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$1000 High Quality PC stereo setup

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by oh_noes, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. oh_noes

    oh_noes Member

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    Hi OCAU

    I'm coming from an epic Emotiva + Adelaide Speakers (Timberwolfs) HTPC 2 channel setup. This came on OCAU recommendations and I couldn't be happier.

    Since deploying this, I realize I spend a lot of my time on my PC and my crappy Logitechs need to go. Now I'm looking to upgrade my home office PC to a proper Sound card, Amp and bookshelf speakers.


    Any improvements/suggestions to the below?


    $190 - Xonar Essence STX
    $220 - Emotiva Mini-X a-100
    $595 - Adelaide Speakers Firesprite 502SV

    Total: $1005 (+ shipping)


    Thanks!
     
  2. Linkin

    Linkin Member

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    Should do alright. My dad, who is a big audiophile, found some older orpheus standing speakers, and we were thoroughly amazed with them.
     
  3. lithos

    lithos Member

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  4. bluedan

    bluedan Member

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    Hi,

    Although Adelaide speakers get a good rap over at Stereo net, Remember that you are buying them to listen to at a PC.
    So look into speakers that are appropriate for Nearfield listening :)

    John Blue 3 are good at this (just reviews I haven't heard personally)
    Cambridge S30 ( I have and are good although on the cheaper side of things)
    Usher S-520 (Were also on my shortlist but too big for the desk.)

    Have you though about a External Dac ?
    Would sit nice on top of the exxy Emotiva amp lol
    Get what sounds good to you, with that budget it will be hard to go wrong.

    Nice to see most of it going on the speakers people often become too focused on the Dac/soundcard and Amps.

    Wish I had just gone the JB3 and a Mini Watt tube amp combo :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  5. lithos

    lithos Member

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    That would be the HS80Ms...they are, after all, studio monitors ;). Granted, they're not made from organically harvested Brazilian rosewood, hand-finished with eighteen coats of French polish or whatever by a guy who works alone and only does three sets a year, or whatever.

    Yamaha are big, and easier to get warrantied and repaired, too.

    Mate's got a pair, got 'em for engineering, and they sound like sex. They are, however, brutally honest, perfectly clear, imaging's perfect.

    They also do a 5"-woofered version, the HS50M.

    As a bonus, OP, they're a lot easier to try out - any decent music store will have them set up to listen to.
     
  6. enzo_450

    enzo_450 Member

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    How much do Emotiva hit you up for shipping, if I may ask?

    Nice looking little amp
     
  7. Chardiieee

    Chardiieee Member

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    This is bad, its for large surround setups only in large rooms. 8" is too big. 6" is perfect, and 5" are good priced nearfields.

    Scout deals like these: (same price as OP's suggestion)
    https://www.storedj.com.au/products/MAU-CX5
    [​IMG]

    The Emotiva looks good, but Im getting a Matrix M-Stage here to go with my STX. I dont know about the terminals, I would ideally go for something else with both headphone and speaker outputs. Theres nothing wrong with an STX at all but you gotta make sure you retain compatibility with plugs and such.

    If you dont mind ditching the STX and the Emotiva and combining those costs into a simpler solution, get this:
    http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=211&products_id=18862

    [​IMG]

    With this interface, it comes with a tonne of stuff and leaves your budget for speakers at ~$500 which will get you decent nearfields.

    [EDIT]: You can also change the op-amps, and could probably change all 11 of them to LM4652's (just put in my STX) which sound great!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  8. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

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    Dude, bullshit. The HS80M's are nearfield monitors, they are not surround anything.

    5" Monitors are bullshit unless you've got a very small well treated room. I use 6" KRK's myself and I should have saved a bit and got the 8" variant. For the type of thing I do I'd like to hear the bass a bit clearer.
     
  9. loefah

    loefah Member

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    If you place your 502sv's correctly, you will have a good setup in my opinion. use the RCA outs on the STX into the amp, and you will be flying.

