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Volume controller for JBL LSR305 Audio Interfaces
Old 11th January 2018
  #31
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bowzin's Avatar
Ok you mentioned a remote control.

Check out if you can find a used Emotiva XDA 1 or 2. I see them all the time for around $150. They come with a remote control, and it's one of the cheapest and best-sounding DACs with a remote control I'm aware of.

I have an Emotiva Stealth DC-1 which also has a remote control, and is quite a very nice DAC, but it's over-budget around $500. The Benchmark DACs are around $1000 and have a remote control as well. There are precious few DACs with balanced outs that have remote controls.

Do you use headphones? How important is it for you to be able to control the speaker and headphone mix separately, and quickly/easily?

I would suggest getting one with a nice, big knob. I know that sounds weird, but if you're going to be reaching for it mid-gaming session, a nice big, comfortable, quality-feeling knob will be really important and the part of the system that you actually interact with the most, assuming decent sound quality from all of them.

I would add the Audient ID4 to your list, maybe used to get it under $150. It has a super nice aluminum knob, but I'm not sure if it has a dedicated headphone knob, or if you have to push a button or something, so might want to look into that. It does have both 1/4 inch and 1/8th inch headphone output jacks, which is convenient.

That Behringer is probably fine, and is cheap and has a nice big knob it looks like.

Good luck.
Old 11th January 2018
  #32
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bowzin's Avatar
This looks like a nice form factor, dedicated big monitor knob, and dedicated headphone knob: M-Audio M-Track 2X2 | Sweetwater

Unbalanced outputs though, not a huge deal but stereo monitors are usually intended for balanced inputs.

Here's another one: Mackie Onyx Producer 2-2 USB Audio Interface | Sweetwater

I've had experience with the Onyx line, it's good conversion for your purposes for sure. And the headphone amps are typically quite beefy, but I haven't used this one in particular.
Old 11th January 2018
  #33
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Ok you mentioned a remote control.

Check out if you can find a used Emotiva XDA 1 or 2. I see them all the time for around $150. They come with a remote control, and it's one of the cheapest and best-sounding DACs with a remote control I'm aware of.

I have an Emotiva Stealth DC-1 which also has a remote control, and is quite a very nice DAC, but it's over-budget around $500. The Benchmark DACs are around $1000 and have a remote control as well. There are precious few DACs with balanced outs that have remote controls.
I would love to have a remote control when I game in my couch,
but the products you mentioned are pricey,
and used is not an option an as I live in a small place with low population and little or no ads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Do you use headphones? How important is it for you to be able to control the speaker and headphone mix separately, and quickly/easily?
No, I don't use headphones and its very difficult I 'll do in the future.
But you never know, and it will be good If I can have the option at the same price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
I would add the Audient ID4 to your list, maybe used to get it under $150. It has a super nice aluminum knob, but I'm not sure if it has a dedicated headphone knob, or if you have to push a button or something, so might want to look into that. It does have both 1/4 inch and 1/8th inch headphone output jacks, which is convenient.
I read some excellent reviews for the ID4.
Check this link, cause I think I can find it at 139 euros brand new.
The product title is Audient 18 Hoop, but if you look the photos you can see the ID4 logo on the device ???
Audient iD4 Audio USB Interface: Amazon.de: Musikinstrumente

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
That Behringer is probably fine, and is cheap and has a nice big knob it looks like.
Do you mean the UMC202HD ?
As I said, It seems as the best bang for the buck as I can find at 62 euros, and with 73 euros I can get its bigger brother UMC2024HD.
Do you know if these Behringer have balanced outputs ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Here's another one: Mackie Onyx Producer 2-2 USB Audio Interface | Sweetwater

I've had experience with the Onyx line, it's good conversion for your purposes for sure. And the headphone amps are typically quite beefy, but I haven't used this one in particular.
If its is the same product :
Mackie Onyx Producer 2x2 - 2 In x 2 Out Audio Interface: Amazon.de: Musikinstrumente
I can find it at 142 euros.

Another thing I find important is how all these devices are in terms of software/drivers.
Are there any brands that are known to have issues with their software and I should better avoid them ?

Thank you!
Old 11th January 2018
  #34
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MarkF48's Avatar
pingstream,

Have you tried different level settings on the output of the SoundBlaster card to see if that makes any difference in the low level buzz? If the slight buzz can be tolerated, my own opinion is that stepping up to an external USB interface may be overkill for gaming if that's pretty much the extent of your use and if the interface is powered from the USB bus there is also a slight chance the buzz could possibly leak into the interface audio. Your SB card also may have a control panel with EQ and some other settings. A USB interface may not have the ability to EQ the audio depending on software that is provided with its drivers. Someone previously mentioned the JBL Nano Patch and this might be a good solution for simple as it gets on the desk volume control. The Nano Patch is passive and as long as you use decent cables should not introduce any noise. Might be able to find one used on eBay or similar to save a few bucks.

