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Beginning of Audio Upgrade

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Alright, so my situation is that I listen to a lot of music on my speakers and when I game, I use a headset so that I can communicate via Skype. I am looking to vastly upgrade my current speaker set up for music only as I will continue to use a headset for gaming. Right now I have a ****ty pair of Logitech z4's with on board audio.

What I am looking to do is start the upgrade process for a really nice audio setup on my computer. I would assume the first two things I could/should buy is a sound card and a pair of monitors?

I have surfed around OC.net and Tom's for ideas and apparently the Swan M100's are decent pair of monitors but wanted to know everyone's opinion.

If it makes a difference I listen primarily to punk/indie/electronic music so I dont need something really loud, just able to replicate short punchy bass lines/bass drum hits.

Budget: $500 to start with and I'll make upgrades a few months later.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 11
Grab yourself an Asus Xonar Essense STX, a pair of M-Audio BX5a Deluxe active monitors and enjoy!
Edited by HrlmWrld - 4/23/11 at 4:53pm
    
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post #3 of 11
for music i'd buy a receiver and some nice bookshelfs or even towers over studio monitors, you'll also save some money if you were to buy used over new, check out pawn shops and thrift stores as well as craigslist or ebay.

although if you really wanted monitors you should get a DAC rather then an internal sound card they'll have better audio quality.
post #4 of 11
[QUOTE=mrsmiles;13247279]for music i'd buy a receiver and some nice bookshelfs or even towers over studio monitors, you'll also save some money if you were to buy used over new, check out pawn shops and thrift stores as well as craigslist or ebay.

although if you really wanted monitors you should get a DAC rather then an internal sound card they'll have better audio quality.[/QUOT


Please recommend the DAC within his budget that is better than the sound card I recommended.
    
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HrlmWrld View Post
Grab yourself an Asus Xonar Essense STX, a pair of M-Audio BX5a Deluxe active monitors and enjoy!
Xonar Essence STX - $200
M-Audio BX5a Deluxe - $239
Cable - $8
Total - $437

All the components you mentioned have stellar reviews and I'm well under my $500 budget. Looks pretty good to me.

Just for reference, if I was to continue to upgrade my audio, what would you recommend I purchase next? A receiver and an amp?
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post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownHero View Post
Xonar Essence STX - $200
M-Audio BX5a Deluxe - $239
Cable - $8
Total - $437

All the components you mentioned have stellar reviews and I'm well under my $500 budget. Looks pretty good to me.

Just for reference, if I was to continue to upgrade my audio, what would you recommend I purchase next? A receiver and an amp?


With these speakers you do not require an amp because the speakers have amps built in (in fact they are bi-amped separate amp section for the tweeter and woofer) you could good swap out op-amps on the card or get a nice powered sub, it really fills out the sound.

By the way look for used on EBay or elsewhere and save more money. Trust me when I tell you you will have to spend considerably more for subjective improvement.
Edited by HrlmWrld - 4/23/11 at 7:54pm
    
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HrlmWrld;13247431 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmiles;13247279 
for music i'd buy a receiver and some nice bookshelfs or even towers over studio monitors, you'll also save some money if you were to buy used over new, check out pawn shops and thrift stores as well as craigslist or ebay.

although if you really wanted monitors you should get a DAC rather then an internal sound card they'll have better audio quality.


Please recommend the DAC within his budget that is better than the sound card I recommended.
Reviews show the Musiland 02 DAC to be better and cheaper.

OP will probably want a DAC/sound card/interface with balanced output. In that case the Emu 0404 is an option.
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
A sub is what I meant, not an amp, sorry about that. I'm a bit rusty on my terminology.

An op amp is what now? An example would be very helpful, hahaha.
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownHero View Post
A sub is what I meant, not an amp, sorry about that. I'm a bit rusty on my terminology.

An op amp is what now? An example would be very helpful, hahaha.


Try a Google search or Wiki explanation, but it's a small amp that is plugged into the sound card that could have an improvement on the sound. There are very few absolutes when it comes to sound, so experimentation is best. Also the headphone amp on the Asus card is wonderful as well. My Prodipe Pro10s is awesome built in X-over XLR in and out. Got mine from EBay for $179 shipped.
    
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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownHero View Post
Xonar Essence STX - $200
M-Audio BX5a Deluxe - $239
Cable - $8
Total - $437

All the components you mentioned have stellar reviews and I'm well under my $500 budget. Looks pretty good to me.

Just for reference, if I was to continue to upgrade my audio, what would you recommend I purchase next? A receiver and an amp?
if you were to buy that, i would get a sub for the next purchase or some good headphones for night time listening.
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