1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

A/V Microlab FC360s + Xonar DS, where next?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by fuus, 2 Sep 2013.

  1. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    Hey guys,

    I'm looking for some upgrade advice on my current setup. Which consists of an Xonar DS sound card and some Microlab FC360 speakers.

    I'm looking to spend around £200 on some speakers and an amp, and perhaps another £100 on a gaming headset / headphones. Any advice appreciated!

    Thanks, Fuus
     
  2. djzic

    djzic Bokehlicious!

    Joined:
    8 Nov 2010
    Posts:
    896
    Likes Received:
    13
    Just some advice, don't use headsets :) you usually pay 4 times the price for crap quality and "g3ming" features and branding. Desktop mic and headphones is the way to go! Blue Snowball is pretty good for the price. As for headphones, depends what you want - bass heavy? Noise dampening? Or comfortable and never get sweaty? Closed back headphones are the former generally and open back are the latter. I don't know much about speakers so I'll leave that one to someone else :) but you should definitely frequently check Massdrop. They sell all sorts, and they do have a good selection of audio equipment. It's basically group buys to save money.
     
  3. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    I already own a basic desktop mic, so that's not a problem :thumb:

    How much noise do open backs emit? Enough for someone in the same room to hear what you hear?

    Thanks for the quick response!
     
  4. andrew8200m

    andrew8200m Modder

    Joined:
    4 May 2009
    Posts:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    184
    Edifier S2000 are simply awesome! Only issue is its 2.0 which may not work for you.
     
  5. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    I do like my current 2.1 setup, the sub is nice!
     
  6. asura

    asura jack of all trades

    Joined:
    22 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    78
    Keep your eye open on Ebay for some classic speakers, some of the golden-oldies turn up for shekels (well not literally) I picked up a pair of Goodmans (they used to be awesome, honnest) Magnum K2s for £20+postage, about £45 in total I think. The treble isn't all that compared to its modern equivalent but the bass is good and punchy, and the mids are just fine.

    Only problem with them (in particular) and some older speakers in general is cone damage (part of the reason for the excellent bass on K2s is the laminated plastic film, which can de-laminate.) don't pick up any which are damaged (the central bubble doesn't matter its function is purely to keep dust and dirt out of the magnet) or are listed or visually re-conned. Re-conning never imparts the original sound to the driver, unless its an OEM part, which you just don't get any more for that era.

    Amps? I'm a NAD fan, my brother a Yamaha fan, it really depends on what kind of sound you like as (secondary to speakers) your amp is key to either transparency, or shaping your sound. Again you can pick up some classics and modern classics for cheep on the flee-bay. So many audiophiles are upgrade-happy (sound familiar?) that there's a lot of really good stuff out there. This for example is a great amp and I can almost guarantee that the "slight crackle" can be fixed by opening it up and first compressed air-ing then WD40-ing the volume pot to within an inch of its life. Dust in the controls is a common "fault" with amps. But being a NAD it has a tendency to shape your sound a bit. Yamaha (tend to be very clean and natural sounding) my brother has one of these and I can't deny it sounds good if a bit anaemic (to my ear) and has all the bells and whistles for a very decent home cinema.
     
  7. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    Thanks for the help Asura!

    From the breakup of my Grandad's Hi-fi I do have a pair of Wharfedale 505.2 speakers around, would they be acceptable?

    I also have an amp from that which is unfused? I'm unsure of the model / make though.

    This system will only ever be used with my PC, so home cinema functions aren't too important to me. Unless I've misunderstood that?
     
  8. asura

    asura jack of all trades

    Joined:
    22 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    78
    Wharfedale are a good make. And from the little reading I've just done they should be all you'll need till you get the upgrade itch, they were £200-ish when new, so as long as the cones are undamaged and the crossover hasn't had any blown or leaking caps you're on to a winner there.

    Hook'em up and have a listen, low-volume ear to driver each in turn then slowly raise the volume (taking your ear away) and eyeball the perimeter of the cones, the bass in particular. The cones should move in and out uniformly and there shouldn't be any rigid bits in the foam surround (between the frame and the cone). If its all good then, it's all good and you have extra to spend on your amp :geek:

    Anything pre-80s will feel rock solid and (at the lower end price wise and frequency wise) be sharper sounding than a modern speaker. The fault? MDF! These were on the cusp of the changeover so they could be either, but a quick read and they used 20mm board for the construction :jawdrop: nice and rigid.

    Nah the Yamaha suggestion was a) just a "planning ahead" thing, you might some day want a 5.1 amp and b) it's the only Yamaha amp I've met, didn't go with my brother when he got to play with 20+ amps.
     
  9. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    They've only have one owner from new (my grandad) and sat in one position for the best part of 15 years! These speakers certainly do weigh a bit, and I'm pretty sure they're not made of MDF! I'll have a play about now for a minute :)
     
  10. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    The noise sounds a bit 'far away'?

