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Tuesday 18 January 2005

PC sound systems [Lurks]

I thought it would be quite fun to find out what people are doing for PC audio on their main desktop systems. I guess I had better come out with mine although the purpose of this blog isn't to brag, honest. I'm interested in what people use. Maybe folks don't use the PC for as much music as I do, that'll be interesting too.
Anyhow, I use the sound card built-in on the Asus P4C800 motherboard driving to a Marantz PM80 amp that I got on disposals at Richer Sounds. This is used as much as a headphone amp to a set of Sennheiser HD580 cans as it is to drive the speakers. As I mentioned before, I was able to pick up a pair of Tannoy 609 Mark II dual-concentric speakers off eBay in pretty much pristine condition.
Oh and I use Plantronics DSP500s connected via USB if I'm going to use a headset for games. Undoubtedly sucks up CPU power and maybe harms my 3D positioning in games but having clear mic input in those instances seems more useful.
I do have a lounge computer-driven set up too. That's based on the Logitech Z-5500 surround sound set. That's alright for music but really it's a thumpy sub-driven home cinema set up than anything else.


  1. Audigy2, output split to a pair of Senheiser PC150s & an average Altec Lansing 2.1 set. Hardly ever listen to music on the pc & gaming with speakers is done with a frequency approaching the transit of venus.

  2. Audigy 2 here, driving an old Videologic Crossfire Sirocco amp and 4.1 speakers. It's not fantastic sound, but then again my lair isn't exactly a concert hall.
    Downstairs I've got the laptop set up feeding over USB into a pair of Harmon/Kardon SoundSticks and a subwoofer. Now THAT'S damn nice sound. Can't convince the SoundSticks to work on my PC though, bah.
    I use a pair of HD580 cans as well, and a Logitech USB headset for in-game comms or Skype.

  3. Original Creative Soundblaster (remember when they made a big deal of the fact the jacks were plated with genuine gold? well.. that one) running into a Sony midi system, and thereafter headies or speakers, depending on how much I want to annoy those within 5 miles of my gaff. Headies are Sony pro jobs for the usual day to day stuff, and a cheapo pair of Plantronics for the occasions I require TS'age.

  4. Original audigy sound card connected to a sony amp, with 5 JVC satellite speakers and a pioneer sub, a bit of a mix but it all works :)

  5. Dual carded wh0re here. I run the onboard sound off the same Asus board as lurks into a pair of Sennheisher PC150 headset-mic headies for in game and frankly a lot of normal listening.
    On the flip for audio stuff (cubase etc) I have a midiman Audiophile 2496 card which drives an outboard mixer which powers HD-25s headies and Tannoy Reveal Studio monitors. Unlike the Audigy which claims 24 bit but is actually 16 bit at the key stages, the Audiophile is a relatively cheap (£150) true 24 bit 96khz card for use with home/semi-pro recording. Sound quality is a lot better than off the rack gaming cards and tends to amaze people when they listen to the difference but you've got to use apps to justify it imho. Similarly the Tannoy's are a reasonable mid level pair of speakers but they are studio reference monitors designed to provide as completely uncoloured sound as possible and are not social-listening monitors as they have no designed-in warmth or anything like that. As a listening experience they're a bit particular.

  6. Main PC is a SoundStorm nforce2 sound board running into some VideoLogic 4.1 speakers. That needs updating really, as it's a 5.1 Dolby Digital board, but, it's fine really.
    The HTPC is also a SoundStorm nforce2 board, running through SPDIF out to my Harman/Kardon AVR5500 7.1 amp, driving my 5.1 setup which is a KEF KHT2005 sub+satellite system. Sounds damn sweet, and the KEF eggs, produce a remarkable good sound despite their small size, if a slight bit 'cold' around midrange.