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Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:40 pm
by Dctr1
Hi,
I know there's probably a lot of other threads with similar questions to this, but if you don't mind, I would like to start my own.
I have a pair of Audio Technica ATH-AD700's, which I use with a Graham Slee Voyager Amplifier, which I run straight out of my on-board sound. They work great together, and I get a deep amplified sound, but I feel I need to upgrade the source. I am a gamer, but music is also very important to me. The on-board audio is fairly poor, sometimes I hear random crackling and crinkling sounds and other interference-type noises. I am wondering if buying a sound card would make a notable difference, or if there are other options. I have the money for a Xonar Essence ST/X, but am wondering if that would present a decent and clear advantage over something like a Xonar DG, and if the price difference would be justifiable from the increase in performance. As I said, if there are other or better options please tell me.

Thankyou.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:41 pm
by Dctr1
BTW. Sorry to post twice, my internet crashed and I thought it didn't submit.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:22 am
by Marcus
I haven't tried the Voyager, but a decent soundcard shouldn't have any background noises so at least that aspect should be an upgrade :)
You'll also find a soundcard like the STX much better suited to gaming as it will process positional audio quite well :)

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:05 pm
by Dctr1
Do you think the STX will be worth the money and incur a very big difference in audio quality compared to a $50 DG? Also, do you think the inbuilt DAC in the STX is very good? I listen to YouTube quality music.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:12 pm
by Drubbing
A $200 soundcard is going to be better than a $50 one.

But if all you're listening to is poor quality music via YT, you got to ask if it's worth it - and whether having the Voyager is of any use in that situation either. The amp is only making it easier to heart the noise from your onboard, and poor quality music files.

SQ is only as good as the weak link, and YT music/onboard sound is yours.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:53 am
by Marcus
Yeah just remember that good audio gear isn't about improving sound quality, it's about maintaining it.
If you start with poor quality source music, nothing you can do will improve the base line quality of what you're hearing. To do that you need to start with good quality music files being played back through good playback software out to a good DAC and a good headphone stage to drive your good headphones.
If you start with poo source material your absolute maximum sound quality will always be poo level.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:30 am
by flognuts
As said youtube quality is not ideal and sounds poo out of anything. Find mp3 320 or v0 kbps.

Having said that, when i first got into this headphone thingy, going from a dx to an stx with my then ad900 was a massive upgrade, I could of stayed there an been very happy.... The stx imo with ad700/900 is the sweet spot for great sound quality on a budget.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:47 pm
by Dctr1
Thank you for your suggestions, is there any free 320 kbps music I can get? What playback software would you recommend?

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:51 pm
by Dctr1
I tried MP3 Juices but Kaspersky marked a song I tried to download as dangerous.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:09 pm
by Drubbing
Don't download pirated stuff.

Your ethics are your own business, but you've no way of knowing the quality of pirate stuff downloaded. Most pirated stuff has been ripped and re ripped countless times. If it came from a 128 or worse to begin with, it'll suck no matter what size it's been ripped up too.

You're prepared to pay for a Slee amp, but listen to the worst quality free music you can get? If you care about the music and artists you're listening to, I say buy it.

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:12 pm
by slaine
Recently I have been buying the old classic music I love from HD Tracks in 24/96 (Joni Mitchell, Joy Division, Coltrane, Keith Jarret etc), not because I think I can hear anything up to 48 khz, but because they have been carefully remastered and digitally transferred so you get one of the best possible sounding versions of that music. This is simply because they took care in the transfer process and technology has moved on since the early days of CD. Joni's Blue in particular sounds a LOT better than the mass market CD I bought in the early 2000s.

Some people will tell you that the original vinyl pressings or MFSL remasters or whatnot on vinyl are still the best sounding regardless, but to my ears, the 24/96 transfers are good enough (and convenient enough) that I won't be bothered getting vinyls (except maybe for nostalgia on certain albums).

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:12 pm
by Belial
I don't see why posted music would be re-ripped: that doesn't really make any sense.

But I agree about not pirating. Pay $10/mth for Rdio or Spotify and get access to a gel of a lot of music. The quality seems pretty high: I'd guess at least 192 vbr, which I honestly can't distinguish from FLAC.

Ben

Re: Need to upgrade source.

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:36 pm
by Drubbing
No it doesn't make sense, but some people are dumb. They'll download a file, then rip it 'up' in their library, thinking they've improved it. Then they make it available on the peer networks, cos they're sharing stuff all the time.

I can't think of any other reason why some 320s I've downloaded in the past (usually from hard, to impossible to find records) suck arse.