PC sound upgrade

ministry

Member
Hi everyone, I just wanted to ask a little advice if I may? I currently have a Cambridge audio soundworks DTT3500 that’s connected to my pc. I have had this probably 20 years or more and have been happy with the sound. I mainly play music to be fair and have used windows media players equaliser to tweak the audio to make the best of it. I’m looking to upgrade this to something a little better or some with more punch and just generally a much better sound. It’s currently connected to my pc via a optical cable and would like something similar if possible. I’m not too worried about the Dolby digital and 5.1 sound but do require a minimum of 2.1 Setup. I have been looking at something like a subwoofer from bk to shake to room about as like to have a lot of power in the lower frequencies up to 40-50hz just to add a third dimension. Maybe there is an option to make a dual sub system where the frequencies up to 40hz are heavily amped up and 40-120 somewhat less? I’m just looking at options at the moment and looking for some ideas if i may?

many thanks for your help
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I think a bit more information may help the collective provide more focussed answers.

What is the size of your room? Are the main speakers on a desk, on stands etc.? Do you have a budget in mind?

As a starter for ten, £750-1000 will get you a very nice system, something like -

BK Gemini £255
Topping E30 or Smsl Sanskrit 10th Dac £130
Tannoy Gold 7 pair £360
 

AmericanAudio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Lots of different options out there.

Do you want Active Pro Monitors and a Sub, that can sit on your desk and have volume managed by your PC (sub outs available too)

Or do you want a more trad stereo hifi set up with a integrated amp and source selector, pair of bookshelf speakers, stands and a sub?
 

ministry

Member
Fortunately the room is quite small, I think it’s 3x2.5m roughly off top of my head so wouldn’t need anything with too much power. I currently have the speakers on the desk next to my monitor with the front uplifting a little with the supplied stands. Would like to keep its similar by having the 2 speakers on the desk if possible and have the amplifier inside them. I had a quick Google the other day and so many speaker options came back it’s overwhelming to chose some. I’ve heard so many good things about the bk subs thought I’d give one a try.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
From my list then you can probably get away with the Tannoy Gold 5, Adam T5V or A5X or Focal Shape 50 plus a BK Gemini and a Dac to run it all off (you will need splitter cables and the sub will need dialing in using the controls on the rear).

You could also look at the Soncoz LAQXD1 dac (£200 from amazon) which has both XLR balanced and RCA outputs which you can use the XLR for active monitors and the RCA for a subwoofer.

Just a few more options.

Do you have a budget as it is difficult to pin down suggestions without one.
 

AmericanAudio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
If you are staying on-desk, then you could look at a pro-studio range of active monitors from the likes of Kali Audio.

Incredibly flat response, nice boundary eq settings on the rear, active so you could just take the line level out of a DAC or PC

 

ministry

Member
I’m probably looking around the £500 mark if I’m honnest give or take. is This possible in this sort of money?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Thats a tight budget for a Bk sub And speakers.

Adam T5V for £280 per pair
There are a couple of BK Gemini II on eBay at around £180
which leaves a bit for cables and isolation pads, however these are often thrown in with the speakers.

example - Adam Audio T5V Professional Active 5" DJ Studio Monitor Speakers + Pads + Cable | eBay

You can add the DAC later. At the moment you are limited by your PC sound card and the noisy PC electronic environment, adding a DAC should reduce that and improve sound a lot. If the DAC has a volume control then again that allows all of the software volume contols in the Pc to be set to 80+% and again reduce any effect of software volume compression.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
You could get a pair of q acoustic m20 for 399, fed from USB on computer and add a sub of choice, slightly above budget but simple
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d agree with the Q Acoustics M20s.

Add a BK Gemini in a month or two, or three, when your cash supply has recovered.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Alternatively, these are quite impressive.


But you’d still need a dac/preamp.

I’d suggest this one.


Even less expensive... good electronics company overall, though I’ve not heard about this one in particular.

