audio interface and headphone amp?
May 15, 2015 at 11:13 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

t103Ninja

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hi guys, ill start this thread by saying im a noob when it comes to this audio stuff and thats why im posting to get a little advice before i get wallet happy
 
my current headphones are beyerdynamic DT 770's the 80ohm version and i absolutely adore them im driving them off a creative ZX sound card wich to be fair does a decent although i cant help feeling my headphones have more to give
so i need to buy an audio interface for recording purposes and after look at alot of different options, reading reviews and whatnot i have my heart set on the focusrite scarlettt 2i2
heres a link to the specs, im not sure part applies to the headphones and even less sure what it all means: http://uk.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i2/specifications
 
so finaly onto my question, is the scarlett good enough to drive my headphones?
i wouldnt exactly say im an audiophile but i do appreciate quality and i want my beyers to perform to there maximum potential, some people have said i should get a headphone AMP to pair with the interface but again i dont really know what to buy or what will pair the interface
 
well im going to stop rambling on now any advice and or suggestions would be very much appreciated
thanks :)
 
May 15, 2015 at 12:43 PM Post #2 of 14

inthere

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Focusrite Scarlett is not a noticeable improvement over the Soundblaster. 
 
If the goal is to drive your headphones better, try a Schiit Magni.
 
May 15, 2015 at 12:48 PM Post #3 of 14

t103Ninja

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hi thanks for the reply :)
the point of the scarlett is for recording using the XLR mic inputs i was just hoping it would have a decent headphone out as a bonus
 
i had a quick look at a schiit magni and it looks pretty good, any idea how well it would drive my my 80ohm DT 770's?
i was looking at the rather small fulla that they have on there site all the other models seemed like they require mains power wich i dont really want
if i need to use an amp/dac seperate from the scarlett i want something small that i can just sit ontop of the scarlett
 
May 15, 2015 at 3:26 PM Post #4 of 14

PurpleAngel

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  Hi thanks for the reply :)
the point of the Scarlett is for recording using the XLR mic inputs i was just hoping it would have a decent headphone out as a bonus
 
I had a quick look at a Schiit Magni and it looks pretty good, any idea how well it would drive my my 80-Ohm DT 770's?
I was looking at the rather small Fulla that they have on there site all the other models seemed like they require mains power which I don't really want
if I need to use an amp/dac separate from the Scarlett i want something small that i can just sit on top of the Scarlett

 
For improving audio quality, it might be better to upgrade from the DT770, then buying a separate headphone amplifier.
 
May 15, 2015 at 5:25 PM Post #6 of 14

PurpleAngel

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  no i've tried out a few other sets of headphones and i always prefer my beyers
there closed wich is what i need and i just love the sound signature

 
Ok, so you like the DT770s.
Maybe get a tube amplifier (or hybrid) off eBay and plug it into the SB-Zx's Front Speaker jack (back panel of sound card), it should provide a better audio signal to an external amplifier, over the SB-Zx's headphone jack.
The SB-Zx can not send headphone surround sound thru the Front Speaker jack, but for music that does not matter.
Who much could you spend for an external tube headphone amplifier?
 
May 15, 2015 at 5:53 PM Post #7 of 14

t103Ninja

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Ok, so you like the DT770s.
Maybe get a tube amplifier (or hybrid) off eBay and plug it into the SB-Zx's Front Speaker jack (back panel of sound card), it should provide a better audio signal to an external amplifier, over the SB-Zx's headphone jack.
The SB-Zx can not send headphone surround sound thru the Front Speaker jack, but for music that does not matter.
Who much could you spend for an external tube headphone amplifier?

arent tube amps supposed to be pretty warm sounding? the beyers are already sound pretty warm to start off with i want to avoid coloring the sound to much if possible im just looking to get the most out of my headphones
i set aside a little budget for upgrading my audio and recording gear so with the scarlett and the new mic that i want that leaves £200 left in the budget
 
personaly i was thinking of something small that will just run off USB power and sit nicely right on top of the scarlett and totaly replace the need to have an internat soundcard with that in mind the audioengine D1 seems to be pretty good not sure how powerful the headphone amp is though but it does have the added benefit of being able to hook up speakers aswell
i was also looking at the fiio olympus 2-e10k wich is cheaper but seems to have plenty of good reviews
 
and as far as surround sound goes i dont care about it all i dont even use it when gaming
 
May 15, 2015 at 6:30 PM Post #9 of 14

PurpleAngel

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  Aren't tube amps supposed to be pretty warm sounding? the Beyers are already sound pretty warm to start off with i want to avoid coloring the sound to much if possible I'm just looking to get the most out of my headphones
i set aside a little budget for upgrading my audio and recording gear so with the Scarlett and the new mic that i want that leaves £200 left in the budget
 
Personally i was thinking of something small that will just run off USB power and sit nicely right on top of the Scarlett and totally replace the need to have an internal sound card with that in mind the Audioengine D1 seems to be pretty good not sure how powerful the headphone amp is though but it does have the added benefit of being able to hook up speakers as well
i was also looking at the FiiO Olympus 2-e10k which is cheaper but seems to have plenty of good reviews
 
and as far as surround sound goes I don't care about it all i don't even use it when gaming

Have you tried plugging the DT770 straight into the SB-Zx (not using the ACM module)?
 
