Will a Sound Card make any difference?

Hello, I'm considering purchasing these speakers: http://www.thomann.de/gb/mackie_mr5_mk3.htm

And, I have this motherboard (onboard audio): http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-components/motherboards/asus-sabertooth-z77-1075395/review


Thus, I was wondering if a new Sound Card would benefit me; would I notice the difference? 

Also, what Sound Card would you recommend? Bare in mind, I haven't got alot of money.



Thanks for your help.

I would only concider a sound card if you keep getting interference and can't come up with your own solution. That's a high end motherboard, and should have decent audio. I've got a MSI GD80v2 am3+ variant, and the audio on it sounds great. I'd throw that money at 320kbps music instead. 

In this case, a sound card will not really give any benefit unless you spend a lot of money. Those speakers are self powered and so therefore the main benefit of a sound card, a better amp, won't even help you. As an alternate, you could get a DAC instead however this probably won't be beneficial unless you spend closer to the $100 or so mark in terms of price. 

Why spend money on compressed, lossy audio when buying this quality of speakers?

I'm quite new to this sort of stuff; could you please explain how a DAC could benefit me? And, how do I set one up?

A DAC is a digital to analogue converter, it takes the digital audio stored on your computer and converts it to analogue noise that you are capable of hearing. A DAC will do the same job as your on board audio, as the on board audio does use a DAC however, most dedicated DACs do a much cleaner job of converting the audio. Essentially, giving you better audio quality. As for how to set one up: it depends on which you buy but most use a USB interface to connect to your computer. From there, you plug your speakers into the DAC and select the correct audio output on your computer. That's pretty much it.

Would I be able to hear the difference clearly? Or is it some minute change?



Depends on which DAC you use. Given that you claim not to have much money to spend, any improvement brought about by a DAC probably won't make any noticeable difference in your given price range.

Would you highly recommend me to save up for a good DAC? Which one would you recommend?

Not really, no. Not unless you buy a higher end audio output, as well as a good DAC. A cheaper DAC could potentially bridge the gap between your on board audio and a higher end DAC but getting anything much better is pointless as the speakers will soon become the limiting factor. The performance difference between a cheap DAC and on board audio is negligible, I simply suggested a DAC as an alternative to a sound card.

Uhm, just a heads up - These Mackies are studio monitors - made for audio production NOT for listening to music like a HiFi speaker. Studio monitors can be used for pure listening but it's not the same experience as listening to a HiFi system. If you like the sound of them, sure go for it, just think about it. Studio monitors (if they do their job correctly) are "flat" while a HiFi speaker is hyped up a bit to make everything sound more exciting. Studio monitors are often perceived as dull or unflattering when compared to a HiFi system.

And please do note that these monitors are not sold as a pair (unlike most HiFi speakers) so you have to buy two of them.

What type of HiFi speaker would you recommend? I've been looking for a decent pair between the range of £100-£250 and I cant find any that are high quality all round etc. 


Also, I do understand that they do not come as a pair.



Would you advise me to get the Audioengine A5+? the only problem is that it will take me a while to save up for. Are they worth it? I will be paying around £320 for them ($535). 

Sorry, not a HiFi guy but there are plenty of them around, why not visit a local store and have a listen? But I can give some general advise: If you listen to bass heavy music you should look for speakers with larger woofers. The size of the actual speaker will be determined by the logistics of your place. Will you have them on your desk or in a bookshelf - get smaller speaker, often called "bookshelf speakers". If you go for larger speakers that stand on the floor note that these sounds best if the listener are a few meters away.

Another thing to look in to is that most HiFi speakers are passive which means they need an external amp/reciever. That's an additional cost. Do your research before purchasing - are they passive (do I need an amp)?

There are many "luxurious" brands and models which sounds good and foremost looks good, but these tend to cost quite a lot of dosh. I suggest checking the local used market. These things tend to drop in price fairly quickly.

One last note - don't care too much about the wattage of the speaker, although still an important piece of information it's an overused sells pitch. One thing that many beginners have difficulty understanding is matching your speakers with a suitable amp (watts and ohm's etc). Do your research or ask a professional for help.

not to add confusion, but why not get a home theater set up with a receiver?