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Help adding headphone application to a mic interface


Forum Donor
Apr 12, 2022

I'd love advice about adding headphone amplification to my desktop computer/mic interface/speaker setup.

I am replacing some headphones I've had for ages and never loved (Sennheiser Momentum). At first I decided to get the Austrian Hi-X60. But now I'm dithering and thinking I should get the Dan Clark Aeon 2. I don't replace gear often, and I'm still scarred by my Sennheiser 280 Pros wearing out their pads and not being able to repair them. The Aeons seem more repairable (and, coincidentally, should sound better), and they should fit my Hugh Jass head.

However, they're hard enough to drive it looks like I'll have to add amplification to my desk, and I'm struggling with how.

I largely like my mic interface (Motu M2), and Amir's review indicates it is unlikely to be able to drive the Aeon cans. I'd be fine replacing it, but... there doesn't seem to be mic interface that can. Maybe the RME Babyface Pro? (I'd love this, actually, because then my XLR cables could all go out the back, instead of the mics being in front. But I don't understand headphone amplification well enough to know if it would work.)

It's important to me that the system is easy to use and understand, because my whole family uses it at various times. I currently have labels on my Motu so people can switch between the shotgun and close-up mic, for example. I'm a little worried about how confusing it would be to have three volume knobs (speakers and headphones on the Motu, plus volume on the headphone amp).

I can't just replace the Motu with an amp, because I have two mics connected to it, and I use them both regularly.

If I add an amp, do I just plug the headphone out from the Motu into the amp input?

Do I instead put the amp inline between the Motu and the speakers? It looks like I'd need something like the Topping A90 for that, since it's their only headphone amp with balanced outputs (which I need to avoid interference on my desk) and a toggle on the front for switching between headphones and speakers (which would help others use and understand it).

Inline looks like the right answer, but I'd love feedback from anyone who's actually done something like this.

And, obviously, if someone out there is driving the Aeon 2 phones with a Babyface Pro, please let me know!

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