02 April 2012

Audio setup for under $200

With $200 it is possible to build a fairly good audio setup. In this post I will give an example of such a setup. First of all, I'm going to assume that the user already has a computer in which his music library is located. This keeps the total price low, as it excludes CD players and other transports.
So, what are we going to need?

  • A computer: where the music is located;
  • A DAC: to convert the digital data into analog (sound) signals;
  • A headphone amp: to amplify the signal coming from the DAC;
  • A pair of headphones: to listen to the music, how else would you?

On any audio setup, the component through which you listen to the music is the most important (speakers/headphones). So, let's give the headphones the biggest share of our budget:
  • DAC - 75$
  • Headphone Amp - 25$
  • Headphones - 100$

The Grados SR80i are a really nice pair of headphones for the price: $99. They are acclaimed by most audiophiles to be one of the best ways to build an entry-level headphone setup. They are great for rock music, having a right-in-your-face sound that will amaze you. You can also buy some replacement pads ($12.70) to make them more confortable.
Read some reviews: Head-Fi | What Hi-Fi?



For the DAC, we're going with the Fiio E7. At $88.59, this is above our budget, but this USB DAC has a little surprise: it has a headphone amp included! This means we now have $12.41 left on our original $200 budget, which you can use to buy the replacement pads I mentioned!
Reviews: Head-Fi | NwAvGuy


I hope this small article has showed you how you can build a fairly nice entry-level audio setup for only $200. Enjoy!

24 comments:

  1. great posting, thx for the info

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  2. Very informative, what are the benefits of using a DAC? I've heard of them but never used one. I have a pair of Sennheiser-HD-202

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    1. Using a DAC allows you to get higher audio quality and detail than soundcards built into most computers/laptops. Those HD202 are really nice for the price (I have ones too!)

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  3. alright bro i love music! kind of an audiophile..following & stuff +1

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  4. That is really helpful. As an to be aspiring animator, sound editing is soon going to be a BIG deal. This will come in handy.

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  5. Thanks for the recommendations, I'm going to upgrade my gear in the next month probably.

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  6. Awesome! I've been wanting to upgrade my setup for a while, but I wasn't sure what gear to get.

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  7. Music is probably my life...now i can make it a little bit more of my life

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  8. I have VOX headphone amp and koss ur-40 headphones, its also a nice set

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  9. hmmthanks for sharing all these options ill have to look into these

    new follower here (wink) feel free to get back at me!

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  10. Very nice i use my sennheiser earbuds or my turtle beach lol :D

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  11. Sweet set up dude. I'll def keep this in mind when I get an extra $200. Can you do a post on some killer headphones?

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    Replies
    1. Will do, a post about headphones is on the works!

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  12. If I ever had $200 (or £200 in my case) to spend, I'd definitely use this as an idea as to what to go for in the audio setup world. Thanks

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  13. Very nice thanks for the information and nice blog keep up the good work.

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  14. Nice info! I was considering getting new gear and this post helped me a lot.

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  15. That's pretty cheap. I'll read more about these headphones

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  16. Nice post. I have a DAC aswell. All I need are good Headphones. Currently have a Superlux 662B

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  17. what's your opinion on wireless headphones??

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