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BIF
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:08 pm

For my desktop, I have a Focusrite Liquid 56 and a pair of BX-5 speakers.
I want one of these:

Apollo 8 Quad (but I could do with a lower price and no UAD-2).

For my laptop, I have an old Cakewalks SPS-25, which is portable and USB bus powered.
I want one of these:

Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB DUO 2x6 USB Audio Interface with UAD DSP
Arturia AudioFuse
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:23 pm

sluggo wrote:
Realtek optical out to a Yamaha RP-U100, powering desktop speakers and a sub of my own design.

The Yamaha gives me what I want, which is a big-ass volume control, easy switching between AM/FM/PC, narrow footprint and an auto-mute headphone jack. I don't do serious listening at the desktop, but it's reasonably noise-free and certainly loud enough for my needs. It's almost 20 years old, so at some point I'm either going to have to go in and replace some caps or go with a new setup.

That's an interesting device. Basically a home theater Receiver, but downsized, and in a desktop form factor. Should cover whatever you'd wanna do without killing your desk space. I don't know how much attention was given to the headphone output (being that it's 3.5mm), but there's no reason you couldn't add a separate headphone amp if needed.

Also....cutting edge with the USB input circa '00 8)
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:35 pm

morphine wrote:
Mikael33 wrote:
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2(1st gen) into a pair of JBL LSR308 studio monitors. Sometimes I break out my Beyerdynamic DT990's powered by a Fiio A3 headphone amp(that's underpowered for these) but I mostly use them for listening to music at work.
My primary purpose for the setup is recording and mixing music so I use studio monitors instead of something a little more flattering to music, my DT-990s pretty much make everything sound good as long as it's mastered reasonably well(i.e no limiter crackling,distortion or pumping) and there's not a lot of harsh highs.

Interesting, the Scarlett's headphone output isn't enough to drive those at a decent volume?

Depends on how compressed the music is, for movies I usually have to turn it pretty much all the way up. The Fiio A3, while the least expensive and having the least output of their headphone amps still has more output than the 1st gen Scarlett 2i2, also perhaps cleaner/better transients as another poster stated.
The built in headphone amp on my Asus Z170 Gaming Pro has by far the most output of any source I have but not the highest quality.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:24 pm

Sennheiser HD600 + O2/ODAC fed by Razer Synapse for output, Blue Snowball for input.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:05 am

Titanium HD -> Beyerdynamic DT-880 (250Ω)
Titanium HD -> SPDIF -> Yamaha RX-V377 -> 2x JBL MX1000, positioned behind me.

Crude, but effective.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:40 am

When I built my latest PC which has an i7-6700k CPU, I specifically looked for a motherboard with a PCI slot so I could install my trusty old Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty. It has a nice 51/4" breakout box that I couldn't find a suitable replacement for in any PCIe audio cards.

Connected to the X-Fi is a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-880 headphones, and for speakers I have it connected like this:
X-Fi -> passive volume control mounted on desk -> ICEpower 125ASX2 amplifier -> Dynaudio Excite X14 on wall stands

This is only for gaming and listening to music while I work at the PC, but there is no excuse for bad audio if you ask me, so I would never get what people usually refer to as 'PC-speakers'. :-)
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:44 am

This thread is needling me with the fact that we moved into this house two years ago, and I still have yet to set up the stereo in the office. Been using headphones directly connected to the computer all this time. When I finally get around to it, stereo is dead-simple: a Technics SA-GX130 receiver that I purchased used for $20, and a pair of Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers that were the first proper speakers I ever purchased. All of it is inexpensive and all of it sounds good.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:13 am

Home
Optical out -> Audio-gd NFB11.28 -> either HiFiMan HE400S or Neumann KH120A.

Work
USB -> SMSL M8A -> JDS Labs Element -> AKG 7KXX.

