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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Hi,

 

I'm building a new PC for games, music and movies, and need some help in the audio sector. I will get the HD598s and an Asus Xonar Essence STX or Creative Sound Blaster ZxR, because I want to listen to music with good sound quality.

 

As my budget for sound is about 1000€ (euros), I'll still have approximately 650€ left to spend after that. I would like to spend this money on a receiver and a pair of speakers for the front channels for now, but the final goal is to achieve a 5.1 surround sound system for games and movies. As I don't have the opportunity to listen live to different sets of speakers and receivers, I was told on a portuguese forum to go with material with a good relation quality/price. Specifically, a receiver from Pioneer (VSX-922-K or 923) or Yamaha and some Monitor Audio BX2s or MR2s were recommended to me.

 

Can you give me some advice as to what would be the best in my case? I should say that my room is about 25m^2 and I'm looking for quality, detail, good soundstage.

The receiver should serve my purposes well in stereo mode too (I may hook STX or ZxR up to it when listening to music). In conclusion, I'm looking for a good all-rounder, if possible.

 

I listen to a lot of music, a little bit of everything, from rock to pop, from blues to metal, from alternative to folk. Oh, and classical and choral music when I'm working or relaxing.

 

(Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cranberries, Coldplay, Beatles, Queen, Eddie Vedder, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, SOAD, Iron Maiden, Mumford and Sons + classical music + recent hits)

 

Other questions:

 

- Should I get the high-end sound card for music? Am I spending my money wisely?

 

- What is the best way to get true 5.1 lossless surround sound from games? Should I consider HDMI or analog connections?     
 

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The best setup for a combination of movies, music, and games is probably a good Receiver using HDMI for sound. Most new receivers don't have analog inputs, so trying to hook up a sound card or onboard sound has to be done via digital coax, optical, or HDMI; and of those three options only HDMI allows 5.1 or 7.1 LPCM (uncompressed), meaning it can easily do surround sound in games. If you're going to spend the money for a receiver just get a good one and forget about the sound card - a good receiver will do all the audio processing you need (from up-conversion to room balancing to equalizer), so there's no need for a high end sound card. I'd also suggest looking at a 7.1 Receiver, as that's something that you can't easily add later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Thanks for your insight. I mentioned the high-end sound card (like STX) because I was told a good DAC can make a big difference in music. I believe I can hook up a sound card to the two analog audio inputs some receivers have, though. Am I wrong?

 

What do you recommend then? I was considering Pioneer VSX-923-K or Yamaha RX-V675 and some Monitor Audio BX2s. 
 

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You're right. A good DAC will make a difference in sound quality. However, a decent receiver will cover that part just fine as long as you're inputting a digital signal. Skip the sound card and just use the HDMI output on the motherboard.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manel M  /t/1519859/help-setting-up-a-surround-sound-system/0_100#post_24419242


Thanks for your insight. I mentioned the high-end sound card (like STX) because I was told a good DAC can make a big difference in music. I believe I can hook up a sound card to the two analog audio inputs some receivers have, though. Am I wrong?


What do you recommend then? I was considering Pioneer VSX-923-K or Yamaha RX-V675 and some Monitor Audio BX2s. 

RX-V675 is a good choice IMO


Here is why I think the external DAC "cult" breaks-down
  • Jriver, Foobar, and XBMC can give bit-perfect output over HDMI
  • In my research, several receivers have a *nitpicking* annoyance of limiting to 24/96, 16/48, etc for *analog* inputs only (really takes a little digging to find)
  • Takes money away from what could be better speakers


Good software coupled with using Intel's HD Audio path through the PCH directly to your reciever, all digital, is much simpler to setup as well (IMO) and works best when switching between games/music/tv/movies
 

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My suggestion for 5.1 speakers:


2 x Pioneer SP-FS52

2 x Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

1 x Pioneer SP-C22


The only weak point is the sub that comes with the set, but it's still pretty decent.


It doesn't get much better for the price.
 

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+1 for the Yamaha. I've been using their AV receivers for years and absolutely love them.


Also for speakers, monoprice has the best 5.1 satellite system for the money that I have ever heard. http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10906&cs_id=1090601&p_id=10565&seq=1&format=2&utm_expid=58369800-11.R-enhtUGRrSdHz5vzpVS2g.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.monoprice.com%2FCategory%3Fc_id%3D109%26cp_id%3D10906


Don't know about the shipping to europe but these speakers sound great on music, movies, and games. For the money they can not be beat!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Thanks for all your feedback.

 

I can get the RX-V675 from Amazon.de shipped for ~390€. Pioneer VSX-923-K costs about 350€. Do you think it is worth the extra 40€?

 

I understand it isn't a good idea to connect the sound card to the receiver. However, I still need a good DAC and an Amp to drive the HD598s. 

 

I also have the Edifier S550 Encore in my mind... They cost ~550€ and seem to have a good sub. The satellites are MDF, not plastic. The only downside is that they have no digital inputs, but I can always connect them to a ZxR, for example, and, hopefully, get a good sound quality.

 

Should I spend my money in a set of PC speakers? Or is it a better idea to get a good receiver and a set of passive monitors?

 

I really have my mind full of doubts right now...

 

Also, won't the HDMI connection pick up too much noise, as the graphics card is in communication with the motherboard?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manel M  /t/1519859/help-setting-up-a-surround-sound-system/0_100#post_24423629


I understand it isn't a good idea to connect the sound card to the receiver. However, I still need a good DAC and an Amp to drive the HD598s.
That's what a good receiver's for; all receivers have DAC, and a good one will have good DAC with good post processing options.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manel M  /t/1519859/help-setting-up-a-surround-sound-system/0_100#post_24423629


Should I spend my money in a set of PC speakers? Or is it a better idea to get a good receiver and a set of passive monitors?
In this forum I think you'll find most people will suggest spending the money on a good receiver and set of 5.1/7.1 speakers. Even the best PC speakers are going to be weak compared to a run-of-the-mill receiver + speaker set-up. If you've got money to set this up (and I assume you have, as you've mentioned spending in the neighborhood of 900€ on speakers and a receiver) there's no way a sound card + PC Speaker is going to come close to what HDMI + receiver + speakers can do, both in terms of sound quality and raw power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manel M  /t/1519859/help-setting-up-a-surround-sound-system/0_100#post_24423629


Also, won't the HDMI connection pick up too much noise, as the graphics card is in communication with the motherboard?
No. HDMI audio is all digital, where as audio "noise" is an analog phenomenon. The only way that line noise can affect a digital signal is if it completely drowns out the digital signal, and no motherboard is going to put out enough noise to do that. That's the beauty of using digital audio. Look around the forum, you won't find anyone complaining about line noise on their HDMI line. There's a lot of other issues that have cropped up with HDMI over the years, but line noise isn't one of them.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix  /t/1519859/help-setting-up-a-surround-sound-system/0_100#post_24420658


2 x Pioneer SP-FS52

2 x Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

1 x Pioneer SP-C22
I'd second this recommendation. Read through a few speaker recommendations over in the speakers forum and these are mentioned quite a bit. If you can bump up to include this sub http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0015A8Y5M?tag=adapas02-20 it would sound great for under $600 (note the bookshelf LR is a pair)
 
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