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  1. #1
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Question Want to upgrade to a better simple system - any suggestions?

    I'm a relative beginner audiophile, so please bear with me. (But I do have an engineering degree, so I'll learn quickly.)

    Right now this is my current PC system:
    Shuttle XPC Zen ST62K P4 3.2Ghz
    Onboard realtek ALC650 (AC'97 Codec) (supports 6 ch DAC)
    5.1 Channel Audio Output
    Optical S/PDIF Out

    Right now I have a cord going from the headphone jack to the line in of my Bose Wave Radio/CD. The sound quality is acceptable, but about 30% of the MP3s (Mostly 192-320 bit rate quality) get distorted, especially at louder levels.

    I want to remove this distortion and get better sound quality while keeping my set-up simple...I don't want a billion wires and components everywhere since I have a small place.

    I was thinking that using the S/PDIF optical out on my computer and getting a new Bose-similar little stereo with a DAC would be an upgrade, but now I'm reading that digital isn't necessarily better than analog.

    Can anyone tell me what my main limitations in sound quality are right now? (I'm assuming it's the analog cable and Bose stereo and not the PC configuration, but I could be wrong.)

    Does anyone have any suggestions of a good simple upgrade to this system? What cable should I use? What's a good alternative to a Bose Wave stereo for a studio apartment? Are there any computer enhancements I could do without getting a new sound card?

    Thanks in advance!


  2. #2
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Why not just get some nice computer speakers? Something from Klipsch or Monsoon would destroy a Wave Radio for sure.

    Also, upgrade that sound card. Onboard Realtek's are about as bad as they get. Get a Turtle Beach Catalina.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    they're not real expensive, but check out the Encounter Speakers by JBL. They're about 150 for the pair, and they'll blow anything even close completely out of the water. I sold them along with Bose Companions (rip off), Klipsch Speakers, and Several other brands. They sounded better than all of them, and we're among the cheapest. They look a little funky, but check them out'll be amazed. They're a killer deal at 150. Also, a digital connection to a good receiver with good speakers would be a good way to go also. good luck!

  4. #4
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    One last thought.... think of the price of a new wave radio. For that, with a little bargain hunting you could get an entry-level Yamaha stereo receiver, a set of small Boston Acoustics speakers, and even possibly a new sound card all for the same price. All those together would make a great sound system for anything, including the computer. Although, the better the sound system, the more you might hear the lacking sound quality of mp3. I currently use a laptop with itunes, and an apple airport with the wireless music. I think this is a complete blessing and the sound quality is fantastic. The airport express has a digital connection too!

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