DJ Audio Interfaces vs. audiophile DACs
Feb 13, 2011 at 1:40 PM Post #16 of 40
But keep in mind that DJ audio interfaces still have good dynamic range, just that it's not a high priority, which doesn't mean it was something not cared about when developing the interface.
From what I've read somewhere around here, it seems that Audio 2 DJ DAC is quite detailed and punchy, which does match what I felt about it. Still, I do prefer running it amped, my XD-53 do sound sweeter and fuller. It still sounds good unamped, but since I have an amp then I'll use it.
Feb 14, 2011 at 6:55 AM Post #17 of 40

Apples to oranges? Something that costs little more than 100$ is bound to be inferior to something that cost almost 1000$.
For the price, DJ audio interfaces (not Pro Audio) are quite capable and with a great price/performance ratio.

Oh I'm all for comparing things fairly. Thats why the real comparison in my post was the NI Audio 4 DJ (no longer a current model was over 200 from memory) against the Audio-GD FUN (345). Which yes - is more expensive, but not too far off price wise.
In comparing it to my NFB10ES, I mentioned the price and said the result was expected. It was more a random mention than anything... considering NI gear is aimed for PA stuff and many DJ's gig and club with their DJ interfaces, and my little DAC/preamp totally dominates it.
You've said these DJ interfaces provide an excellent price to performance ratio... Well in comparison to what (low end) audiophile DAC's? This would give your claims some grounding mate.
Feb 14, 2011 at 7:00 AM Post #18 of 40
There you go, you're claiming it's low end, and that's about it. You have your point of view and I have mine. I certainly don't think that because a DAC is less expensive, it is underperforming. But that's just me without making assumptions.
Again, read the thread from the start, things were already posted.
Feb 14, 2011 at 7:07 AM Post #19 of 40
Calling a ~$200 DAC "low end audiophile", is right on in my books, but to each their own for sure.
That's about it? You didn't answer my question at all (in the last paragraph of my previous post). While I read all the posts in this thread, maybe you should read the thread title.
I'm probably going to stop posting in this thread as I'm a passive guy. Peace.
Feb 14, 2011 at 7:12 AM Post #20 of 40
I wrote and named a few interfaces in comparison, which Audio 2 DJ is better, even if only marginally. I didn't compare to audiophile DACs, nor did I claim something to be higher on the audio ladder.
But you probably know better.
Have fun.
Feb 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM Post #21 of 40
So do you recommend a 100 buck DJ audio interface or audiophile DAC regarding to the soundquality?

