Jeff is a mean boss
28th July 2002
What do you think is the best setup for desktop computer audio? Just a set of 2.1 speakers? External DAC? High quality headphones?
7th December 2003
Haven't tried anything fancy like DACs before, I mostly use a high-end soundcard with good headphones, which works pretty well for me. My current headset is kind of worn out, so I'll probably need a new one soon.
A while ago I read about a new type of headset (Nura) that adapts to your ability to perceive frequencies. Seems to be a very popular product, but couldn't find any trustworthy reviews yet.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
You can get a lot more headphone for your money than you can speakers. Just be careful if you get closed back headphones and play a lot of bassy stuff.
22nd December 2007
I suppose it depends on how much money and effort you want to put into it as well as how far away you are from neighbors that might get annoyed. From the audio fidelity perspective, I think it's much easier to create a pair of headphones to reproduce sound because you're dealing with a lot less between the sound source and your ears that can cause distortion to the sound waves. Walls reflect sound waves so you'd be dealing with the need for sound dampening material throughout the room. And then you have to deal with constructive/destructive interference that occurs and is largely dependent on speaker placement.
My money would be on a really good pair of headphones and a USB DAC+ampor a high-quality sound card with a built in amp, depending on your preference. Just keep in mind that the front audio header cabling in most cases isn't exactly well shielded, so you may have to deal with some added noise if you go the sound card route and want to use the front audio header.
I'm far from an audiophile though, and I can't recommend any specific solutions (currently I'm using the Audio-Techica ATH-M30s and motherboard sound). A lot of it depends on your preference. You're never gonna get perfect audio reproduction but I'd expect any audio amp worth its weight in salt to have very miniscule distortion, though it varies a lot more with headphones. Some headphones are designed to have a response that is flat as possible over the audible frequency range while others intentionally skew the response to achieve a desired sound. Just depends on taste which you'll like. The ideal would be to try a bunch and decide what you like. As far as bang for your buck goes, headsets with built-in mics are generally much worse than the equivalent amount of money put into a good quality set of headphones paired with a quality independent mic.
All hail Daut our Lord and Savior