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What stereo(s) do you listen to? What do you want? - Page 139

post #2071 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Y View Post

There seem to be 4 parts to the series (issues 218-221). Should I get all of them, or is there a particular one I should read first?

I'm away from home now...will check for you when I get back.
post #2072 of 2374
Hey guys. I need a recommendation for an audio setup in my work space. I know nothing about audio. Here are my needs:

-connectivity to my computer so I can play high quality sound files and watch audio.
-high quality sound
-high quality radio
-$300-400 budget (pretty strict about this)

I'd prefer to go the tuner/speaker thing with some type of high definition cable to connect to the computer as necessary. I want to spend less that $400 or so. I don't need a cd player or anything. Can you guys tell me anything about how the quality of sound to the speakers will vary depending on how I connect to a computer? This is really the most important thing for me, because all my beloved recordings are digital now.
post #2073 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

They're currently on a Thunderbolt-connected 4TB Pegasus R4, with Twonky serving out the files through an iMac. Again, I only have 16bit ALAC files so far. I also use iTunes for feeding three B&O portable AirPlay boxes for ambient music.
These files are also dumb-copied to a 4TB Synology NAS, which will be serving over gigabit Ethernet once I figure out things with PS Audio's own renderer. The Pegasus will be the backup disk once the NAS takes over serving duties and hosting the high rez files.
Thoughts?

More than adequate. That Synology is a nice unit for the $.

The thing that sucks about all of this is that you have to mirror everything so it doubles the investment. There is a guy in my area that gets ex-govt hardware and sells it on. I bought a cisco gigabit network switch thru him for peanuts as well as a bunch of other office hardware. He accepts wishlists and I asked him for a real enterprise level NAS with like 12 or 16 disk capacity. That way I can scale out to 32TB without needing more hardware or another unit for backups. Something like this:

image-specs-NAS355LX_04.jpg

Great thing about one of these units is that you can setup all sorts of raid arrays to mirror disks automatically so you never have to touch it once configured.

Wire with CAT6.
post #2074 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post

Hey guys. I need a recommendation for an audio setup in my work space. I know nothing about audio. Here are my needs:
-connectivity to my computer so I can play high quality sound files and watch audio.
-high quality sound
-high quality radio
-$300-400 budget (pretty strict about this)
I'd prefer to go the tuner/speaker thing with some type of high definition cable to connect to the computer as necessary. I want to spend less that $400 or so. I don't need a cd player or anything. Can you guys tell me anything about how the quality of sound to the speakers will vary depending on how I connect to a computer? This is really the most important thing for me, because all my beloved recordings are digital now.


Fuck man, that's a pretty bare bones budget. To make it happen you need to chuck a few more $ at this.

You wont need a sound card if you get a USB DAC, connect it to an receiver and then a set of speakers, but for $400 you are better off with a nice headphone amp and a set of headphones. A Creek OBH-11 and a set of Sennheiser HD 595's. No radio though w/ phones.

Another option is a nice sound card like one of these:

http://www.esi-audio.com/products/julia/

Then connect that to an receiver and then to speakers. But dude, for $400, I don't know. That sound card is $200 on its own.

Also, for speakers, can you share the size/dimensions of the room?

Your best bet is the soundcard + craigslist. You can find an old NAD or Rotel receiver. On Audiogon, this Marantz is all that I saw in your range and it aint special:

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/marantz-sr-63-receiver


Speakers... slim pickins .... what about these:

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/pr-mission-ms-50-mini-monitors-ex-sound-blonde-2-way

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/kef-reference-series-model-101


http://app.audiogon.com/listings/tannoy-mercury-m2-loudspeakers-cherry

Those KEF's are the only ones I know and would barely recommend...
post #2075 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

I've been a customer of Goodwin's since college back in the 80s when the shop was in Harvard Square. They set up my new VPI/Graham. I'll be doing some listening there.
Nice. They have some pretty awesome listening rooms there. Not sure about who helps you there, but I've known Al and have been a customer of his since '02. I have purchased the majority of my gear from them. What made you decide to go with the ps audio DAC over the Berkeley DAC that they sell? I have an Audio Research DAC 7 myself but have been thinking about a possible upgrade and revamp of my system.

