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IEM Low Latency Setup Advice

BigSweeny

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Hi all,

I'm a little unsure what I'd need for achieving a well measuring audio setup with low mic latency for IEM usage.

My current setup is:

- Windows 10 as source with voicemeeter pro for EQ
- Objective2 + ODAC Headphone Amp
-- Driving Sennheiser HD700 headphones, Dunu SA6 IEMs
- Blue Yeti USB microphone

For my job, I am consistently talking to my colleagues on voice applications throughout the day. The open back, and comfort, of the HD700s work well but I would like to utilise my IEMs a bit more, when I feel like a change, and also during night time gaming sessions as they are really nice to use.
The issue when I utilise my IEMs through the amp is that I cannot hear how loud I am and if I utilise the feature inside of voicemeeter (or windows) to hear my own voice then it introduces latency so it's essentially unusable. Plugging the IEMs into the microphone just produces awful quality as well.

I have been investigating this a little and it seems I would require an XLR microphone (such as shure sm7b) being fed into an audio interface (such as an EVO4) to achieve a (close to) zero latency microphone setup. I am having a little trouble finding a setup that would meet my requirements however:

- Zero latency microphone setup
- Amplifier with "good" power specifications to drive a set of planar magnetic headphones (I plan to possibly upgrade my HD700s next year)
- Audibly transparent DAC
- Possibility to add on a set of active speakers (some nice small genelecs are on the bucket list), so XLR/TRS output would be a nice addition

I'd like to achieve this within one unit but understand that might be tricky. I'm unsure what I should be looking for if this should be considered as separate components.

Any advice and suggestions would be much appreciated.
 

digitalfrost

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Maybe a Focusrite Scarlett. They have a direct monitoring feature. I own the 1st gen of this interface and it was not lout enough for me driving 250ohms Beyerdynamics. it was close, but not loud enough.

 

staticV3

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Your audio interface doesn't need to have a good built-in headphone amp.
As long as the line out is good enough for your needs, you can add an external headphone amp with no latency penalty.
 
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BigSweeny

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Your audio interface doesn't need to have a good built-in headphone amp.
As long as the line out is good enough for your needs, you can add an external headphone amp with no latency penalty.
Thanks, that's probably part of the piece of info that I was missing. How would I determine if the lineout on the audio interface is good enough? (What measurement am I looking for?)
 

staticV3

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THD+N < -100dB
SNR/DR > 110dB
Channel separation > 70dB
Output impedance < 500Ω
Output voltage > 1.5Vrms in case of SE, > 3Vrms in case of Bal

That's like the bare minimum for a competent Line out.
 
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BigSweeny

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THD+N < -100dB
SNR/DR > 110dB
Channel separation > 70dB
Output impedance < 500Ω
Output voltage > 1.5Vrms in case of SE, > 3Vrms in case of Bal

That's like the bare minimum for a competent Line out.
Fantastic thank you. It seems that the motu m2 with TRS out to a Topping L50 would be sufficient. I have been looking at the Julian Krause review of this and he seemed impressed.

So the chain would be:

- PC USB out to Motu M2
- XLR microphone to Motu M2 input
- Motu M2 TRS out to Topping L50 TRS input
- IEMs/Over ear headphones on L50 1/4" output

This would also allow me to add passthrough from the L50 to any set of active speakers if I also decide to go that route.
Do I have this right?
 

AnalogSteph

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This would also allow me to add passthrough from the L50 to any set of active speakers if I also decide to go that route.
In that case it may be more advantageous to plug the active speakers directly into the M2 line-out and run the M2's headphone out into the L50's SE input instead. This kind of setup also works with an unbalanced-only headphone amp (e.g. L30 II) that would be prone to ground loop issues otherwise.
 

Jimbob54

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Or , only wear one side of the iem when on a call. Easier with my wireless buds admittedly .
 
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BigSweeny

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In that case it may be more advantageous to plug the active speakers directly into the M2 line-out and run the M2's headphone out into the L50's SE input instead. This kind of setup also works with an unbalanced-only headphone amp (e.g. L30 II) that would be prone to ground loop issues otherwise.
Why would this kind of setup be more advantageous over using the balanced out TRS from M2 to balanced in on L50, using the headphone out and active speakers passthrough on the L50? I'm not sure I'm understanding what I would gain from the setup you described.
 
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