Hi folks (beginner questions coming up...sorry)...
I need some input from you. I listen to music and 'game' with my son on this (PC) computer.
We currently have a Creative X-Fi Music soundcard and did have a Cambridge SoundWorks 2.1 setup. The Cambridge setup is now history. When we are 'gaming' and the wife is home, we have to use our inexpensive Logitech USB headset.
Here's what I'd like to do:
Get a pair of AudioEngine A5 powered speakers(@ $325.). I'm also considering getting the Asus Xonar Essence STX soundcard. If I get these two items, I would then use my headphones from my downstairs stereo system and plug them into the new Xonar card. I would then have to get a seperate mic (which would also plug into the Xonar I assume) so that we can continue to use TeamSpeak in some of the clan-games that we play. Would the mic need a connector to interface w/ the soundcard, or could I just use a usb mic?
Will all this work? And, does it sound like a good setup?
What's really important to me in all this, is that I'd like to have both quality desktop speakers for music/gaming when the boss is not home, but also be able to use the inexpensive USB headset to 'game' with when she is home...and NOT have to disconnect anything when I want to switch from one to the other... (in gaming, it's so much easier with the USB headset...a headphone and separate mic combo is sometimes harder to setup & get it to work in TeamSpeak...which we use a lot in gaming)
Is that goal easier to achieve if I have either the MAudio AV40's / the AudioEngine A2's / the AudioEngine P4's / the AudioEngine A5's / or the Swan M200 MkII speakers, along with the AudioEngine N22 amplifier...with the new Xonar Essence STX sound card?
Sound is basically a wave and analog signal is a wave as well, but when the wave gets transfered through cables, there can be distortions and signal loss. There is always some signal loss or distortions even if you have the best cables. This is heard as noise or static, only really noticable when the speakers are idle.
Digital overcomes this problem by using pulses of electrical current to represent 0s and 1s. Even with a lot of distortion a pule of current will still be read as a 1 and not impact audio quality.
The difference is small but noticable. Basically if you have digital input, use it.
I know what you mean about money. Speakers are expensive, if you want quality that is. I personally use Orb Audio speakers for my computer. I like how they are small unlike bookshelf speakers so I can hide away a 5.1 setup very easily. It cost my wallet $1000 X_X
Good speakers are designed to interface directly with an Audio Reciever.
An Audio Receiver is does digital decoding, amplification and input conversion. Everything a sound card can do and much more. High end speakers and subwoofers can only be plugged directly into a receiver via speaker wire.
Most computer users only want a simple 2.1 setup and don't want to pay for a reciever.
Probably getting the AudioEngine 5 speakers with the Xonar Essence STX sound card... Will use my Grado headphones and separate mic through sound card when I can't blast the speakers because the wife is home... I don't think I'll need a switch box to go back and forth for outputting of sound...
M-Audio makes some really good nearfield monitors.
I do warn you, the X-Fi cards are limited to 2.1 output via SPDIF which is fine for your setup but if you ever want to expand to 5.1, you would need a new card. Im just using onboard for digital output since my reciever does all the dolby decoding.
I personally use Orb Audio speakers in a 5.1 setup. They are tiny little things but sound great. If you don't do music creation, you probably don't need nearfield monitors since I find them too big for my room. Not into the boxy look either.
if u have a good receiver, then use a chap ati graphics card to do the audio output (5xxx or higher)
get a good HDMI cable and it should be well good, that is only if ur receiver supports HDMI 1.3 or else u might as well get a soundcard that supports HD audio, but still sending it to a dedicated amplifier will always be better at your situation.
1) If I go passive speakers, then getting better speaker for same amount of
money; But have to deal with finding space for the receiver(Yamaha RX-V492...not HDMI
not easy in this room)
2) If I go active speakers, then less hassle- no receiver to deal with; But less
sound quality for same amount of $. (?)
Staying w/ same sound card for now (Creative X-Fi) I have an excellent graphics card in computer... AMD/ATI Sapphire 5870.
On short list:
NHT Absolute Zero
Monitor Audio BR-1