As an aside, I wish more headphone amps with pre-outs had output toggle switches.
Last edited by geniekid on Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:20 am

At work, just the speakers built into my iPhone 7+. And then, I only really listen to music when I'm working late.
At home, we just run it through the home theater system and crank it up to hear all over the house :D
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:04 am

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:
Focusrite 2i2 going into a pair of KRK Rokit RP5 G3's with quad-channel balanced cables that I built myself, and sitting on top of monitor isolation stands. For headphones I use my relatively pedestrian Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs cans. I'm looking into upgrading the monitors to a pair of Yamaha HS8's and the headphones to Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO's but keeping the M40's for tracking.

Mine is similar, but different. I have a pair of Rokit 6 G2s and an Avid MBox 3 Mini, and the balanced cables I'm using are TRS models that I bought from Monoprice. My headphones are Sennheiser HD280s, which are also kind of pedestrian, but they work. The studio gear idea is the same, though. :lol:
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:40 am

DancinJack wrote:
Vhalidictes wrote:
AuzenTech X-MERIDIAN 7.1 (32-bit PCI) with a Sennheiser HD-650 headset. Getting this setup working in Windows 10 was an adventure.

Someday I hope to upgrade to a Xonar card, but it would be a sidegrade at best; All I'd be getting out of it is modern driver support.


Actually I'd bet you would get quite a bit out of a newer headphone amp. Those headphones aren't terribly easy to drive.


They aren't. I'm fairly certain the internal amps of that card are replacable but I never did. I'll have to budget for an external amp, but it's way, way down on the purchase priority list at the moment.

Yes, I did try to use an Android phone to drive that headset once, I was intending to check the phone's DAC quality. The testing... didn't get that far.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:01 am

Chuckaluphagus wrote:
This thread is needling me with the fact that we moved into this house two years ago, and I still have yet to set up the stereo in the office. Been using headphones directly connected to the computer all this time. When I finally get around to it, stereo is dead-simple: a Technics SA-GX130 receiver that I purchased used for $20, and a pair of Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers that were the first proper speakers I ever purchased. All of it is inexpensive and all of it sounds good.


The depreciation that comes with audiophile gear allowed me to pick up a pair of Mission 781 cabinets (7" polypropylene drivers) for £50 and I grabbed a refurbished Cambridge Audio amp for another £50. The MDF on the cabinets was a bit scuffed, but I effectively netted myself a £600 sound system as a cash-strapped graduate for around 1/6th the cost.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:22 am

Vhalidictes wrote:
AuzenTech X-MERIDIAN 7.1 (32-bit PCI) with a Sennheiser HD-650 headset. Getting this setup working in Windows 10 was an adventure.

Someday I hope to upgrade to a Xonar card, but it would be a sidegrade at best; All I'd be getting out of it is modern driver support.

And support for PCIe, since your next motherboard will likely lack a PCI slot.

Vhalidictes wrote:
I'm fairly certain the internal amps of that card are replacable but I never did.

Going by the product photo I found, yes it has replaceable (socketed) op amps. I find it curious that they didn't lay the card out to locate the analog circuitry closer to the rear audio jacks; that would have probably improved the S/N ratio slightly, by reducing the analog trace lengths inside the PC. On the bright side (and unlike my DSX card) it looks like the amps for ALL of the channels are replaceable.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:33 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
The depreciation that comes with audiophile gear allowed me to pick up a pair of Mission 781 cabinets (7" polypropylene drivers) for £50 and I grabbed a refurbished Cambridge Audio amp for another £50. The MDF on the cabinets was a bit scuffed, but I effectively netted myself a £600 sound system as a cash-strapped graduate for around 1/6th the cost.


I will say for all the BS around the whole audiophile scene, this is one thing that always makes me happy. People are always upgrading stuff to try and get that perfect tone, and in return, it allows tons of other people to pick up awesome gear at a fraction of the original cost. For instance, I just sold my previous DAC/amp that retailed for ~200 bucks to a friend for 80 bucks. Now I just need to find some "new" headphones for myself...
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:20 am

Exactly. They replaced some beige 2.1 computer speakers and that was the single largest audio upgrade I have ever experienced and there was no going back!
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:22 am

Vhalidictes wrote:
AuzenTech X-MERIDIAN 7.1 (32-bit PCI) with a Sennheiser HD-650 headset. Getting this setup working in Windows 10 was an adventure.

