PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

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Berty bass
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PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Berty bass »

I'm looking to tidy up my workspace and loose the amp that my PC is presently outputting to, and which is connected to an old pair of Rega R1 bookshelf speakers. I'd therefore like to move to an active set-up and would ideally source appropriate speakers second hand. I do have an audio interface so could use that to connect the PC via USB and output to dedicated studio monitors, many of which appear to lack RCA inputs, instead using 1/4" jacks and/or XLR. It's either that or buy active ('HIFi') speakers and take an output from the PC mini jack. Do either of these approaches have inherent benefits over the other at all? I'm not really looking for recommendations about second hand bargains of either kind (though if there are any feel free to volunteer any of you've had good experiences), just general comments about the best approach. Thanks.

Geoff.R.G
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Geoff.R.G »

You are trying to tidy up but also considering activity speakers? Active speakers will need power and signal meaning more cables, probably heavier/thicker cables at that. Using an interface to connect to active speakers using jack or XLR cables means having the same box count and, possibly more cables.

Personally I would use the interface to drive a quality power amp and stick with passive speakers but if you are determined to use active speakers I would still use the interface rather than the 3.5mm jack from the computer because it is likely to have a better DAC than the PC mother board.

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Fretless
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Fretless »

I have 2 PC workstations in use at the moment.

1) Metrum Musette DAC - Kenwood KA4090 amplifier - Mission 760 (Doc Mod) loudspeakers.
2) Cambridge DacMagic 100 (Sbooster PSU) - Creative Gigaworks T40 active spearkers.

System 1 is a full-blown stereo set and sounds great.
System 2 is a pleasing setup and certainly good enough for music-while-you-work.

The usual digital audio tweaks will help get the best possible SQ: solid power-supply for the DAC/interface, good interconnect to the active speakers, maybe an AQ jitterbug on the USB link. An external DAC will almost always sound better than the internal audio card in a PC.

The Creative T40 are an excellent pair of desktop PC speakers and I have used them happily for many years. They only have a 3.5mm stereo-jack input, but I use an RCA adaptor plug and it works fine.

Image

This is all you see on the worktop (well, there is a second speaker of course). The little Cambridge DAC is nice but I have its big brother the DacMagic Plus kicking around unused, might swap that in as it also has an inbuilt headphone amp (and better SQ).

This setup is for my work-office desk where I just need good-quality reproduction for when I'm answering mails or doing business-related stuff. The gear has a very small footprint and just does what it needs to.

The bigger system (1) takes up an fair proportion of the table but that is where I do my music-related computer taks like ripping CD's and checking audio files. Then a higher-grade audio installation with more transparency is required for critical listening.

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Signature Junior + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiAllo DigiOne SIG + Arcam CD62T + Cambridge DacMagic Plus
NVA: P50sa - A40s - Cube2 - SSP - LS6CansHarmonicDyne Zeus
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Signature MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 (phono) - PSU - A40 - BMU+ Arcam One
Headphone rig:
Digi
Asus Tinkerboard S + Schiit Wyrd + Teradak Chameleon
CansGerman Maestro GMP 8.35D + Schiit Magni 3


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Fretless
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Fretless »

Forgot to mention that on system 2 (active speakers) I'm using an AQ Carbon USB cable.

Just for fun I have just swapped the little Cambridge DAC for a Teradak V4.1 (with outboard PSU) and that has boosted the SQ considerably - the Creative speakers are transparent enough to clearly reveal the difference in DAC.

:banana-rock: :banana-guitar: :banana-blonde: :banana-guitar: :banana-rock:

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Signature Junior + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiAllo DigiOne SIG + Arcam CD62T + Cambridge DacMagic Plus
NVA: P50sa - A40s - Cube2 - SSP - LS6CansHarmonicDyne Zeus
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Signature MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 (phono) - PSU - A40 - BMU+ Arcam One
Headphone rig:
Digi
Asus Tinkerboard S + Schiit Wyrd + Teradak Chameleon
CansGerman Maestro GMP 8.35D + Schiit Magni 3


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slinger
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by slinger »

My personal solution is to use an SMSL Q5 Pro, which is a combination amp and DAC which even has an output for a subwoofer. I've got an ancient set of Celestion DL4 s2 speakers plugged into it and a neat little Eltax 6" sub that adds a surprising amount of low end. The Q5 itself is fairly small and currently sits very comfortably on top of one of the speakers.
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Fretless (Fri Jan 07, 2022 2:16 pm)
Amps - NVA P50, AP30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

Berty bass
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Berty bass »

Thanks folks.

Geoff - the AI is just a Focus Scarlett Solo, so a lot smaller than the Cambridge amp. It already sits on my desk anyway so I'd still be losing one, much larger, box. I do like the idea of keeping my existing speakers if I can and trying them with a small form factor amp/Dac. Just googled the SMSL Q5 Pro and it's showing as currently out of stock on Amazon. Pity, it looks like an ideal solution.

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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by slinger »

Amps - NVA P50, AP30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

Berty bass
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Berty bass »

slinger wrote: Fri Jan 07, 2022 5:25 pm There's a Q5 Pro on eBay at the moment...
Thanks for that. I found this on Amazon too, which looks as though it has the same sort of functionality:



Any good, do you think?

Berty bass
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Berty bass »

Is it me or has the link not copied over? :)

Berty bass
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Re: PC set-up: Active speakers Vs Studio Monitors

Unread post by Berty bass »

The description is: LiNKFOR Hi-Fi Stereo Audio Amplifier for Passive Speakers 100W x 2 TPA3221 Amp 192kHz DAC Optical Coaxial RCA AUX to Analog Audio Converter with Bass Treble Volume Control 24V Power Supply (Hopefully this appears!)

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