and play. However there is a small issue your using Windows. Windows does not support USB Audio 2.0 - this is not USB 2.0. USB 2.0, 3.0, ect is a specification of the version of the USB Bus used. USB Audio 2.0 is the second revision of a standardized way of interfacing with USB Audio Devices. Windows, including Windows 10, only out of the box supports USB Audio 1.0 which will only give you support for 24bit at 96khz.


On the topic of speakers generally the topology will look like this Source(DAC/PC/Sony) > Pre-Amp > Amp > Speakers. Sometimes some number of these may be combined or removed if you don't certain functionality. You can get some inexpensive integrated amps that are pretty good.

Now after all that - I'll circle back.

Let's be totally honest, the Klipsch Pro Medias are great starter speakers but if you're looking to graduate from that your best bet right now would be to save some money for some new speakers. Then shortly thereafter get a new DAC/Sound Card.

As far as direct suggestions on speakers - Here is a small selection of some suggestions

PSB Imagine Mini - $759.99-$829.99 USD - I am a huge fan of PSB(Lenbrook), they generally make very cost effective gear. These speakers are only moderatly larger than your current Pro Medias. They do not come with a Subwoofer however which means they will perhaps not "bump" as much as your used to but given their size they actually produce some great lows. I personally use these in my bedroom without a subwoofer. One downside for you also on these is that they are not powered, they are whats known as a passive speaker. You will need an external amp to produce enough power to drive them.

KEF LS50 - $1500 USD - These are one of my favorite pair of small "mini-monitor" speakers in the $1000-$2000 range. They use a coaxial driver to try to eliminate the effect of point sound but overall due to the coaxial design the one "driver" is a tad larger than you would get in a similarly sized speaker that used traditional drivers with crossovers. This ends up meaning the system can produce lows better. Again like the PSBs however they are passive so you will need an amp.

Mackie HR824mk2 - $699 - These unlike the other two so far are powered speakers, meaning they have the amp built in to the actual speaker so you only need to provide a single line level channel input to each speaker along with power. These are on the larger end though and depending on what else is on your desk you may have issue fitting them. Though as noted above their even larger size does allow them to produce very clean lows.

In reality there are tons of choices you can choose from but its all about priorities and what you can both physically and financially fit.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maeveth View Post

In reality there are tons of choices you can choose from but its all about priorities and what you can both physically and financially fit.


How far off in quality would something like some Mackie CR3's or M-Audio AV42's be in terms of what you suggested? More of the same like my klipschs? I deff don't want to go passive yet. I'd like to get some decent actives and a dac, then build a system overtime to swap to.
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by xFALL3Nx View Post

How far off in quality would something like some Mackie CR3's or M-Audio AV42's be in terms of what you suggested? More of the same like my klipschs? I deff don't want to go passive yet. I'd like to get some decent actives and a dac, then build a system overtime to swap to.

While I have not personslly heard the CR3s or the AV42s I'd say both would be just a hair above your current Pro Medias in terms of quality.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maeveth View Post

While I have not personslly heard the CR3s or the AV42s I'd say both would be just a hair above your current Pro Medias in terms of quality.

Really!? How much do you think i'd have to spend before I noticed a large gain in quality? $300?
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
post #8 of 11
It's not as easy but in general yes but I don't know your ears.

As I said before my suggestion is to save up and buy what you really want instead of spending money now on something you'll retire shortly.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maeveth View Post

It's not as easy but in general yes but I don't know your ears.

As I said before my suggestion is to save up and buy what you really want instead of spending money now on something you'll retire shortly.

Awesome, thanks for the advice. One more thing, any recommended DAC's? thumb.gif
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
Air Force 1
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 7600k @4.8 ASUS z170 Sabertooth S EVGA GTX 980ti Ref 2x8gb Ripjaw-X @3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD 2tb Black WD 1tb Blue Sandisk 120 Asus 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
CM Nepton 280L Windows 10 x64 lg 34uc69g-b Patriot v760 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ ZX 850 Phanteks Entho Pro Green Mionix Naos 7000 Custom 36"x12" starcitizen mat 
Audio
Dayton BR-1 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 11
I don't think cables will improve your current setup.

I'd probably go with Audioengine A5+ speakers ($399), the matching sub ($349), and a Schiit Modi 2 Uber ($149). Those speakers will sound great without the sub if you don't want to buy everything at the same time. They have a flat response all the way down to this note. The Modi's response is ruler flat and the distortion is well below hearing ability. If you want to go cheaper for speakers I hear good things about JBL's more affordable options like the LSR305.

If you want to stick with 2.1 I'd suggest making sure your speakers match the sub, regardless of which brand you go with. Pretty much any powered studio monitor plus the matching sub should sound much better than the promedias. However, I would be wary of multimedia/lifestyle lines of speakers from companies that also make pro monitors, where the multimedia version is much cheaper than the company's other products, like the CR3. IMO you're just paying for the name here.

Any USB dac that goes higher than 24/96 will have drivers that allow windows to handle it. I'm using a Modi 2 uber right now and it goes up to 24/192.

I'd go USB over optical. The one time I'd choose optical is if you need to electrically separate the dac from the computer.

In terms of cables, all you need is a cable that functions properly. By that I mean there are a lot of cables that do strange things to the signal either intentionally or unintentionally that alter the sound. A properly constructed cable should pass the entire audible bandwidth without messing with it. This company sells good cables. According to science those are the best you need.

If you want to read more head over to head-fi.org and check out the computer audio section, or computeraudiophile.com.
Edited by Mrip541 - 2/10/16 at 9:33am
Main
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4770k MSI Z87I Gaming AC EVGA 1080ti sc2 G.Skill Sniper Series DDR3 2400 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 850 Evo Corsair H100i Win 10 Acer CB240HYK 
MonitorKeyboardCaseAudio
Dell SC2417DG Realforce Topre Corsair 250d Schiit Stack 
  hide details  
Reply
Main
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4770k MSI Z87I Gaming AC EVGA 1080ti sc2 G.Skill Sniper Series DDR3 2400 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 850 Evo Corsair H100i Win 10 Acer CB240HYK 
MonitorKeyboardCaseAudio
Dell SC2417DG Realforce Topre Corsair 250d Schiit Stack 
  hide details  
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Cards and Computer Audio
Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Moving twords higher quality sound, need advice.