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post #51 of 70
There are plenty of high end full range speakers that cost many thousands of dollars.
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post #52 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasefrench View Post
Also the Xonar Essence has a pretty good built in DAC. The card has a better SNR rating than even my cyrus amps.
If those figures are from Asus and Cyrus themselves, I'd believe the measurements conducted by Asus have some marketing hype in them in a larger degree than the Cyrus. Hard to say though, and comparing even third party measurements directly is difficult if same methods and calibrations weren't used. That being said I don't put too much trust on what each company claims about their products, and I instead look at the general consensus on it and read some comparative reviews and measurements done on same equipment. Surprising results occur too, one being the Nuforce uDAC-2 looking worse than the Behringer UCA 202 measurement wise. My initial reaction was a total rejection of the company Nuforce, but after hearing an uDAC-2 I can't say it was THAT bad (and very likely to drive headphones better than the UCA 202).

I won't continue on the topic of subwoofers but I agree that the subwoofers in general 2.1 systems are crap and slapped on to add some oomph, a well fitted and adjusted subwoofer is a near seamless addition. Most likely a regular mid-fi person appreciates it more than is bothered by the small acoustical standing waves and a slight crossover freq. and phase mis-adjustments, I know I don't mind some earthquakes as long as they don't cripple my main speaker performance

But yeah, the Asus Xonar Essence STX looks like a painless way to go Hi-Fi as far as sources go.
    
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post #53 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiobock View Post
That can't be healthy for your hearing, love.

But I feel like you're dwelling too much in the mp3-guilt. The only things I've noticed with low-bitrate mp3 is less dramatic and throaty vibrato of especially female singers, a faint 80's computer "blep-blop" like effect in crash cymbals and other complex high pitched instruments, and slightly less bass and high extension and clarity. 192kbps CD rips should still sound awesome on an awesome system, I'm talking literally straight YouTube rips here, which is 128kbps and very likely less than optimally converted.

As far as active speakers vs. passive ones, I'd get active monitors because their integrated amplifiers have protection circuits from overdriving the transducers, which most likely prevents you from destroying them if you ever "crank it up" Also the active cross-over circuits and separate amplifiers for tweeter and woofer transducers will most likely result in clearer treble and bass extension than regular single amp + passive cross-over, which also warm up over time. As such passive cross-overs may alter the sound after several hours of loud playback. I've never experienced this but I listen at modest volumes.

But you certainly seem to like loud volumes so I have my doubts are the Audioengine A5 loud enough for your use without a subwoofer.. I'm personally getting active monitors with a 8" woofer just because they're physically bigger and in theory should be able to produce more lows with less transducer extension, so the playback stays balanced and detailed but has some authority to it. Of course I'm going to get a big subwoofer to compliment them and take care of the lowest grunts of bass, but the woofer should be able to pack a sharp, accurate punch on the upper and mid-bass IMO.
Well it is enjoyable the few times I do it maybe once a week

Okay, I am starting to see the picture about mp3's. I'll stop worrying about that as much and stick to playing only my 192+kbps sets. Majority of them are 192, a good amount of 320, and maybe 40-50 below 192.

I do like the idea of not being able to blow the speakers, that is something I worried about...I feel like these type of speakers are super accurate little sensitive babies...lol.



Quote:
Originally Posted by chasefrench View Post
you should read this

http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Audioengine-A5/

seems like they frit your needs and are talented at improving mp3s.

Personally I think these would be def worth spending a bit more cash
http://www.whathifi.com/review/epoz-aktimate-mini

But listen to their advice about stands. Its very important for the separation you crave. I personally recommend something like the atacama nexus i.

Then get the xonar essence stx sound card. A dedicated dac would be overkill for those speakers.
Thanks, I'll take a look at that. It doesn't mention though, does the Aktimate have same size drivers as A5? Looks to be so.

