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Best $300 (or less) USB DAC/AMP combo for music production? - Page 2

post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

If you are certain you do not want any inputs at this point in time then you might want to look at the Native Instruments Audio 2.

 

http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-audio-interfaces/traktor-audio-2/

 

I have for use on the road with an ultrabook running Ableton and Traktor. Clean and powerful sound. It has two separate stereo outputs which can be similar or different depending on what you want at the time.  Pretty good value @ ~$100 plus a 'free' copy of Traktor.

 

If you do need ins just in case probably the most cost effective solution atm is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4.

 

http://us.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i4

 

Considerably more expensive @ ~$200+ but you do still get 2 stereo outs and a lot extra including a great suite of plug ins.

 

ed: correction :(

 

I already have an Audio 2, it's great for performing but the headphone amp is decent at best

 

and I've tried a Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 before which is around $300 for 4x6, wasn't impressed and the bundled software was messy

post #17 of 31
Thread Starter 

here's a list of interfaces I've gone through in the past 6-7 years

 

Alesis I/O 2 - absolutely horrible
Presonus Firepod FP10 - crappy but decent bang for buck
Apogee Duet - beautiful, probably the best interface I've owned
Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 - bought it just to give it a shot, wasn't as good as I hoped for and returned it, bundled software was a mess
Apogee ONE - fell apart after a year and sold it
Steinberg MR816 X - amazing bang for buck, put it up against the Duet 2 and I personally could not hear a difference using a UA preamp, headphone amp on the Duet was better
Apogee Duet 2 - DOA, was replaced but drivers never fixed, best headphone amp in an interface that I've tried so far
NI Audio 2 - great little interface, perfect for Live DJing but headphone amp is just okay, USB cable tends to fall out unless taped which is ok for performing and not okay for production
Apogee ONE - bought again after selling Duet 2, replaced twice in a row, new Maestro software crashes Live and Chrome

post #18 of 31

OK this is starting to get on my nerves a little now, because you are only asking fora playback device yet you are saying you are producing.  You are doing so on headphones only, with no monitors as a comparison and you say you have been doing this for 6-7 years?  I have been messing around with production for hardly any time at all but realise that to PRODUCE you dont want an audiophile DAC as its far from a neutral sound.  People are giving you very sound advice and you are dismissing it saying you know better, when your own posts hardly show that you do.  If you want to just mess around with a editing tracks on your laptop via headphones you are not going to get the best results using an ODAC or similar.  The headphones you are mixing on are ok, but you still need to listen through some montors to get a comparison of how it translates to speakers.

 

You have listen 9 different devices above all used in the last 6-7 years, yet none are good enough for you?  The money you have spent there you could have bought a nice desktop RME device that is more than portable and you would still have some change for some basic monitor speakers.  Throwing money at a situation doesnt always work, especially when you say you current budget is less than what you have previously spent and weren't satisfied.

 

Excuse me if I am wrong but this is starting to feel like a troll.  I gave you a good link to a specialised site, I am sure if you ask there they will likely give you  much the same advice as I am giving you now.  This is not a site for music production so your advice is not going to be too specific, however if you want to play with production while enjoying listening with your headphones then any DAC you listed originally will suffice.

 

Simple answer buy a roland quad capture and you will get everything you need.

post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 

https://www.facebook.com/invadermusic

http://soundcloud.com/invadermusic

 

can you take me seriously now? if not then please leave this thread alone

 

I make electronic music for a living, I don't need a RECORDING interface, is that too hard to understand?

 

I need a professional grade DAC/AMP combo that won't give me any stability problems with DAWs

 

I don't have studio monitors because I live in an apartment, I use a Focal XS 2.1 multimedia system which is USB powered so I don't need a god damn interface for ****s sake can you stick to the topic please?

 

I also have a club system at my disposal to check tracks, I go every week and when I need to play a track I can after the night is over

 

there are ways to get around not having a treated studio with monitor speakers, many do it and I'm one of them

 

now can we please get back to topic? I'm not here to argue about the reasons why I'm looking for a DAC and not an interface, I know what I need, I'm the one that needs it, not you

post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post

https://www.facebook.com/invadermusic

http://soundcloud.com/invadermusic

 

can you take me seriously now? if not then please leave this thread alone

 

I make electronic music for a living, I don't need a RECORDING interface, is that too hard to understand?