Amazon.com: JBL Nano Patch+ Compact 2-Channel Passive Volume Controller: Musical Instruments

Old 11th January 2018
  #35
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
pingstream,

Have you tried different level settings on the output of the SoundBlaster card to see if that makes any difference in the low level buzz?
How can I change the level settings ?
I use Direct mode, which bypasses all audio enhancements and EQ settings.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
If the slight buzz can be tolerated, my own opinion is that stepping up to an external USB interface may be overkill for gaming if that's pretty much the extent of your use and if the interface is powered from the USB bus there is also a slight chance the buzz could possibly leak into the interface audio. Your SB card also may have a control panel with EQ and some other settings. A USB interface may not have the ability to EQ the audio depending on software that is provided with its drivers.
I had the dilemma soundcard or DAC before purchasing my SB.
At the time I was in an Audio/Video equipment exhibition for professional reasons,
and I consulted 4 - 5 guys from sound equipment stands(technicians, audiophiles etc) and all of them told me that the soundcard is the way to go for a gamer like me.
When I bought the SB I had it connected to an ancient amp and two mediocre passive speakers.
I decided to upgrade my speakers,
and 20 days ago I bought a pair of JBL LSR305 active speakers.
I was really satisfied with my new setup till I loaded the first 3d application and my pc went in full load.
A terrible buzz,
audible allover the room,
was coming out from my speakers.
I tried almost everything.
Placing the speakers far away from the pc case.
Moving my soundcard to different pci slots.
Connecting the speakers to the same plug with my pc.
Connecting the speakers to different plug.
Nothing helped.

The buzz was almost gone only when I was connecting the speakers to a plug that was to other side of the house(the two plugs I mentioned before are side by side on the same wall).
But that is not an option as I cant have cables all around my appartment.

So I tried a simple cheap ground loop isolator that solved my problem.
The buzz now is more than tolerable.
I have to completely stick my ear in the speaker in order to barely hear it.
But :
- I want to eliminate it,
cause I spent quite an amount of money to upgrade my sound,
and I ended up with a buzz that was not present with the onboard soundcard+crappy amp+speakers I had before.
- yesterday, while I was playing a first person shooter the buzz was spiking at certain points.
While you play a racing game for example, you cannot hear the buzz even if it spikes cause the engine sound is constant.
But on a first person shooter while you are not in a combat scene and you just wandering/walking around and everything is silent you can hear it.
That happened yesterday in some parts of the game and with certain view angles,
but If I want to be honest it doesn't occur with the other first person shooters I tried.
Nobody knows if it wiil happen again with some other game in the future though.
[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
Someone previously mentioned the JBL Nano Patch and this might be a good solution for simple as it gets on the desk volume control. The Nano Patch is passive and as long as you use decent cables should not introduce any noise. Might be able to find one used on eBay or similar to save a few bucks.
Yes, but previously in this thread was mentioned that a passive device will probably add more noise to my signal chain.

And I am really confused.
Basically because I am ignorant,
and all this equipment is totally new to me.
I always had 2.1 desktop speakers or passive speakers with amps.
The JBLs are my first active speakers,
and imagine I knew that DACs are soundcards that need drivers from this thread!
Old 11th January 2018
  #36
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MarkF48's Avatar
Do you have a pair of fairly decent headphones you could plug into the SoundBlaster and see if the 'buzz' shows up in headphones?
Old 12th January 2018
  #37
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bowzin's Avatar
So one thing I just wanted to mention, if you "put your head next to" any active speaker, including the JBL LSR305, you will most likely hear SOME at least teeny-tiny hiss. This is just part of the active speaker trade-off, usually it's very minimal. If that's what you're talking about, suuuuper minor, barely noticeable hiss only when you're RIGHT in front of the speaker ("on axis") and only very faint and very close by, that is frankly rather normal.

Usually pushing the speakers slightly farther away, and jusssssst slightly off-axis pointed a little bit "behind" you in the listening position can lower that hiss to where its inaudible.

I always think too that what the OP needs is really a DAC, and not a full-blown audio interface, BUT the cheap DAC market leaves an awful lot to be desired and the features found on Audio Interfaces like BIG NICE MONITOR-CONTROLLER STYLE KNOBS can be a really nice, practical feature. And who knows, down the road it won't hurt to at least have the option to quickly record something, even if it's not necessarily music-related, it's just nice to have that option. He's already got the balanced active speakers, why not go whole hog and add the audio interface. For example a streaming or Twitch style gaming setup.