    Keep in mind that amp only has one set of inputs, so if you look at having different source in the future you will be very limited which could get annoying. If you don't have the room for correct placement and setup then I would suggest talking to the bloke @ Adelaide speakers and perhaps talk to him about getting a front ported option, from what I've read he will be very happy to help you out.

    Studio monitors are another option, I've heard only good things about the Yammies. You have to remember, in the world of hifi, sound quality is all subjective, go and listen, audition everything you can with the amp you want (if possible) and let your ears decide. The more you read, the more confused you get IMO, and the experience of auditioning is definitely alot more interesting and fun than reading about what other people think are a good setups.

    I believe Adelaide Speakers also do a studio monitor range, have a chat to him and see if he can fit your needs if you're set on a pair from him.
     
  10. Chardiieee

    Chardiieee Member

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    Sorry but the link for some reason showed a pic of a subwoofer and 2 different sized monitors and I assumed it was a 5-speaker package without reading the whole thing.

    Anything that is an 8" speaker is not a nearfield monitoring solution. These are rather large speakers and would not suit most peoples desk space let alone the application.

    Anyway Im sure I learned a few good things at college about this sort of stuff so hear me out.

    The bass coming out of 8" monitors has a long wavelength, which you wont even hear accurately if you dont have a properly treated large room. The largest studios which I visit at college and otherwise have 8" monitors in the biggest rooms only with full sound treatment, and the smaller rooms have smaller monitors.
    Size of a speaker is relative to the size of a room, where bigger speakers wont make things sound better in a smaller room. While larger speakers can be better at reproducing bass, it doesnt mean that you need to look past 6" monitors for personal usage - if you want extra bass, get a subwoofer unit!! The only thing with that is youll have to set up & tune the crossover freq's.

    Also I am recommending 6" monitors because my housemate owns a pair of 4" which arent that great at all (cheapo Tascam brand) and because 5" arent useless but they just dont reproduce bass as well as 6" does. 6" is a sweet spot for monitoring for nearfields in terms of reproducing clean flat freq's, when its set up well.

    This is also something you should aim for when spending good money on speakers. :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  11. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

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    I understand you are excited about all of this, I have seen your posts in many threads. But I think you need to take a breath.

    The reason I would suggest 8" units is because I own and use 6" monitors and have heard, at length, the 8" version of them in a very similar context, and its better.

    I'm talking about all of this from actually using them to try and make music. The rendition of the lower tones on the 8" monitors is sufficiently better to a point where better choices can be made in regards the treatment of low sounds. This is both creatively and scientifically.

    However, in a listening context; you can't "rock a party out" with 6" monitors, in real life. 8"s can pull double-duty as a half way reasonable party system. Of course its probably not recommend to drive them that hard all the time but brass tacks - you will get more sound from a bigger speaker!

    With the 6"s you have be right "in the zone" of them to really get a clear representation. The 8"s are less like this which can be a bit nicer.

    As per usual though, a better room / treatment can change everything. The locations where I have used these speakers are just common small bedrooms.
     
  12. Chardiieee

    Chardiieee Member

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    My interpretation of usage scenarios is based primarily off accurate and flat monitoring. I work with these speakers in studio situations as well as maintaining an interest in home studio applications so my opinions relate more to whats suitable for this rather than 'party' speakers.

    If you need 8" to crank for parties and such, go for it I guess - its a pretty expensive party investment though! The only reasons I would be making such investments is to achieve a certain amount of quality and accuracy, but each to their own.


    More to the point of OP's topic - I would be recommending him 6" nearfields purely because he/she can achieve an epic amount of quality and very decent bass response with a single stereo speaker pair. I also suggest the ASUS Xonar Essence One because it would simplify the interfacing and also provide a balanced signal.
     
  13. lithos

    lithos Member

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    There wasn't much to read. And there were only two speakers and woofer, not five, in the picture. And they were labeled monitors. Why would you assume anything?

    Er...what? A sound's wavelength - or frequency, if you will - doesn't change with speaker size.

    An 80hz sound coming from a 4" woofer has the same wavelength as one from a 12" woofer.

