Audio hardware advice for PC user


Novice Member
Hi All,

I was hoping someone could give me some advice on whether I should purchase certain hardware to improve my listening experience or really any advice you can give to pimp my setup a bit. I really love quality sound, I listen to a lot of heavy rock / metal. I always listen from my PC as I use my PC for music, TV, games etc

At the moment my setup is as follows..

Currently, I use 2 sets of headphones, I use AKG K72 wired which plugs into my motherboard sound card (Realtek 5.1 with SPDIF Optical) and Bluetooth 5 Sennheiser HD450BT which connects via my Bluetooth 5 Adapter which supports aptX. I use the headphones for different listening experiences but mostly use my Bluetooth headphones as I use them portable also and I am now used to them.

So I am finding a distinct difference listening to FLAC vs compressed sources like Spotify which is perfect but I see a lot of people have more complex setups using Amps, Pre-Amps etc, A friend of a friend has a Vacuum Tube Amplifier and when I was at their house I connected up my Bluetooth HD450BT and the sound was so much better, even from compressed sources. Which made me think that maybe I need a new sound card? I am not sure though if the sound card is even used when connecting via Bluetooth to my PC?

So how can I really improve my sound and bring it up to the next level, Do I need to look at better headphones? or move to Amps, Pre-Amps etc. Any advice on what to get? I do not really have a budget. I am happy to spend in the region of £600 but more if need be.

Thanks for any help. I really appreciate it.


Senior Moderator
Bluetooth headphones have their own built in DAC

Some Bluetooth headphones might bypass the internal DAC in wired mode but you have paid a significant premium for wireless and/or ANC functionality versus wired home headphones

I suggest looking at a budget desktop DAC/amp and go from there. If you do not hear a sufficient upgrade from the soundcard then return with the 14 days for online purchases or sell on for a minimal loss


Well-known Member
Take your time as you can do a lot with that budget. Are you after wireless or wired( open or close back) first of all?

I am not sure though if the sound card is even used when connecting via Bluetooth to my PC?
your soundcard is not used in this case.

As you're using optical when connecting via cable, it should be good enough ( as long as there is no noise with it from a crappy psu for example).

My suggestion is to read up on hp ( you deffo need better ones before anything else) and try them first, as that will be biggest upgrade to the sound quality.

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