Focusrite 2i2 also has a nice little knob there it looks like and the price is right. I know it sounds kind of funny, but I'd look at the form factor as a pretty big "feature" for your use-case. I have the Audient ID22 I really like that type of form factor on my desk. Hundreds of hours later of not messing with tiny little knobs, I'm sold, haha.
Old 12th January 2018
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pingstream View Post
How can I change the level settings ?
I use Direct mode, which bypasses all audio enhancements and EQ settings.

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I had the dilemma soundcard or DAC before purchasing my SB.
At the time I was in an Audio/Video equipment exhibition for professional reasons,
and I consulted 4 - 5 guys from sound equipment stands(technicians, audiophiles etc) and all of them told me that the soundcard is the way to go for a gamer like me.
When I bought the SB I had it connected to an ancient amp and two mediocre passive speakers.
I decided to upgrade my speakers,
and 20 days ago I bought a pair of JBL LSR305 active speakers.
I was really satisfied with my new setup till I loaded the first 3d application and my pc went in full load.
A terrible buzz,
audible allover the room,
was coming out from my speakers.
I tried almost everything.
Placing the speakers far away from the pc case.
Moving my soundcard to different pci slots.
Connecting the speakers to the same plug with my pc.
Connecting the speakers to different plug.
Nothing helped.

The buzz was almost gone only when I was connecting the speakers to a plug that was to other side of the house(the two plugs I mentioned before are side by side on the same wall).
But that is not an option as I cant have cables all around my appartment.

So I tried a simple cheap ground loop isolator that solved my problem.
The buzz now is more than tolerable.
I have to completely stick my ear in the speaker in order to barely hear it.
But :
- I want to eliminate it,
cause I spent quite an amount of money to upgrade my sound,
and I ended up with a buzz that was not present with the onboard soundcard+crappy amp+speakers I had before.
- yesterday, while I was playing a first person shooter the buzz was spiking at certain points.
While you play a racing game for example, you cannot hear the buzz even if it spikes cause the engine sound is constant.
But on a first person shooter while you are not in a combat scene and you just wandering/walking around and everything is silent you can hear it.
That happened yesterday in some parts of the game and with certain view angles,
but If I want to be honest it doesn't occur with the other first person shooters I tried.
Nobody knows if it wiil happen again with some other game in the future though.


Yes, but previously in this thread was mentioned that a passive device will probably add more noise to my signal chain.

And I am really confused.
Basically because I am ignorant,
and all this equipment is totally new to me.
I always had 2.1 desktop speakers or passive speakers with amps.
The JBLs are my first active speakers,
and imagine I knew that DACs are soundcards that need drivers from this thread!
You didn't have the buzzing with the setup you had before the JBLs? The signal coming out of your 3.5mm jack is an unbalanced signal, and you're running it into the XLR inputs on your JBLs. Looking at the manual it says to use the XLR inputs with professional equipment which I'm assuming means balanced signals, and says to use the 1/4in (6mm) inputs on your JBLs for balanced or unbalanced signals. Connecting to your 6mm inputs instead of the XLR might help with your noise issues.

I did some brief reading and the benefit of a gaming sound card over using an external DAC is that the gaming sound card has different algorithms in order to help create the 3D environment, allegedly for better immersion and to accurately place where certain sounds are coming from, such as gun shots in a first person shooter. I stumbled across this external soundcard by Creative, the Sound Blaster Omni, and it looks like it would be a good solution for you if you're unable to get past the noise of your internal soundcard.

Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound Card with 600ohm Headphone Amp and Integrated Microphone - Newegg.com
Old 12th January 2018
  #39
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
Do you have a pair of fairly decent headphones you could plug into the SoundBlaster and see if the 'buzz' shows up in headphones?
I have two pairs(not decent) and checked with both of them.
Absolutely no 'buzz' with the headphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
So one thing I just wanted to mention, if you "put your head next to" any active speaker, including the JBL LSR305, you will most likely hear SOME at least teeny-tiny hiss. This is just part of the active speaker trade-off, usually it's very minimal. If that's what you're talking about, suuuuper minor, barely noticeable hiss only when you're RIGHT in front of the speaker ("on axis") and only very faint and very close by, that is frankly rather normal.
I know exactly what you are talking about cause I read a lot due to my issue and I am informed about the hiss of the active speakers.
In my pre-purchase research,
I also found a lot of users complaining about LSRs 305 hiss.
But its not the case with my pair.
I mean, yes there is a slight suuuper minor(as you say) hiss if I stick my ear to the speaker,
but the buzz I describe occurs when my pc goes in full load.
Before the purchase of the ground loop isolator,
it was kind of 30% buzz with cpu only load,
and 100% buzz with cpu+gpu load.
Now, with the ground loop isolator is 0% with the cpu and 1% with cpu+gpu.
And honestly, its not a problem(except these concerning spikes during gaming I mentioned before).
But as I need a volume controller,
it will be fine to eliminate the buzz
and also upgrade my sound quality with the same purchase,
even if I have to spend a bit more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
I always think too that what the OP needs is really a DAC, and not a full-blown audio interface, BUT the cheap DAC market leaves an awful lot to be desired and the features found on Audio Interfaces like BIG NICE MONITOR-CONTROLLER STYLE KNOBS can be a really nice, practical feature.
Can you please take look in my list or the other products that are mentioned in this thread and tell which ones are DACs and which ones full-blown audio interfaces ?
I still trying to find the differences and understand what is what.

