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[Gaming] DAC, Amplifier, and/or Sound Card for the KEF LS50

ultjck

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Jul 30, 2015
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Hello,

I want to buy a pair of speakers for my gaming PC and I've decided on the KEF LS50. I need some suggestions on how to complete the audio setup.

The speakers will be placed on the desk with the screen (not on separate stands).

The only sound card I have is an integrated card in the Asus P9X79 Pro motherboard, If a new sound card is sufficient I might get the Asus Xonar ST/STX or the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR.

If that isn't adequate and an amplifier/DAC are needed then what should I get?
 

ultjck

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Jul 30, 2015
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richardw42 said:
Do you really need / want it to be this complicated ?

You should investigate ACTIVE SPEAKERS.
I considered active speakers before, but then I read that speakers like the KEF LS50 combined with an external setup are much better, even for gaming.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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ultjck said:
richardw42 said:
Do you really need / want it to be this complicated ?

You should investigate ACTIVE SPEAKERS.
I considered active speakers before, but then I read that speakers like the KEF LS50 combined with an external setup are much better, even for gaming.
Where'd you read that??? Maybe if the active speakers they are being compared with are some Logitec, etc. computer speakers but for the price of the LS50 by themselves you can buy a hell of a lot of active speaker (as in active studio monitors) which will have been designed for use on a desk (or at least have adjustable settings for desk-top use - like all speakers they sound best properly mounted on stands, etc. with the tweeter at ear level). They will also save you the space that an external amp would take up.

While I know some people use the LS50 with relatively low powered amps like the Brio-R, they really do get better with better amplification and as a rough guideline I'd be looking to use an amp that costs a similar amount to the speakers.

Personally I'd look at what my budget is for the Kefs and a decent amp and then use that on a set of Genelecs at the same price point.

*Conflict of interest rider: as you can see from my signature I'm something of a fan of active speakers. The Kefs are great speakers and worthwhile if you can get them set up properly and powered with quality amplification, but active monitors are much better suited to your requirements.
 

ultjck

New member
Jul 30, 2015
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ID. said:
ultjck said:
richardw42 said:
Do you really need / want it to be this complicated ?

You should investigate ACTIVE SPEAKERS.
I considered active speakers before, but then I read that speakers like the KEF LS50 combined with an external setup are much better, even for gaming.
Where'd you read that??? Maybe if the active speakers they are being compared with are some Logitec, etc. computer speakers but for the price of the LS50 by themselves you can buy a hell of a lot of active speaker (as in active studio monitors) which will have been designed for use on a desk (or at least have adjustable settings for desk-top use - like all speakers they sound best properly mounted on stands, etc. with the tweeter at ear level). They will also save you the space that an external amp would take up.

While I know some people use the LS50 with relatively low powered amps like the Brio-R, they really do get better with better amplification and as a rough guideline I'd be looking to use an amp that costs a similar amount to the speakers.

Personally I'd look at what my budget is for the Kefs and a decent amp and then use that on a set of Genelecs at the same price point.

*Conflict of interest rider: as you can see from my signature I'm something of a fan of active speakers. The Kefs are great speakers and worthwhile if you can get them set up properly and powered with quality amplification, but active monitors are much better suited to your requirements.
Thank you for your reply.

At the price level of the KEF the best set of Genelecs I could find is the Genelec 8032 Stereo SAM.

Will this set sound better than the LS50's with an amplifier around 500$-700$.

For gaming purposes they never have to be set on very high volume because I'm right next to them. The LS50's have a lot of great reviews, but I don't want to waste them by pairing them with a limited amplifier.

I found a cnet review where the LS50's were paired with the NAD 3020 integrated amplifier and the reviewer said that they sounded amazing, so I'm not really sure.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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The latest Nad D3020 could be a good shout. Known to work well with these speakers despite it's relatively modest power. Has the advantage of an onboard dac, so will, when connected via usb, give you a substantial upgrade on your soundcard.

The other thought is the Kef X300a, a cheaper version of the LS50 drive unit in a similar but slightly smaller cabinet but including full active amplification and usb dac. All for about £600. (uk price)
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
ultjck said:
ID. said:
ultjck said:
richardw42 said:
Do you really need / want it to be this complicated ?

You should investigate ACTIVE SPEAKERS.
The only way to really make up your mind is to find a hifi specialist shop & have a listen. Unless you looking at cosmetics as well then the LS50 kef's should do fine. If it was my money I would go for the Yamaha's. Have a listen you may just be surprise. Others may have other suggestions.

