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Recommendations for versatile computer/headphone/guitar rig
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Recommendations for versatile computer/headphone/guitar rig

I’m not sure if this is the right forum, but I’m researching different options for a home/desktop rig for use both with headphones and speaker/studio monitors. This is strictly for personal enjoyment (i.e., not recording or mixing), and I’m not an audiophile, but just enjoy music. Additionally, I play guitar and may someday use the studio monitors with an amp simulator/modeler such as a BOSS GT-1. I don’t want/need to go overboard for my needs, but wouldn’t mind spending a little extra to get more use/versatility out of the setup. I’ve read about great budget rigs such as the Lepai LP-2020A+ amplifier with Dayton Audio B652 and B652 Air speakers, but I know that this amplifier doesn’t have a headphone out, so I’d need something extra (like the FiiO E10K DAC/amplifier?) to add that capability. Furthermore, I don’t think that I’d be able to plug a guitar modeler in with this setup either, so it’d limit this strictly to a nearfield speaker application, albeit for a total cost of less than $100.

From my limited knowledge and my online research, I believe that if I were to instead go with a setup such as a E10K with studio monitors like (a pair of) JBL LSR305s, this would be a decent setup for listening through both the speakers and headphones without adding any additional gear other than cables. (Please advise if that’s not correct.) A big plus in going this route is that the LSR305s also get good reviews by guitarists using modelers, so it would be an additional capability of this setup—headphone & speaker listening as well as playing guitar. I wouldn’t mind increasing my budget to over $300 to have the extra versatility of this all-in-one setup.

My question is if the above assetions are accurate and if anyone has any other options or input I should consider.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 

First get yourself an interface. You can buy a 2 channel which will allow you to runs stereo effects units for under $50. You can find plenty of Tascam and Lexicon units on EBay for that price. Just make sure it has drivers available for your operating system. I've picked up bran new 6 channel Tascam US-1200 there for $80.

Next forget the amp and speakers. That's a waste of time, money and its not going to sound nearly as good as a set of studio monitors. I picked up a pair of M-Audio BX5's on sale for $250. They are biamped (tweeters and woofers have their own amps) 70W speakers which are not only plenty loud but they sound amazing. There's some other manufacturers that sell cheaper ones too. I'd try and stick with at least a 5" woofer if you can. Anything smaller probably wont sound so hot.

If you plan on using software effects you need a Host DAW program in order to run them so even if your goal isn't to record you still need the DAW program to run most of the plugins. You may want to create drums loops to jam to too. You can download a fully functional copy of Reaper as a demo version. It may have some nag screens but there's no time limit. The paid version is low cost too.

There are others if you google too. Some interfaces come packaged with a Lite version of a daw program too.

From there you can download many amp and modeler programs. Guitar rig also has a stand alone program. The problem you'll have however, is these programs take time to process and perform algorithms and trying toe use them in real time is going to cause a time delay which makes them useless for playing live. You can record with a DAW using the interfaces zero latency monitoring but you aren't using plugins when you use that.

Bottom line is, you want effects use hardware. You want amplification, but an amp. You want to record, then you can skip the amp, buy the interface and monitors then use the monitors like you would a guitar amp and use a modeling foot pedal to get your tones. Something like this will give you around 30 different amp heads and 20 different cabs. Plus you have all the effects you can think of. It produces stereo with a stereo to dual mono cable and the thing sounds friggin amazing. I use it all the time playing live or recording. Its not like the only box I've owned either. I own about 75K in audio gear. I have at least 50 different pedals and all kinds or rack gear, effects processors, you name it. Its simply incredible how they can pack so much in a single box now and actually make it sound fantastic.

