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$500 setup to upgrade PC - advice/details needed

Unique_User01

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Hi Everyone,

I have been researching replacing my Klipsch 2.1 pro medias that I run through my soundblaster titanium x-fi HD card(its a mouthful isn't it?) on my PC. It has served its job well as a step up from most traditional PC branded audio solutions for me over the last 8 or so years. I am looking to make another leap forward to enjoy music/gaming/movies better on my PC with something more detailed and robust.

My budget for this project is $500, and I plan to add a subwoofer later if I am not happy with the sound, but probably will not exceed 100-200 extra for that down the line.
I saw the recommended preference scores with and without eq/subs for active powered desktop speakers and it seems the Kali LP6v2 can do no wrong. I have some reservations and am open to counter arguments but I would like to provide as much detail as possible as my use case and plans.

1.) I plan for this to be a semi-permanent solution even though its a lower end budget. I do not like to repeatedly spend money upgrading, if anything I might make another leap forward in 5-10 years to a pricier budget, but this $500 is going to need to provide the most complete solution for a great listening experience on its own. That is not to say I won't make a seperate budget to treat my office with some sound dampening as a seperate item, but for the audio gear I'll be using this is the stopping point.

2.) I plan to listen to music/games/movies as a 33/33/33 split of the use case, I won't be creating music or at least not seriously. It still seems that studio monitors are the way to go from what I am hearing, any alternative routes that would make more sense, or does the listening and producing experience still sort of intersect at a flat sound? I also was pushed towards active speakers at this price point although some argued for a passive + amp setup, but ultimately I just want the best sound I can get right now, and am not worried about flexibility down the road or other use cases and functions towards my value.

3.) I will most likely be about 3 feet away from the monitors on my desk from my ear to speaker, if this impacts selection at all.

4.) My Large L shaped standing Desk is 6 inches from the backwall, however I could make an argument to scoot it up to 6" further from the wall, if this will give better results for a selection. Additionally, this is right near a window

5.) I am not concerned with headphone controls or amping headphones, but if there is still an argument to be made to use a different interface from my soundcard to better serve the sound that comes out of the speaker, I am all ears. I am not well versed in DACs, but what I do know is I've heard good things about the DAC in my soundcard, I only mention this because I need to understand why this specific card should no longer be used, or why a DAC will be worth cutting into the speaker budget.

6.) My room is roughly 13ft by 11ft, with doors removed from a closet area that has a depth of 3 feet seperate from the room, i do have heavy curtains that I can draw closed over that area.

7.) For whatever the speaker recommendation is, please let me know costs seperate from the speaker budget I can do to efficiently enhance the experience: foam under the speaker, preferred input cable to PC/Soundcard.

8.) I am in southeast USA as far as products that may have better pricing on this continent/country.

I hope I provided a clear picture of my goals and you folks can help guide me to the best choices to pick from, and the charts were very helpful but sometimes it is good to have some additional context and personal experiences provided to be more confident on the decision. Glad to be on the forum.
 

twsecrest

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I would go for a pair of 6" studio monitors.
Connect it to the RCA line-outputs on the Titanium-HD.
 
OP
Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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I would go for a pair of 6" studio monitors.
Connect it to the RCA line-outputs on the Titanium-HD.
Based on the ratings the Kali LP6v2's have great scores, is there any specific set you would recommend over them or that you have had personal experience with?

For example here is a list of recommended speakers I have jotted down as I've watched videos and reviews and charts and it does seem there is many choices:

BrandNamePrice PairNotes
EmotivaAirmotiv B1+
$279.00​
Used Only - No Stock
KlipschRP-600M II
$419.00​
AudioEngineA2+
$269.00​
KlipschThe Fives
$463.00​
Kali AudioLP6 V2
$400.00​
KantoOra
$349.00​
DALISpektor 1
$280.00​
B&WDM302$100-$150used only - old model
KantoYU4
$269.00​
JBL305P MKII
$238.00​
KRKRP5 G4
$378.00​
 

twsecrest

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Based on the ratings the Kali LP6v2's have great scores, is there any specific set you would recommend over them or that you have had personal experience with?