-LR
post #2076 of 2374

Source: Rotel RT-935AX AM/FM Tuner OR Rotel RCD-971 OR M-Audio Audiophile 192

Amp: Rotel RA-931

Speakers: B&W DM23

 

Yeah, it's like it was all made when I was 5 years old :D

post #2077 of 2374
I want a speaker system (2.1 or 5.1, I don't really know) I can connect to my PC via its Optical Audio Output. Is there anything I need to know? Evidently this is the best output. Do all computer speakers have input jacks for this type of output? Do I need to connect the PC to a receiver and then the speakers to a receiver or does it just go PC to speakers? Or do I split the Optical line with an adapter and then input each speaker to that? I don't get this shit at all. And can I get really good sound for $150?
post #2078 of 2374
My system is strictly for music. I have a pair of Bowers & Wilkins 684 with a Rotel RC-1582 amp, RC-1550 pre amp, Rega turntable, and some DAC i picked up cheap.
post #2079 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post

I want a speaker system (2.1 or 5.1, I don't really know) I can connect to my PC via its Optical Audio Output. Is there anything I need to know? Evidently this is the best output. Do all computer speakers have input jacks for this type of output? Do I need to connect the PC to a receiver and then the speakers to a receiver or does it just go PC to speakers? Or do I split the Optical line with an adapter and then input each speaker to that? I don't get this shit at all. And can I get really good sound for $150?

That wont work.

Optical will need to go to a DAC to decode into analog, then to a preamp + amp or integrated amp, then to the speakers. I like optical as a source, but your system is only as good as its weakest piece.

And there is no such thing as 2.1, its 2 channel, thats what you want. 5.1 is 6 channel and meant for movies, also you need a 5.1 receiver to support it.

Not bullshitting you.... you cannot get good sound for that $. You need to chuck at least a grand at this to be barely passable, and thats bottom barrel of passable. You can go out and get some old JVC shit but it'll suck. To the audio community what you are saying is the equivalent of 'why cant I get english bench made for $12 at payless shoe source?'.

Having been an audiophile for 25 years, I can tell you that its worth the extra $.
post #2080 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by idfnl View Post

That wont work.
Optical will need to go to a DAC to decode into analog, then to a preamp + amp or integrated amp, then to the speakers. I like optical as a source, but your system is only as good as its weakest piece.
And there is no such thing as 2.1, its 2 channel, thats what you want. 5.1 is 6 channel and meant for movies, also you need a 5.1 receiver to support it.
Not bullshitting you.... you cannot get good sound for that $. You need to chuck at least a grand at this to be barely passable, and thats bottom barrel of passable. You can go out and get some old JVC shit but it'll suck. To the audio community what you are saying is the equivalent of 'why cant I get english bench made for $12 at payless shoe source?'.
Having been an audiophile for 25 years, I can tell you that its worth the extra $.

there's a lot that's incorrect in this post.

you can get powered speakers that accept a digital input and that do the D/A conversion and are powered.

you can get a 2.1 speaker system - it just means 2 speakers and a sub. You can quibble a bit about what it really, really means in terms of the signals but more or less 2.1 is what everyone in the market calls a 2-speaker system with a sub. Usually the amp and D/A are in the sub, the digi out goes into the sub, then the sub runs speaker wire to the satellites.

and you can get all this for $150.

That said, idfnl and his fucking horrible avatar are correct - this is going to sound like shit, at least from an audiophile's perspective.

But it will likely sound marginally better than letting the computer do the D/A and amplification itself. BTW, at this price point, the optical input isn't worth it.
post #2081 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post

I want a speaker system (2.1 or 5.1, I don't really know) I can connect to my PC via its Optical Audio Output. Is there anything I need to know? Evidently this is the best output. Do all computer speakers have input jacks for this type of output? Do I need to connect the PC to a receiver and then the speakers to a receiver or does it just go PC to speakers? Or do I split the Optical line with an adapter and then input each speaker to that? I don't get this shit at all. And can I get really good sound for $150?

You can't do it for $150. Good speakers alone will be at least $300/pair. But in the meantime, here is a diagram to help you make sense of where all the pieces fit:
Code:
(1) computer source -> (2) digital-analog converter (DAC) -> (3) analog preamp -> (4) power amp -> (5) speaker

1. computer source: where you store your music, like stuff you buy from iTunes or rip from a CD. The music is still in digital form (1s & 0s), and can be easily copied or transported around. This can be your computer or a NAS.

2. digital-analog converter (DAC): the device that turns music in digital form into analog, so you can actually hear the music.

