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How to connect headphone-amplifier to my soundcard

max1602

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I am having trouble with the following issue.

I hope it hasn't been discussed tooooo often here.
I couldn't find anything here, that helped me.

I have a Steinberg-UR22 Audio-Interface. (Is it an underground-resistance Interface???^^)
I’m seeking to add a headphone-amplifier towards it, because the output of the built-in amp is not suited for my akg-702.

Now I bought a pro-ject gearbox. But I am not quite sure on how to connect it the „right“ way…

I initially connected it to the output of the headphone-amp of the ur22. But it didn’t sound very good.

Then I connected it to the line-outputs of the ur22 on the back. Suddenly it sounded wayyyy better. I guess it’s because the headphone-amp of the ur22 gets bypassed that way.

But now I can only listen to my headphones and not my speakers. Then I connected my speakers to the pass-through of the gearbox.
Now I am only able to listen to my speakers and my headphones at the same time…

What is a good way for me to get the following:

1. Listen to speakers solo
2. Listen to headphones solo
3. Good quality-output on the headphones. (I don’t need fancy output. Just something nice to mix, watch movies and listen to some music.)

Thanks for your replies.
 

DVDdoug

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Maybe you want an audio switch box or a little mixer.

The "traditional solution" is a preamp (which is more of a "control center" than a preamp) or a receiver. But preamps have become an expensive specialty item, and if you want a receiver with preamp outputs, those also tend to be expensive. (And both are usually "bulky".)

...I've got a standard home theater setup and I don't own a separate DAC or headphone amp.

because the output of the built-in amp is not suited for my akg-702.
What's wrong? Background noise? Doesn't go loud enough? That should be the only issues... Unless you overdrive an amplifier into distortion, frequency response and distortion are usually better than human hearing and noise is only thing to worry about (with electronics).

Now I bought a pro-ject gearbox. But I am not quite sure on how to connect it the „right“ way…
I don't know what that is.

I initially connected it to the output of the headphone-amp of the ur22. But it didn’t sound very good.

Then I connected it to the line-outputs of the ur22 on the back. Suddenly it sounded wayyyy better. I guess it’s because the headphone-amp of the ur22 gets bypassed that way.
I'm surprised there's a quality difference, but do whatever sounds best. ;) The headphone output is an additional active analog stage which will always add SOME noise but it's also got a volume control and turning it down should reduce the noise from the prior stage(s) and it can be a trade-off.

...If there is a volume difference, it's easy to fool yourself into thinking there is a quality difference.
 
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max1602

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Thank you for your reply, which is very detailed.
:)



Maybe you want an audio switch box or a little mixer.
I don't want to add another audio-product. If I have to tough I add a hp-preamp...

I ideally want only to work with an interface in order to make high-quality recordings of drum-machines and synthesizers.
But also I want to watch movies, produce and mix music electronic with akg702 headphones and 2x hs8 yamaha speakers. I like to listen to listen to classical music through headphones and my mentioned active speakers.
I want to try to sell analogue drum-machine samples online and make a collection for myself.

I use a windows surface pro 5 as my production pc.

So a solidly varied list of demands. (But I guess it's not uncommonly so...)

Now I bought a pro-ject gearbox. But I am not quite sure on how to connect it the „right“ way…
I meant a pro-ject head box s2. Autocorrect messed my writing... It's a headphone amplifier.

What's wrong? Background noise? Doesn't go loud enough? That should be the only issues... Unless you overdrive an amplifier into distortion, frequency response and distortion are usually better than human hearing and noise is only thing to worry about (with electronics).
Through my steinberg ur22 the headphone output sounds much less powerful and punchy than through the pro-ject headbox. But through the hp-output of my steinberg ur22 it sounds cleaner somehow.
I have no problem with volume. It seems low current is not only a volume issue but also about the punch, one feels when listening to music through headphones, with enough current going through.

I know, I am not articulating myself well here. I am a beginner in the fields of headphones.

Then I connected it to the line-outputs of the ur22 on the back. Suddenly it sounded wayyyy better. I guess it’s because the headphone-amp of the ur22 gets bypassed that way.
I guess the signal coming out of my ur22 on the line-outputs is cleaner because the internal hp-pre if the steinberg-interface is bypassed that way.

I'm surprised there's a quality difference, but do whatever sounds best. ;) The headphone output is an additional active analog stage which will always add SOME noise but it's also got a volume control and turning it down should reduce the noise from the prior stage(s) and it can be a trade-off.
Noise is not an issue I have.