Quote:
Originally Posted by truelegend View Post
You didn't have the buzzing with the setup you had before the JBLs? The signal coming out of your 3.5mm jack is an unbalanced signal, and you're running it into the XLR inputs on your JBLs. Looking at the manual it says to use the XLR inputs with professional equipment which I'm assuming means balanced signals, and says to use the 1/4in (6mm) inputs on your JBLs for balanced or unbalanced signals. Connecting to your 6mm inputs instead of the XLR might help with your noise issues.
No buzzing at all with the amp+passive speakers I had before.
The buzz appeared with the active JBLs.
If I understand you say that there are chances to eliminate the buzz with a cable like that ?
Rockville RNDSM10B 10' 3.5mm 1/8" TRS to Dual 1/4" TS Cable 100% Copper | eBay


#################
#################
Guys you have a great community here and I really appreciate your help,
and especially the way you are offeing it to me!
Old 12th January 2018
  #40
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MarkF48's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by truelegend View Post
You didn't have the buzzing with the setup you had before the JBLs? The signal coming out of your 3.5mm jack is an unbalanced signal, and you're running it into the XLR inputs on your JBLs. Looking at the manual it says to use the XLR inputs with professional equipment which I'm assuming means balanced signals, and says to use the 1/4in (6mm) inputs on your JBLs for balanced or unbalanced signals. Connecting to your 6mm inputs instead of the XLR might help with your noise issues.[/url]
The cable he is using has pin 1 tied to pin 3 in the XLR connector. This essentially creates an unbalanced connection which should be the same as 6.3mm TS plugs.
Old 12th January 2018
  #41
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MarkF48's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pingstream View Post
I have two pairs(not decent) and checked with both of them.
Absolutely no 'buzz' with the headphones.
Kinda wondering if the JBL's connected through an AC line filter could clean up the buzz(?)

How long are the cables from the PC to the JBL's and are they run near to any of the power cables? These are 'unbalanced' and may be more susceptible to picking noise.
Old 12th January 2018
  #42
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
Kinda wondering if the JBL's connected through an AC line filter could clean up the buzz(?)

How long are the cables from the PC to the JBL's and are they run near to any of the power cables? These are 'unbalanced' and may be more susceptible to picking noise.
3 meters.
And when I tried the various possible workarounds I mentioned above,
I also tried keeping them away of power cords with no success.

What is the AC line filter ?
Old 12th January 2018
  #43
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If you're not doing any audio recording at all, you should ideally not be paying for microphone preamps.

I recommend the Schiit Modi 2 and the Schiit Sys. Or, if you have the budget for it, get the Modi 2 Uber instead of the Modi 2 for the better power supply.
Even the Schiit Fulla 2 would ensure more of your money is going towards the DAC instead of the mic preamps/ultra-low-latency drivers.
Old 12th January 2018
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pingstream View Post
No buzzing at all with the amp+passive speakers I had before.
The buzz appeared with the active JBLs.
If I understand you say that there are chances to eliminate the buzz with a cable like that ?
Rockville RNDSM10B 10' 3.5mm 1/8" TRS to Dual 1/4" TS Cable 100% Copper | eBay


#################
#################
Guys you have a great community here and I really appreciate your help,
and especially the way you are offeing it to me!
I bought a pair of the LSRs a month ago but I hadn't unboxed them yet. I just opened them to see if it would give some further insight, and the audio connection instructions do state specificly that if you're sending an unbalanced signal to use the 6mm jacks and the XLR jacks are for balanced signals. Unless they're being ambiguous, I think trying a cable like the one you linked would definitely be worth a shot.
Old 12th January 2018
  #45
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bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pingstream View Post
Can you please take look in my list or the other products that are mentioned in this thread and tell which ones are DACs and which ones full-blown audio interfaces ?
I still trying to find the differences and understand what is what.
Yep, it's really simple:

DAC or DA:

D = Digital
A = Analog
C = Converter/conversion

ADC or AD:

A = Analog
D = Digital
C = Converter/conversion

A DAC does Digital-to-Analog Conversion only, just that one direction. Digital files come in and analog output comes out. Any consumer product that can play a digital file has a DAC built in, for example Bluetooth speakers, mobile phones, your laptop. All have small built-in DAC chips to convert digital content into an analog signal that can play out of built-in speakers or headphone jacks. The actual DAC chips are tiny, the size of your fingernail.

