Audiophile corner

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Tulani, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Tulani

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    #1
    I have thought of coming up with a thread that has all to do with top of the range sound production. Be it hardware or software that you have had experience with to reproduce that bombastic audio quality that any enthusiast would crave to share.

    What app are you using? What setup do you have? What Mac hardware in combination with your hifi are you jamming on?

    Come out all you music lovers and lets share.
     
  2. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2
    You kind o have to split it up. It this for a living room, studio, workstation or headphones?

    Most the "sound system" in going to be completely independent of the computer. It comes down to an amplifier and speakers.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tulani

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    #3
    I was thinking being specific might end up limiting to other people? Thanks
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4
    Being specific will help.

    Some people here think everything is junk that doesnt have Dynaudio, Genelec, Focal or Barefoot written on it.

    Different strokes for different folks.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tulani

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    #5
    Ok let's go workstation at least to encompass some apple hardware
     
  6. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    OK workstation topics..

    Audio is not very taxing of a computer. The Mini or any current Mac works fine. But you quickly run out of screen space if you are doing any editing. I find it hard to see the time line on my 13" MBP. My 27" iMac is just perfect. But as for sound, any current Mac is fine. I can do many tracks (some layered MIDI) on the MBP.


    One question for 'y'all is this: Is there a better sounding Guitar Amp simulator than NI's "Amplitube". Yes I know it is not nearly as nice as a real amp. (I've built a few tube amps, nothing compares to the real thing but late nights people complain.)

    ----------

    OK, I'll be different. I think how you set up the speakers matters more than the brand of speaker, assuming you have something decent, that is.

    The other side of thaat same coin is that it is a wast of money to buy $1000 speakers set them on the carpet on the floor in the corner or something like that. You want to try everything under the sun before finally going with the high end speakers. But many people seam to have more money than sense.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tulani

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    #7
    An Apple TV integrated with a descent home theater seems a very good solution and eliminates cable and speaker clutter near the workstation as you stream your audio content wirelessly.
     
  8. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    I ask this only because of the thread title: Can an HT system also be good for music?

    Many HT systems depend on small front speakers backed up by a sub woofer and sound "boomy" at best and seem to be tuned be movie sound tracks. I guess you could build a hybrid system.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #9
    Yep. Room acoustic plays an obscenely important role in sound reproduction when it comes to speakers.

    $25 speakers that I pick up at the Flea Market can sound better in the right room... than a $1000 pair of speakers set in a corner of some random room.

    That's why if all else fails, I think the better C.O.A. is to go headphones for high fidelity... until you own a house with enough space (and permission from your significant other) to construct a dedicated listening room.

    And then going headphones is a whole different ball game. Room acoustic is no longer important (except for too much ambient noise), but driver tuning, housing acoustic (oh yeah, wood or metal does make a difference), amplification, source fidelity, along with all of the other things now make or break the experience. And even then, you still wouldn't get the sense of space and depth that speakers can produce. True 3D sound projection with headphones is a lot harder to achieve than with speakers.
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #10
    I think that this is a great idea, and I'm all for it!

    If there's one thing that audio enthusiasts share, it's the constant need to upgrade. I think there would be some interest in seeing not only what setups we have now, but also upgrades we're considering or have in the pipeline.

    For me, I'm running the new late 2012 21.5" iMac, and connected an old pair of Bose Companion 2 series 2s. I know. Bose isn't audiophile grade, but this is where the upgrade angle comes in.

    My next purchases for this system will be:

    A pair of Audioengine A5+s
    An Audioquest Dragonfly asynchronous DAC
    A copy of Audirvana for playback of my growing collection of FLAC and ALAC files.

    Much later will be a pair of Beyerdynamics DT1350 on-ears. A couple of forum members here turned me onto them, and I'm glad they did.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    #11
    I currently use my Mac Pro for stereo music (via optical) and it sounds good but I use a surround sound amplifier for this. The EQ system is not ideal for stereo in my situation since I watch movies at a different position to listening to music.

    I use a creative soundcard for gaming too, also via optical on the card but processing in the card fudges the stereo sound - I can switch the processing off but I can't be bothered to switch modes.

    I use Q Acoustic 1020i, 1010i and matching centre speaker in addition to a BK Electronics xls 200 subwoofer. It sounds great, probably better than any system offered by logitech etc. Its far from high-end though.

