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SoM
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:26 pm

still using Audioengine A5+ i got last year, no complaints, and a new pair of Sennheiser HD 280 which iirc was mentioned in the last thread
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DancinJack
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:39 pm

SoM wrote:
still using Audioengine A5+ i got last year, no complaints, and a new pair of Sennheiser HD 280 which iirc was mentioned in the last thread


I know they're not necessarily studio monitors, but I love my A5+ speakers. They're a bit more "fun" than monitors which I like. I have nothing bad to say about them over the 3 or 4 years I've had them.
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sleepygeepy
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:19 pm

I'm currently using the following on my computer now (below). Very decent sounding and not that expensive...

- Edifier R2000DB bookshelf speakers
- SMSL M8 external DAC
- SMSL P1 linear power supply

I used to listen to headphones a lot (Sennheiser HD600 / HiFiMAN HE-400i) but they do get tiring and uncomfortable at times, especially in humid weather. I got the Edifier speakers for about USD $160 and they sound way-way above their price point... you'd be surprised. The SMSL DAC and power supply are remnants of my headphone setup and you can pair the speakers with an affordable DAC of your choice like the JDS Labs ODAC, Mayflower, or Schiit Modi 2 etc. The SMSL M8 is a great budget DAC though and is not that expensive.

Another thing, you actually don't need an external DAC with the Edifier speakers as they have optical inputs. Also they have bluetooth functionality in case you want to listen to files from your smartphone or tablet.
 
the
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:40 pm

Only thing I have worth bragging about would be my "work" setup.

Crestron Procise PSPHD audio processor
Crestron Procise Proamp 7x400
Crown DCi 2|1250 for the two subs
Biamp Tesira Forte CI AVB
Shure ULX4D microphone receiver
Seven JBL speakers
Two subs

And the video portion:
48:9 aspect ratio acoustically transparent curved projector screen
Four Christie HD10K-M projectors blended together (5760 x 1080 final output)
Christie Spyder X20 video processor
Crestron DM-MD16x16 modular matrix switcher

Yeah, I get to play and support some cool toys at work.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:16 pm

I have a Creative ZxR PCI-Express card and Sennheiser HD 580's. I'm about to switch OpAmps on the card with LME49720NA chips. They are cheap enough, and from other folks who have done it, seems to be a good enhancement.

Even at stock, this sound card blows my socks off. I have it installed on a ASUS Maximus IX Hero, which has pretty decent onboard sound, S1220A. Really, the best onboard I've had. But it happens every time I try onboard, I end up missing the punch in some music. I've used a Sonar DSX before, and a loooong long line of Creative cards before that, all the way to the venerable SB Pro, yes, the ISA card with the volume wheel on the back.

I have recently switched from not using the ACM (the control module that has a volume knob) to using it. People say all kinds of bad things about it. I can not hear a difference between not using it and using it. I do like the knob on it, super convenient, and the mic is definitely a step up from my Logitech $20 mic I used for years before this.

Loving the setup, and I'm looking forward to playing with the OpAmps. The 580's have been with me for about 10 years now and i've replaced the ear pads and the padding for the headband about 3 years ago. I hope those headphones never die.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:27 pm

the: I hate you. Nothing personal.
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Kougar
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:45 pm

Started with the included Compaq 2.0 speakers, which were about as good as the 2.0 Altec Lansing cheapo setup I found somewhere after rolling my first desktop. Shortly after Intel Conroe'd the processor market I found a Logitech Z5300 5.1 system in the PX's scratch and dent (in a box with a huge chunk missing, that I assume some forklift driver really hated). Compared to the cheapo speakers they were pretty good, and used those for over five years until the left channel died. Was starting to wonder about the bass quality anyway so that gave me the impetus to invest/splurge on some AudioEngine A5+'s. What the Z5300's were to cheapo speakers, the A5's were to the logitech speakers. Clean and crisp, even without a subwoofer.

Used to have them plugged into a Xonar DX, but after all manner of software issues, I went back to the onboard sound which just works. Might've been a bad card, but given ASUS's extremely minimal driver support philosophy I certainly wasn't going to buy another.

DancinJack wrote:
I know they're not necessarily studio monitors, but I love my A5+ speakers. They're a bit more "fun" than monitors which I like. I have nothing bad to say about them over the 3 or 4 years I've had them.


Whatever they are, the A5+'s are great. Expensive by my standards but I've been happy in the three-something years I've been using mine. Completely spoiled now, i can discern the difference now that I've been using them and won't go back.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:21 pm

Kougar wrote:
Used to have them plugged into a Xonar DX, but after all manner of software issues, I went back to the onboard sound which just works. Might've been a bad card, but given ASUS's extremely minimal driver support philosophy I certainly wasn't going to buy another.