For example here is a list of recommended speakers I have jotted down as I've watched videos and reviews and charts and it does seem there is many choices:

BrandNamePrice PairNotes
EmotivaAirmotiv B1+
$279.00​
Used Only - No Stock
KlipschRP-600M II
$419.00​
AudioEngineA2+
$269.00​
KlipschThe Fives
$463.00​
Kali AudioLP6 V2
$400.00​
KantoOra
$349.00​
DALISpektor 1
$280.00​
B&WDM302$100-$150used only - old model
KantoYU4
$269.00​
JBL305P MKII
$238.00​
KRKRP5 G4
$378.00​
I have no idea on which would be the "better" studio monitor.
 
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Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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I have no idea on which would be the "better" studio monitor.
Are there any 6" studio monitors you have used or have experience with that you would recommend and reason why you bought?
 

twsecrest

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Are there any 6" studio monitors you have used or have experience with that you would recommend and reason why you bought?
I had been using the Klipsch Pro Media 2.1, before switching to Monoprice 5" studio monitors (they are based off the M-Audio BX5).
Now using Presonus 3.5.
So little experience with studio monitors.
 
OP
Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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I was able to listen to adam tv5's kali lp6v2 and krk rp5 and of the three after an hour I decided to pull the trigger on the Kali's. I went home, set the dip switches to enable RCA on the 8th dip switch in the up position, I plugged the appropriate left and right RCA cable into my RCA connections on my soundcard and have been unable to get any sound out of these speakers. I am really left scratching my head here. Both speakers are powered and turned on (blue led lit in front). Cable connections are in the correct spot. I do not know what to do. My Klipsch were using the 3.5mm jack, they are completely disconnected from the system before I connected the RCA's to the soundcard, so I don't understand why there is no output. I hope someone can help this is quite frustrating and just doesn't make sense. My card is this one: https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3...m_hd_sound_card/index.html#Technical-Overview

The RCA connections are the ones closest to the headphone and 3.5mm jack, the other two are a optical signal even though they look like RCA.
 

staticV3

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I was able to listen to adam tv5's kali lp6v2 and krk rp5 and of the three after an hour I decided to pull the trigger on the Kali's. I went home, set the dip switches to enable RCA on the 8th dip switch in the up position, I plugged the appropriate left and right RCA cable into my RCA connections on my soundcard and have been unable to get any sound out of these speakers. I am really left scratching my head here. Both speakers are powered and turned on (blue led lit in front). Cable connections are in the correct spot. I do not know what to do. My Klipsch were using the 3.5mm jack, they are completely disconnected from the system before I connected the RCA's to the soundcard, so I don't understand why there is no output. I hope someone can help this is quite frustrating and just doesn't make sense. My card is this one: https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3...m_hd_sound_card/index.html#Technical-Overview

The RCA connections are the ones closest to the headphone and 3.5mm jack, the other two are a optical signal even though they look like RCA.
Are you sure that your soundcard is outputting any sound via the connected RCA jacks?
Try playing a 60Hz sine tone and measuring the AC voltage with a multimeter.
 
OP
Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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Are you sure that your soundcard is outputting any sound via the connected RCA jacks?
Try playing a 60Hz sine tone and measuring the AC voltage with a multimeter.
I am not sure, I don't have a multimeter handy but I have not been able to get any sound thus far. I have a feeling I am going to have to bypass the soundcard and plug into a DAC or try 3.5mm to RCA or 3.5mm to XLR.
 

AnalogSteph

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There is a DIP switch setting on the Kalis you need to change for the RCA inputs to become active.

If you do not enjoy your ground loop noises, you'll need to make or buy a cable like this:
fcd5a61624.png

(borrowed from A15)

or buy one of these guys plus the requisite off-the-shelf cabling (RCA --> TS, TRS --> XLR male).
 
OP
Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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Have you looked at your Windows sound settings?
Yes it shows the sound card as the input active and the speakers as the output active. I am assuming the previous poster was correct and the RCA's are no good. I do not have other equipment to test this theory.
 