    They're both 80Hz. Because that's the wavelength they're pumping out. 80hz. It doesn't change with speaker size.

    Vd - amount of air that the speaker moves - changes with speaker size, generally speaking, as does resonant frequency (again, generally speaking).

    That would apply to any speaker, regardless of woofer size or whether they're labeled monitors or not. 'Course it's all gonna sound better in a treated room, but, meh. Only sound treat my mate's got is a towel on the rear wall and a thin layer of cat hair everywhere.

    Wait, in your line of prior reasoning about wavelengths, wouldn't a subwoofer still be bad, since the driver in it is big?

    And these are monitors, not a set of six-by-nine Fusions goin' in the back of a Datto 120Y. They're fine for most bass. That's what they're designed to do. If you really need sub-42Hz, then yeah, there's the sub.

    Subs aren't there for "extra" bass. They're their to just extend the bottom end.

    And, again, frequency flatness is not product of speaker size.
     
  14. FuzzyKaos

    FuzzyKaos Member

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    I have these, bought them mainly for the large jacks, but stayed for the excellent sound and the cool styling (windowed case).

    This is being fed to my Cambridge Audio Azur 650A (black) amplifier, spitting that out to my VAF Signature i91 speakers
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  15. Chardiieee

    Chardiieee Member

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    I only took a short single glance and wrongly assumed it was part of a surround setup, its not I know, but I still dont know why they show different sized speakers in the pic.

    I didnt say the wavelength changes, I meant more that the low frequency wavelengths are reproduced better by larger speakers, where smaller speakers are worse for bass and larger is better - and in saying that, do you actually need 8" woofers to get decent bass? IMHO, you dont, and 6" can do just fine.


    I suggested adding a sub because yes it will extend the bottom end, but when you tune the crossover you can let the desktop monitors produce the mids & highs better and leave the sub with its larger speaker to reproduce the bass and get the result that ^catalyst was going for.
    Even then, how useful is this to the OP?

    My point about speaker size relates to both frequency response and room acoustics - 6" speakers are capable of reproducing bass better than smaller sizes while retaining a better 20hz-20KHz flat response (when combined with a 1" tweeter / ribbon speaker in a box) but even then its dependant on the room.

    Speaker size can definitely help flatness to a degree, and is why I keep coming back to suggest 6" monitors. While speaker size basically defines the total response spectrum, the speakers are tuned according to size (along with many factors) to try and achieve the flattest response possible - youll find 6" is an optimal size and will perform well anywhere from professional studios to personal 'bookshelf' speakers.
    Good 6" monitors can produce all the bass you need and all other freq's at relatively flat levels, and are of a high quality standard.
     
  16. lithos

    lithos Member

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    Well, that's pretty much exactly not what you said in the post I replied to. I'm just confused. And, to reiterate:

    "The bass coming out of 8" monitors has a long wavelength"

    Which means you're saying a 8" speakers have a "long" wavelength - so, by deduction that must mean 6" must have a...shorter one? Again, this is using an erroneous definition of "wavelength". Which explains my confusion.

    You tell me. It was your post I was replying to, to clear things up. In case he started worrying about big wavelengths. At least I've made a recommendation.

    No one's denying 6" speakers are capable, but we're really splitting hairs over the difference between 6" and the 5" HS50m. That's probably the reason why Yamaha don't do a HS60m.

    Pretty much everything else you said or implied is erroneous - there's no reason a 6" woofer is somehow magically better than an 8". Diameter is not the sole determining factor of a speaker's freq response. What about an 12" woofer with an ultra-stiff suspension and high Fs? Or a 4" one with a huge XMax and low Fs? There's no reason an 8" speaker can't be designed to have just as flat a response as a 6".
     