That sound card and some speakers like those Aktimate's or A5's could be a good start for me, what type of cabling should I use it all? Also I would definitely get a stand for them, I like the idea of that and it places it at ear level for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasefrench View Post
No highend sound system ever has a woofer. It is not a good thing to do. This is because you running into timing issues and the bass becomes lazy and saturates the rest of the music. Anyone who has heard made by bose will know this. The only use for a woofer is for movies.

It is better to spend the woofer money on a better pair of speakers.

In this price range, it makes no difference if they are active or passive.
I know exactly what you are talking about with timing issues on the bass, and that is exactly what I DON'T want. I want it to be super accurate and punchy not wobbley, and to hit exactly timed with the rest of the sound.

This gets me worried though, because my plan was to get some of the speakers discussed in this thread, the sound card and stands, and then eventually a subwoofer from Audioengine as I see their A5's have a sub-out and they make a sub that would probably fit well.
However, would that sub have the problem you are describing of timing issues?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiobock View Post
What? A woofer is the middle frequency transducer, you're talking about a subwoofer. I was talking of active speakers which have a 8" middle frequency element for $400-500, for a subwoofer I'd consider nothing less than a 12" and would certainly fork another $400 for, at least. Also I've seen two high-end systems with a subwoofer, I'm not sure of the other one but the other one had Martin Logan electrostatic speakers and two 10" subwoofers in a dedicated music listening room, the others were electrostatics too because whilst being high-end they don't have too powerful frequency response in the lowest frequencies. The use of a subwoofer doesn't auto-rape the sound even on a high-end system if you know what the hell are you doing with acoustics, phase, positioning and crossfeed, you shouldn't be so eager to mud-sling on subwoofers, because there's very little amount of pure stereophile systems which have a very low reaching frequency response, a subwoofer will always take load off the mid. frequency woofers on bass heavy music genres and improves the frequency response AND transient playback on both low and mid range, as long as the subwoofer is correctly set-up and isn't set to 11 movie theater style. Of course the effort and money you need to put into improving a high-end system with a subwoofer grows quite big, but if you ever expected audio bliss from Bose or any plug-and-play style solution, you're SOL, so no wonder you have a bad image on subwoofers.

And you might be right about the price range thing when considering passives/actives quality, but you still cannot blow an active unit with over-current protection like you can blow a passive one. Then again if active speaker blows up you cannot replace the amplifier like you can in a passive system, so basically a passive system is easier to improve and upgrade, taken that you know a thing about speaker impedance and efficiency which most people should get to know anyway if they want to dapple into the real hi-fi territory (not that I'd know anything about that, I'm just a mid-fi person)

Also IMO Audioengine A5 are hi-fi enough to gain audible benefits with DAC units instead of PCI/PCI-e sound cards, but the Essence STX is most likely good enough for just about any non high-end hi-fi set-up.

Did OP say he wants new speakers because the OP states he'd like to keep the ones he has now. If anything he might be well off with a receiver that has optical input and take the sound directly from his motherboard to that, that'd be a step-up from the integrated sound cards DA-chip AND his amplifier.
Even though most of that wasn't directed at me I still got some good perspective off it. Thanks.

I like where the consensus is going here, it seems like I will acquire my beginner thirst from A5's or something similar, and a nice card like the Essence STX.


I did mention I want new speakers, but when I made my first post I had headphones in mind and then to keep my speakers too. But I realized I never have been a headphone type guy, and I think I would much better enjoy speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasefrench View Post
I did mean subwoofer. Thanks for assuming I wasnt an idiot.

To be fair, the martin logans subwoofer is built into the speaker, and recieves the same signal as the mids and treble. Therefore timing is not an issue. My problem is with 2.1 systems which have a completely separate subwoofer.

Also the Xonar Essence has a pretty good built in DAC. The card has a better SNR rating than even my cyrus amps.

Sensitivity is also very important but not at this price range. I recently got a pair of B&W 805s second hand and sold them on within a week cos they were too hard to drive.
What about the rest of the Xonar line, there are some other Xonar cards with the same AV100 chipset, but they are obviously half the price for a reason.

