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What do I need to have a work-at-a-computer-all-day-love-high quality music system? (newbie)

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Looking to create my first set up, but don't know jack about the small amps, what parts make a good system. Any suggestions on where to start. I spend my money on headphones, but that doesn't seem to the be the whole picture to get true audiophile sound. For computer, but also for home.
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KenJazz
0
Feb 13, 2022
Just begun my journey too with the purchase of the Drop Sennheiser HD 6XX headphones. Had the same realization as you that you can make good better. I asked and asked lord google and ended up with the Schiit Magnius/Modius ensemble to accommodate the balanced capabilities of the 6XX, my stereo system. and a retiree's budget. First step is to know what you want at the end of it. What sound sources do you want coming through the cans? Then, make a budget, since every step is a matter of money and since quality improvements require $ or $$ or $$$... By having an end game, you may be able to save by buying up now as opposed to replacing later. Once you double-check what sources you want, verify the inputs/outputs. You'll find the devices all vary in this most important fact. Some equipment do balanced XLR and/or 3.5mm, etc. (As I've learned the hard way trying to go from an iFi Zen Bluetooth 4.4mm balanced output to the Modius AES Digital 3-pin XLR balanced male input, getting from here to there seems impossible. Since my decade-old stereo setup is pre-Bluetooth and, as pointed out in another post, go Tidal, I needed a quality BT receiver but didn't think through the connections before ordering...). As mentioned elsewhere, going from a computer is very different than going from a stereo system of whatever vintage. As was pointed out, your motherboard's output capabilities will determine what you need to deliver the best sound to your cans. Diagram it out. There are devices that are portable and don't require a lot of desktop real estate but may not deliver all of what you want. There is plenty of 'advice' and opinions available. And other considerations that are just personal. (I like Schiit in part because of where it is designed and manufactured.) If you like shopping, there's a lot of fun to be had deciding. At some point, stop looking and make the best decision you can and hope for the best. But, you'll see, the better the initial buy, the sooner you start dreaming about the next step. ($6,000 headphones which would require which amp and DAC to run them...) Enjoy! (And start asking for overtime to support your new addiction...)
ezseattle
39
Dec 5, 2018
Delmetrice
23
Dec 22, 2018
Personally, I think it's a great choice and not because of the inner workings or the chips or blah blah blah - you can literally run almost anything on it, and I love having both headphones and bookshelf speakers in the office. Sometimes, you need to switch it up.
Tragique
712
Oct 28, 2018
Go to Schiit's website. They have gear for most any budget and it's all pretty well explained and easy to understand. It's quality equipment and upgradeable. Personally I use a Lyr 2 and bifrost multibit at home and it's splendid. (Find 20$ a month for Tidal)
ezseattle
39
Oct 28, 2018
I am such a newb I don't get much of the language. I will do some studying from everyone's suggestions. Thanks for the help
3xpl0it2c
23
Oct 23, 2018
-- I am no expert, but I do know my place.
Maybe get an Aune X1S.. All in one, pretty good combo. Maybe get the Sanskrit 6th + E09K/whatever amp.. You can get the schiit stack (do not stack them, they get warm, and not in a good way, put them next to each other).
If you look for the why... I think this is a very expensive hobby. But if you are like me and just buying a decent amp + DAC (everything costed like 300$ ?) Then it is a "one-time" treatment and it is fine. Try and think if it is worth it. Go to stores, ask friends, Z reviews, etc... Understand why you like it the way it is. Make sure to get hi-fi music like 16bit flacs.. (Don't get fooled by all of these expensive DSD stuff , if you are just getting into it an album CD or a high quality mp3 is just awesome)
BTW if you look for something that is high-end I recommend you get a darkvoice or an X7 (Class A headphone amp). Also anything from schiit is great.
oddsnsodds
7
Oct 23, 2018
Are you building a PC or are you adding an audio setup to an existing PC?
The audio quality of PCs and motherboards can vary quite a bit.
ezseattle
39
Nov 2, 2018
no budget yet. I have some headphones. is the DAC? the next step? I can try with current headphones while I save up. are the DAC (?) and the amp the other key pieces?
oddsnsodds
7
Nov 2, 2018
You'll need a DAC and amp. The DAC converts the digital stream to an analog electrical signal, and that needs to be amplified for your speaker or headphones, so you need both. You can get a DAC paired with just a headphone amp, and buy the speaker amp and speakers later, or you can get a DAC paired with both amps, and then you just need speakers. How good are the headphones you have now?
Heefty
1388
Oct 23, 2018
Quick answer that will save you gobs of money: You need whatever you enjoy hearing. If you love it, go for it, and be satisfied with it.
If you really want to start down the rabbit hole, I hope your wallet agrees with that decision, but in my experience it seldom does. You can spend a fortune on audio gear and barely scratch the surface. You'll spend far more learning how to listen than is reasonable. Then as if that wasn't enough, you'll get picky and start making demands for how you want your gear to sound that lead to ever increasingly more expensive gear.
ethanchan
267
Oct 23, 2018
If you could give a bit more information such as budget, current rig if any, types of headphones preferred if any, space available and usage... gaming, music, movies, or all of the above, we could probably give you some really good suggestions as to what direction to look in.
To start the Bluetooth Headset and Nuraphone won't get much benefit from additional gear as both are primarily self powered headphones. The Sennheiser is not particularly difficult to drive but may benefit from a cleaner source. I give every new enthusiast the same advice, start with a small investment as everyone's ears are different. Some of my friends are happy with a <$100 DAC/AMP usb stick... others can appreciate my UD-501 and Cayin Combo at >$1000. To save typing it out again here is my response to a similar post https://www.massdrop.com/talk/7800/hd-6-xx-vs-akg-7-xx-also-question-about-dac-and-amp/2080779
ezseattle
39
Oct 28, 2018
Right now at home use Google stream on a Google max speaker and have uploaded my 38k songs to the locker. I also have a Sonos play 5. I have a pair of B&o that I use off my phone as well as a nura which I am kinda digging
phoenixsong
1045
Oct 22, 2018
If you're using a computer, probably a usb purifier, dac and amp to power your headphones
ohsigmachi
232
Oct 22, 2018
What kind of headphones? What's your budget?
First thought is wait for the O2 amp and SDAC combo to drop here again. Very economical, very small form factor and drives most cans reasonably well.
If you want more, Google "SMSL panda stack" still a reasonable size/form factor, but much more noticeable than the O2/SDAC . Very good amp/dac combo, you don't really need the linear power supply, but it's functional. Some love the aesthetic, some hate it, I'm kinda ambivalent.
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