The reverse is AD or ADC, or Analog-to-Digital Conversion. This is what you need to translate analog signals, like those from a microphone, into digital files like .wav or .mp3 or what not. So in a recording studio setup, you might have say 24 channels of ADC so that you can record 24-channels of audio simultaneously to a digital format. You’ll also have a number of channels of DAC to send out signals from your computer to studio monitors, maybe a second or third set of studio monitors, or to process with outboard analog hardware gear.

So in a studio setting, you could get individual units, one that only does AD, and a different unit that only does DA. Or you could get a unit that does both, and those are typically referred to as simply an “audio interface” when it does both. It just means it is sort of an all-in-one unit that handles both AD/DA, and also commonly adds some additional features like basic monitor controller features (like a big knob) and headphone outputs as well. Whereas a true “DAC” would only be doing DA only, and doesn’t have any AD capabilities, therefore (in theory) you’re not paying for extra stuff you don’t need.

An “audio interface” is just a shorthand way of saying it’s a unit that “interfaces” both AD and DA capabilities into a single unit, which makes it easier to handle than setting up multiple units. For example, instead of needing 1) an AD unit, 2) a DA unit, 3) a monitor controller, and 4) a headphone amp… an “audio interface” is sort of a slang catch-all term for units that do most or all of that in one box.

- The Audient ID4 is an “audio interface” (AD/DA, plus monitor controller features (the big knob), plus headphone amp)

- The Schiit Audio Fulla 2 is a DAC + Headphone Amp (very popular combination) with a big ass volume knob on it. When you plug in headphones, it mutes the outputs, but the knob can work as a volume controller. The only knock I see on this one is the outputs are kind of lame, looks like just one 3.5mm stereo (unbalanced) line out. So you’ll still be using a splitter. Balanced outputs are tough to find on cheaper DACs that are not marketed to the audio/recording community. Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA.

Sure, ideally you could pick up just a DAC with a big knob on it, and balanced outputs to go to your JBL LSR305’s. The problem is balanced outputs are a weirdly rare feature to get for cheaper DAC or DAC/headphone amp combinations. However “audio interfaces” marketed to musicians almost always have balanced outputs, it would be weird to not have that.

Conversion is overall pretty dang good these days, I’d focus primarily on FEATURES namely a big ass knob, appealing form factor to you, and ideally balanced outputs which puts you more in line with audio interfaces. Yes there’s a little bit of waste if it includes one or two mic preamp/AD channels, but also in theory it should be a bit more robust with better and tougher in/outs and it’s not like music products can totally ignore the quality of the DA conversion, it’s all pretty similar in that price range.

Cheap audio interfaces are WHITE HOT right now in the music gear world, they’re selling gobs of them which keeps prices down. Finding a DAC with balanced outputs isn’t necessarily going to translate into better “value” of DA conversion quality. It theoretically should, because dollar-for-dollar you’re not paying for the AD features, or more expensive output components, but the reality might be more complex than that, that’s why I say it’s not inappropriate to recommend audio interfaces to civilians who are just looking for a robust DAC/monitor controller/headphone amp solution.

Edit: sorry for the wall of text. One last thing, audio interfaces marketed to the musician community from major brands are going to be pretty dang good about not having digital interference noise like the OP is experiencing. That screams consumer audio (cheap outputs, unbalanced stereo cables, 3.5mm splitters). That's the kind of problem that will sink an audio interface product line right away if it comes out that it's "noisy." So again, while theoretically your money might stretch farther on a cheap consumer DAC-only, and theoretically you don't "need" balanced outputs, and theoretically a lame 3.5mm splitter to XLR might work in theory, in reality an audio interface should have those things locked down and avoid those problems to begin with. Big generalization obviously, but just a thought.

Last edited by bowzin; 12th January 2018 at 09:33 PM..
Old 12th January 2018
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymondbl View Post
If you're not doing any audio recording at all, you should ideally not be paying for microphone preamps.