I considered active speakers before, but then I read that speakers like the KEF LS50 combined with an external setup are much better, even for gaming.
Where'd you read that??? Maybe if the active speakers they are being compared with are some Logitec, etc. computer speakers but for the price of the LS50 by themselves you can buy a hell of a lot of active speaker (as in active studio monitors) which will have been designed for use on a desk (or at least have adjustable settings for desk-top use - like all speakers they sound best properly mounted on stands, etc. with the tweeter at ear level). They will also save you the space that an external amp would take up.

While I know some people use the LS50 with relatively low powered amps like the Brio-R, they really do get better with better amplification and as a rough guideline I'd be looking to use an amp that costs a similar amount to the speakers.

Personally I'd look at what my budget is for the Kefs and a decent amp and then use that on a set of Genelecs at the same price point.

*Conflict of interest rider: as you can see from my signature I'm something of a fan of active speakers. The Kefs are great speakers and worthwhile if you can get them set up properly and powered with quality amplification, but active monitors are much better suited to your requirements.
Thank you for your reply.

At the price level of the KEF the best set of Genelecs I could find is the Genelec 8032 Stereo SAM.

Will this set sound better than the LS50's with an amplifier around 500$-700$.

For gaming purposes they never have to be set on very high volume because I'm right next to them. The LS50's have a lot of great reviews, but I don't want to waste them by pairing them with a limited amplifier.

I found a cnet review where the LS50's were paired with the NAD 3020 integrated amplifier and the reviewer said that they sounded amazing, so I'm not really sure.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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davedotco said:
The latest Nad D3020 could be a good shout. Known to work well with these speakers despite it's relatively modest power. Has the advantage of an onboard dac, so will, when connected via usb, give you a substantial upgrade on your soundcard.

The other thought is the Kef X300a, a cheaper version of the LS50 drive unit in a similar but slightly smaller cabinet but including full active amplification and usb dac. All for about £600. (uk price)
i think stereophile was also quite keen on the combination with the NAD and it's a pretty compact amp.

good point that as you'll be sitting close to them the volume doesn't have to go so loud.

I love the SAM Genelec range but I thin you are paying a substantial amount for the SAM features to adjust the speakers for a flat response in your room. While it's a feature I like it's up to you as to whether it's necessary for you.

as with all recommendations try to go listen to the various speakers and amps, etc.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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19,070
Get behringer uca 202 for soundcard, and a pair of yamaha hs 7 or hs5 , or adam a5x or a7x if it fits your budget. If u want preamp with volume control and analogue input for other sources, look at maverick audio tube magic d1. With actives, you'll get way better sound for your moneys, at this price levels.
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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The other thought is the Kef X300a, a cheaper version of the LS50 drive unit in a similar but slightly smaller cabinet but including full active amplification and usb dac. All for about £600. (uk price)
[/quote]

+++1
 

ultjck

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Jul 30, 2015
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Andrewjvt said:
davedotco said:
The other thought is the Kef X300a, a cheaper version of the LS50 drive unit in a similar but slightly smaller cabinet but including full active amplification and usb dac. All for about £600. (uk price)
+++1
The X300a's seem nice but I don't think they would have the same audio quality as the LS50's with the Nad D3020. Right?
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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Hi the ls50s are great speakers but for gaming etc you might find the x300a more of an all rounder. Im not saying the ls50 wont be great its just your amp wont be able to drive those beauties to anywhere near their potential. Also the x300a will be better suited for desktop placement. Im an xbox player myself and i also have all my stuff playing through the amp and for games i find the speakers/amp less important than say for music/ movies
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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ultjck said:
Andrewjvt said:
davedotco said:
The other thought is the Kef X300a, a cheaper version of the LS50 drive unit in a similar but slightly smaller cabinet but including full active amplification and usb dac. All for about £600. (uk price)
+++1
The X300a's seem nice but I don't think they would have the same audio quality as the LS50's with the Nad D3020. Right?
Wrong.

On a desktop the better bass control of the actively driven speaker may well make a bigger difference than using the 'better' combination.

Just speculating here, but the LS50 is known to be sensitive to setup and positioning so may not come close to maximising it's capabilities on a desktop, The slightly less capable X300, which is designed for desktop use, may well be more satisfactory in this application.

That said, it is pretty obvious that you really want the LS50s, pairing them with the D3020 is known to work well (within it's limitations), and is good quality equipment.

Treat yourself, you know you want to...*music2*
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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davedotco said:
ultjck said:
Andrewjvt said:
davedotco said:
The other thought is the Kef X300a, a cheaper version of the LS50 drive unit in a similar but slightly smaller cabinet but including full active amplification and usb dac. All for about £600. (uk price)
+++1
The X300a's seem nice but I don't think they would have the same audio quality as the LS50's with the Nad D3020. Right?
Wrong.

On a desktop the better bass control of the actively driven speaker may well make a bigger difference than using the 'better' combination.