 

I need a professional grade DAC/AMP combo that won't give me any stability problems with DAWs

 

I don't have studio monitors because I live in an apartment, I use a Focal XS 2.1 multimedia system which is USB powered so I don't need a god damn interface for ****s sake can you stick to the topic please?

 

I also have a club system at my disposal to check tracks, I go every week and when I need to play a track I can after the night is over

 

there are ways to get around not having a treated studio with monitor speakers, many do it and I'm one of them

 

now can we please get back to topic? I'm not here to argue about the reasons why I'm looking for a DAC and not an interface, I know what I need, I'm the one that needs it, not you

 

It's understandable that you don't want inputs as an electronic musician, although there are a lot of electronic musicians who also incorporate recorded sounds. But that's okay. Listened to some of your stuff and you seem pretty proficient at producing electronic music.

 

You'd probably have a hard time finding anyone who has tried that ODAC stack with your DAW so there's not really any way of knowing how well it works in that situation. "Professional grade" isn't a thing when it comes to the type of audiophile DAC/Amps you'll get recommended here, hence why you're being recommended audio interfaces instead.

 

Audiophile equipment is designed to maximize music listening enjoyment, not as a neutral platform for creating music that other people will listen to. An audiophile DAC/Amp will give you a good headphone out and will PROBABLY work okay with your DAW, but most likely won't be as flat and neutral as a professional interface. I assume as a producer you want the flattest sound signature possible so your music translates well to other people's systems. 

 

I used to produce music with my Little Dot MK II and Beresford DAC and had a few issues as the native ASIO on my soundcard only operated at 48khz. However you probably wouldn't run into this issue with a USB DAC. 

post #21 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraseyboy View Post

 

It's understandable that you don't want inputs as an electronic musician, although there are a lot of electronic musicians who also incorporate recorded sounds. But that's okay. Listened to some of your stuff and you seem pretty proficient at producing electronic music.

 

You'd probably have a hard time finding anyone who has tried that ODAC stack with your DAW so there's not really any way of knowing how well it works in that situation. "Professional grade" isn't a thing when it comes to the type of audiophile DAC/Amps you'll get recommended here, hence why you're being recommended audio interfaces instead.

 

Audiophile equipment is designed to maximize music listening enjoyment, not as a neutral platform for creating music that other people will listen to. An audiophile DAC/Amp will give you a good headphone out and will PROBABLY work okay with your DAW, but most likely won't be as flat and neutral as a professional interface. I assume as a producer you want the flattest sound signature possible so your music translates well to other people's systems. 

 

I used to produce music with my Little Dot MK II and Beresford DAC and had a few issues as the native ASIO on my soundcard only operated at 48khz. However you probably wouldn't run into this issue with a USB DAC. 

 

I actually found a guy on Gearslutz that uses one with Live but was having problems. I know Audiophile equipment isn't usually the most neutral, but that doesn't mean that there's no professional grade USB DACs out there does it?

the problem I'm having with "professional" interfaces is that they are either usually aimed at the home recording enthusiast (not exactly professional grade), the low/mid end home studios (the most "bang for buck" possible, this results in interfaces crammed with the most features possible which compromises quality) or absolutely high end studios (madly expensive and not exactly convenient for laptop musician aka rack mounted AD/DAs or monitor controllers)

 

so it's a freaking headache, no wonder most laptop producers just go straight into their built-in outputs, which I do a lot of the time because it's just convenient but when I hook up the ONE I usually have to go back and tweak a lot of stuff because I can hear a lot more than I could before

 

post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 

this one looks interesting

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/centrance-dacport

 

there's even one for sale on here for $250

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/667779/centrance-dacport

 

or new under warranty for less than $295

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CEntrance-DACport-Pro-/111045046769?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19daccf1f1

 

I'm intrigued


Edited by ohmicide - 7/12/13 at 8:51pm
post #23 of 31
Quote:

Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post

 

I need the best quality DA and AMP for my headphones and a single channel of AD with a decent mic pre and DI

 

most companies try to put the most features they can in their mid priced interfaces, like 8 ins and 6 outs with MIDI, 4 mic pres, two headphone amps coax, daisy chain support, etc.

 

all that means to me is that I'm paying $500 to use 1/5 of an interface

 

For better sound than what you've used before, plus the best drivers in the industry, get an RME device. Of course, then you'd be spending $2000 to use a fraction of the interface. ;-)

 

But it would do you forever. And would act as your A/D/A. Presuming a half-rack unit is small enough for your needs.


