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question about buying speakers for $150, do i also need a new soundcard?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Right now i use a boston acoustics 2.1 speaker set connected to the back of my computer through the standard soundcard that comes with my ud3l motherboard, so it just has the green and pink 3.5mm jacks. When i want to listen to music on my headphones i connect them into the speakers headphone jack, because they seem to sound much better there instead of the cheap jack on my computer. Im guessing because the speakers have an amplifier where the headphone jack is so it sounds better through there, as opposed to when i plug directly into my computer it sounds quiet and hollow, probably because of the cheap soundcard.

Now im planning on buying a new set of 2.0/2.1 speakers, for about $150, and a lot of them like the audioengines have the red and white rca jacks on the back and no headphone jack. So to connect the speakers to my computer i would need a rca to 3.5mm adapter, but what about if i want to use my headphones? That would mean that i would need to connect them directly to the computer where they would sound bad.

Basically i'm asking if i get a pair of speakers with no headphone jack/amp, then would i need to get a new soundcard with a headphone amp as well so i could plug in my headphones to the soundcard and have good sound. Would headphones connected to a dedicated soundcard sound better than speakers with an included headphone jack, or is there really not a difference? Should i just buy speakers that include a headphone jack?

I also wouldn't mind suggestions on 2.0/2.1 speakers for $150 =]
Edited by tigim101 - 2/27/11 at 1:48pm
post #2 of 12
First off what kind of speakers do you want to get and what kind of headphones do you have. Whether or not your headphones connected to a soundcard would sound better than new speakers drastically depends on how good your headphones are. For many headphones, the extra power from an amp is not necessary and will not improve sound quality that much. With that being said, a good sound card will give you an improvement in sound quality overall compared to your onboard card. It would not only improve the quality of you headphones but also your speakers would sound better as well. If you were to buy a sound card, what would your budget be. Just FYI, plugging your headphones into a headphone jack on your speakers would not change the sound quality compared to plugging it into your computer. The source of the sound would still by your onboard sound card so they would sound the same.
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
well im looking at speakers like audioengine a2s, m-audio av40s, swans, etc, and my headphones are sennheiser 428s. When i plug directly into my computer i do hear a difference in sound, it sounds less shrill and has a bit more bass when plugged in to my speakers, my speakers are boston acoustics BA745
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigim101 View Post
well im looking at speakers like audioengine a2s, m-audio av40s, swans, etc, and my headphones are sennheiser 428s. When i plug directly into my computer i do hear a difference in sound, it sounds less shrill and has a bit more bass when plugged in to my speakers, my speakers are boston acoustics BA745
I have the M-Audio AV40 speakers and I love how they sound compared to other PC speakers. They sure sound better then Logitech speakers, more detailed sound.
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoma_Andy View Post
I have the M-Audio AV40 speakers and I love how they sound compared to other PC speakers. They sure sound better then Logitech speakers, more detailed sound.
do you an aftermarket soundcard? those have a headphone jack so i guess i could plug into those, one thing ive heard about mv40s and other studio monitors is that they sound flat and dull because they are supposed to be accurate or something, compared to multi media speakers like audioengines a2 which add a little bit of color to the sound. BTW how is the bass response, would you need a subwoofer to achieve good bass, or they hold their own?
post #6 of 12
You wont NEED a soundcard but I would get one if you have the cash. At that pricerange though it wont make a huge huge difference.
post #7 of 12
You would usually have a Sub with any kind of bookshelf speaker setup. They just can't reproduce the lows. Also, you definitely need to get a soundcard. Most soundcards have adjustable EQs, so when you want your speakers to be more fun sounding, just screw around with the EQ, or if you want the flat and accurate sound, just set the EQ to flat. I also suggest the AV40s, and a Xonar DX for a soundcard.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
how much would i need to spend to get a decent soundcard? could it be done for about $50 max?
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigim101 View Post
do you an aftermarket soundcard? those have a headphone jack so i guess i could plug into those, one thing ive heard about mv40s and other studio monitors is that they sound flat and dull because they are supposed to be accurate or something, compared to multi media speakers like audioengines a2 which add a little bit of color to the sound. BTW how is the bass response, would you need a subwoofer to achieve good bass, or they hold their own?
Yeah I have the Asus Xonar D1 soundcard, and it sounds a bit better then the onboard. The bass of the AV40's isn't very much present but sounds good to me, so if you like bass a lot you may need to add a sub. I usually tell people that like bass a lot to get the Logitech Z2300's.
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post #10 of 12
I picked up a pair of Fostex PM 0.5 monitors from ebay in perfect condition for $135 and they are amazing. That seems to be the going price for a set of used ones when they do pop up. Fostex doesn't seem to be popular in America, so you can get them pretty cheap. The bass is very good (flat down to 50hz and the rolloff isn't bad to 40hz) and they are front ported (no placement issues). I have been recommending them to everyone since I first hooked them up.

You will need a sound card with them though, they pick up absolutely every bit of noise.
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