I recommend the Schiit Modi 2 and the Schiit Sys. Or, if you have the budget for it, get the Modi 2 Uber instead of the Modi 2 for the better power supply.
Even the Schiit Fulla 2 would ensure more of your money is going towards the DAC instead of the mic preamps/ultra-low-latency drivers.
The Modi 2 is susceptible to computer noise effecting the output. So not a good upgrade.

Budget DAC Review: Schiit Modi 2 ($99) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Old 13th January 2018
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
The Schiit Audio Fulla 2 is a DAC + Headphone Amp (very popular combination) with a big ass volume knob on it. When you plug in headphones, it mutes the outputs, but the knob can work as a volume controller. The only knock I see on this one is the outputs are kind of lame, looks like just one 3.5mm stereo (unbalanced) line out. So you’ll still be using a splitter. Balanced outputs are tough to find on cheaper DACs that are not marketed to the audio/recording community.
The Schiit Fulla 2 has RCA unbalanced outputs, so it would not require a splitter.

From what I have gathered, the reason cheaper DACs generally do not use balanced outputs is that a balanced output requires duplicating the analog circuitry, which means double the cost for the analog section. Few consumer speakers/headphones/amps in the budget price range use balanced connections anyway, so manufacturers can't justify adding it. It's a vicious cycle starting from the fact that all speakers/headphones are inherently single-ended.

The reason I originally recommended a Schiit device is the OP is a consumer, not a musician. There is a possibility that getting a dedicated DAC with its own power supply, not running off of the computer's USB power (the Fulla 2 can run off the power of a separate USB charger while accepting USB data from the computer), will solve the ground loop while providing better sound quality than an interface.

However, I agree that that using balanced I/O is more likely to solve the EFI problem and OP would still be getting great audio quality if he bought an interface.

Excellent writeup, by the way!

edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
The Modi 2 is susceptible to computer noise effecting the output. So not a good upgrade.

Budget DAC Review: Schiit Modi 2 ($99) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Sorry, I'd forgotten that the base Modi 2 uses USB power. I just double checked and it appears that only the Modi 2 Uber uses its own power supply. The Fulla 2 can also run off of separate USB power.

Last edited by Raymondbl; 13th January 2018 at 12:04 AM.. Reason: address ninja
Old 13th January 2018
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymondbl View Post
The Schiit Fulla 2 has RCA unbalanced outputs, so it would not require a splitter.

From what I have gathered, the reason cheaper DACs generally do not use balanced outputs is that a balanced output requires duplicating the analog circuitry, which means double the cost for the analog section. Few consumer speakers/headphones/amps in the budget price range use balanced connections anyway, so manufacturers can't justify adding it. It's a vicious cycle starting from the fact that all speakers/headphones are inherently single-ended.

The reason I originally recommended a Schiit device is the OP is a consumer, not a musician. There is a possibility that getting a dedicated DAC with its own power supply, not running off of the computer's USB power (the Fulla 2 can run off the power of a separate USB charger while accepting USB data from the computer), will solve the ground loop while providing better sound quality than an interface.

However, I agree that that using balanced I/O is more likely to solve the EFI problem and OP would still be getting great audio quality if he bought an interface.

Excellent writeup, by the way!

edit:

Sorry, I'd forgotten that the base Modi 2 uses USB power. I just double checked and it appears that only the Modi 2 Uber uses its own power supply. The Fulla 2 can also run off of separate USB power.
Actually it isn't just because the Modi 2 is USB powered. Here is a similar measure of a Behringer 204H (similar to the 202HD being considered). It too is USB powered yet not effected by the USB noise.

Budget DAC Review: behringer UMC204HD | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Old 13th January 2018
  #49
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Actually it isn't just because the Modi 2 is USB powered. Here is a similar measure of a Behringer 204H (similar to the 202HD being considered). It too is USB powered yet not effected by the USB noise.

Budget DAC Review: behringer UMC204HD | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Wow, that's enlightening. Thanks for posting these.
Old 13th January 2018
  #50
Gear Nut
 

As this is a gaming rig, and you're asking a forum full of recording nerds, I think most have missed the simplest solution to your volume control issue: Get a keyboard with a volume control built in to it and control your volume levels from the keyboard.
Old 13th January 2018
  #51
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arr0wHead View Post
As this is a gaming rig, and you're asking a forum full of recording nerds, I think most have missed the simplest solution to your volume control issue: Get a keyboard with a volume control built in to it and control your volume levels from the keyboard.
It can be true,
but try to answer the questions without thinking my gaming needs and the recording nerds of this forum :

Which combination produces the better sound result(in total) ?
Audio device+JBLs
or
Creative SB+JBLs

Which combination is more pssible to create buzzing noises like the one I have ?
Audio device+JBLs
or
Creative SB+JBLs

Dont forget also that buying a keyboard will cost me around 30 euros i suppose.

