The All Purpose Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Well, no, optical-out is _not_ processed by the card beforehand. It's the raw digital signal to the DAC. You could use that as an alternative to a usb connection to the DAC.

    So the sound card would mostly be an alternative to the amp+dac stack. But, you can probably take a line out from the sound card to your amp, if you were inclined to use it with the sound card instead of the dedicated DAC.
     
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  2. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    @Alexander , I'm not familiar with the AE5 sound card, but I think most of us here would tell you that sound cards are usually havens for picking up or generating noise that ultimately mess with the music. A more specific description is that this is how you lose some of the subtleties and detail. You can do some searches as to more of the "why" behind this. My advice would be to just run a USB out of your PC into an external DAC like the Magni 3. The gets the DAC away from the noisy PC environment.

    Don't get caught up with all the numbers. Yeah, 32 bit isn't really 32 bit. Again, you can do searches and find the science explaining that. Spend some time here and read some old threads.

    We were all where you are at one point. You just don't know what you don't know until you hear other stuff. It will come with time.
     
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  3. Alexander

    Alexander Acquaintance

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    So, the environment the hardware is in can affect it? I thought it was only an issue with tube amps.

    I was thinking when I read the 32-bit 384KHz - "But... should that ever matter, unless you were listening to 32-bit 384KHz audio sources, which... I've never, ever seen in the wild?"

    Yeah I've been reading a bit: https://www.androidauthority.com/why-you-dont-want-that-32-bit-dac-667621/

    Alright, well I wanted an external anyway, and been eyeing the Magni+Modi for over 3 years. Time to finally buy it I figure, and by the sounds of what everyone says about them, you can't really go wrong with them.

    I wanted a hardware knob I can turn anyway. Sick of dealing with Windows sliders.
     
  4. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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  5. maverickronin

    maverickronin Friend

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    Don't know about this one in particular, but the Creative cards usually do have all their DSP stuff applied to the digital outputs as well.

    Could be useful if if you need virtual surround of something for playing FPS.
     
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  6. Alexander

    Alexander Acquaintance

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    You do not spare words, do you...

    Eh, I've decided against it now. I only really want surround in scenarios where the source is surround. I find matrixing BS to just distort it and drown-out the detail I so love.

    I have a pair of Turtle Beach headphones I bought many years ago for Xbox 360, it came with this external soundcard thingamabob with "Dolby ProLogic IIx". It can sound nice in some games (I remember liking it for Halo Reach specifically), but I generally found myself pressing the "bypass" button to just disable it instead.

    That tells me I really am not into matrixing technologies, generally. I feel like you can't make real surround out of a source that just isn't surround. It's just disingenuous to me.

    I want the advantages of surround if the source has it. I'm not sure how something like Modi 3 handles 5.1 or 7.1 channel audio sources to headphones. I imagine a lot of the answer lies in the mixing in the software you use to playback the audio instead - for me that's MPC-HC with the latest LAV filters.

    As for games... my ASUS motherboard has some wild capabilities in it already (in fact I had people on Reddit telling me that this mobo has beast audio for a mobo already, and I don't really need any more audio equipment) that I could probably implement if I wanted. Not to mention Windows has Windows Sonic as well now. So... I already have lots of matrixing technologies built-in to this danged thing, the question is whether or not I really want to use any of them. Very rarely if ever, I'd imagine.

    I just want true-to-source audio. Don't want to throw it into a mixer or matrix it or anything else. Feels like it's just butchering it. I really just want to hear what the studio that made the product intended me to hear, no post-processing bull.

    I mean, I'm not against equalizers. In fact, I'm considering getting a Loki along with my Magni-Modi stack and make this stack: http://www.schiit.com/public/upload/general/big-stack-plain.jpg

    But that's all, and I generally do keep things rather close to flat in them anyway, but something like Loki will probably give me the ability to play-around with it anyway. I'm sure there'll be times I want to really inspect what's in the treble or the bass or something, and an EQ is nice to have that for.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  7. Alexander

    Alexander Acquaintance

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  8. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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  9. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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  10. Alexander

    Alexander Acquaintance

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    @ultrabike Well I've been working out my funds for Christmas, really. I've been asking around lots of places like here, Reddit, and LinusTechTips about all kinds of hardware ranging from GPUs to monitors to sound equipment.

