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PC Audio Upgrade (Bookshelf+Amp and Headphone+amp)

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by downforce, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Sarsippius

    Sarsippius Member

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    Darwin
    The only thing I would say with the Volls is that you can't really beat physics, not to continually harp on frequency range but they simply won't go very low purely because of the compact size.

    For a long time I used a hifi system I bought in the 90's, one of those all in one, cd, radio, double cassette deck deals. The speakers that came with it were regular size bookshelf speakers. At some point I read about the Loudspeaker Kit M4 (Mk I) speakers and decided I'd 'upgrade' the speakers but without quite realising how small they were (about the same as the Volls).
    Once I hooked them up I felt the audio quality was better but the frequency range was more constrained and for tv/movie/music duty the wife and I both felt the old ones were better even though the fidelity was worse.

    Long story short I bought $1k floorstanders and the M4s are hooked up to the wife's PC haha :lol: (as an aside she thinks the Swan's sound much better than the M4s, more warm in her words).

    Anyway the moral of this story is just be aware of what you get with compact speakers, I haven't heard the Volls but assume they are good for what they are but a more regular size bookshelf might be a better option.
     
  2. Zenskas

    Zenskas Member

    Joined:
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    Just received shipment of some Voll B44 V2 speakers the other day...

    First impressions after a couple days of use - absolutely fantastic speakers for the price. They have a very reasonable amount of bass considering their size and my lack of an extra subwoofer. Not overpowering like most Logitechs, yet you can easily crank a little bit more boom out of them if you get an amp and/or DAC that has bass/treble controls. Loud enough to fill any standard sized room no worries, hell they damn near fill my small 3 bedroom house without distorting. I'm no bass-head anyway and don't have a particularly well acoustically sealed house so for the sake of my neighbours it's really the perfect level of bass. Clarity of vocals and separation of instruments is all really good for a budget speaker too. I'm yet to hear a speaker at this price that sounds this good while still holding up at higher volumes.

    For reference I have some el cheapo Logitech Z506 speakers hooked up to a HTPC for movies and TV and although they can put out louder bass due to having a sub, I'd argue the bass doesn't sound as good at all and ends up being overpowering at louder volumes anyway. Thankfully Logitech put a separate bass volume control on the sub so I ended up turning it down a little from the standard level, but even then they are certainly not as good for music listening as the Volls...which is to be expected from a 5.1 setup coming in at a similar price as the stereo Volls.

    I'm running the Volls off a very old ~1987 Proton AM-200 amp which I picked up second hand from Gumtree. As you say you don't want to have to deal with old stuff breaking, and I certainly see your point there. I am lucky in that this amp has been well looked after for it's age and seems to be working fine across the board. But for how long who would know, and when eventually something inside goes I am not looking forward to the cost of repair should I go down that road.

    But if I did it again I think I'd just grab a brand new amp/DAC combo for under $200, which would have more input choices and be much more compact. Currently I have to run a separate external DAC which handles my digital input and then sends the analogue signal to the amp via RCA cables. This is additional expense that would bring the price up over your budget unless you got a very cheap amp and a cheap DAC too. My total cost was closer to $500 once various cables and a Chromecast Audio were factored in as well. You could do it for much cheaper with a brand new DAC/amp combo, probably well under $300 for a package including the speakers directly from Voll :thumbup: Just be sure that the DAC/amp you buy has a headphone output should you want to run them through that rather than your sound card.

    Edit: On second thoughts your sound card is probably quite capable so I'd just continue running your headphones off that. If anything you can probably get away with an amp without a DAC inbuilt as I'm sure the DAC in the STX is also very capable for your budget. Then you can just switch between headphones and speaker outputs using your sound card control panel. Unless of course you wanted to plug another source up to the amp, then you might want to look at an external DAC or a DAC/amp combo :)
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  3. OP
    OP
    downforce

    downforce Member

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    So I picked up a Sanyo SH-1122X on Gumtree for $25. He had them hooked up to a range of speaker and sounded quite good! TBH it's the perfect price as a starting point. If it dies, or doesn't sound good, no real loss for $25!

    I've got it hooked up to some single cheapo Centre speaker until I can find some proper speakers!

    Now I'm trawling Gumtree for speakers, found the following that I need to research a bit:
    * Wharfdale CRS-3 for $125
    * Sansui, unknown model for $75ono
    * Pioneer S-Z92D for $75 - but these are on the other side of Perth!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  4. macrocephalic

    macrocephalic Member

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    I actually have the Voll B44 V2 from that OzB deal the other week, and an SMSL Q5 pro bought at the same time. They arrived just the other day. They sound pretty decent, mid-low is good, not much actual bass, but that's to be expected from a tiny speaker. Highs are clear (good for TV) but a little bit harsh.

    The amp is pretty good for general purpose, but the speakers could take a lot more. As you near the top of the amp output you start to hear that it's struggling, but the speakers are fine.

    A work colleague has actually just arranged to sell me their old top of the line Yamaha 7.1 system for next to nothing, so the Voll's and the amp are going to be surplus. If you're still interested in a week or so, hit me up and maybe I can sell you mine for a good price. I won't have any use for them - and they're practically band new.
     
  5. jfat

    jfat Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    57
    I have the Q5 pro, Id say it had plenty of power for a desk setup or small room, but yeah for a decent room, using as a Hi-fi amp, it'd get a bit weak.

    SMSL are good for a cheaper decent amp; for a significant step up in power/quality, youd be spending quite a bit more. For their price they're great.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    downforce

    downforce Member

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    Soooo my Gumtree scouring turned up some Acoustic Research Holographic Imaging M5. Audiokarma users seemed to give good feedback, they were $125 from a guy ~2km away and were listed for 6mins when I saw them!

    Picked them up and pretty impressed! They are tiny for bookshelf speakers but wow, do they put out some punch!

    It's a bit weird, they seem to need ~5mins to "warm up", the sound is quite tinny to start, but then output some serious sound. I can hear them from the back of the house through ~4 rooms and 8 walls!

    Total price $150!

    I do have some $1 dodgy RCA cable which I want to replace.

    Any suggestions for "best value for money" cables?

    I don't really prescribe to the $500 cable theory but I'm sure a decent $20/$30 cable is going to be better than a nasty $1 eBay special.
     
  7. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    I use coat hangers from and to my speakers and amplifiers.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    downforce

    downforce Member

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    Is that the speaker wire? I'm looking for interconnects from PC to Amp. I'd prefer not to stick coathangers into my PC sound card :D
     
  9. Sarsippius

    Sarsippius Member

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    Buy a $10-20 cable from Jaycar but I wouldn't expect it to sound any better/different than the ebay cable.
     
  10. deluxe

    deluxe Member

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  11. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    The Selby Acoustics one's are nice and relatively cheap.

    Jaycar ones are a rip off as they are the same units from ebay China which cost dollars.

    Buy from ebay to save $.
     

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