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RME Babyface Pro good for 600 ohm headphones?

  1. beyermann
    Will this unit be able to drive my headphone with clear quality? I don't need super high volumes, not looking forward to be deaf in the future. I just want a clear sound for production.

    This one looked good and I was told has cristal clear sound, and has enough i/o for my monitors and to plug a couple toys. But will it perform well with 600 ohm headphones?
  2. beyermann
    dead forum :triportsad:
  3. Kamurah
    I have the Babyface Pro...however, I am currently only running it with ATH-M50's at the moment so I cannot give you an indication of how it would pair with a 600 ohm set. That being said, the converters are fantastic, and it drives the M50 to deafening levels (I usually keep volume no higher than 40-50%).

    It also has a second headphone out for IEMs, which I have used with Shure se215's and it sounds good there as well.

    It is a fantastic unit, but I am looking for a supplemental headphone amp myself for purely music-enjoyment purposes. I would and have wholeheartedly recommended the BF Pro to anyone who needs that feature set (AD AND DA, Mic Pre's, fantastic conversion, and super-low latency with rock-solid stability).

    RME is a stellar company well regarded in the pro music circles; however, despite having released their amazing ADI-2 DAC which looks like it was geared for headphone use, they do not seem to be talked about much in these parts. You may want to pose your question on Gearslutz....it is possible someone there has used the unit with high impedance cans.

    Best of luck
  4. beyermann

    Thanks, im looking for a headphone pre amp too, so I could just keep using my current interface for monitors but I think doesn't have enough inputs:


    Can I connect a praemp in there? I suspect I lack inputs
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  5. Kamurah
    So...that looks like an old NI Audio Kontrol 1....

    You could theoretically hook monitors AND a separate headphone amp to the four outputs on the back (1/2 for monitors, 3/4 for headphone amp)...or you could do a TRS to breakout (RCA for example) from the headphone amp on the front out to another headphone amp.

    But I have to be honest....

    That interface is a little long in the tooth (circa 2007 ish)...and you will not get anywhere NEAR the quality of a newer A/D - D/A design. I had a NI Komplete Audio interface a few years back....quality of the RME is night and day in comparison.

    If you are doing recording (which it looks like you may be)....you should really look at the Babyface Pro as an option.

    Even if you find it cannot drive your headphones, you can always use line outs to a separate unit. If you consider something like the Schitt Jotunheim, you could go completely balanced into and out of the unit, and also be able to control your monitors. Now, we are talking over 1000 USD for that setup...but it just depends on what you need and what your budget will allow. You could go cheaper with something like an Audient iD-14 and the JOT which will give you a similar capability including balanced outputs (but does not have the latency performance of the RME) and the entire setup would come in around 700 USD.
  6. beyermann

    No, im not going to record or play any instruments, I only work with software VSTs and build all of my music with basically keyboard and mouse, so I don't see myself being in need of any of that anytime soon. I just want the best sound as possible to take the best mixing decissions as possible.

    So basically, the inputs from the headphone pre amp, go into outputs of the USB interface? I thought they went into inputs too... well in that case, yes, I could use 3/4 outputs which I always found useless in there. This could save my ass, because notice that I said my headphone jack on the USB interface is broken, has been broken for a long time, it makes weird cracking noises and I have to wiggle the cable and press the A/B source switch plastic button around until it finds a good spot and sounds ok. I need to put an end to this missery. If I invest into a solid pre amp now, it is a long term investment as I can keep using it in future interfaces, and I was told that something like a Schifft Asgard 2 or Lake People g103-p will kick ass any headphone amps built in interfaces, so I think it's a good idea. Even if I get serious and end up buying an RME UCX in the future I would still use my pre amp for better headphone performance as mixing with headphones is an important part for me. Until then I can keep surviving off my old interface + the pre amp and keep figuring out if I want to get more serious about in the future.

    My question now is: if I buy a say, Lake People g103p because it has balanced inputs unlike Schiit which have unbalanced for some reason (I dont think this has much impact in sound quality... but I already have 2 spare TRS to XLR cables so I wouldn't need to buy RCA to TRS cables) then let's say I plug them into 3/4 outputs of the AK1. I can't seem to get my head around how the volume would be controlled.

    If I move the headphone pre amp knob, the volume of my monitors plugged into the AK1's 1/2 outputs will change too? or it remains separated? because it would be annoying if they don't.
  7. Kamurah
    Sorry...I've never worked with that interface directly...so I don't know if I can help you. But it looks like you can select on the top of the unit which output the big knob controls. You would at that point just click it over to output 3/4 which would be going out to your headphone amp, then use the big knob on top to control the signal going into the amp.

    Does that seem like it makes sense?
  8. Kamurah
    NI should have a manual on their site (if you have lost yours) and you can check this functionality
  9. beyermann
    Im not sure the big knob can do that, you can link the big knob to any CC parameters and other things but volumes are controlled with the front panel. Why bother tho? I could use the 3/4 output knob?

