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Which Stereo DAC for Competitive Gaming / Video Recording / Streaming? (Currently Motu M4 Audio Interface)

tackleberry

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Hey guys,

Currently I use the Motu M4 Audio Interface, Philips SHP9500S Headphones, and a Shure SM7B Mic. My problem is that the Audio Out of the Motu M4 appears to be too weak for my Philips SHP9500S. Overall, I am not happy with the sound of the headphones via the Audio Interface. I also tried the AKG 712 Pro Headphones and it was even worse. I assume the quality of the Audio-Out is not good enough (for me). Considering Headphone upgrades, I might end up with some Sennheiser HD800S in the future.

I mainly use the Headphones for Competitive Gaming. So hearing and locating Footsteps, enemy players, spellcasts, other actions in games is most important for me. I would pay about $400 for a good DAC or $600 for a better Audio Interface. What would you recommend?

A plus would be multiple internal soundcards, so that I could use different internal sound cards for the game, voice communication software etc. and record them to multiple audio tracks easier.

I live in Europe but shipping from US or Asia is not problem.
 
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twsecrest

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Trell

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Currently I use the Motu M4 Audio Interface, Philips SHP9500S Headphones, and a Shure SM7B Mic. My problem is that the Audio Out of the Motu M4 appears to be too weak for my Philips SHP9500S. Overall, I am not happy with the sound of the headphones via the Audio Interface. I also tried the AKG 712 Pro Headphones and it was even worse. I assume the quality of the Audio-Out is not good enough (for me). Considering Headphone upgrades, I might end up with some Sennheiser HD800S in the future.

It's a common issue that many audio interfaces has a weak headphone amp, and buying an external headphone amp is something to consider (as you'll have a much wider range of headphones to use) if you are otherwise happy with your audio interface. Or as you say yourself: Consider another pair of headphones better suited for the M4.

I've the MOTU M2 myself but like you I found the headphone amp a bit weak for my use with at times quiet content. I got the the RME ADI-2 DAC FS for use with headphones and active monitors, and is very happy with it.

A plus would be multiple internal soundcards, so that I could use different internal sound cards for the game, voice communication software etc. and record them to multiple audio tracks easier.

TLDR: It gets expensive quickly.

For this you need an audio interface that has a loopback feature (audio played on an output channel can also be recorded) and on a sufficient number of channels for loopback that you need. Most of the lower-priced audio interfaces are quite limited in this area. The M2 has one stereo pair for loopback and the M4 has two pairs, but one issue is then if you want to listen at a mix of them at the same time.

What you want is something like an RME audio interface that has a built-in mixer (TotalMix FX) where you have many channels for loopback, but can still have mixes of them that you can listen to using your headphones.

The RME Babyface Pro FS for €698 (21% VAT included) will do this for you, and also has features like a 3 band PEQ, low cut filter and compressor/expander for each channel that would be useful. That probably won't solve the headphone output for you, and has a high 6.3 jack impedience of 10 Ohm (too keep current down), so an external headphone might be needed. There is also a review on ASR for the Babyface: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...yface-pro-fs-portable-interface-review.12313/

At twice the price there is the RME Fireface UCX II that can do all what the Babyface can, but much more, and more than enough to drive your headphones. The headphone amp has the specification: Max power per channel @ 32 Ohm load, 0.1% THD: 210 mW (2.6 Vrms, +10.5 dBu)

I've the UCX II myself and happy with it for my simple use.

 

raistlin65

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I mainly use the Headphones for Competitive Gaming. So hearing and locating Footsteps, enemy players, spellcasts, other actions in games is most important for me. I would pay about $400 for a good DAC or $600 for a better Audio Interface. What would you recommend?
The Motu M4 has great DAC output via the balanced output on the back


So you don't need a different DAC. Not sure if anyone has measured the RCA outputs, but I have trouble imagining it's not decent.

Either get a Topping L30 headphone amp to use with the RCA outputs. Or one of their balanced amps for use with the balanced line out connections. Either the Topping A50s or A30 Pro. All of those amps have been measured on ASR. You'll see they are extremely accurate. And they will easily drive your current headphones and the HD800S.
 
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