Again your comment about 2.1 worries me about what path I should take for my bass solution.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gorb View Post
There are plenty of high end full range speakers that cost many thousands of dollars.
I'm not to that level yet
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiobock View Post
If those figures are from Asus and Cyrus themselves, I'd believe the measurements conducted by Asus have some marketing hype in them in a larger degree than the Cyrus. Hard to say though, and comparing even third party measurements directly is difficult if same methods and calibrations weren't used. That being said I don't put too much trust on what each company claims about their products, and I instead look at the general consensus on it and read some comparative reviews and measurements done on same equipment. Surprising results occur too, one being the Nuforce uDAC-2 looking worse than the Behringer UCA 202 measurement wise. My initial reaction was a total rejection of the company Nuforce, but after hearing an uDAC-2 I can't say it was THAT bad (and very likely to drive headphones better than the UCA 202).

I won't continue on the topic of subwoofers but I agree that the subwoofers in general 2.1 systems are crap and slapped on to add some oomph, a well fitted and adjusted subwoofer is a near seamless addition. Most likely a regular mid-fi person appreciates it more than is bothered by the small acoustical standing waves and a slight crossover freq. and phase mis-adjustments, I know I don't mind some earthquakes as long as they don't cripple my main speaker performance

But yeah, the Asus Xonar Essence STX looks like a painless way to go Hi-Fi as far as sources go.
Damn, again with 2.1 being bad. So it seems like I should save up the money I would spend on A5's or the like, and go with a bigger driver?
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post #54 of 70
2.1 is not bad, i'm assuming he's saying most computer 2.1 systems are

clearly you need a subwoofer for low frequency coverage if you don't have full range speakers
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post #55 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gorb View Post
2.1 is not bad, i'm assuming he's saying most computer 2.1 systems are

clearly you need a subwoofer for low frequency coverage if you don't have full range speakers
Okay that's what I was hoping. The A5's have sub-outs, but since the signal would have to go soundcard>A5 out>sub amp>sub will that create the timing issue he is describing?
Would it be better to hook the sub directly up to my soundcard?




BTW your avatar gets me every time
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post #56 of 70
either way should be fine. i've never used the a5s so i can't comment on that.
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post #57 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gorb View Post
either way should be fine. i've never used the a5s so i can't comment on that.
Okay great. I can't wait to get this setup together
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post #58 of 70
Yes I was just saying that the pre-made 2.1 sets aren't that phenomenal, subwoofers are cool otherwise when adjusted correctly.

You don't have to stick with the Audioengine subwoofers even if you go with the Audioengine A5 as main speakers, any well known subwoofer with adjustable crossover frequency and phase will do (so that you can match it to kick in from the frequencies where the A5's power and punch start sharply falling to create a seamless transaction).

To quote my own research and recommendations people have given me I could link you to several active speakers to consider. They're quite big, but I want to rest assured they won't run out of juice and dynamics even without a subwoofer, which I'm going to only use for the earthquakey sub-50Hz frequencies, not to "complete" my miniscule main speakers if you know what I mean.
Prodipe Pro 8 Ribbon (haven't heard much, but several guys said they've lasted them a good while on /g/, don't know about their stance on sound quality)
Behringer B3031A (people will tell you to stay away from them because I heard their earlier products were crap, I don't know have they since improved, I've heard such things)
Mackie MR8 (Generally positive opinion, although a tad expensive, the MKII variety even more expensive but supposedly better)
KRK Rokit RP5(the bigger KRK Rokit RP6 and RP8 too, people say they're not as neutral as some others. I compared them to Genelecs and they lacked definition and were a bit boomy IMO, not my personal pick but people like them)
M-Audio Bx8a (I see these the most around, can't be that bad. Heard about amps letting out smoke-type rare QC issues, but I guess that goes for Behringer and Mackie from what I've seen, all of them have duds of course.)

