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Why not connect RME UFX XLR outs directly to a power amp? Monitor Controllers
Old 2nd September 2015
  #1
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Why not connect RME UFX XLR outs directly to a power amp?

That is, without a preamp or monitor controller between balanced line-level output and the power amplifier? The only reason I can think of is that any glitch in TotalMix could spike the output and damage speakers/hearing. But theoretically —*and TotalMix has been rock-solid IMHO —*is there any other advantage to having a preamplifier between interface outputs and the power amp?

I am asking more out of curiosity than any desire to actually do this —the possibility of the UFX's digital volume control going haywire, while minuscule, does warn me off trying it. But it seems like in theory, one could drive monitors nicely through a power amp, say a Pass/threshold or ADCOM, etc., and put the savings into better monitors. (Maybe insert a fuse before the power amp?) Thoughts?
Old 2nd September 2015
  #2
Haven't tried it myself but don't see any reason not to trust it. However, I'd still put some kind of protection in place, but that's just me. Right now my monitoring configuration is UFX > AES > Mytek Stereo 192 > Adcom GFA 535 II > Monitors. With the Mytek, it's nice to be able to control headphone and amp volume quickly from one knob, as well as assign function buttons to do certain things like listen in mono, which you can do similar things with the UFX alone. However, I have the volume knob on the Mytek set to Analog mode.

I would make sure the controls are pre-set for use with an external amp ahead of time. One nice feature of my Adcom is that the speaker A/B on/off switches are within arms length, in case I need to quickly mute the amp. When shutting off the power, the output hangs on for a bit and then fades away.

Last edited by Aural Endeavors; 2nd September 2015 at 08:03 PM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 3rd September 2015
  #3
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Thanks so much for that thoughtful reply! Glad to hear it can be done. Now I wonderful if one could build a fuse into a XLR barrel and have it be sonically transparent…*hmm. How do you like the Mytek, by the way?
Old 3rd September 2015
  #4
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Ever since I ditched the analogue console, I've always had my powered monitors hooked up straight to the audio interface. (Currently PSI A25's connected to Prism). Nothing in between. I have so far never had any problems.

EDIT: I have the trims on the PSI's set so that even full scale audio from the interface doesn't overload them. It also means that if I react fast enough if anything ever goes wrong, it won't damage my hearing either. Maybe unpleasant and a bit of a fright but no permanent damage. You could do the same with a powered amp. Set it so that even a full scale signal won't damage your monitors or ears.

Alistair
Old 3rd September 2015
  #5
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Hmm, appreciate that. No trims on the power amps I'm considering, but maybe something as simple as a Level Pilot could do the job post-DA.
Old 3rd September 2015
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandermatheso View Post
How do you like the Mytek, by the way?
I use it for its feature set and portability more than anything else. Honestly I'd be perfectly happy using the UFX D/A if only conversion quality was considered. However, I had Mytek mod it for better bass response when using my Jerry Harvey IEMs; those can be picky about output impedence from the amp, I've found. Near zero Ohms is best for them. The UFX has plenty of power to drive all my headphones, however.
Old 6th September 2015
  #7
I have my Adams hooked directly to RME UFX. The UFX rack is close enough to me to turn down the volume etc. I've thought the same question as you but I can't see an added benefit for me since the Adams are powered. However, for me personally the less connections I need to make the better (unless it is a choice for better sound / different monitor sets etc). Analogue attenuators would be my preference. Finally, it comes down to income/expense. Essentially where my money is best placed. However, I am an enthusiast not professional so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
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