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Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

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KVRian
 
997 posts since 11 Sep, 2008, from UK

Postby sazb30; Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:36 am Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

I'm currently pondering whether it's time to upgrade my audio interface or whether to spend the money on new headphones. I've been using a desktop TC Konnekt 6 for 7 years now and I run Windows 7 64 bit on a PC

My current interface has the i/o I need. I don't need multiple ins and outs or fancy preamps since I only ever record vocals and run them through my Focusrite ISA1 preamp. I'm fairly satisfied with the quality of the vocals I record. I have a nice mic and and nice preamp and probably the interface isn't the most important link in the chain here (please correct me if I'm wrong)

I use headphones almost exclusively these days because I only do music in the evenings and my young son is asleep in the next room. If I upgraded to something like an RME or Steinberg interface would I notice a difference in the clarity of the audio I hear? That would really be the only reason I would have to upgrade, and if the difference would be subtle or minimal it's probably not worth it. My current headphones (which I've also had for a good few years) are Beyerdynamic DT990 pro's. I like them, they're seriously comfortable but there are probably better quality options for serious studio work. Maybe a more sensible investment would be a new pair of cans?

Any advice or similar experiences gratefully received!

Sarah
lfm
KVRAF
 
2618 posts since 22 Jan, 2005, from Sweden

Postby lfm; Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:16 am Re: Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

Having headphones with impedance higher than 70 ohm or so - is not getting it's full value from the headphone circuits on any audio interface really. They spend no money on that.

I would put my money on a headphone preamp to better support the headphones you already have.

I found this one as very good and affordable:
http://box-designs.com/main.php?prod=he ... er&lang=en

Handle up to 300 ohm very good.

When I feel like spending this money I would get this:
http://www.lake-people.de/index.php?id= ... 3&nr=g109p

They fix any headphone up to 600 ohm as well.
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KVRAF
 
1758 posts since 30 Oct, 2006, from Australia, NSW
 

Postby risome; Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:38 am Re: Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

2 things:
to seriously produce you need a good listening environment both speakers and headphones
to get the best from both you need a quality audio interface :-)
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KVRian
 
997 posts since 11 Sep, 2008, from UK

Postby sazb30; Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:32 am Re: Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

lfm wrote:Having headphones with impedance higher than 70 ohm or so - is not getting it's full value from the headphone circuits on any audio interface really. They spend no money on that.

I would put my money on a headphone preamp to better support the headphones you already have.

I found this one as very good and affordable:
http://box-designs.com/main.php?prod=he ... er&lang=en

Handle up to 300 ohm very good.

When I feel like spending this money I would get this:
http://www.lake-people.de/index.php?id= ... 3&nr=g109p

They fix any headphone up to 600 ohm as well.


Thanks for the reply. I mix pretty quietly anyway so I don't need any more volume. Would it make a difference to the overall clarity and definition?
KVRian
 
997 posts since 11 Sep, 2008, from UK

Postby sazb30; Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:38 am Re: Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

risome wrote:2 things:
to seriously produce you need a good listening environment both speakers and headphones
to get the best from both you need a quality audio interface :-)


Well I have to make the best of what I have really... A spare bedroom with no acoustic treatment and some old Alesis M1 monitors that I don't even get to switch on these days. Maybe there isn't much point upgrading my interface in these less than ideal circumstances!
lfm
KVRAF
 
2618 posts since 22 Jan, 2005, from Sweden

Postby lfm; Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:57 am Re: Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

sazb30 wrote:Thanks for the reply. I mix pretty quietly anyway so I don't need any more volume. Would it make a difference to the overall clarity and definition?


That is what I was aiming at - it's not just about volume. The opamps inside are cheap in interfaces.

That it has plenty headroom, levelwise and frequency rangewise, also means it's reproducing the used level with greater accuracy.

I think the biggest difference you will make is a headphone preamp of good quality.

Before I realized this - I got a set of DT880 - and I sent them back because I felt it sounded weird/crap. Later I discovered a proper preamp was needed - now got HD650, but is pretty sure DT880 would have been good too.

Since you've got an ISAOne - you have quality preamp and good mike. See to that other end is as good.
KVRian
 
997 posts since 11 Sep, 2008, from UK

Postby sazb30; Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:08 pm Re: Upgrade audio interface or headphones?

Ok cool. I hadn't considered a headphone amp but I'll look into it. Thanks!

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