As for sound card or DAC I wouldn't know much, get something nicer than integrated and try to get your hands on for a more "hi-fi" one or a DAC if you want to see if you can hear a difference or if they make your speakers "sing" before blowing loads of money into one.
Edited by Shiobock - 3/15/11 at 12:10pm
    
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post #59 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by fl0w3n View Post
Okay that's what I was hoping. The A5's have sub-outs, but since the signal would have to go soundcard>A5 out>sub amp>sub will that create the timing issue he is describing?
Would it be better to hook the sub directly up to my soundcard?




BTW your avatar gets me every time
I m just saying, given that I aim for a fast detailed and articulate sound, I would rather get the better pair of speakers I described than get a cheaper pair of speakers and then a sub. The only way that you will know which is better for you, is by hearing both setups. Good speakers will recreate the right amount of bass the artist intended.

At this point its personal preference. Shiobock clearly likes the idea of a sub, and given his technical knowledge I d back him to set it up properly. Everything I know is from listening to a lot of expensive equipment over the years.

I think you should to your local hifi shop and ask to hear something really expensive. Then ask to hear something with a separate sub. If you like it, then your decision is easy.
Edited by chasefrench - 3/16/11 at 2:41am
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post #60 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiobock View Post
Yes I was just saying that the pre-made 2.1 sets aren't that phenomenal, subwoofers are cool otherwise when adjusted correctly.

You don't have to stick with the Audioengine subwoofers even if you go with the Audioengine A5 as main speakers, any well known subwoofer with adjustable crossover frequency and phase will do (so that you can match it to kick in from the frequencies where the A5's power and punch start sharply falling to create a seamless transaction).

To quote my own research and recommendations people have given me I could link you to several active speakers to consider. They're quite big, but I want to rest assured they won't run out of juice and dynamics even without a subwoofer, which I'm going to only use for the earthquakey sub-50Hz frequencies, not to "complete" my miniscule main speakers if you know what I mean.
Prodipe Pro 8 Ribbon (haven't heard much, but several guys said they've lasted them a good while on /g/, don't know about their stance on sound quality)
Behringer B3031A (people will tell you to stay away from them because I heard their earlier products were crap, I don't know have they since improved, I've heard such things)
Mackie MR8 (Generally positive opinion, although a tad expensive, the MKII variety even more expensive but supposedly better)
KRK Rokit RP5(the bigger KRK Rokit RP6 and RP8 too, people say they're not as neutral as some others. I compared them to Genelecs and they lacked definition and were a bit boomy IMO, not my personal pick but people like them)
M-Audio Bx8a (I see these the most around, can't be that bad. Heard about amps letting out smoke-type rare QC issues, but I guess that goes for Behringer and Mackie from what I've seen, all of them have duds of course.)

As for sound card or DAC I wouldn't know much, get something nicer than integrated and try to get your hands on for a more "hi-fi" one or a DAC if you want to see if you can hear a difference or if they make your speakers "sing" before blowing loads of money into one.
Thanks a lot for those suggestions, I will look closely at each to decide what I want. I appreciate you writing a little about each one too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasefrench View Post
I m just saying, given that I aim for a fast detailed and articulate sound, I would rather get the better pair of speakers I described than get a cheaper pair of speakers and then a sub. The only way that you will know which is better for you, is by hearing both setups. Good speakers will recreate the right amount of bass the artist intended.

At this point its personal preference. Shiobock clearly likes the idea of a sub, and given his technical knowledge I d back him to set it up properly. Everything I know is from listening to a lot of expensive equipment over the years.

I think you should to your local hifi shop and ask to hear something really expensive. Then ask to hear something with a separate sub. If you like it, then your decision is easy.
That is understandable. I know of a local car stereo shop that is much more quality based than the typical Al&Ed's, they won't even carry the "name brand" stuff because it's crap. I don't remember seeing any home audio stuff there, but I know they would know about that kind of stuff or redirect me to a shop that has hi-fi home audio.
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