    Things on my list:

    • GTX 1080 or RTX 2070 (depending on what I can get a deal on, they're near-identical in performance. If I can't find a great deal on GTX 1080 somewhere I'll probably get an RTX 2070 because even though it's close to the same on average, it's much better at certain kinds of jobs, and has the updated NVENC hardware encoder).

    • A 1440P monitor with 10-bit color and 100% sRGB and Adobe RGB color gamut. Looking at some Acer models like this one specifically. People are all nutso about refresh rates but I always find true-to-source color and dynamic range to matter more to me. I'd love to go 4K but pixel density for screens below 30" is so high (98+ PPI) that it's unnecessary for any reasonable viewing distance. Though, 10-bit may be unnecessary overkill as most sources are 8-bit anyway, and OpenGL 10-bit is only available on Quadros, so perhaps I should just get a 144Hz 1440p instead of looking at "professional" monitors.

    • I need to upgrade for storage space, currently only have my M.2 NVMe space to store things on - looking at high-capacity Seagate BarraCuda Pros.

    • Everyone says the Massdrop Sennheiser HD6XX is to die for, so I'm seeing if I can catch it cheap somewhere.
    • May upgrade my CPU AIO liquid radiator from 240mm to 360mm. This is kind-of at the bottom of my list of priorities though as 240mm is plenty really.
    All in all I'm kind-of waiting until the gap between Christmas and New Years because I know that's when:

    A. People are returning unwanted gifts, or selling them online.
    B. Businesses are trying to sell their stock before taxes.

    Though I'm probably not going to bother waiting on the Schiit stuff because I know their prices are set-in-stone and I don't think I want to buy them on eBay to save a buck, even if some do end-up there. It's fine to buy GPUs second-hand because they really just work or they don't, but audio equipment can show wear in their functionality I think.

    Basically, I've got a lot on my mind. Not just my own stuff but I've got things I gotta get for others too, like I want to get my friends the PC Chrono Trigger and Tales of Vesperia when it comes out on Steam.

    I'm kinda just collecting information and processing things right now. I need to decide what's really important to me and what isn't, what I really need and what I don't. I kinda figure I need to expand my storage first and foremost because I've run out of room for files and that's actually crippling my ability to get work done. I suppose after that I need to decide if whether video, or audio is more important to upgrade. My current video AND audio are both fine enough really (I mean, my machine in general is quite fine specs-wise I think), so I probably don't really need anything, but I'm gonna sit on it and think on my wants and what's gonna be my list of priorities.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    [​IMG]
     
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  12. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Duit.

    BTW, I haven't did-it cuz I don't need it. But if I needed it I would did-it.
     
  13. Alexander

    Alexander Acquaintance

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    Like I said, I'm just summing-up my options and sitting on them for now. It's hard to tell what deals I'll be able to find once Christmas has come and passed, and how much I'll be able to sell my old hardware for as I replace it. I may be able to get lots of the things I want, or I may only be able to choose one of them.

    It all comes down to a numbers game.

    Anywhere I can read-up on the chips and internal hardware present in the Magni 3, Modi 3, and Vali 2?\

    Ya think someone might be interested in buying an old Oppo HA2? They were discontinued after all. The Micro USB Type B port is broken/loose but I bet someone with knowhow about circuits could open it up and fix it themselves. Everything else about it is fine. I got it for $399 (way too much) once upon a time, I'd consider myself happy to leave selling it for only 1/4th of that.

    Edit: Uh... well this is embarassing. I thought the port was broke but I just relaized I actually have a spare micro-USB Type B sitting around and tried it for the hell of it.

    This stupid thing still works perfectly. It was just the cable that was shot.

    ... Kinda still wanna try the Schiit stuff though. So uh... hey at least I think this at least improves it's resell value!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  14. Alexander

    Alexander Acquaintance

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    And here's a weird thing for ya - before (on early Windows 10 using the official Oppo drivers), it was only capable of 32-Bit 192Khz, and now suddenly Windows has no problem doing 32-Bit 384KHz with it.

    Huh... I wonder if the move to 384KHz has less to do with a change in the hardware of products, and more with something Windows has recently changed.