    My dream would be to use what I have indefinately for playing games and would invest in a new, much larger system for movie and music listening but this won't be happening until I settle in one place.

    I would love some ATC SCM50ASLs but they are about £12,000 a pair...
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tulani

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    #12
    Audiophile corner

    And which app is thumping up your system?
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    #13
    Mine? The sound comes straight from the games via the soundcard. I use iTunes to play music, usually in Apple Lossless format.

    I watch movies using a dedicated Blu-ray player.
     
  14. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    Apple airport express that drives a 1970's vintage Luxman amplifier. My Infinity Quantum speakers are "in the shop" so I've got some Polk M70 I've moved into their place. The M70 sounds good, especially for the money.

    Also use AKG K240 studio headphones on a Prosunus "firebox"
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #15
    The Audioengine A5+ is a stupid good deal. Don't know about Audioquest, but I'd guess you're paying extra for the brand name. If I were you, I'd look into Audioengine's DAC. Audirvana playback software is another stupid good deal.
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #16
    As my only previous exposure to Audioquest had been their overpriced HDMI cables, I was suspicious as well! Some web research quickly put my concerns to rest. As far as USB PC DACs go, it really is the "value DAC" (yes, you read that right) to beat at the moment. It's won several awards for its price/performance ratio, and ease of use. You plug it into your Mac, then your favorite set of quality cans or powered speakers, configure a couple settings in OSX, and you're good to go.

    How good a value is it? It's $249!! Yes, from AQ, the brand that knows no product it can't overprice. Check out the variety of reviews over the web from pro reviewers and joe-audiophiles on Youtube, and you'll learn like I did, this is an amazing piece of kit, certainly NOT overpriced for the audio quality you get.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Tulani

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    #17
    I am thinking of getting an iPad 120Gig exclusively to use as my iPod for media streaming via Apple TV. I have tones of music and this interface looks more user friendly. Your thoughts?
     
  18. fa8362, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013

    macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #18
    From what I read about it when I was in the market for a DAC, it has the type of sound that I would almost certainly detest.
     
  19. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #19
    Which part of its sound??
     
  20. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #20
    Save $100 and just get the Presonus audio interface. I've never heard one person complain about it. It is certainly NOT over priced. It is a well built bit of pro quality gear. And do check out the video where they run a truck over the box and it still works.

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AudioBoxUSB/

    It has a good input section. You need that too, how else are you going to measure you speakers and room? Get a measurement microphone.
    This is the best price I've seen
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=390-801
    It is sold under many brand names but this one is $50 less.

    DOn't shop in store that cater to "stereophiles" that are overpriced. Look for the stores that sell to audio professionals, recording engineers and musicians.
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #21
    From what I've been able to gather, the PreSonus AudioBox USB is more of a recording/mixing/playback device for musicians. It's not designed to playback high-bit rate lossless music files like the AQ Dragonfly is. Two completely different animals.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #22
    All of it, but mostly the upper midrange and treble.

    "timbrally more vivid"

    "The slightly hard edge to the sound can become tiring"

    "The upper registers are slightly forward"

    "it would lie in the lighter and leaner weight class as compared to other weightier presentations."
     
  23. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #23
    Interesting observations. Remember what reviews they belonged to? So I can check them out too? :)
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    #24
    I was never really impressed with anything i've tried from Focal....

    Past three months i've been listening to a cheap pair of Grado SR80i's, straight out of a Yamaha Tape deck, getting on my Bob Dylan bootlegs.
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #25
    Not when you're like me and are recording 10 concurrent 24/96 tracks for production, with live audio units on each one of them! :p

    Currently I have two audio interfaces: the Scarlett 2i2 and Fast Track Pro. I find the Scarlett's mic inputs much better than the FTP's. As for the DAC component, the FTP is clearly more articulate and does better with instrument separation, but it's very colored toward trebles to emphasize this clarity. The Scarlett is more neutral, the way I like it, but can't handle too many instruments.

    My current audio setup is the Scarlett 2i2→Lepai 2020a+ (the poor man's amplifier)→a pair of vintage Pioneer S-Z15 bookshelf nearfields that I picked up for free. The S-Z15 is at least 30 years old, but from my testing has a very, very flat response in my setup and it does well.

    When I'm on headphones, I go with the Superlux HD-668B. Best $40 I've ever spent.

    @Irishman: the very best DAC one can get for under $200 is the ODAC, or Objective DAC, at $150.
     

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