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Upgrade options, Dac for new speakers/headphones

 

Bronze Member
Username: Hannibal_lector

Trenton, Nj

Post Number: 11
Registered: Aug-04
I was planning on getting Axioms for my bday in 2 weeks, too expensive so they are for xmas. I was also considering external dacs, since the ones I have are all sub par. MY comp soundcard is integrated, Ive got a yamaha 5660 wich is "ok" and I have the pioneer universal dvd/sacd player (the 200 $ one). After some reasearch and reading of reviews I have concluded that my dvd player does sound very thin on cds, but ok on sacd. I want to upgrade, my questions are;

In the $200 range what is best for my speakers when I get them, and my current headphone system?

Ive got sennheiser hd-590's with the headroom big little, (the little with upgraded power supply and reference electronics)

I dont know much about dacs, but since I already have a very decent headphone amp that hasnt been properly used since all Ive got to mate it with is consumer stuff.

Theres a soundcard (the M-audio audiophile 2496) that has excellent reviews, and is heralded as a pro card for a 1/4 the price. It comes with 2 gold plated rca in/out and a break away cable with 2 s/pdif in out and some others. It supposedly sounds fantastic. Its about $130, is it worth it to use its I/O capabilties to make it the dac for all my listening, (comp, dvd etc..) theoretically I could hook both my dvd player and loopback my reciever to it using spdif out/in and have it come back on rca to the reciever or headphone amp.

The only thing audio wise to upgrade would be either a seperate amp for speakers, which is stupid because I only have 2 boston acustic cheapos (they only have a 4.5 inch cone no tweeter) or the dac, I assume that the dac should make a noticable difference on my senneisers, since they seem to have no problem showing me everything that sucks in my system. These hi fi phones sure are picky when it comes to mates.

I could also get an external dac from the home hi fi camp and patch it up to any of the 3 (comp, dvd/sacd or reciever) via coax or fibop, but for about 200 whould I notice it? and What is the best bang for the buck. Am I over my head etc...

Swift response is appriciated as I want to order by tuesday so I can get it quick :-). I wan my pwesent!
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1312
Registered: Dec-03
unless engineered properly, most CD recordings sound thin and flaws will most definitely be inherent in a lot of them.
What I would do is save the money to get better speakers a lot sooner than wasting it on external DACs. Or save for a better receiver, too.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Hannibal_lector

Trenton, Nj

Post Number: 12
Registered: Aug-04
Thanks, I quit my job so I could work full time at school so my income is nill. Ill wait for the axioms and over the summer Ill save for an amp. Probly end up getting either the soundcard and a video card or one of the latter and an indoor bike trainer for to make my road bike stationary so I can sweat off some lbs through fall and winter. (I moved from princeton to trenton, its just not a good idea to bike here, its a pretty safe city but the drivers all suck so much and the roads suck too :P) So dacs really dont make that much of a difference? External ones...

Some albums just cant sound bad no matter what you play it on, be it the best hi fi or a clock radio. (All my Pink floyd, led zeppelin antholigy, chesky sampler of course and aa few others like "the orb" sound very good) I still notice "briteness", One thing that really pisses me off is that my yamaha reciever wont convert pcm out to anologue. Its got both a full set of pre-outs and zone 2 outs and tape/cd-r outs but none of them get any signal from a digital source. It just doesnt convert any digital source to something that I can use with my headphone amp connected to it. I like the basic sound I get when I use my headphones with it but Im only using its headphone jack and I know im missing detail. Well thanks for saving me from spending money on useless crap :-). Should I spend 500 bucks on some "rf" cable isolator jobbies that are really just magnets in a plastic cylinder too! :-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1317
Registered: Dec-03
Yup, save your money for gear first, accessories later.
cheers
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