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Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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There is a DIP switch setting on the Kalis you need to change for the RCA inputs to become active.

If you do not enjoy your ground loop noises, you'll need to make or buy a cable like this:
fcd5a61624.png

(borrowed from A15)

or buy one of these guys plus the requisite off-the-shelf cabling (RCA --> TS, TRS --> XLR male).
Well long story short, I didn't change anything, but after trying RCA to 3.5MM I got sound, plugged back in the dedicated RCA cables and it worked fine no issues. Well one issue, which you have pointed out, there is absolutely interference noise. Also to clarify, I did have all the dipswitches set including the one that turned RCA on previously, so all the settings on the speaker were good, some sort F****ery with my PC/soundcard it appears.

I see your above solution, and have one further question. Would I be operating a better sound quality for my sources to just go ahead and get a dedicated DAC? If so I was looking at this list:

1699829369577.png

If there is any advantage purely for listening to music/games on my PC to a DAC vs your solution let me know. If they both accomplish the same goal of eliminating interference and providing the best sound from the speakers I'll go with the cheaper option. If the DAC IS a better solution, please let me know what you would recommend from these models. Thanks again everyone for helping me out I am one step closer to a better listening experience.
 
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Astrozombie

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If I could do it over I would just get some Studio Monitors like the Kali or JBL, too bad the 8'' versions won't fit on my desk. I just have to go through the trouble of my Emotiva amp crapping out.
 

Jasperous

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I highly recommend a Kanto 2.1 setup, YU4 + Sub8, or Ora + Sub 8
 

richardm

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"which you have pointed out, there is absolutely interference noise"

If the wiring idea above doesn't clean up the CPU noise, try opening the shield at one end. I was driving KRKs with motherboard audio and I wound up having to put the signal into tip-ring and I left sleeve hanging open. It's the only combination that eliminated the noise. Also, if the sound card goes into power-save mode it'll leave the outputs floating and the noise will return. Gotta disable that too.
 
OP
Unique_User01

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I have the Schiit Modius hooked up and all interference is completely gone. Music sounds great. One issue I am experiencing is that male voices in youtube videos and such feel extremely fatiguing and comes in as muffled/boxxy. I do not know what to do I feel like I have tried every dipswitch setting and nothing is fixing this. My room is not treated. I have tried most dipswitch settings. My desk setup is that the speakers sit on some foam pad materialand are less than .5m from the wall. I have tried with that setting on and off. I have tried the HPF and LPF settings, nothing seems to be helping this 'boomy' voice sound and its tiring very quickly on the ears.
 
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Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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Update - Still haven't found a solution to this issue with some male voices at mid range, it's sometimes so bad for some voices that I miss my Klipsch 2.1's. If this was purely for music it is less noticable. But for youtube and other content its exhausting. I am thinking of returning these for a different monitor. If anyone has ideas or if this can be resolved via a software EQ I am all ears.
 

staticV3

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@Unique_User01
Desk bounce usually results in a bass boost at around 150Hz, which can definitely make male voices sound muffled and fatiguing. You may even have some room modes around that area contributing to the issue.

That's not really something that you can fix by buying another speaker. As long as it extends deep enough, it'll trigger the same desk bounce and room modes.

If the boundary compensation that's built into the Kali is not working for you, then you can try disabling it and making your own with Equalizer APO. A starting point would be a peaking filter at 150Hz with -4dB gain, Q 1.0

Ideally though, you would measure the speakers' in-room response using the free software Room EQ Wizard and a measurement microphone like the UMIK-1. With that data, you can then precisely fix desk bounce and tame room modes.
 
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Unique_User01

Unique_User01

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Hey thank you for the info. I am wondering as another option, what if I purchased a tall speaker stand and tilted the tweeters towards my ear, would this reduce this effect as well? Also is turning the speaker upside down and then lining the tweeter to my ear height something that could impact this? For now I will try that setting you recommended on Equalier APO as I do not ahve recording equipment MIC yet to capture more precisely.
 
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