I picked up one of these on sale for $39 awhile back. I've used it on a tone of recordings and use it for lightweight gigs. Easy to use and build presets too. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/vox-stomplab-ig-modeling-guitar-effect-processor?cntry=us&source=3WWRWXGP&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIusuulqzk1gIVRrjACh0l6w7rEAQYASABEgIkNPD_BwE&kwid=productads-adid^221957295803-device^c-plaid^323968521783-sku^H93379000000000@ADL4MF-adType^PLA
Old 6 days ago
  #3


Don't waste your money on junk. You'll just weant something better almost immediately and junk has no resale value.
Old 5 days ago
  #4
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Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post


Don't waste your money on junk. You'll just weant something better almost immediately and junk has no resale value.
So which of the above do you consider junk? I believe I listed six different products. Or was it just a blanket statement that everything is junk? I realize none of the above—from the MFX pedal to the amp & speakers and DAC—are high end, but I’m not an audiophile or a professional musician.

Plus, speaking of resale value, if I were to spend $85 on the amp & bookspeakers I mentioned, I’d be out less money than buying high end gear and losing 20% or so when reselling.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by briluster View Post
So which of the above do you consider junk? I believe I listed six different products. Or was it just a blanket statement that everything is junk? I realize none of the above—from the MFX pedal to the amp & speakers and DAC—are high end, but I’m not an audiophile or a professional musician.

Plus, speaking of resale value, if I were to spend $85 on the amp & bookspeakers I mentioned, I’d be out less money than buying high end gear and losing 20% or so when reselling.
All of it except the JBLs.

Jeez, if you're even considering stuff like that, I just don't know, why do you even bother with music if you have no appreciation for sound quality? That stuff isn't "cheap", it's SUB-cheap, about the level of something from Toys R Us.

Save up some money and treat yourself to something that's AT LEAST entry level. Maybe you'll lose 20% on reselling but that's better than losing 100%, and you'll appreciate the results.

You can thank me later.

FWIW, I buy (real) high end gear, I'm very careful with my purchases, often buying used, and I almost never lose money and frequently would turn a nice profit if I did choose to sell.
Old 4 days ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
I just don't know, why do you even bother with music if you have no appreciation for sound quality?
Wow, thanks for your constructive input, sir. Moving on, hopefully someone else can provide some helpful thoughts and recommendations like those given by wrgkmc above.

The E10K is lauded as a great budget DAC in multiple audio forums, and the LP-2020 and B652 speakers were both praised by “The Audiophiliac” and others. But maybe none of these people have any business listening to music either.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by briluster View Post
Wow, thanks for your constructive input, sir. Moving on, hopefully someone else can provide some helpful thoughts and recommendations like those given by wrgkmc above.

The E10K is lauded as a great budget DAC in multiple audio forums, and the LP-2020 and B652 speakers were both praised by “The Audiophiliac” and others. But maybe none of these people have any business listening to music either.
Magazines make their money by selling advertising. Frequently that includes positive reviews ("You give us a bad review, you don't get our advertising dollars.") - which is why I don't trust reviews in commercial magazines.

"Great budget DAC" is an oxymoron.
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Magazines make their money by selling advertising. Frequently that includes positive reviews ("You give us a bad review, you don't get our advertising dollars.") - which is why I don't trust reviews in commercial magazines.

"Great budget DAC" is an oxymoron.
Understood...fair enough. I try to keep that in mind when reading or watching reviews, as there tends to be a lack of scathing or even slightly negative reviews on products in general. Even many/most “independent reviewers” receive their products directly from the companies, which makes it hard to get a fully unbiased opinion.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by briluster View Post
Understood...fair enough. I try to keep that in mind when reading or watching reviews, as there tends to be a lack of scathing or even slightly negative reviews on products in general. Even many/most “independent reviewers” receive their products directly from the companies, which makes it hard to get a fully unbiased opinion.
After a while one can develop the fine art of reading between the lines on reviews, which isn't always revealing but sometimes can tell you when a reviewer isn't totally comfortable with their assignment. In this case the phrase "great budget DAC" sends up red flags for me. He's likely trying to say something without pissing off his bosses. Or maybe he just wants better assignments....

Most reviewers ARE independent, which means that they freelance for various publications. They do usually get paid (often not much these days), and have to compete with other freelancers for assignments.
Old 4 days ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
BasHermus's Avatar
 

From your original post I do not know what your goal is that you hope to achieve.

