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Alec's picture
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newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

hi folks!

 i dont have a stereo as such - my computer is my stereo. i dont really have the money or the space to get a stereo system, but have been advised that i could have something much better than my logitech z2300 speakers, and people seem to be reccommending a good pair of speakers which can handle the base for me, and an amp, instead of getting a separate sub.

 because of the layout of my room, i favour floor standers as opposed to shelf units. the room i will be listening in is approx 12 foot square, but i will probably be a couple feet nearer to the speakers than that. im no base-head, although i appreciate some is important, and ive no need to wake the neighbours, clarity is what im after - although im not very good at saying what i want in the terminology you probably use. id like to get everything i need for no more than £500 GBP.

 best,

 al.

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Re: newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

by the by, im in rugby in warwickshire. if anyone has any opinions on nearby retailers - such as sounds expensive -  it'd be great to hear them. also, if anyone has any advice on soundcards.

 id like the setup i get to be able to handle all my music well, without constantly changing settings every second song. basically, im lazy.

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Re: newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

 The room's not really big enough for floorstanders - I'd go for the tried and tested Monitor Audio BR2s, or even Tannoy Mercury F1 4Custom speakers, with a NAD C320BEEE. Job done for well under your budget, and compared to that Logitech it'll sound like a top-flight PA rig and the main control room at Abbey Road all rolled into one.

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Re: newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

ah. this really is all very confusing. ill have a look at them, thanks for the advice. how much would that setup set me back? and whats tone defeat?

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Re: newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

user="al7478" wrote:
how much would that setup set me back?
 

Right side of £350, all in.

user="al7478" wrote:
and whats tone defeat?

Tone defeat switches the tone controls out of the audio signal path, to give a purer sound. Even in their central 'flat' position, tone controls can have a marginal adverse effect on the sound. 

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Re: newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

thanks for that. i think you have sold me on the idea of shelf speakers. still a little vague on the tone thing, but i can find that out through experimentation. anybody have any tips with amps...?

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Re: newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

i just want to make sure i have made clear that i'll be listening to mp3s. im familiar with the idea that if you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out, but im hoping it wont be too bad in my case. the problem with that, of course, is i probably cant know that til i get some and try 'em.

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Re: newbie - think i need amp and speakers, please advise?

 No, it'll be fine, honest...

Anonymous
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You're on the right track - just go all Digital

::: Listening to MP3 :::

Listening to MP3 is less joyous than
listening to an audio CD (with a good CD player) or even FM (my
personal opinion). But if your MP3s are 192 kbps or better (which
normally these days they are), don't worry.. not everyone can tell the
difference.

::: Using PC as a player :::

That's a fantastic idea. Any one who has ever used a PC to listen to
music, will never want to use an AV receiver + Player + Jukebox +
harddrive kinda setup. That's too many things to take care of and too
much of a hassle. Best way out that I have devised is: use a PC as a
music player. And top it up with a sound-card with Digital out port
(there are many for as less as 20 bucks) Use a software that can output
to Digital out (there are many).

::: An AV Receiver for the rest :::

Feed that Digital signal to the AV receiver (a stereo amp with
digital inputs is as good) and envelope yourself in pristine audio that
will leave you breathless.

::: How much do I need :::

Sound card - 20 bucks
AV receiver - 200 bucks (250 bucks can get you a very-very good stereo amp or even a decent budget multichannel amp)
Speakers - Rest of the money (more is less)
 

::: Why Digital out :::

Is Digital out important? IMO, it
is. Digital out sends PCM signals to receiver, in which case D-to-A
conversion takes place in the receiver, which typically has a much
better processing capability than a PC motherboard's on-board audio
chip (or even an average quality sound card). So, what if my
motherboard/soundcard/receiver doesn't have a digital input/output?
Don't worry, even analogue signal fed into a receiver will beat a
typical desktop setup by a huge margin, but in that case care should be
taken to chose a good quality sound card.

 

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Re: You're on the right track - just go all Digital

Thanks ranjeetrain. could you remind me what AV and PCM mean? Could you also expand on your point about software...?

Thanks for the patience folks, my knowledge of all this is really very limited.

Anonymous
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Re: You're on the right track - just go all Digital

AV Receiver = Audio Video Receiver (A device that combines a pre-amp and a power amp, some times also throws in an AMFM tuner/XM radio/Sirius)

PCM = Pulse Code Modulation (A method to store digital audio data digitally)

Not all software can output to Digital out. Most will output to the "Default sound card" or "Direct sound". But there are many that can.

WinAmp - There is a plug-in for the same
Windows Media Player Classic - Natively supports output to Digital port

There are a lot more, if you don;t like these. 

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Re: You're on the right track - just go all Digital

Please tell me that I am not the only person left in here who still believe in a good old 2 channels system base on many big boxes (some horrid looking ones) and try to get that all important "analog sound" from a cd source....

Anonymous
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Re: You're on the right track - just go all Digital

user="Thaiman" wrote:
Please tell me that I am not the only person left in here who still believe in a good old 2 channels system base on many big boxes (some horrid looking ones) and try to get that all important "analog sound" from a cd source....

Certainly, you are not Thaiman Smile

And despite all that all-digital-amps, all-digital-path, shortest-input-to-output-path talks class A/B amps still rule and most receivers still have a pure-direct mode.

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Re: You're on the right track - just go all Digital

Thanks again ranjeetrain. So what your saying is a good enough amp could do the job on its own?

i use wmp11, and would much prefer to carry on with it if possible. the more all this involves, the more convinced i would have to be tha there would be a noticeable diference, if you see what i mean. and so far people seem to say that the speakers will make the biggest diference.

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Re: You're on the right track - just go all Digital

user="ranjeetrain" wrote:

user="Thaiman" wrote:
Please tell me that I am not the only person left in here who still believe in a good old 2 channels system base on many big boxes (some horrid looking ones) and try to get that all important "analog sound" from a cd source....

Certainly, you are not Thaiman Smile

And despite all that all-digital-amps, all-digital-path, shortest-input-to-output-path talks class A/B amps still rule and most receivers still have a pure-direct mode.

What does this mean ranjeetrain?

Thanks Andrew, I only just noticed your last post, sorry.

Anonymous
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Re: You're on the right track - just go all Digital

user="al7478" wrote:
So what your saying is a
good enough amp could do the job on its own?

 Not exactly. A receiver could. Receiver = pre-amp + power-amp (roughly). A receiver contains DACs, which can do the duty.

user="al7478" wrote:
i use wmp11, and would much prefer to carry on with it if possible.

 Not 100% sure about WMP11 (not my ware). But should have the feature. Read through the manual. Search for "digital output"

user="al7478" wrote:
the
more all this involves, the more convinced i would have to be tha there
would be a noticeable diference, if you see what i mean. and so far
people seem to say that the speakers will make the biggest
diference.

True. Speakers will make the biggest difference. But whats a loudspeaker with a bad input source? GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out.

 

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