Edited by rparmar - 7/14/13 at 1:44pm
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmar View Post

 

For better sound than what you've used before, plus the best drivers in the industry, get an RME device. Of course, then you'd be spending $2000 to use a fraction of the interface. ;-)

 

But it would do you forever. And would act as your A/D/A. Presuming a half-rack unit is small enough for your needs.

Getting an RME seems pretty overkill for his purposes.

 

My friend has the Nuforce uDAC-2 and it sounds very good even out of the headphone output. Plus it's damn tiny. There are a lot of small affordable DAC/Amp combo options which will all probably sound pretty similar. The difference between audiophile equipment in this pricerange is always very subtle. 

post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraseyboy View Post

Getting an RME seems pretty overkill for his purposes.

 

Hence my smilie!

 

But given the long list of stuff that hasn't worked out for the OP, it might be good to knock the problem on its head with "overkill" and then forget about it forever. That's what I did. And that's what I convinced a friend to do last month.

 

Never look back.

post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rparmar View Post

 

Hence my smilie!

 

But given the long list of stuff that hasn't worked out for the OP, it might be good to knock the problem on its head with "overkill" and then forget about it forever. That's what I did. And that's what I convinced a friend to do last month.

 

Never look back.

 

that what I've usually done, then I end up with something mediocre sounding with features I never use and $500+ out of my pocket

 

there's actually a lot of talk about the DACport on Gearslutz so this might be my ticket plus a small recording interface for around $100 to $150 in case I ever need to record something and I'll be good

 

my priority is DA and headphone amp quality, I don't record guitar/bass anywhere nearly as much to justify buying something decent for it, and I don't even have a microphone anymore (sold my SM7B after sitting unused for almost a year) so buying a recording interface would be a huge waste of money if I want to get the quality I'm looking for

 

and to further justify my reasoning, here's some pictures of my set-ups back when I actually required a recording interface

 

 

that's when I had the original Duet

 

 

 

those were from when I had the Steinberg MR816 X, I originally bought it along side the ONE so I could have all my recording set up (specially for drums) but also be on the go with the ONE, I ended up never buying enough microphones to record drums since everyone just wanted modern fake sounding drum which I could just program myself, so that's when I knew it had to go

 

 

 

Duet 2, at that point I began selling all my analog synths, guitar amps, monitors etc. so it became an overkill (2x4 in/out)

 

this is why I don't want to get something that's more than exactly what I need anymore, even the ONE I have now is more than what I need 99% of the time, I've recorded guitar and bass for two tracks since buying it and plugged my guitar into my DAW to jam out just a handful of times

 

what's funny is that while I kept upgrading my recording equipment and synths, I kept making more and more money off electronic music that require less and less recording of anything


Edited by ohmicide - 7/15/13 at 2:38pm
post #27 of 31

Fair enough. I was basing my comments off the nine different A/D boxes you listed earlier.

post #28 of 31

Nice wee studio you had there. Oh god those synths are hot. Hopefully some day I'll be able to afford Moog equipment lol...

 

Imo you should keep a thing which allows for recording of 'real' instruments in case you get that urge. There's something about playing real tangible analog synths which you can't really get in software, not to mention guitar. It'd suck to make a track which just NEEDS guitar or something and not be able to record it.

post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraseyboy View Post

Nice wee studio you had there. Oh god those synths are hot. Hopefully some day I'll be able to afford Moog equipment lol...

 

Imo you should keep a thing which allows for recording of 'real' instruments in case you get that urge. There's something about playing real tangible analog synths which you can't really get in software, not to mention guitar. It'd suck to make a track which just NEEDS guitar or something and not be able to record it.

 

I already sold everything more than a year ago and I haven't looked back! I am far more efficient now

 

and the only thing analog synths can do that software can't is leave a giant hole in your pocket!

 

my software synths have paid themselves back many times over, my analog synths barely paid themselves back!

 

the stuff I make definitely doesn't require hardware synths anyways, and as much as I loved them it still didn't make sense for me to own them

post #30 of 31

Hi ohmicide,

 

I have exactly the same requirement as you, I would like to find a DAC for electronic music production. I do not need any guitar / XLR / mic I would sacrifice them for better playback quality.

 

My dream interface (I mean the I/O now) would be like http://us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-digital-music-premium-hd with ASIO support.

 

Have you managed to find something already?

 

Thanks

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