 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
If you are using a PC, then ways to improve the sound are looking at the quality of the music you are playing (MP3 <—-> hi-res). The software also makes a difference, but if it’s free you’re after. iTunes is very good! For a cheap paid option, JRiver gives you some great setup solutions and really locks the audio down), Fidelizer software (do read about the settings) also brings something to the audio sound.

If you are connecting your speakers/DAC directly to the PC, be sure to use a USB product as this removes the usage of the internal sound card and replaces it with what DAC is installed within the external speakers/DAC

If the product you are using has a specific driver, be sure to use that to and as it’s a windows product, see if the kernel option is there as this will tighten the sound up further (especially within JRiver and if you PC is capable, you’ll be able to set the minimum timing options)

Try not to use Direct as the sound out on Windows, so WASAPI or ASIO are what you are looking for in order to bring simple sound improvements and to see if the company offers an ASIO drive, simple read the manual of the product you are looking to purchase or check there website for a download
 

ministry

Member
Thanks for all of your help guys, it’s been really useful. I quite like the look of the m20 so will probably read up on them as much as possible especially as it seems to do everything. Is there much difference in sound quality over the 3020? Just wanted to also ask about this jriver software if I may? Is this like iTunes? I would like to see some software options like that can hold my database of music, much of which is MP3 and flac files. To be honnest really wished I’d ripped all my cds in flac now as opposed to MP3 but that’s another story!
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Thanks for all of your help guys, it’s been really useful. I quite like the look of the m20 so will probably read up on them as much as possible especially as it seems to do everything. Is there much difference in sound quality over the 3020? Just wanted to also ask about this jriver software if I may? Is this like iTunes? I would like to see some software options like that can hold my database of music, much of which is MP3 and flac files. To be honnest really wished I’d ripped all my cds in flac now as opposed to MP3 but that’s another story!
Before I went to streaming options (Spotify,tidal etc) I used a program called MusicBee. It's a free program that allows you to make a donation if you think it's worth the money.

How many CDs did you rip?
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Thanks for all of your help guys, it’s been really useful. I quite like the look of the m20 so will probably read up on them as much as possible especially as it seems to do everything. Is there much difference in sound quality over the 3020? Just wanted to also ask about this jriver software if I may? Is this like iTunes? I would like to see some software options like that can hold my database of music, much of which is MP3 and flac files. To be honnest really wished I’d ripped all my cds in flac now as opposed to MP3 but that’s another story!
JRiver is ideal for your local library of music and yes it’s a little like iTunes (in fact it’s probably come from the same place a very long time ago)

It will allow you to re-rip your music although it doesn’t check a database to ensure it’s accurate (you’ll need something like dBpowerAmp)

Once it’s searched your computer for music (you can also specify a folder or to), it will populate its own database. Then if you use JRemote (Similar to Remote from Apple), you can use your phone/tablet it like a remote

You can also play around with the settings to improve the audio to your taste

It’s a program I’ve used for many years and the company do update at least once a year, but it’s up to you whether you upgrade to support them or wait a few years as some do to upgrade (I think the offer applies to all who have purchased)

Hope that helps

P.S. don’t ignore Fidelizer. The name certainly sounds odd, but the program really works and I wouldn’t use my system without it
 

ministry

Member
I used to have a huge cd collection, but after the millennium or so everyone went MP3 mad so that’s what I did and got rid of the dics! But I must have had well over 500 albums Used to be a member of britanica music I think it was called, and had a lot from them.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I used to have a huge cd collection, but after the millennium or so everyone went MP3 mad so that’s what I did and got rid of the dics! But I must have had well over 500 albums Used to be a member of britanica music I think it was called, and had a lot from them.
Tbh even though it's not everyone's cup of tea, if you had that many you probably bought one a week for a tenner plus, for a quarter of that you can get a CD quality subscription and access anything you want with very little hassle, no ripping, just listening
 

ministry

Member
To be honest would love to subscribe to a service like that, may not get all the quality But if you can get access to everything that was out there from the 80,s onwards it’s a hit from me. the cd’s that I have brought was from years ago and don’t buy that many anymore so this service would be good for me to listen before you buy.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
They all do trials afaik. Why not get a tidal trial for a month for free and see how you get on
 

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