Originally Posted by bebopedge
Hello guys, I'm very new to the world of audio. I have a basic understand of stuff (mostly what plugs into where) but I would like to take it to the next step. Although there is seemingly a lot of information of this stuff strewn around, it is sort of overwhelming when peoples opinions get thrown into the mix. I have a simple request, hopefully someone could help me out with my situation.
Basically, I want a better audio set-up than I have now. At the moment I simply have a PC with an external Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1 card. I plug my headphones and/or computer speakers into it for listening pleasure. I feel like it could be (a lot) better. I only really use my headphones if necessary, which isn't too often. I prefer speakers for listening.
I resonate with your desire to have the option of speakers. Of course this also puts you in the world of room acoustics, so budget accordingly!
About your existing audio interface - if this is the right card its really very good:http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/creative/surround51/2448.shtml
So I began my journey into what I could possibly do to make my experience better. I mainly listen to old-school hip-hop, electronic, classical, and some jazz/blues. My budget is around $500-600, coming out to about $150-200 per piece that I need. What I was thinking of doing, specifically, was buying the Asus Xonar Essence STX internal card, an External Amp of some sort, and the Klipsch Promedia 2.1/M-Audio AV40's computer speakers. Is there something I'm overlooking?
IMO you are overlooking how good your existing audio interface is.
Something I'm overdoing/underdoing? I heard there was a built-in amplifier on the sound card, but would it be as good as an external one in that price range? Is an amp even the right way to go?
I know of no sound card with an internal power amp that holds even the dimmest candle as compared to either good powered speakers or a good AVR.
I could make a trip across town and probably listen to a Klipsch Promedia 2.1/M-Audio AV40 system, but that's a lot of work for just writing a AVS recommendation. What I did do last night is listen to some competitive Logitech systems at the local MicroCenter. My take was that they sounded pretty good for the size and money, but my socks were still unruffled. ;-)
I know what would knock my socks off, and that would be a pair of Behringer 2030A studio monitors, possibly upgraded with the matching subwoofer, the B2092 (which may be discontinued despite the fact that it was a great product) I don't know if you have the space for this, but the 2030A generally have deeper, stronger bass and great all the rest, far more so than under $200 computer speakers. They will match up with your existing audio interface.