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Great advice ...couldn't of said it any better myself
looks like the Audient ID4 is a contender now too in this price range:
^ Nice to know, the budget prosumer market has been pretty dead for a long time. Doesn't say much good about it that I have started hoarding E-MU interfaces instead of getting new cheaper stuff....
I have the Solo 2nd gen and can say it definitely works great as a DAC. I use it to test my Pocket Class A heaadamps, and also as a source to listen. I can measure self noise on my amps down to -126dB with the Solo 2G so itself is very quiet. If you hook it up to a laptop and unplug from 60Hz, any small trace of 60Hz bump on the measurements will disappear. I have run it up to 24bit/384kHz out and works very well. Also excellent as ADC recording device with nice built in preamps with adjustable gain (via hard knob) with signal present and clip indicators built into the knob bezel. For $99, you will be hard pressed to find something that feels this well put together (very rugged and well made) and sounds this good. For high impedance cans above 60ohms, I agree you need an amp. Here I am using my own class A single ended portable amps. Here is a photo of the Scarlett Solo 2G being used with an AB tester box to test amps for QC before they are shipped. In short though, it works as a great DAC.
hey guys, I've been trying to get my PC upgraded for a while now and just a couple weeks ago got an Asus Xonar DX and a Bravo Ocean headphone amp which then goes out to my JBL powered LSR305's. I think the combo is nice and the Xonar was a def step up to the onboard sound.
So over the past week or so, I also feel like I'd like to get back into guitar and maybe some minimal recording via DAW software. I was trying to figure out how use both a USB audio interface like the Focusrite for the guitar and bass and then still have the sound output to via my Xonar and the monitors.
Well I read that Windows (or maybe it was the DAW software) can only handle 1 audio device so someone suggested why not run everything through the Focusrite Scarlett? At first I didn't want to do this, cause I had spent so much time researching and literally JUST got the Xonar. But after reading this thread, it does sound like the Scarlett will sound at least as good as the Xonar for my music listening (which I do all day at my desk while at work).
Do a test about how the xonar and the scarlett play music on your system.
As the scarlett is USB powered try to make sure you are providing as clean usb power as possible. Better to use a USB 3 port and maybe a usb 3 hub.
I have the Scarlett 18i20 for multitrack recording purposes, but it also works pretty much fine as a headphone amp.
As for driving high-impedance headphones, I don't have such headphones so I can't test it. I would LOVE to have a high impedance headphone to have a great listening experience.
But according to Focusrite Help Center article, it says
So my Scarlett 18i20 fits the description of powering headphones with 250ohms and higher, as it's AC powered.
As for the sample rate and bitrate, it can support up to 192kHz 24bit in and out. It can be set in any DAW (digital audio workstation), but not sure in audio players such as Foobar2000 (although sample rate can be adjusted to 96kHz using built-in resampler while up to 192kHz using resampler SoX).
As for output controls, mine has monitor volume knob as well as 2 headphone volume knobs. All 3 knobs can be controlled independently so you can take a listen to any of 3 outputs without the need for switching (in my ASUS Xonar Essence STX, I can only switch between speaker/headphone/FP headphone).