    That or, perhaps the motherboard of my old laptop was simply unable to transmit 384Khz over USB 2.0 like this. This IS an overkill mobo so I figure some new features I see are just due to a more feature-rich motherboard.

    But, on the flipside - the official Oppo drivers no longer work in the latest versions of Windows 10. I guess that makes sense since Oppo stopped making new drivers for this thing.

    Not that any of it really matters, in any case. Windows is driving it fine, and 32-bit and 384Khz doesn't matter anyway from what I've read apparently.

    Still, I'm quite happy to find that this thing I thought was broken, isn't broken. And it kinda lowers the urgency for me to upgrade right now, allowing me to focus more on the rest of the stuff I need and I'll just buy the Schiit stuff if I have enough leftover.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  15. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Still a random but would like a tiny bit of advise.

    I'm currently rocking an iFi micro BL. I'm thinking of buying a campfire Solaris since I've longed for a TOTL campfire IEM for years and the hype is strong.

    On the other hand for this money I could totally upgrade the iFi to the next best thing. Decisions :( Headphones I have a HD650, HD800, AD2000. IEMs: zero.
     
  16. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    @Baten Do you need IEMs that much or are you going to concentrate on listening to your full-sized pairs?

    No one else can make this decision for you.
     
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  17. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Is iFi iPower really that good, or should I look for an LPS to power Hiface Evo USB to SPDIF?
    I got it for a silly price, and I already hear what I have been missing with Gustard U12. It came with a wall wart PSU and I would like to upgrade power supply but not willing to pay for Hiface Power ($499), close to four times more than I paid for a used Hiface Evo.
    Some measurements of iPower I have seen on the web are almost too good to be true. It seems to provide more stable voltage, and less noise than many low/mid priced LPS. A cheap alternative would be
    https://www.amazon.com/Philmore-Mul...1544210686&sr=8-2&keywords=Philmore+regulated
     
  18. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Friend

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    Passive preamp advice please.

    I currently have an Emotiva XSP-1 (active) preamp in my system. Tremendous featureset, most of which I don't use. Upon pulling it out of the chain, I found some improvements -- Emotiva colors the sound a bit.

    I've been looking at Khozmo and Hattor preamps. Khozmo balanced with optional remote and base resistors runs $600. Hattor mini with same resistors and included remote costs $750 (both plus $55 shipping).

    Anybody know if the SQ is comparable, and the added price is marketing and more expensive aesthetics on the Hattor?

    Also, can anybody help me understand the value of the upgraded resistors (i.e., what do you get SQ-wise for 200 to 400 dollars)?

    Finally, are there other alternatives I should consider in the same general price range or something a lot better for more money? Features I need are 2 balanced in, 2 balanced out, remote volume control and (preferably) remote source switching.

    I'm running Denafrips Pontus and Oppo Sonica DACs into a Liquid Platinum and BHA-1. Plenty of gain from either source directly connected to either amp to drive my most demanding cans (HEKv2). In fact, I'm near channel imbalance land when listening to Utopia. Not above (say) 10 o'clock for HEK/Ether2/Auteur. Also, all my equipment is racked on the same stand, so cable runs are short (< .5m)
     
  19. Alexander

    Alexander Acquaintance

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    I'm just wondering if there's any words of caution or anything I should be aware of before buying a tube amplifier, as I am indeed considering a Schiit Vali 2.

    Also, what companies make the best tubes, especially for someone who has a pretty "neutral/reference" palette? And are the tubes easy to replace for a non-DIY kind of guy?

    What difference do more tubes make anyway? You can find models with one tube all the way to 8 or more tubes, so I kind of wonder what more tubes really does.

    Will be paired with AKG K7XX, SRH 940, and soon HD6XX.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  20. Overkill Red

    Overkill Red Friend

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    http://www.audiotubes.com/12au7.htm

    I like the descriptions in "OK, so tell me how they sound". Not an expert myself so I'm looking forward to more experienced member's answers, but as a beginner this site (and Brent Jesse, the owner, via email) has been really helpful.

    So far it seems to me that you'll have to put in a lot of research and probably buy some to try them out, since there are so many different varieties out there.
     

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