You state that you do not want to record or mix. So why do want to run your guitar through your PC?
If it is just for playing guitar almost any cheap guitar amp will be more fun and easy (and be used more in the long run).
Old 1 day ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BasHermus View Post
From your original post I do not know what your goal is that you hope to achieve.

You state that you do not want to record or mix. So why do want to run your guitar through your PC?
If it is just for playing guitar almost any cheap guitar amp will be more fun and easy (and be used more in the long run).
That is a very good question. I missed it when I first read the post - probably mental disconnect because it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me unless he's more interested in playing with amp sims than in playing guitar. And we know that NOBODY around here is like that, right? RIGHT?

No?
Old 21 hours ago
  #12
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
That is a very good question. I missed it when I first read the post - probably mental disconnect because it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me unless he's more interested in playing with amp sims than in playing guitar. And we know that NOBODY around here is like that, right? RIGHT?

No?
The goal is/was versatility. While mainly to listen to music through speakers and headphones, I figured that if I were looking at studio monitors for listening, studio monitors are supposed to be ideal for—yes, I’ll say it—using amp sims as well. That said, while I’m not into using amp sims via a PC, I’d like to try using a multi-effects pedal through studio monitors. (I currently use a Yamaha THR10 with no pedals.) So if studio monitors were a solid option for listening to music, I might as well make it work for using a multi-FX pedal through the same studio monitors.

With that being the least important of the three—most important being listening through speakers, followed by headphones—I’d rather drop the guitar versatility and focus on a good option for listening through speakers and headphones.
Old 19 hours ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by briluster View Post
The goal is/was versatility. While mainly to listen to music through speakers and headphones, I figured that if I were looking at studio monitors for listening, studio monitors are supposed to be ideal for—yes, I’ll say it—using amp sims as well. That said, while I’m not into using amp sims via a PC, I’d like to try using a multi-effects pedal through studio monitors. (I currently use a Yamaha THR10 with no pedals.) So if studio monitors were a solid option for listening to music, I might as well make it work for using a multi-FX pedal through the same studio monitors.

With that being the least important of the three—most important being listening through speakers, followed by headphones—I’d rather drop the guitar versatility and focus on a good option for listening through speakers and headphones.
"versatility"?

Really?

A couple questions:

First, how long have you played guitar and how much actual experience do you have?

Second, have you ever played through a real amp om a regular basis?
Old 19 hours ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
"versatility"?

Really?

A couple questions:

First, how long have you played guitar and how much actual experience do you have?

Second, have you ever played through a real amp om a regular basis?
Are you always so smug?

Not that I need to justify my preferences to anyone, but the answers are 20 years off & on, and yes. Now why does this really matter?
Old 5 hours ago
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by briluster View Post
Are you always so smug?

Not that I need to justify my preferences to anyone, but the answers are 20 years off & on, and yes. Now why does this really matter?
Why does it matter? well, if you were less experienced my advice would be to concentrate on playing the guitar, not playing with sounds. The type of equipment you were asking about tends to foster that impression, most experienced guys have more appreciation for quality.

In my experience, though, getting hung up on "amp versatility" is a red herring, a distraction that doesn't really do much for musicianship.

As I see it, the major reason for somebody actually needing "amp versatility" is if they're playing in a professional cover band that tries to duplicate the actual recorded tones, which is a bit of a wank IMO, as the audiences for such bands rarely, if ever, really care about that.

The other two major classes of people who are into that are beginners who don't know what they want yet and people who are more interested in playing with gear than playing music.

Most accomplished guitar players really only use one rig. That rig may change over the years but at any given time it's pretty much one rig.

Different guitars, OTOH, make more sense.


And I'm not smug, just old.

And cranky.
Old 3 hours ago
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
BasHermus's Avatar
 

I have to agree with John (not just about him being cranky sometimes).

I learned the hard way that versatility gets in the way of making music. Nowadays I just prefer to have one nice sound from my guitar amp, instead of 900 mediocre ones.

BTW Most studio monitors have not been designed for enjoying music, but for clarity and honesty when producing or mixing music. That can mean that a lot of music might not sound that enjoyable on monitors.
For that you might as well get a nice hifi set.
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