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3 year old AV 40's same as today's, external DAC, help getting best sound out of my system?

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  • Speakers
  • Computers
  • Audio
  • Headphones
  • Sound Cards
Last response: in Audio
October 1, 2015 12:16:19 AM

Hello all,

Audio noob here, looking to get great sound out of my computer, most importantly to headphones.

I have the m-audio AV 40 speakers (powered), I bought them three years ago. I was wondering, has m-audio upgraded these speakers (if I bought the AV 40's again, today, would they be the exact same as three years ago).

Also, these are my computer speakers, I am wondering if the av 40's have an on-board digital to audio converter (DAC), or would it be beneficial to buy an external dac, and run my speakers to my computer via the DAC (my computer does not have a very good sound card).

If I had $500 to spend, where would I get the most bang for the buck, with an emphasis on headphone sound quality? If I spent a little more / little less, what would that mean, e.g. if you spent $700, you could get way better sound than if you spent $500

I currently have:

- the Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones like three years old
- crappy on-board sound card from my older hp pavilion, will probably be building a new rig in the next 6 - 12 months, details on mobo: http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01746794
- M-Audio AV 40 powered speakers: http://www.m-audio.com/products/view/studiophile-av-40#...

I listen to a lot of rap, and other stuff where beat / bass is a factor

Thanks!

More about : year today external dac sound system

October 1, 2015 12:50:26 AM

get soundblaster Z, has a headphone amp that can driver up to 600 ohm headpnones (so basically anything on the market), very good signal to noise ration on both headphone and speaker outs, and has a very good equalizer that doesnt distort. It has a bunch of gaming features, if your not into gaming you could also consider the asus xonar series with headphone amps. They have good sound but all sound processing is done via software where the SBz has its own quad core processor so latency is lower. I have the sbz and couldnt be happier with it. With the rest of the money you have left over you could buy a really good set of headphones and you would have much left over. If you listen to a lot of rap, then maybe a speaker upgrade to something with more bass output/larger bass drivers or subwoofer would be beneficial.
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Best solution

October 1, 2015 12:18:08 PM

Most companies will change a model number if they make any updates that affect performance. They do sometimes make running changes due to parts becoming unavailable. Only M-Audio could tell you. The service techs would know from the serial numbers.
You don't have a digital input on the speakers so they do not contain a DAC. Since your emphasis is on headphone sound better headphones first, then an outboard USB DAC headphone amp with preamp out to connect the speakers. Your budget of $500 to $700 would allow you to do both but choose the headphones first then match the DAC/Amp to them.
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October 4, 2015 12:36:29 PM

americanaudiophile said:
Most companies will change a model number if they make any updates that affect performance. They do sometimes make running changes due to parts becoming unavailable. Only M-Audio could tell you. The service techs would know from the serial numbers.
You don't have a digital input on the speakers so they do not contain a DAC. Since your emphasis is on headphone sound better headphones first, then an outboard USB DAC headphone amp with preamp out to connect the speakers. Your budget of $500 to $700 would allow you to do both but choose the headphones first then match the DAC/Amp to them.


American, thanks so much for answer, as I suspected, the company changed ownership and my speakers are not the exact same as the ones they are selling now, per the customer service rep:

"The serial number you provided appears to be for a product made by Avid while they owned M-Audio. This means that you likely have the original version speakers. These speakers are analog connections."

Any comments on a combination from schiit audio, audioengine D1, etc. The speakers themselves are powered. Thinking $200 on the dac / preamp, and then $300 - $500 on the headphones.

Thoughts on headphones? have heard the Oppo PM-3s are good, grado as well
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