I honestly find it weird so many people have/had issues. First day I had a Xonar I installed Uni drivers, updated them periodically, and seriously never had issues for years. /shrug

Kougar wrote:
DancinJack wrote:
I know they're not necessarily studio monitors, but I love my A5+ speakers. They're a bit more "fun" than monitors which I like. I have nothing bad to say about them over the 3 or 4 years I've had them.


Whatever they are, the A5+'s are great. Expensive by my standards but I've been happy in the three-something years I've been using mine. Completely spoiled now, i can discern the difference now that I've been using them and won't go back.


Yeah, the A5+s are great. They're just a little more "lively" than studio monitors. A little warm compared to studio monitors. Just the way I like it.
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Kougar
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:13 pm

Considering ASUS spent the first year of Win 8's release on the same BETA tagged driver, it doesn't surprise me that much. I don't think they even removed the Beta tag until 8.1 launched.

The Xonar DX thing bugs me still, I dislike not being able to definitively resolve it. On Win 7 it ran reasonably fine, but on 8 it was no end of problems and I just got tired of restarting to fix broken sound. Like, I even with the Uni drivers the sound would "break" where I could still produce sound by using the speaker tester applet, but videos, music, or application sound was just AWOL until I restarted. Pretty strange, but still makes me think drivers. Not having color coding on the jacks was a royal PITA anyway.

DancinJack wrote:
Yeah, the A5+s are great. They're just a little more "lively" than studio monitors. A little warm compared to studio monitors. Just the way I like it.


Ah, that's interesting to know as I didn't realize there was a difference.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:12 am

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?

They're nearly the same, functionally. High-end cards (such as the aforementioned Essence STX) are shielded against EMI, and this wasn't really part of my decision. The benefit of an external solution is that it removes the majority of your investment from being driver-dependent. If no driver exists for an expensive internal soundcard in 5-10 years, the device is essentially worthless (or you'd be forced to keep it in a rig with an older OS, or try for 3rd party drivers). By contrast, an external DAC can be used with any cheap sound chip with a digital output (essentially just passthrough).

15 years from now, I should still be able to use my external DAC and amp, whereas the likelihood of getting drivers for a Xonar or other current soundcard in 2032 approaches 0%.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:15 am

The Egg wrote:
If no driver exists for an expensive internal soundcard in 5-10 years, the device is essentially worthless (or you'd be forced to keep it in a rig with an older OS,

...or an OS with Open Source drivers. :wink:

These days, another issue is that older soundcards are legacy PCI, and most newer motherboards don't have PCI slots any more.

The Egg wrote:
15 years from now, I should still be able to use my external DAC and amp, whereas the likelihood of getting drivers for a Xonar or other current soundcard in 2032 approaches 0%.

PCIe will likely have been obsoleted by then too, making the driver issue largely irrelevant.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:47 am

Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium PCIe (EMU20K2) arrived at a reasonable price more than nine years ago. There's not much reason to have purchased a PCI card since then.
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the
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:05 am

morphine wrote:
the: I hate you. Nothing personal.


:lol:

Image

Sounds good too.
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The Egg
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:20 pm

just brew it! wrote:
The Egg wrote:
If no driver exists for an expensive internal soundcard in 5-10 years, the device is essentially worthless (or you'd be forced to keep it in a rig with an older OS,

...or an OS with Open Source drivers. :wink:

These days, another issue is that older soundcards are legacy PCI, and most newer motherboards don't have PCI slots any more.

The Egg wrote:
15 years from now, I should still be able to use my external DAC and amp, whereas the likelihood of getting drivers for a Xonar or other current soundcard in 2032 approaches 0%.

PCIe will likely have been obsoleted by then too, making the driver issue largely irrelevant.

Very true; there’s also potential interface issues. I’m guessing that PCIe will still be available in some form (considering that you can still occastionally find boards with standard PCI today), but it’s another complication. Since audio hardware can last decades, the external DAC+Amp is the way to go for guaranteed functionality, IMO.

Now if I would just get off my butt and ebay that Xonar....
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:41 pm

Mr. "the". You're so lucky that I went to the TR BBQ this year and can't really afford to go to the next iteration. You, sir, are safe... for now.
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the
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:27 pm

I am indeed lucky. I have more than one room at work with toys like this that I can hide in. :)
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:38 pm

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
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Mikael33
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:38 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 use the Maxedtech drivers for my Xonar DSX.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:43 pm

Nine years... that's a good point. The Xonar brand is ten years old. At what point would some of these fancier motherboard sound solutions surpass something like a cheap Xonar DX?