Neither. I'd recommend an audio interface designed for use with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
Ableton Live. Sonar, Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic - these are genuine pro applications. We have all bought music created and/or recorded using this software. Artists and Engineers will demand the highest standards for their own work in the studio. Plus this gear has to go on the road. So it needs to be reliable and hard wearing. If your interface screws up mid set or session you are not going to be happy. At all. 
Look at it this way. What's the point in owning a DAC which is 'better' than the one used by the guy who recorded the sample in the first place?
It has never been cheaper to design and manufacture consumer electronics. It's the software that costs the big money to develope, maintain and, ultimately, purchase. So it makes sense for manufacturers to break the old semi cartel quality: price point structure. They get to sell a lot more $1,000+ software suites for which users will expect to pay for an upgrade every year or so.
So if you have followed the arguement so far and agree with the conclusion the remaining question is how little do you have to spend and still get pro quality - not simply sound quality, that's a given, but also reliability, driver stability, user support etc etc?
Among the brand names that regularly pop up RME, Apogee & DigiDesign all have devices suitable for domestic use which cost ~$500. $1,000 will get you state of the art top of the range gear. Focusrite, Presonus, TC-Electronic even E-MU all have excellent reputations and are generally even less expensive.
ed: spl :frowning2:
Feb 14, 2011 at 1:12 PM Post #22 of 40
Comparing a cheap DJ interface to a nice DAC is indeed apples and oranges.
Having consulted on products for both the recording industry as well as audiophile companies for the past decade, I can tell you there is a difference to how they approach designing a product. Recording products, especially in the sub $300 price range, are largely about cost-reduction and advertise that they can "provide every bell and whistle for under $299". Audiophile brands generally take the approach of sound quality first and the price tag reflects this.
Good studios and good engineers do not use these cheap interfaces and usually spend thousands on high quality A/D and D/A conversion.
Apr 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM Post #23 of 40
Well, all some people can afford are very squeamish un-amazing things like these. When you got yourself some good apples, look on the bright side, things ain't so bad.
In reply to the original thread questioning the NI Audio 2 DJ's SQ, heck I say it ain't bad, given that its all the lot of about 80-100$ nowadays. (again, no comparison with on-board chip-sets)
In my own opinion the sound is somewhat 'dry' always, with chips and the sort, and could easily go amped for larger headphones.
For what it was designed for anyways, it is quite good. Sturdy as heck! Drivers FTW well-made and are fully-supported by all audio creation platforms/mixing softwares.
Might I add that it is about the size of a deck of cards... so a big win for portability here, very light too, and has 2 X 1/4" outputs!
Nov 23, 2013 at 8:30 AM Post #24 of 40
As has been said before, the DJ interfaces are built for headroom and stability. I've been doing a split between my Audio 2 DJ, Roland UA 1ex and Fiio e10. All of these are about $80-$100, but with different use cases, so I thought it might be interesting.
Source material: The Cinematic Orchestra - Every Day ~ flac
Headphones: Shure SE215, Sennheiser HD212 Pro and Sennheiser HD25
The Audio 2 DJ is dry as a bone, but with gobs of volume. It's no fun to listen to at all, lacks character and I feel it sucked the life right out of the recording, especially on the SE215's.
The Roland is fast and responsive and dead flat, pretty much what I'd expect since I use it as a studio sound card. Black as night on this though, very nice. Will also get tiring to listen to after a while, since it doesn't do the source any favours. Sounded better on the 212s, since they are predisposed to add loads of bottom end.
Fiio E10 is the most pleasant to listen to of the three. It's more flattering to the sound, but doesn't color it too much. My favourite for actually listening, sounded good on all three, but the best on the HD25s, with the 215s a fraction behind (the pesky bump at 4k made them unbearable at high volumes for long periods)
So, you could use a DJ soundcard or a studio soundcard to listen to your music, but the question is rather if you would want to. IMO it's better to get something built for the job
Nov 26, 2013 at 7:16 AM Post #25 of 40
With all due respect mate I suspect your thumbnail opinions above tell us more about what's going on inside your own head rather than the machines being  reviewed.
I have a NI Audio 2. I know it's clean and transparent because I can directly compare it to my MOTU Ultralite. I know my MOTU Ultralite is clean and transparent because I can loop the output back into an input up to 5 times and compare the results. So can you because someone else has done all the hard work for us.
Follow this link.
See if you can hear the difference between the direct signal, the first pass, the second, third etc etc......
I'm not saying you absolutely cannot hear a difference. It's simply that your claim is so far removed from my own direct experience that some supporting evidence would help. Perhaps you are exceptional in some way. Or alternatively maybe you are hearing what your subconscious biases lead you to want to believe.
Dec 10, 2013 at 7:34 PM Post #26 of 40
Hello people,
First post, long time lurker (back to the PPA days).
I also have a Traktor Audio 2.  (Two of them actually and a self-built Mini3).
Firstly, I haven't heard many DAC's and can't offer more than a mere observation.  It's important to Native Instruments to make quality audio equipment especially with competition being a big factor.
Gone are the days of using a turntable in a club, with poor quality analog mixing consoles. Just about everything DJ today is computer-based audio production. Some still use Pioneer CDJ's and refuse to give in to computer DJing. 
I hate to have to mention this, but NO, I do not work for Native Instruments GmbH. I like my Audio 2. Has a nice sound, plenty of output for most headphones, and dead quiet turned up all the way.  But I love my Mini3. I'm currently looking at the latest FiiO E12 Mont Blanc. Love the portability and high power lithium-ion battery.
A lot goes into that Audio 2. The specs seem pretty impressive, The components used are of very good quality. They have to be.
I'll post them just so everyone can see from the Native Instruments Site. Perhaps someone can chime in and explain if indeed these are good specifications.