The other option is sell my SB for 90 euros and buy the Behringer UMC204Hd for 73 euros.
That way i will upgrade my sound+possibly eliminate the slight buzz(according the nerds we were talking about), and have a profit of 17 euros in the same time.
Not bad I think.
Old 14th January 2018
  #52
Gear Nut
 

[QUOTE=pingstream;13069809]
Quote:
Originally Posted by pingstream View Post
but try to answer the questions without thinking my gaming needs and the recording nerds of this forum :
Here's my problem with that: I've been a PC gamer for over 20 years.
I've been a recording engineer for over 20 years.

In both areas, I've spent countless amounts of money, put together countless rigs, and learned. Learned a LOT.

The reality is, pro audio and gaming are two entirely different beasts. Pro audio gear is not the best choice for a gaming rig. And likewise, gaming gear is not the best for a recording rig. I remember around 18 years ago I started out trying to use a soundblaster card for my first PC recording rig. It didn't work out well. Likewise, I tried mixing music on my gaming speakers. It, also, did not work out well.

For mixing, you want nice flat accurate speakers that will ACCURATELY reveal the low, midrange, and high end details of your recording. When LISTENING to audio, or gaming, typically you want speakers that will make everything sound good. Pro audio monitors aren't what you want there, they will actually sound a bit sterile, boring, and lifeless compared to a good set of home audio speakers, or gaming speakers.

Likewise, the soundcard you currently have is specifically made for gaming. For your needs, as a gamer, it will work perfectly. Currently you have two issues - hum, and a lack of volume control.

Instead of throwing more money at pro audio gear that you DON'T want to use for a gaming rig, I would suggest the following:

1) Buy a gaming keyboard with a good set of mechanical keys that will give you a solid feel, response, and speed for gaming. Most of these, like my current logitech keyboard, have build in volume controls. That's one problem solved, and will cost you less than you're looking to spend on an interface or other pro audio solutions.

2) Contact Soundblaster about the noise issues you're having with your card. This is NOT TYPICAL from a quality gaming card, and the card you have is a good one! There is a strong chance you have a defective unit. If not, then it's highly likely they've had this issue with many other customers and will have a solution for it. Either way, you find a fix for the card, you get a replacement for the card, or if they are unable to help you in either department, you return the card and buy a different one. Again, for just gaming and playback you should probably stick to the gaming cards. They have the ability to handle 3d audio, 3d headphone mixes, and often built in software for adjusting the character of your audio for gaming. A pro audio card is not going to do any of those things for you - instead you're spending money on AD/DA converters, preamps, and other components inside the box that you will never have any need for.

I get where you're coming from, but I'm just trying to offer you the benefit of my years of gaming, and years of pro audio. I have a studio with many tens of thousands of dollars in gear. I have built many gaming rigs all costing thousands at the time they were built. At this time, I would never use any of my pro audio gear, including speakers, for one of my gaming rigs. And inversely, I would never use any of my PC gaming rig for recording. (with the exception of mouse and keyboard. I use gaming mice and keyboards in my studio because they adjustable DPI, macro buttons, and other features actually come in quite handy when recording and mixing).

Full disclaimer: I abandoned PC gaming a few years back. I no longer play PC games, and don't currently have a rig. I just don't have the time for it anymore, and as you know if you don't constantly keep updating your gear it doesn't take long for your PC to be unable to hit benchmarks on the latest games. I know quite a bit about building computers, clocking and tweaking them, etc... - but as far as the latest soundcards, speakers, graphics cards, and other hardware I can't really give you and good specific advice. But I will repeat, stick to gaming hardware for the gaming. Pro audio gear doesn't sound "better" or work "better". In fact in most cases you'll find the low end lacking, the dynamic range lacking, etc. Because typical home audio and gaming gear hypes the low end, and tends to muddy the mids. I couldn't imagine trying to mix accurately on my bose 701s, but they sound amazing for gaming and listening to music. I couldn't imagine using my LSR305's for gaming, they'd be dull and lifeless compared to my bose, or altecs even. But they're exactly what I need for checking the midrange on my mixes at the studio. Follow?


