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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I do not have a background or much of any knowledge when it comes to audio, so I would really appreciate both some guidance as well as a some information.

 

I currently have a Lexicon Alpha connected via USB to my PC, 1/4" cables to a pair of Active monitors (Behringer Truth B2030A).

 

To me, most of the music I play sounds, for lack of a better word, stuffy or like I have a cold or cotton in my ears, now this could just be old age setting lol, but I don;t think so.

 

I have tried .mp3 and .wav from 16/48, 24/48, 24/96 and 24/192 as well as playing them via the default windows 7 media player and also by using JRiver player.

 

Here are my questions:

 

1. I am considering replacing the Lexicon Alpha with an Asus Essence STX card, but I cannot seem find any specs which compare them (seems the terminology used is different with internal cards vs outside dac...but I may be mistaken). Another option might be a different DAC, I was thinking maybe Schiit Modi or Loki....Can someone help me understand the difference between these units (in terms of performance, not feature sets)

 

2. Someone suggested that I swap out speakers first (for a pair of Airmotiv 4s) ... my only problem is that these are brand new (3 months) old, and I thought they were reasonably good desktop monitors..seems a drastic first step...comments?

 

I have already done the following:

 

1. swapped cables

2. checked polarity on speakers

3. used different USB ports

 

 

 

The more information anyone can provide the better.....thanks in advance for any assistance!

 

- Karl
 

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Quote:
2. Someone suggested that I swap out speakers first
That someone is right.
Quote:
my only problem is that these are brand new (3 months) old, and I thought they were reasonably good desktop monitors
If you don't like them, then they are not good speakers.


Everything else you have done or contemplating doing is a waste of time.
 

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IMO the problem is the speakers, and their amplifiers.


They are just not a very-good-sounding pair of speakers.


One of the guys in my ham radio group bought a set and didn't like them, so he had someone bring over a pair of the PSB Alpha PS1 speakers over for a comparison, and his computer sounded like a million bucks with those.


That was just with the basic sound output of the PC mother board. The basic 16-bit stereo sound from most computers is actually pretty good.


Those are really nice-sounding speakers.


My Audioengine A2 speakers also sound very good with my PC.


Either of those will make a big improvement.


For best sound when using MP3, try to stay with the 320K files. The lower-res files are not so good IMO.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkemerait  /t/1524368/some-guidance-please-dac-speaker-performance-issues#post_24531550


I do not have a background or much of any knowledge when it comes to audio, so I would really appreciate both some guidance as well as a some information.


I currently have a Lexicon Alpha connected via USB to my PC, 1/4" cables to a pair of Active monitors (Behringer Truth B2030A).


To me, most of the music I play sounds, for lack of a better word, stuffy or like I have a cold or cotton in my ears, now this could just be old age setting lol, but I don;t think so.


I have tried .mp3 and .wav from 16/48, 24/48, 24/96 and 24/192 as well as playing them via the default windows 7 media player and also by using JRiver player.


Here are my questions:


1. I am considering replacing the Lexicon Alpha with an Asus Essence STX card, but I cannot seem find any specs which compare them (seems the terminology used is different with internal cards vs outside dac...but I may be mistaken). Another option might be a different DAC, I was thinking maybe Schiit Modi or Loki....Can someone help me understand the difference between these units (in terms of performance, not feature sets)


2. Someone suggested that I swap out speakers first (for a pair of Airmotiv 4s) ... my only problem is that these are brand new (3 months) old, and I thought they were reasonably good desktop monitors..seems a drastic first step...comments?


I have already done the following:


1. swapped cables

2. checked polarity on speakers

3. used different USB ports


The more information anyone can provide the better.....thanks in advance for any assistance!

So far you've done things that are pretty well guaranteed to have no audible effect and you seem to be contemplating a fourth - swapping the Lexicon Alpha with a different audio interface. I know what your speakers sound like in a variety of applications and they can be just fine given half a chance. Most people rave about them and I mean that in a good way.


Besides working with speaker placement (get your ears on-axis with the tweeters) and room acoustics there is always equalization. Bad sound can always come from a too-reverberant room.


One easy way to introduce equalization into your playback chain is to use a music player with powerful equalization tools:

http://www.foobar2000.org/download

http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_dsp_xgeq

http://www.head-fi.org/t/201028/parametric-eq-foobar-plugin
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Here are two photos of the current arrangement. the room is 11x13. The two photos are taken from the same point facing in opposite directions. The tweeters on the monitors are at ear level when I am sitting in the chair. Any other suggestions?

 



 

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkemerait  /t/1524368/some-guidance-please-dac-speaker-performance-issues#post_24531550


a pair of Active monitors (Behringer Truth B2030A).


To me, most of the music I play sounds, for lack of a better word, stuffy or like I have a cold or cotton in my ears, now this could just be old age setting lol, but I don;t think so.
On the back of those monitors, there is high frequency response adjustor, play with different setting and see how it is. If not effective, try other 2 adjustors next to it as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkemerait  /t/1524368/some-guidance-please-dac-speaker-performance-issues#post_24531953


Here are two photos of the current arrangement. the room is 11x13. The two photos are taken from the same point facing in opposite directions. The tweeters on the monitors are at ear level when I am sitting in the chair. Any other suggestions?


Swap the chair with that low-back chair in the picture and see how it is. The soundwave reflection off of high-back chair can degrade the sound.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkemerait  /t/1524368/some-guidance-please-dac-speaker-performance-issues#post_24531953


Here are two photos of the current arrangement. the room is 11x13. The two photos are taken from the same point facing in opposite directions. The tweeters on the monitors are at ear level when I am sitting in the chair. Any other suggestions?






You didn't bother to read the last 4 lines of my post, I guess.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkemerait  /t/1524368/some-guidance-please-dac-speaker-performance-issues#post_24532092


You "guess" incorrectly ....I simply thought more information would be helpful

Your room appears to be highly reverberent and pretty much free of diffusion. Carpeted floors are among the worst kind of sound absorption because it goes from absorbent to reflective in the midrange.


Cart in 3 king sized mattresses and place one in the middle of each wall or at the right end of each wall and see how you like that. I'm not saying you must live like that but you may find a sense of direction from listening to the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Adjust all of the switches (one at a time of course :)) the "input Trim" seems to adjust volume (at least to me) .. cannot hear anything but extremely minor difference with adjusting high freq, and really can't tell difference with low freq. The room correction is a little better (not quite so much bass) ... still sounds "muddy" to me overall ... 

 

Here's a link to the /wav I am using to test...if this helps

 

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0ByLAUVTLTv59dDc1WDB4Ym9jQ3M&usp=sharing
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Sounds like a plan .... although my wife might think I want a divorce after moving the mattress into my office lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Thanks all for your assistance. I've now got some things to research and try (without spending money right away), I will get back to you and let you know how things work out. Just as an aside, I came across this excellent site (for those of us who don't know anything) and just thought I;d share it in case anyone else found it interesting.

 

Thanks again!

 

http://lenardaudio.com/education/

 

Check out the "subjects" menu link at the top of the page.

 

Enjoy!
 
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