    They look like this if it helps? except my wood is more of a teaky colour
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2013
  11. KidMod-Southpaw

    KidMod-Southpaw Super Spamming Saiyan

    Joined:
    28 Sep 2010
    Posts:
    12,592
    Likes Received:
    558
    If you've got a large British Heart Foundation shop near you, check what audio stuff they've got. The wigan store has some stonking pre 80s stuff. I picked up a pair of Pioneer sz- 74s for £4 and they're working wonderfully.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. asura

    asura jack of all trades

    Joined:
    22 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    78
    Now the question comes, what are you driving them with?
     
  13. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    It's a Cambridge Audio 'Mission' Model 778

    I've cut back and re done the cables which has improved the sound quality, however I've now realised that one speaker is completely dead... :blush:

    EDIT: Update: swapped the cables over and the other speaker is dead. Looks like the amp is somehow broken

    EDIT2: Looks like it's just the 'digital' input that's broken. I plugged the phono leads into Tuner and now it's working perfectly!
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2013
  14. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    Question is, are these an improvement on my microlabs?

    also, what headphones? For £100 should I be looking at an amp too?
     
  15. asura

    asura jack of all trades

    Joined:
    22 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    78
    I'd imagine so...

    2x8" drivers for bass, vs 1x6.5" and whilst the tweets in the Wharfedale;s seem to have a not so good reputation I can't imagine them being worse than a £50 set...

    For about £10 you could solder up a cable to let you use the amp to drive the microlabs speakers, comparing first the tweets (turning the amps balance all the way to treble will kill a lot of bass and vice versa) and then the bass. Decide which you prefer.

    Cool, so now that we've (provisionally) saved you £200 on an amp and speakers, lets spend it on a good quality USB DAC :naughty:

    As someone already mentioned Massdrop, they do DACs occasionally as well as headphones etcetera... I can attest to the ODAC being good, but have no idea about the O2, presumably good too... though by the time you've paid import duties even on the lowest possible cost... probably better off picking one up from the UK...
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2013
  16. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    This amp doesn't have balance... :p
    That DAC looks awesome, I am tempt.

    EDIT: One review states the following: 'Connectivity, well you have a standard 3.5mm jack out but you cannot drive headphones directly from this out put as it has no amp section and provides 2vrms standard line out signal to feed to an external amp. The RCA outputs are handy for home theatre and home systems as they generally use RCA inputs for audio.'
    Would I need an amp as well?
    :confused:
     
    Last edited: 2 Sep 2013
  17. asura

    asura jack of all trades

    Joined:
    22 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    78
    Nah, RCA from ODAC to your Cambridge Audio amp then use the headphone socket on that... if it has one... failing that yes you'd need a new/nother amp. The Massdrop is for a separate ODAC + O2, but they were designed to fit together as well, though of course, more expensive.

    I bought the PCB only from here and if I recall correctly, it got through customs scot-free. It's a tiny thing, about the width of a credit card and 2/3 the length, it takes its power from the USB connection (hence no power) and could (I'm sure) be easily squeezed inside your amp (and either soldered internally, or have fly-off leads) which could then become a monitor plinth.

    I can't find *any* information on that amp! Frustrating!
     
  18. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    From what I've found the original documentation was burnt in a factory fire back in the 80's. This amp was a precursor to the Cyrus One. The Amp does have a headphone port!

    I feel I'd be better off purchasing a new headphone amp as this one is so aged! (1984)

    The disgusting thing is that I'm buying headphones on top of these prices right? D:
     
  19. asura

    asura jack of all trades

    Joined:
    22 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    1,747
    Likes Received:
    78
    Don't worry about the age of the thing, if it's well designed it's well designed. I've got a couple of NAD C 3020s which (once one has warmed up and stopped crackling) sound great and they've got about six years on your 778. I guess you'll have come across the 776/777 in your hunting, now they look most interesting!

    Oh these old amps can be a bit of a labour of love if things start to go wrong with them, but you don't feel so bad about modifying them, swapping out capacitors etcetera.

    I remember considering the Cyrus7 when I bought my speakers and CD player but decided my amp didn't need upgrading...

    A badly bashed pair of Wharfedale 505.2 are at £45-ish on fleebay, so expect to pay £50-75 for a pair in decent condition... for a modern half decent 8" driver you'd expect to pay about that for one, double it up, add a pair of mid/tweets, a case, crossover and screen... parts are always more expensive to buy than a completed item call it about £150 for a direct replacement. Your next upgrade for them which isn't marginal or sideways is either £150-200 from ebay, or £300-600 new.

    Your amp? Well we just don't know for sure, but probably about the same - it doesn't make much sense to mis-match separates, like a chain you're always limited by the weakest part.
     
  20. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2010
    Posts:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    521
    The 777 just looks mad!

    I see what you're saying with the amp, speaker situation. Could it not be an option to use that amp with the speakers and just get a headphone amp standalone?
     

Share This Page