TLDR: Pro audio gear is not a great choice for gaming. You already have the monitors, so keep them, but they wouldn't be my first choice for gaming. They won't sound as good as comparable speakers made specifically for gaming, or home audio, but they're not going to sound BAD either. They're awesome speakers. They're currently what I use in my studio for a second pair, and I love them. But for the rest of your rig, try to stick to gaming hardware. Pro audio gear is meant to serve a very different purpose. With audio gear you'll be paying for converters, amps, and connectivity you don't even need, which is money better invested in the features you WILL need as a gamer. A good internal card like you have now will give you all you need, with room to grow - surround sound, 3d sound, eq/tone shaping options, etc... You're on the right track with the card you already have. You don't really need, or want, a pro audio interface for a gaming rig. It'll work. It'll take sound from your PC, and get it to your speakers. But it's not going to have the features, parts, and details you want for gaming.
Old 14th January 2018
  #53
Gear Nut
 

lol - for the record, I've lurked on this forum for a looong long time. This is the first time I've ever felt the need to create an account and log in, because for once I thought I had something useful to contribute. There's a lot of people here that know a buttload about gear, recording, and engineering. Some incredible, award winning, talented folks. But this isn't the place I'd seek advice on a gaming rig.


Also, a question: How are you connecting the speakers to the card, and have you tried testing a different set of speakers to see if the buzz is still there?
Old 14th January 2018
  #54
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arr0wHead View Post
Also, a question: How are you connecting the speakers to the card, and have you tried testing a different set of speakers to see if the buzz is still there?
With a 3.5 jack to doublr xlr cable(a few posts above I linked the precise model).

No buzz with other speakers, but they are passive ones...
Old 14th January 2018
  #55
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arr0wHead View Post
For mixing, you want nice flat accurate speakers that will ACCURATELY reveal the low, midrange, and high end details of your recording. When LISTENING to audio, or gaming, typically you want speakers that will make everything sound good. Pro audio monitors aren't what you want there, they will actually sound a bit sterile, boring, and lifeless compared to a good set of home audio speakers, or gaming speakers.
Your description is more than accurate.
But beside gaming, there is also music.
As I said the use of my speakers is for 80% gaming and 20% music listening.
After the JBLs purchase this ratio changed to 70 - 30,
and the tendency is to be 60 - 40.
I hear a lot of music with my JBLs.
Music listening is magic with these beauties,
as I can hear things that I didn’t know they exist even in my favorite songs!
Negative and positive things.
Its like the emperor without its clothes!
But its really entertaining.
With these speakers I enjoy listening music,
as I never enjoyed it before.
This another reason I think about purchasing an audio device,
even if I dont have knowledge to judge if it will give me some benefits.
Folks in this forum though,
say that an audio device will be an upgrade in my case.
Old 14th January 2018
  #56
Gear Nut
 

Since you're only gaming and listening to music, and you just want a physical volume control to avoid having to navigate into the Windows sound settings, how about just getting a keyboard with volume up/down/mute keys? Not quite as nice as a physical volume knob but would allow you to adjust Windows audio volume while gaming. With the audio interfaces generally being recommended here you are going to be paying a chunk of money for quality microphone preamps and analogue-to-digital converters that you don't need if you are not recording using external microphones.
Old 14th January 2018
  #57
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Lets go another time :
I will not spent any money.
I will sell my soundcard,
and I will buy an audio device without giving a single cent.
So the question is :
Is the combination audio device+JBLs
better than the combination soundcard+JBLs
or no ?
Old 14th January 2018
  #58
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pingstream View Post
Lets go another time :
I will not spent any money.
I will sell my soundcard,
and I will buy an audio device without giving a single cent.
So the question is :
Is the combination audio device+JBLs
better than the combination soundcard+JBLs
or no ?
I answered this in great detail - NO, it will not be "better". You'll be giving up features that are great for what you need, and gaining features you don't need.

Step one - contact soundblaster with your problem. Before you buy, or sell ANYTHING.
Old 14th January 2018
  #59
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pingstream View Post
Folks in this forum though,
say that an audio device will be an upgrade in my case.
This is a recording forum. Most of the people that answered you thought you were recording. In reality, your needs are very different for what you are doing. An interface is unnecessary for what you're doing. Instead, see if you can fix the problem with your card, or sell your card and buy ANOTHER CARD for gaming.
Old 14th January 2018
  #60
Lives for gear
 
MarkF48's Avatar
Not sure if this floats your boat....
Passive two channel DI box with a level control. Unbalanced 3.5mm stereo in to balanced XLR through a transformer for isolation. The cable run to the monitors would be balanced which would reject noise better than unbalanced which you presently have. They do show an application using the audio out of PC. Not sure if there's cheaper solution, but Radial makes decent gear.

Trim-Two™ Stereo DI with Level Control
Trim Two User Guide

If you can buy from a retailer with a good return policy it would allow you to see if it did what you want. Amazon is generally easy with returns.
Amazon.com: Radial Trim-Two Passive 2-channel AV DI with Trim: Musical Instruments

Last edited by MarkF48; 14th January 2018 at 07:59 PM..
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