Someday I hope to upgrade to a Xonar card, but it would be a sidegrade at best; All I'd be getting out of it is modern driver support.

Well. I've been toughing it out with a Xonar D1 on Windows 10, and it mostly works but the random white noise is jarring enough that I'm on the verge of yanking it. There's also one of the stereo channels randomly dropping out that is not as annoying, but still undesirable. It technically works but the drivers aren't great (and yes, I'm using the Unified Xonar drivers)

On the other hand, I've been waiting for the first-gen M-Audio AV40s I've got to break, but they've been holding up okay so far!
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:28 am

So the Xonar Windows 10 drivers suck? That's useful to know, in case I decide to upgrade the audio on my upcoming Windows build. Xonar would've probably been my first choice otherwise. (The Linux Xonar drivers haven't given me any trouble.)
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:48 am

Best sound upgrade ever was getting rid of my Xonar PCI card for sound and replacing it with a USB DAC

Work is a $40 Fiio K1 driving Audiotechnica M30x's
Home is a Mayflower O2/ODAC driving Sennheiser HD598 SE's

Relatively budget but I really enjoy the sound.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:20 am

just brew it! wrote:
So the Xonar Windows 10 drivers suck? That's useful to know, in case I decide to upgrade the audio on my upcoming Windows build. Xonar would've probably been my first choice otherwise. (The Linux Xonar drivers haven't given me any trouble.)


I'm...not sure that should be a blanket statement. My D1 worked wonderfully with W10 for a long time. I know there are quite a few others here with Xonars so maybe they can add their experience.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:44 am

I still have an Essence STX in the closet that I've been meaning to put on Ebay. I moved to the current DAC + amp setup before migrating to W10, so I can't comment on the W10 driver quality. I know many others had complained about previous Windows drivers, but I never personally experienced any issues.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:36 pm

The Egg wrote:
I still have an Essence STX in the closet that I've been meaning to put on Ebay. I moved to the current DAC + amp setup before migrating to W10, so I can't comment on the W10 driver quality. I know many others had complained about previous Windows drivers, but I never personally experienced any issues.


Egg, what's the functional difference between a DAC and a sound card? I know that there were CPU-powered "USB" speaker systems around in the past but they needed drivers to work. I thought that while USB gives you motherboard noise protection it adds voltage noise so didn't that turn out to be a wash on quality?
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:45 pm

It's more or less like you mentioned, but has the added bonus that USB soundcards usually have a volume controls and headphone jacks, and usually they're better at staying working throughout OS updates. Also, the price/sound ratio is just so much better. AFAICT, the fact that they're not PCI/PCie apparently removes a lot of technical complications.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:47 pm

The Egg wrote:
sluggo wrote:
Realtek optical out to a Yamaha RP-U100, powering desktop speakers and a sub of my own design.

The Yamaha gives me what I want, which is a big-ass volume control, easy switching between AM/FM/PC, narrow footprint and an auto-mute headphone jack. I don't do serious listening at the desktop, but it's reasonably noise-free and certainly loud enough for my needs. It's almost 20 years old, so at some point I'm either going to have to go in and replace some caps or go with a new setup.

That's an interesting device. Basically a home theater Receiver, but downsized, and in a desktop form factor. Should cover whatever you'd wanna do without killing your desk space. I don't know how much attention was given to the headphone output (being that it's 3.5mm), but there's no reason you couldn't add a separate headphone amp if needed.

Also....cutting edge with the USB input circa '00 8)

"Interesting" is a great way to put it. It provides a lot of functionality in an ideal desktop layout. It really does solve a lot problems for me. I know a lot of people don't use radio much anymore (for good reasons) but I still like listening to the ball game, NPR, and a few local stations. I would love to see an updated product in a similar form factor, but I refuse to consider any solution that doesn't include a giant volume control.