• Two high-gain stereo outputs
• Cirrus Logic 24-bit/96-kHz AD/DA converters
• Mac and PC drivers



Audio Converters (Inputs A/D) 
Channels (A/D, D/A)0, 4
Sample Rates44.1, 48 kHz
Bit Resolution24-bit
Line Outputs 
Maximum Output Level+11.7 dBu
Dynamic Range (A weighted)103 dB
THD+N (Max. Level)0.004 %
Frequency Response, +/-1.4 dB20 Hz - 20 kHz
Cross Talk @ 1 kHz to next channel-105 dB
Headphone Output 
Load Impedance28 Ohms - 600 Ohms
Maximum Output Level+5 dBu @ 32 Ohms
Dynamic Range (A weighted)102 dB
THD+N (Max. Level, high Imp, 100 Ohms)0.004 %
Frequency Response, +/-1.4 dB20 Hz - 20 kHz
Dec 19, 2013 at 5:30 PM Post #27 of 40
I have the Audio 2 from Native Instruments. I did a blind test using my Beyerdynamic T1, comparing it to my 800$ Ibasso DX100 (specs: and my fully balanced Buffalo 3 DAC (specs: which cost me around 1000$ to build and which should rival the 4000$ Weiss DAC202 (specs: and similar.
Now I considered myself an Audiophile and have always been willing to shovel truckloads of money to get to audio nirvana. But I've been very disappointed to discover there is no audible difference between these DAC's. Just no difference. If the DAC works well and doesn't add any jitter or distortion, they all sound the same. If the amp has a low enough output impedance and enough watts to drive the headphone and doesn't add any distortion, they all pretty much sound the same. Of course it's important there is no humm or buzz from the power source, but that shouldn't be too expensive to get that sorted out. So my advice: stay away from the foo and snake-oil, just get gear that has the right specs for your equipment, a good internal infra-structure and all the user controls you need. This stuff really shouldn't be that expensive, really. Take a look at the Fiio E12, or the O2 (
Really, bias is a bitch. I was so much hoping my expensive ibasso DX100 would blow the Audio 2 away, but I just couldn't hear any difference. I listened to all kinds of music with lots of dynamic range, but they are indistinguishable. Same with the ESS Sabre Buffalo 3. It kills me to have to admit this, but I wasted 3000$ on DAC's. Please, try for yourself, test your bias, there is a lot of bullsh out there.
Same goes for these darned silver and gold plated cables, I'm sorry, but there's no real documented ABX that supports these claims, just try for yourself.
The only thing I do agree to is: get the best headphones and the best speakers you can get. They make a difference.
Dec 20, 2013 at 4:17 AM Post #28 of 40
Hey guys i just joined up hoping to get some advice on things.. i just bought a Aune t1 and currently have He400's but am now in the market for an audio interface and quality monitors.
Im wondering if i should replace the Aune and get a better dac i can use the monitors with aswell and also whether running the pc>audio interface>dac/amp is possible and worth it ?
Thanks for any advice.
Feb 27, 2014 at 7:43 AM Post #29 of 40
For a DJ AI: as has been notes stability is essential. The other key ingredient is low latency. This also makes DJs wary of buying some higher quality DACs as latency above 10ms (including computer processing) is probably unacceptable.
May 18, 2014 at 1:25 AM Post #30 of 40
Anyone ever used one of these as a headphone amp?….
I have a $200 gift certificate I need to use, and the only equipment I need right now is something I can use as a headphone amp for my HD650.  If you can find any other recommendations on that site for under $200 I am all ears.  I just need 24/96, USB connectivity, & enough juice to power my headphones.  

Users who are viewing this thread