I can't see (guessing) the FiiO E10K or Audioengine D1 making a noticeable improvement over the SB-Zx (if any improvement at all).
At least with a tube (or Hybrid) I think you have a better chance of making improvements (for a given price).
Beyer DT770/DT880/DT990 seem to respond well to tube amps.
 
But as you looking to replace the SB-Zx,  I'll try figuring of something?
 
A USB DAC (USB-DAC-Amp) for the DT770 and the Scarlett for everything else.
 
May 15, 2015 at 6:39 PM Post #10 of 14

t103Ninja

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  Have you tried plugging the DT770 straight into the SB-Zx (not using the ACM module)?
 
I can't see (guessing) the FiiO E10K or Audioengine D1 making a noticeable improvement over the SB-Zx (if any improvement at all).
At least with a tube (or Hybrid) I think you have a better chance of making improvements (for a given price).
Beyer DT770/DT880/DT990 seem to respond well to tube amps.
 
But as you looking to replace the SB-Zx,  I'll try figuring of something?
 
A USB DAC (USB-DAC-Amp) for the DT770 and the Scarlett for everything else.

yeah i tested it quite alot plugging directly into the card and into the ACM didnt really notice much of a difference if any so i just stuck to using the ACM because i like having the volume knob to hand
 
im open to any suggestions you can make tube or otherwise but yeah i want something to replace the ZX, speaker input like the D1 would also be nice aswell but not totaly essential because i havnt bought any speakers yet and im 100% sure if im even going to
 
May 15, 2015 at 6:56 PM Post #11 of 14

PurpleAngel

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  Yeah i tested it quite a lot plugging directly into the card and into the ACM didn't really notice much of a difference if any so i just stuck to using the ACM because having the volume knob
 
I'm open to any suggestions you can make tube or otherwise but yeah i want something to replace the Zx, speaker input like the D1 would also be nice as well but not totally essential because I havn't bought any speakers yet and I'm 100% sure if I'm even going to

 
Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio, in the BIOS, before installing the SB-Zx and Creative software?
 
Anyway, maybe a Audio Interface with two separate (stereo) line-outputs?
One line-output for a external headphone amplifier and the other line-output to speakers?
 
When looking for speakers, check out the website AVforum, they are located in the UK and should be able to point out the best deals, on speakers.
 
May 15, 2015 at 7:18 PM Post #12 of 14

inthere

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If the goal is recording and possibly mixing, then go with the Scarlett. If you plan on mixing in headphones, that introduces another set of problems. Use as many different sources as you can (possibly car radio, smartphone, etc.) Because bass is very tricky in headphones.  
 
Also remember that audiophile neutral is different from professional neutral. Gear designed to impress audiophiles universally boost the treble to give a better soundstage. Be careful to compensate for the added treble or you'll wind up with very muddy mixes (I've seen it happen dozens of times)
 
A headphone amp is also a burden because you want as little as possible in your monitoring path. 
 
May 15, 2015 at 7:19 PM Post #13 of 14

t103Ninja

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Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio, in the BIOS, before installing the SB-Zx and Creative software?
 
Anyway, maybe a Audio Interface with two separate (stereo) line-outputs?
One line-output for a external headphone amplifier and the other line-output to speakers?
 
When looking for speakers, check out the website AVforum, they are located in the UK and should be able to point out the best deals, on speakers.

i installed the sound card into my new PC build and i did make sure to disable on board audio i also never installed the on board audio drivers
 
not sure what you mean by two separate line outputs like i said in the original post im a noob when it comes to this audio stuff lol
i assume you mean a beefier interface than the scarlett and a dedicated headphone amp? that could work i suppose thing is though i really like the scarlett i got to chance to actualy test it out with my current microphone and the XLR broadcast headset im going to buy and it sounded great with both and its small and simple only needing USB to recieve power
 
i have a very small desk and a rats nest of power cables so if possible i think id rather get the scarlett and a small  USB amp/dac
 
May 15, 2015 at 7:21 PM Post #14 of 14

t103Ninja

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  If the goal is recording and possibly mixing, then go with the Scarlett. If you plan on mixing in headphones, that introduces another set of problems. Use as many different sources as you can (possibly car radio, smartphone, etc.) Because bass is very tricky in headphones.  
 
Also remember that audiophile neutral is different from professional neutral. Gear designed to impress audiophiles universally boost the treble to give a better soundstage. Be careful to compensate for the added treble or you'll wind up with very muddy mixes (I've seen it happen dozens of times)
 
A headphone amp is also a burden because you want as little as possible in your monitoring path. 

hi thanks for the reply :)
i wont be doing any doing music recording or mixing the scarlett will be used with microphone for simple voice overs
 
my main concern is the quality of my audio for music, games, movies and whatnot
 

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