The difference between the integrated sound on my 2003 Abit IS7 and a 2007 board was very noticeable. The integrated sound on a modern board is still tangibly better than ~2007 era boards, and the Xonar DX is a ten year old card. I've seen motherboards with the sound portion physically isolated, using higher-end caps, and even shielded jacks. Is there really that much difference anymore short of going for a premium sound card?
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:10 pm

Typical Realtek codecs can still struggle to drive headphones decently. My Xonar DSX has no such issues. Neither did the VIA onboard audio on my M3A78-CM (circa 2009). I'm sure this could be addressed by adding an op amp to drive the headphone jack, but Realtek's reference designs (which most mobo vendors use) drive the headphone jack directly.

Maybe Realtek's newer codecs like the ALC1150 have finally addressed this. The reference design for the 1150 does not appear to use DC blocking capacitors on the headphone out, so they've obviously redesigned their headphone driver circuit.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:43 pm

Kougar wrote:
Nine years... that's a good point. The Xonar brand is ten years old. At what point would some of these fancier motherboard sound solutions surpass something like a cheap Xonar DX?

Assuming we're not talking about el-cheapo boards, IMO modern mobo audio is waaaaay better than it ever should be, particularly the higher-end implementations with better caps and/or DACs. The whole meme about "ugh, mobo audio" is dead and most definitely buried.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:46 pm

morphine wrote:
Assuming we're not talking about el-cheapo boards, IMO modern mobo audio is waaaaay better than it ever should be, particularly the higher-end implementations with better caps and/or DACs. The whole meme about "ugh, mobo audio" is dead and most definitely buried.

Ah, so maybe it is time for another attempt at on-board sound with a tubed output stage.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:04 pm

I mostly agree with Bruno. ALC1150 is plllllllllenty good enough assuming motherboard makers pair it with decent quality DACs/caps/amps. Now, that doesn't mean I don't think there are cases where a specific headphone amp wouldn't make things way better. However, if you're just plugging in your 22Ω impedance headphones straight into the PC you should be all set with 1150. There are also definitely crap implementations of 1150 that make it far worse than it really is.

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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:12 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Typical Realtek codecs can still struggle to drive headphones decently. My Xonar DSX has no such issues. Neither did the VIA onboard audio on my M3A78-CM (circa 2009). I'm sure this could be addressed by adding an op amp to drive the headphone jack, but Realtek's reference designs (which most mobo vendors use) drive the headphone jack directly.

Maybe Realtek's newer codecs like the ALC1150 have finally addressed this. The reference design for the 1150 does not appear to use DC blocking capacitors on the headphone out, so they've obviously redesigned their headphone driver circuit.

I'm inclined to agree, my mobo uses a Realtek ALC1150 and the headphone output is far superior to that of my Xonar DSX, my headphones are 250ohm so obviously hard to drive without a headphone amp, my Xonar is completely useless driving them without an amp whereas my onboard sound(which has a headphone amp) drives them with ease, which I suppose they should since they advertise them as being able to drive headphones up to 250 ohms.
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:17 pm

DancinJack wrote:

Yes, that's the datasheet I was looking at.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:24 pm

soundcard/amp: Fiio E10K
headphones: Sennheiser HD25-1 and Sennheiser HD595
microphone: ModMic (omnidirectional) + noname soundcard-dongle
speakers: Hercules XPS 2.0 60
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:38 pm

just brew it! wrote:
DancinJack wrote:

Yes, that's the datasheet I was looking at.


I have to say, it's a nice little datasheet. Lots of good info on there.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:44 pm

On my principal system, audio is HDMI to a Samsung 4k monitor that serves as my main monitor, and optical out to a Sonos Playbar, with a pair of Gen 2 play 5's that I use for music, a pair of play 1's for surround use and a Sonos sub.

Along with a gaming console that plays UHD movies, it gives a wide range of capabilities, which is important since I work on this system far more than play but want the ability to do both. The sound is quite good and, with some effects of age on my hearing, about all I could hear anyway.
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:02 am

DancinJack wrote:
I imagine quite a few of us, me included, ran Promedia's before they died/we upgraded to 2.0's and an external DAC. No shame.


Fortunately that's just a work setup. Haven't been able to convince the boss I need a pair of JBL LSR305's for my desk yet. :( :P Of the 3 or 4 sets of Promedia 2'1.s we used to have in the office, mine's the only one still going. (yay?) Home setup is much nicer but I use it a lot less. :-/
 
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Re: What is your sound set up?

Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:09 am

My previous gaming PC (micro-ATX) included a Sound Blaster Zx. My current gaming PC (mini-ITX) has no available PCIe slot, so I'm using the Realtek ALC1150 integrated into the GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 to drive my old Logitech Z-640 5.1-channel speakers. I plug in my ancient Sennheiser HD430 headphones for late nights or early mornings when I don't want to disturb others.
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