I have the following options in mind for good recordings and headphone output. :)
Maybe someone can help me make a good purchasing decision:

  1. Used arturia-audiofuse-rev2 for 350,00 € (Good pres, nice plugins, but I am not sure about the longevity of their products) I hope the headphone amp would be good upstep from audiofuse 1which I will refer to...
  2. RME Babyface pro fs --> used for 650,00 € (Good pres, seems to have good headphone output)
  3. RME Babyface first generation used for 250,00€ + topping l30II for another 150,00 € + cables = 430,00€ (good pres, but more clutter...)
  4. UAD Apollo Solo USB (Nice uad plugin suite. I could need a 1176 emulation. Unison sounds nice. But I think a babyface recording beats uad in clarity. So I think, one is able to make better results with a babyface + plugins than apollo solo. But I have to confess, I am tempted because I have no outboard hardware, so a digital collection that is somewhat accurate would be a nice touch. Especially to process some drum-machine samples.) :cool:
  5. I thought I could just buy an audiofuse 1 for my headphone needs and get some "free" re-201 delay plugin on the way. I bought it. I tried it now. I am underwhelmed by the signal it gives out. The headphone output sounds muffled. Worse than my steinberg ur22... So I will for 90% sure send that one back. I wanted to buy the audiofuse 1 and a used babyface. But I don't consider this option anymore.. Does anyone here know, if the hp-pre on the audiofuse is significantly better than on the mini?
So girls and guys. Here it is. Maybe someone has similar problems / experiences...

Thanks for reading.
 
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max1602

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So now I have even more questions arising in my head. I do not know if this is the right sub for it, or over in the interface sub.

Please notify me, if i should write somewhere else... Thank you

  1. If the headphone output on julian krauses table shows, that the minifuse 1 has sufficient output for 300ohm headphones. Why is it possible, that i feel like my akg 702 sound better on the hp-pre of my steinberg ur22 than the minifuse1? I feel like the steinberg is clearer and has a better portrayal of transients / faster in a way... (Maybe I do not understand how this forum works. Do you even intend on answering such subjective findings? Or only on a portrayal of data? How should I come up with data about the portrayal of transients in the steinberg ur22 and the minifuse 1?
  2. Am I hurting anyone or diminishing my question by "confessing" that I want to sell samples online?
  3. How can I for sure KNOW, that a headphone is driven to its best capabilities?
  4. What is the recommended way by you people in general, or here in the forum in general for the following issue:
    I want to for example maybe get a lake people g103 s as a nice german headphone amplifier.
    I want to connect it to my steinberg ur22. Will I get improved sound if I connect the headphones to the line outputs, with the extra hassle involved? Or will i be fine connecting the g103 to the hp-amp of the ur22?
 
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Roland68

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I am having trouble with the following issue.

I hope it hasn't been discussed tooooo often here.
I couldn't find anything here, that helped me.

I have a Steinberg-UR22 Audio-Interface. (Is it an underground-resistance Interface???^^)
I’m seeking to add a headphone-amplifier towards it, because the output of the built-in amp is not suited for my akg-702.

Now I bought a pro-ject gearbox. But I am not quite sure on how to connect it the „right“ way…

I initially connected it to the output of the headphone-amp of the ur22. But it didn’t sound very good.

Then I connected it to the line-outputs of the ur22 on the back. Suddenly it sounded wayyyy better. I guess it’s because the headphone-amp of the ur22 gets bypassed that way.

But now I can only listen to my headphones and not my speakers. Then I connected my speakers to the pass-through of the gearbox.
Now I am only able to listen to my speakers and my headphones at the same time…

What is a good way for me to get the following:

1. Listen to speakers solo
2. Listen to headphones solo
3. Good quality-output on the headphones. (I don’t need fancy output. Just something nice to mix, watch movies and listen to some music.)

Thanks for your replies.
When it comes to headphone output, the Steinberg-UR22 is one of the worst HPAs I've ever had here. I tested 2 pieces because I thought the first one was defective.
You can't go wrong with RME, Motu or Focusrite (in that order).

Consider an additional, high-quality solution for the headphones and speaker output. A Topping L30 II or a Sabaj A10h. The Sabaj A10h is currently very cheap on Amazon or HiFi-Express, remote control, has absolute channel equality, and both are among the best HPA tested at ASR. You can switch between headphones and preamp for speakers on the devices.
 

staticV3

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You can't go wrong with RME, Motu or Focusrite (in that order).
I'd avoid Focusrite's Scarlett line if an all-in-one solution is desired.

Their headphone Amps have poor distortion and crosstalk with lower impedance headphones (32Ω), and some models have very high output impedance:
Screenshot_20231104-135023_YouTube.png
 

ZolaIII

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"Now I bought a pro-ject gearbox. But I am not quite sure on how to connect it the „right“ way" which one? I am looking at one with RCA unbalanced (standard 2V line) pass trough, you lose cuple dB in the process and that's about it and more forgivable for the speakers. That interface is old and probably will work for long time but still consider changing it to something more suitable to your nead's... what ever that may be (number of chenels, I/O..., zones, amp's, pre-amp's, DSP, networking...).
 

Roland68

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I'd avoid Focusrite's Scarlett line if an all-in-one solution is desired.

Their headphone Amps have poor distortion and crosstalk with lower impedance headphones (32Ω), and some models have very high output impedance:
View attachment 323631
You are absolutely right.
I see it as more of an acceptable low budget solution (especially with the ones currently on offer), especially in conjunction with one of the HPAs listed.

PS: And thanks for posting the table, I didn't know that, very helpful.
 