  17. flinchy

    flinchy Member

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    that doesn't even make sense... speaker size generally determines what frequency range they'll keep a good response at... 1" tweets are much better at producing high frequency noises (loudly) and more clearly than a 12... or a 6

    where a 10/12 is much better at subbass than a 6/4/1

    perfect situation, you'd have speakers going all the way from 1", then 4", then 6, maybe an 8 if you want to split the middbass up more, then 10/12" sub.

    sure you can get a 6" to play 40-60hz no worries, but it will distort very early

    and sure you can get a 12" to play 10,000hz, but it's not going to do it very well because of the mass.. i think it's silly if you want a 6" to play above about 1000hz, or below 100-150, they just suck at it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  18. mevereyn

    mevereyn Member

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    Well, I use three-way speakers with 10" woofers(!). Yes, for the computer 'n all. Not a problem. Very similar to running smaller two-ways and a sub, which is a very popular option, or so I've been led to believe. I've actually done recording and mixing here, just for the record, and it's turned out well, according to everyone involved. And this is not a very large room, btw.

    Anyway, the STX is an excellent choice.

    With that budget, I'd be tempted to check out the 2nd hand market, for speakers (and, if necessary, an amp). That's what I did, some years ago (actually, before I got an STX card), and I've been very happy with it all.
     
  19. Chardiieee

    Chardiieee Member

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    I think this is getting interpreted the wrong way - you are right about the wavelengths and Im not contesting that. Its more in a sense where certain speakers are suitable only for specific applications.

    In my experience, 8" speakers were usually only seen in large studios with plenty of room acoustics modification to get the most out of the speakers, and make the best of its deep low frequency projections. Pic related:

    [​IMG]

    Im talking about the best tier of speakers available to buy as the standard (~the flattest response, ~0-tonality for each speaker size - 8" 6" 5" 4" etc.)

    Now about the wavelengths - think of it like a scale to compare the sizes to the rooms. 8" speakers produce lower Hz (longer wavelengths) than 6" could due to physical limitations. They are placed in aforementioned large soundproofed studios which can actually 'fit' longer wavelengths. The reason for that is because you can position the listener 1 sine cycle of the lowest speaker frequency away in order to hear the entire bottom end point, and up from there to ~20KHz.
    Taking steps up or down the frequencies is related to the optimal distance away that you can listen from, tuned to a frequency. You can tune the speakers themselves once positioned, and have the room tuned as well to get a sound image which is flatter and has an accurate soundstage.

    If you were to use say, decent 6" monitors in rooms which are smaller and less 'acoustically-sound', for e.g: a bedroom or home studio - the listener would be positioned a shorter distance from the sound source, and would tune to a different frequency, which is higher up than an 8" woofer, which voids its purpose in smaller rooms.

    If you had limited space and are positioned rather close to your sound source, 5" speakers would be not only cheap but be the most suitable. In a smaller room, you would scale it up to whichever frequency according to the distance like the 6" and 8" and be tuned to a higher bass frequency. 6" as I have mentioned before is a 'sweet spot' because if youre willing to pay more for that particular size, it gives you better bass depth if you have enough room.


    As far as flatness between sizes, it all depends obviously on the way its built, entailing many specific details all the way down to what the speaker cone is composed of. So no the size doesnt depict that as much as its just one part of what defines its total response from low to high.

    6" woofers being better than an 8"? No, rather it is just better in a particular room size compared to an 8. Theres no point having an 8" in a small room because youll tune to a higher bass frequency and waste its potential, and not to mention the loss of high freq quality.

    Well... Not many people like OP are going to do that. Were just talking about what size of speaker is suitable for OP's room.

    My say is that OP needs to see how big his room is, and figure out what size speaker he can tune to.

    Room size to speaker size ratio
    Small room : 5"
    Small-medium room with depth : 6"
    Medium room : 6"
    Medium-large room : 6" with sub or 8"
    Large room : 8" with sub

    Rooms obviously are all different but just for sake of scaling each application, heres what I would recommend.
    Also the sub is pretty much optional to your liking on each of them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  20. Oosh

    Oosh Member

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    Indeed. If you wish to stick with AS then you should look at the monitors: http://adelaidespeakers.com/monitors.html

    Then you should call up Edward and have a (long) chat. ;)
     

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