The software that came with it (control panel for tuner favorites, 3D effects and what-not) was hard-coded for a tiny corner of a 640x480 display and has never been updated. Opening it now on my 2560x1440 is always good for a laugh. Sometimes I wonder how hard it would be to fix that. "Yamaha: like Sony, but without all that annoying support!"

The headphone output is pretty not bad. It has a separate drive output off the line stage (which I did not bother to characterize when I had the cover off). My bang-around headsets (MDR-V6) work just fine.

I got the thing with the set of matching speakers. Beautiful cabinets, but just awful sound. Begging for a retrofit.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:50 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
The Egg wrote:
I still have an Essence STX in the closet that I've been meaning to put on Ebay. I moved to the current DAC + amp setup before migrating to W10, so I can't comment on the W10 driver quality. I know many others had complained about previous Windows drivers, but I never personally experienced any issues.

Egg, what's the functional difference between a DAC and a sound card? I know that there were CPU-powered "USB" speaker systems around in the past but they needed drivers to work. I thought that while USB gives you motherboard noise protection it adds voltage noise so didn't that turn out to be a wash on quality?

A USB DAC is nothing more than a no-frills USB external soundcard, presumably optimized for audio quality. Yes, one of the advantages is that it gets the sensitive analog stuff away from all the EMI-generating high speed digital circuits inside the PC.

Sure, the supply voltage coming down the USB cable won't be any "cleaner" than the voltage inside the PC, and you'll get some additional variation from resistive/inductive effects in the cable. But these can be filtered out by using additional regulation/filtering, and your now-pristine power rail won't get "contaminated" again by all the EMI flying around inside the PC.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:53 pm

morphine wrote:
It's more or less like you mentioned, but has the added bonus that USB soundcards usually have a volume controls and headphone jacks, and usually they're better at staying working throughout OS updates. Also, the price/sound ratio is just so much better. AFAICT, the fact that they're not PCI/PCie apparently removes a lot of technical complications.


I'll check it out, but price/sound ratio? You can find a PCIe Xonar for something like $30, right?

I've bought a number of ~$15 Realtek-powered USB soundcards over the years (for a few laptops, don't ask) and they generally sound "okay", definitely not comparable to the AuzenTech I already have.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:19 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
morphine wrote:
It's more or less like you mentioned, but has the added bonus that USB soundcards usually have a volume controls and headphone jacks, and usually they're better at staying working throughout OS updates. Also, the price/sound ratio is just so much better. AFAICT, the fact that they're not PCI/PCie apparently removes a lot of technical complications.


I'll check it out, but price/sound ratio? You can find a PCIe Xonar for something like $30, right?

I've bought a number of ~$15 Realtek-powered USB soundcards over the years (for a few laptops, don't ask) and they generally sound "okay", definitely not comparable to the AuzenTech I already have.

It's a few bucks more, but I can attest for this device.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:17 pm

I've looked into going a usb splitter and praying with a cleaner, high-quality independent power supply. Has anyone else done this?
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:20 pm

I very much doubt that would make any difference until/if you have some really nifty speakers/headphones/etc.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:28 pm

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
I've looked into going a usb splitter and praying with a cleaner, high-quality independent power supply. Has anyone else done this?

AFAICT all USB power supplies seem to be (noisy) switchers. You'd probably need to roll your own. (Which actually wouldn't be that hard... an old school analog regulator ought to be significantly cleaner than anything you can get off the shelf at reasonable price.)
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:44 pm

morphine wrote:
I very much doubt that would make any difference until/if you have some really nifty speakers/headphones/etc.


This.

There are a few devices out there that claim to give cleaner power, but i'm a bit dubios. e.g. http://www.schiit.com/products/wyrd

FWIW, I'm sure this device is better than the port straight out of your computer, but I just don't think it'll make enough of a difference to someone like me.

edit: BTW Schiit is an awesome company and more of you should buy their products. Made in the USA. Kick-ass support. Pretty great value for money, too.
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