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max1602

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"Now I bought a pro-ject gearbox. But I am not quite sure on how to connect it the „right“ way" which one? I am looking at one with RCA unbalanced (standard 2V line) pass trough, you lose cuple dB in the process and that's about it and more forgivable for the speakers. That interface is old and probably will work for long time but still consider changing it to something more suitable to your nead's... what ever that may be (number of chenels, I/O..., zones, amp's, pre-amp's, DSP, networking...).
If I understand your question correctly:

I bought the pro-ject headbox s2.
It said gearbox, because of the auto-correct function on my pc.

I came to the conclusion, that if I wanted to use the headbox together with the ur22, I would need a monitor-controller to be able to switch between headphone- and speaker-output.

Thank you for the information. I already came to the conclusion to seperate from the ur22.
I rarely had such a love/hate relationship with a piece of kit. :D

The ur22 is a strange box. Very well built, nice potis. But noisy as f on inputs. And the headphone amp leaves something to be added…
 
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max1602

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You are absolutely right.
I see it as more of an acceptable low budget solution (especially with the ones currently on offer), especially in conjunction with one of the HPAs listed.

PS: And thanks for posting the table, I didn't know that, very helpful.
I don‘t want any focusrite interfaces.
I had two before I switched to steinberg.
Very well built, but faulty.

They stopped working suddenly, and made pinching noises.
 
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max1602

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When it comes to headphone output, the Steinberg-UR22 is one of the worst HPAs I've ever had here. I tested 2 pieces because I thought the first one was defective.
You can't go wrong with RME, Motu or Focusrite (in that order).

Consider an additional, high-quality solution for the headphones and speaker output. A Topping L30 II or a Sabaj A10h. The Sabaj A10h is currently very cheap on Amazon or HiFi-Express, remote control, has absolute channel equality, and both are among the best HPA tested at ASR. You can switch between headphones and preamp for speakers on the devices.
Thanks.

I am now on the following pathway. These should be my final canditates for interfaces. I want to be happy with my decision for a long time, because I don‘t want to upgrade anymore any time soon or mid-term.

1. babyface 1st gen + sabaj a10h
2. audient id44 without additional hpa
3. Arturia audiofuse rev2 without additional hpa
4. uad apollo solo heritage usb without hpa (I guess apollo is sort of obsolete, because of uad native / spark?!)

Moneywise the solutions are all between 400,00 € and 500,00 €. So it‘s not so much about price-difference but functions.

I want to make high quality drum-machine and synth recordings. Thats the main focus, of my upgrade. So preamp topic is very important to me.


But my room is very rough and untreaded / unideal. I have a hybrid workingstyle of constantly checking mixes on hp and main monitors.

That works but I really need good headphone output out of my akg702…

Maybe you got some tips to my candidates for upgrade…
 
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Roland68

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I don‘t want any focusrite interfaces.
I had two before I switched to steinberg.
Very well built, but faulty.

They stopped working suddenly, and made pinching noises.
Then I can only recommend RME. Absolutely professional and highest quality.
 

Roland68

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Then I can only recommend RME. Absolutely professional and highest quality.
Add a used or new RME ADI-2 to your list (not DAC!), then you have everything in one device.
But only you can make the decision.
 
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max1602

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Add a used or new RME ADI-2 to your list (not DAC!), then you have everything in one device.
But only you can make the decision.
Thanks.
I haven‘t looked into that product. I have to inform myself about it.
Isn‘t it similar to the bf pro fs but more expensive even?
 

ZolaIII

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If I understand your question correctly:

I bought the pro-ject headbox s2.
It said gearbox, because of the auto-correct function on my pc.

I came to the conclusion, that if I wanted to use the headbox together with the ur22, I would need a monitor-controller to be able to switch between headphone- and speaker-output.

Thank you for the information. I already came to the conclusion to seperate from the ur22.
I rarely had such a love/hate relationship with a piece of kit. :D

The ur22 is a strange box. Very well built, nice potis. But noisy as f on inputs. And the headphone amp leaves something to be added…
Well it can go RCA input from u22 line out and RCA output from it to power amplifier input with a not big quality lose.
How ever consider returning back headphone amp if that's a option and buy something more suitable to your nead's all together (DAC headphone amp with whatever you need).
 
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max1602

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Well it can go RCA input from u22 line out and RCA output from it to power amplifier input with a not big quality lose.
How ever consider returning back headphone amp if that's a option and buy something more suitable to your nead's all together (DAC headphone amp with whatever you need).
Yes I did go to my speakers through the rca out after I went rca into it on the input. But then the problem was, that I couldn’t listen to my headphones without the speakers playing as welll…
 

Roland68

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Thanks.
I haven‘t looked into that product. I have to inform myself about it.
Isn‘t it similar to the bf pro fs but more expensive even?
It is a little more extensive in functionality and users often switch from the Babyface to the ADI-2, but the devices can also complement each other, that depends entirely on the use and your requirements.
But I'd rather refer you to the RME forum, which is very good for questions like this. The user ramses is well versed in this area and with RME devices.
 
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