    Im just not sure if the pre amp must be connected in outputs or inputs? also if I move the pre amp knob, it will also have an impact on monitor volume on 1/2 and anything plugged on the Ak1? that is why you suggested to control the headphone volume with the ak1 itself I guess, and leave the actual pre amp knob at a safe level.
  10. Kamurah
    Ok sorry, like I said, I have never used that unit and did not know what the knob on top was for. I realize upon looking at the pics again there are dedicated output knobs for outputs 1/2 and 3/4.

    So....I think maybe you might be confused over the term 'preamp' and how it applies in this situation. In an audio interface, the 'preamp' specifically and almost always applies to the microphone or instrument preamp. It is for INPUT only and is used to amplify microphone or instrument-level signals to the point where they become loud enough signals that can be passed INTO the computer for recording. Preamp volume knob only controls the amount INPUT amplification applied to the signal from mic / instrument / line...not the output signal. Output signal would be controlled by volume knobs labelled Output 1/2 and Output 3/4. It is further complicate by the fact that the AK-1 accepts Mic, Instrument, and Line-level signals from the front input jacks (Mic / Line level from the XLR combo, instrument level from the 1/4" TRS on the right).

    The reason there are VOLUME controls on the outputs, is that in a studio situation, most speakers / monitors are individually self powered, and therefore set at a chosen amplification level. The output volume knobs allow you to control the volume in the room without having to change the settings on each of your monitors which is cumbersome.

    Each of these signals (microphone, instrument, line) is different in volume and may or may not need a degree of 'preamplification' before hitting the A/D converters to obtain optimal signal to noise for the converter chips.
    Here is a short article explaining:

    Here in headphone-land, they use the term 'preamp' differently, and I have even seen it interchanged with the word 'amplifier' when describing a headphone amp...or it could mean a lower-powered amplifier placed before the main amplifier (most often when using a turntable).

    However, I believe In your case the signal chain should go like this: computer > USB cable > Audio interface. From the interface: 1/2 output > speakers. 3/4 output > Headphone amp inputs > headphone amp output jack > headphones.

    If this is unclear I apologize...let me know if this makes sense.
  11. beyermann
    So basically, that is what I was saying originally? here is a ****ty mspaint sketch:


    If im not mistaken that is how the situation would look like. I would then set the Lake People volume knob at a decent amount, but safe so even if the 3/4 knob on the AK1 is set at maximun, it wouldn't be defeaning levels, this way I can self control to not go nuts with the volume, then I would just use the 3/4 knob to adjust the volume. Please let me know. Also related to this thread, this worries me now:

  12. PaganDL
    Hi Beyermann,

    In answer to your overall question, RME Babyface Pro will be more than able to run 600 ohm headphones as the output impedence on the Babyface Pro is ridiculously low, though more out of curiosity, I ask why?
    Honestly, if you're worried about audio levels, I would suggest not using 600 ohm headphones without a good dedicated headamp which can reach good safe levels (less than 60 db for standard 8 hours or more) without distortion & clipping.
    Also, it is important to remember good source quality is important so if you're after a good interface which are cheaper but still more than good though perhaps not Babyface Pro quality would be as follows in no particular order :

    Focusrite Scarlett Series
    Lexicon Alpha (I have been using this for almost 20 years & it is still going strong & built like a tank), audio levels are set for the halfway mark though my PC is generally set at 100 % which allows me to put the audio levels at very low levels which are my preference, usually less than 20 db, this goes for speakers, headphones & IEMs.

    If you are concerned about outputs & inputs in your setup, I suggest something like a monitor controller, like the Drawmer MC 2.1 which is my main sound hub from the Lexicon Alpha, the volume dial on the MC 2.1 is never above 9 o'clock position which makes it plenty loud.
    From the headout on the Lexicon Alpha, I have a good splitter where I alternate between my two main head amps, RNHP & CTH with a spare output for any portable head amps. These used to be connected to my monitor controller but I have three speakers connected to the outputs.
    Perhaps on the ridiculous side, I also have the Presonus HP4 connected from one output which is not only my secondary headamp but acts as a pass through so I can run passive speakers its own amp as the MC 2.1 is only for active speakers.

    Hope this is useful.

    Let me know how you go.
  13. Kamurah
    Yes you are correct. Except I would set the gain on the AK at a fixed level, and control volume with the headphone amp. Good luck!
  14. beyermann
  15. Kamurah
    Ok...well when Zeos says one set of headphones will 'literally explode into flames' he does not mean literally. It is just the way he talks....which can be amusing as long as you go into it with a sense of humor. Ok....flames.....maybe others have...but I have never personally seen headphones burst into flames. Ideally you would drive two headphones of the same or similar impedance from those outputs, as they are identical. Also, since there are jumper positions for each output, you could assign one output to a gain setting designed for low impedance, and the other to high impedance cans and be fine. His point is that there is no front panel separate control for each output.

    I would not worry about the quality of the Lake People unit. Lake people / Violectric have been around for a while. Well regarded in the pro audio market.
    PaganDL likes this.

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