3. analog preamp: usually a volume control and source selector (eg. you can pick 1 of 4 things hooked up to it to listen to).

4. power amp: increases the size of the music signal so that the music can be played through a speaker and be heard.

Given that, here is how some audio devices work:

Optical Audio Output: this is the link between 1 and 2 when 1 and 2 are NOT in the same box. Other digital audio outputs like USB, HDMI, coax, S/PDIF fulfill the same function.

iPod: combines 1, 2, 3 into one box. You can plug it into a power amp directly, which then drives a speaker.

Receiver: 2, 3, 4 in one box. Sometimes it doesn't have 2. Those that have 2 can accept the Optical Audio Output. Because a receiver has 4, it can drive speakers. These days receivers also mean that they can drive 5.1 speakers. In the past receivers had radio tuners.

Integrated amp: 3, 4 in one box. In the old days, they were simpler and higher quality than receivers. Also simpler to operate.

Computer (Windows, Mac): 1, 2, 3 in one box. You can bypass stages 2, 3 in a computer by using an optical audio digital output at the 1. Why? Computers often don't have the best kinds of stage 2 built in.

Computer speakers (those cheesy, cheap things Dell tries to upsell you on) combine 4, 5 in one box. Sometimes they have 3 if you see a volume control. And the really fancy ones (like Meridian's) have 2 built in, too.

Powered speakers (like the ones pro audio engineers like to use) also combine 4 and 5 in one box. They do it for quality and convenience reasons rather than money-saving reasons.

Hardcore audiophiles have separate boxes for every stage.

Headphones systems usually don't have 5 and usually plug in right after 3. But some have 3 built in, and many these days have 2 built in (like the ones advertising USB connections). There are a couple that have 4 built in and can drive speakers in addition to headphones. Receivers and integrated amps can also sometimes drive headphones.

Hope this helps.
post #2082 of 2374

As a caveat - just because it hasn't undergone transformation, does not necessarily ensure that it's better than if it's gone between digital and analogue.

 

Optical is good, but it's not the best - it depends on the rest of your setup, and down to what you're listening to too!

 

ps. for $150 - sorry bud, computer speakers it is.

post #2083 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

there's a lot that's incorrect in this post.
you can get powered speakers that accept a digital input and that do the D/A conversion and are powered.
you can get a 2.1 speaker system - it just means 2 speakers and a sub. You can quibble a bit about what it really, really means in terms of the signals but more or less 2.1 is what everyone in the market calls a 2-speaker system with a sub. Usually the amp and D/A are in the sub, the digi out goes into the sub, then the sub runs speaker wire to the satellites.
and you can get all this for $150.
That said, idfnl and his fucking horrible avatar are correct - this is going to sound like shit, at least from an audiophile's perspective.
But it will likely sound marginally better than letting the computer do the D/A and amplification itself. BTW, at this price point, the optical input isn't worth it.

Thanks for the correction, I have not heard this referred to as 2.1, my terminology is a bit 80's, I know this as satellite and sub.

Powered speakers that run off of optical? Thank the lord for compression. I've never heard that was possible. With SH's budget that's going to sound worse than a 70's car stereo. Money in the trash can, IMO.
Edited by idfnl - 7/14/12 at 8:51am
post #2084 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by PooJou View Post

As a caveat - just because it hasn't undergone transformation, does not necessarily ensure that it's better than if it's gone between digital and analogue.

Optical is good, but it's not the best - it depends on the rest of your setup, and down to what you're listening to too!

ps. for $150 - sorry bud, computer speakers it is.

Its a preference thing, and individual components may handle certain means of transport better. I have found for longer cable runs, optical is by far the best.

I also prefer optical because its the purest signal, there is no metal composition to pass thru and build resistance. Again, its personal preference, I like optical.
post #2085 of 2374
Quote:
Originally Posted by idfnl View Post


Its a preference thing, and individual components may handle certain means of transport better. I have found for longer cable runs, optical is by far the best.
I also prefer optical because its the purest signal, there is no metal composition to pass thru and build resistance. Again, its personal preference, I like optical.

 

Completely agree, but the transport medium is arguably the section you worry about the least - trash in trash out - no matter the purity of how you transfer that trash :)

 

And yes, at the end of the day it's personal preference and budget really :)

 

As an example - remember those Gateway 2.1's that they sold in that firesale a couple of years back? They were 2.1 OPTICAL ONLY computer speakers.

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