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Noob requesting help to set up first PC audio system


Maxmano

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Hello...

 

First time poster. I'm hoping someone can give me some direction in order to put together a decent PC audio system. I'm an old 2-channel audio guy, but I have a large collection of MP3 and FLAC recordings on my PC (Windows 7). Up till now I listen via motherboard integrated sound into Logitech Z-2300 speakers or I copy files to a Sansa Fuze and attach to my old Marantz 2285B.

 

However, thru some trading, I've acquired a Jolida glass fx tube dac and a set of Thiel original scs speakers. To show what I beginner I am - I'm not even quite sure exactly what the dac does and how I might use it. And I'm thinking I need an amplifier (and maybe a preamp?).

 

Not sure how all these pieces fit together and what I might need to put together something that sounds better than the Logitech.

 

I plan to put this system on my desk along side my PC.

 

Can anyone give me some direction as to what additional pieces I need?

I know nothing about tube gear - but would a Jolida fx10 tube amp be a good match?

Also - limited budget ($500-700) so equipment purchases have to be on the inexpensive side and used gear is preferable cuz it's cheap!

 

Thank you

Dino

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The DAC converts your files into analog which can then be input into any pre- or integrated amp's or receiver's aux inputs, or directly into an amplifiers inputs. The easiest way to hook your computer to the DAC is with a USB cable. The particular cable style you need is what is commonly called a printer cable.

 

Regarding connecting the DAC to something to drive your speakers, you have a few choices. That DAC could be input directly into an amp, you would have to use the computer to control volume. Or you could go into a receiver, integrated or preamp and use its volume controls. What were you planning to power the Thiels with?

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Hello Max. Welcome to CA!

 

Your Jolida will be used to convert your digital music files from your PC via USB to Analog two channel audio via the RCA connections. It's a great unit.

 

You will need an amplifier in between the Jolida and your Theils. Given your budget, I would highly recommend an integrated amplifier instead of seperates. Something from NAD, Marantz or Arcam should fit your budget.

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Hi Dino,

 

Just curious, what is a Marantz 2285B? If it's an integrated amp or receiver you could use it as the power between your Jolida and speakers. Otherwise I would go with something like mayhem said. There's a site called Audiogon.com that sells used equipment via personal classifieds and auctions. Another couple of names to look for are Rotel, and Cambridge Audio.

 

Chris

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David...Thanks - Not sure what I should use to drive the Thiels. I took a closer look at them and they are 4 ohm and 87dB. I thought the Jolida fx10 tube amp might be a good match but I'm not sure if 10 watts would be enough to drive 4 ohm speakers. I don't listen at ear bleed levels but I don't want to underpower the speakers.

 

Mayhem - thanks for the skinny on how to how to connect the Jolida. What are the benefits of using a pre or an integrated as opposed to running the dac directly to just an amp? Is it just for a volume control and more inputs? Looking at pricing - I can see that seperates are going to be outside my budget.

 

Crisnee - The Marantz is an old 70's silver faced receiver. Lots of power but it is currently serving duty with old JBL's as my main system in my living room. I appreciate the tip on Audiogon. Looks like lots of great used stuff there and I'm not crazy about rolling the dice with ebay so I'm thinking that's where I'll get my remaining gear.

 

 

Thanks everyone for your help - Lots of good info and advice!

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David...Thanks - Not sure what I should use to drive the Thiels. I took a closer look at them and they are 4 ohm and 87dB. I thought the Jolida fx10 tube amp might be a good match but I'm not sure if 10 watts would be enough to drive 4 ohm speakers. I don't listen at ear bleed levels but I don't want to underpower the speakers.

 

Mayhem - thanks for the skinny on how to how to connect the Jolida. What are the benefits of using a pre or an integrated as opposed to running the dac directly to just an amp? Is it just for a volume control and more inputs? Looking at pricing - I can see that seperates are going to be outside my budget.

 

 

I would use more than 10 watts per channel because the Thiels at 87db are not terribly efficient and would likely be under powered.

 

As to integrated versus power amp, mostly integrated is just more convenient and slightly less dangerous to your speakers. Less dangerous because you might inadvertently hit your speakers with a full volume blast of some noise or even music when firing up your pc and/or music software while using a dac to power amp set-up.

 

Some people when using very high quality systems believe that the pre-amp affects the sound negatively. They believe in as simple a set-up as possible. So for them dac to power amp would be the way to go.

 

Chris

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