Just speculating here, but the LS50 is known to be sensitive to setup and positioning so may not come close to maximising it's capabilities on a desktop, The slightly less capable X300, which is designed for desktop use, may well be more satisfactory in this application.

That said, it is pretty obvious that you really want the LS50s, pairing them with the D3020 is known to work well (within it's limitations), and is good quality equipment.

Treat yourself, you know you want to...*music2*
probably right. He'll always have a nagging thought at the back of his mind if he doesn't, especially if he doesn't audition the various options to see what he likes best.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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ID. said:
davedotco said:
ultjck said:
Andrewjvt said:
davedotco said:
The other thought is the Kef X300a, a cheaper version of the LS50 drive unit in a similar but slightly smaller cabinet but including full active amplification and usb dac. All for about £600. (uk price)
+++1
The X300a's seem nice but I don't think they would have the same audio quality as the LS50's with the Nad D3020. Right?
Wrong.

On a desktop the better bass control of the actively driven speaker may well make a bigger difference than using the 'better' combination.

Just speculating here, but the LS50 is known to be sensitive to setup and positioning so may not come close to maximising it's capabilities on a desktop, The slightly less capable X300, which is designed for desktop use, may well be more satisfactory in this application.

That said, it is pretty obvious that you really want the LS50s, pairing them with the D3020 is known to work well (within it's limitations), and is good quality equipment.

Treat yourself, you know you want to...*music2*
probably right. He'll always have a nagging thought at the back of his mind if he doesn't, especially if he doesn't audition the various options to see what he likes best.
Exactly, the op clearly wants the LS50s, trying to persuade him otherwise is pointless.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
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18,595
I said this before, properly likes the combination of sound & looks. *wink* If that is the case. I would also suggest using Vibro pads used in studios to isolate speakers.
 

Jota180

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May 14, 2010
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I have KEF LS50's and wouldn't bother using them as gaming speakers as it would be a complete waste of money. You'd be sitting too close to them.

You'd be far better off buying an active pair of speakers designed for nearfield useage and for the kind of money you're talking about you'd get a helluva lot of active speaker. They'd go much deeper too for all those special effects explosions.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
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18,595
Jota180 said:
I have KEF LS50's and wouldn't bother using them as gaming speakers as it would be a complete waste of money. You'd be sitting too close to them.

You'd be far better off buying an active pair of speakers designed for nearfield useage and for the kind of money you're talking about you'd get a helluva lot of active speaker. They'd go much deeper too for all those special effects explosions.
Thats why I recommened the Yahama HS80M. Perfect for gaming & only £400.00 a pair.
 

Jota180

New member
May 14, 2010
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Native_bon said:
Jota180 said:
I have KEF LS50's and wouldn't bother using them as gaming speakers as it would be a complete waste of money. You'd be sitting too close to them.

You'd be far better off buying an active pair of speakers designed for nearfield useage and for the kind of money you're talking about you'd get a helluva lot of active speaker. They'd go much deeper too for all those special effects explosions.
Thats why I recommened the Yahama HS80M. Perfect for gaming & only £400.00 a pair.
The audio in most games isn't of a particulary high quality either but I was just pointing out these speakers work best with a bit of distance between you and them and with them no where near a rear wall. Mine are around half a metre from a rear wall (65cm). Any closer and the bass overwhelms.
 

ultjck

New member
Jul 30, 2015
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Thank you for all your answers guys you've all been a big help, I'll try to go to a hi-fi shop and compare some speakers. Even though I'm a little bit leaned toward the LS50's​.

The pads and desktop stands look very useful. I'll definitely be getting them.

 
Apr 4, 2016
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Sorry, but why the people wants use the LS50 LIKE A FLOORSTANDING SPEAKER??? the ls50 is a nearfield studio speaker, I have now a Sansui au-a607 extra + kef q300 and Parasound Zdac v.2, this combination simply destroys my previous adam active speakers. I heard the ls50 at only 5 ft and sounds insane. Anyway...

For only gaming is a overkill, buy a D3020 and a used Kef Q100 is overkill too, but not like the ls50. If you listen hi-res music is another story
 

ID.

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Feb 22, 2010
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Lukss Piscitelli said:
Sorry, but why the people wants use the LS50 LIKE A FLOORSTANDING SPEAKER??? the ls50 is a nearfield studio speaker, I have now a Sansui au-a607 extra + kef q300 and Parasound Zdac v.2, this combination simply destroys my previous adam active speakers. I heard the ls50 at only 5 ft and sounds insane. Anyway...

For only gaming is a overkill, buy a D3020 and a used Kef Q100 is overkill too, but not like the ls50. If you listen hi-res music is another story
out of interest, what Adams were you using?
 

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