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Need help with choosing the right gear
Old 7th October 2019
  #1
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Need help with choosing the right gear

Hello,

I'm a total newbie and I guess that to the most of you my questions will be easy and stupid, but I'm in a serious trouble to find what gear do I really need and what to actually research and look up for. For the past three days I'm reading stuff and searching forums, but I can't find the information I need. Also sorry in advance, but I'm not 100% sure that this post should be in this forum.

My home setup will be used only for music listening and watching stuff. I currently don't have plans on recording or producing anything. I've bought the Mackies MR624 active studio monitors and currently I have them connected via RCA cables + RCA to 3.5mm mini jack directly in my desktop windows PC, which I feel is not the best possible solution - I get buzzes and crackles when I use the scroll wheel on the mouse and etc, which if my research was right I can solve with using balanced connections (XLR/TRS), which the Mackies have. Also, I briefly used them connected to an USB DJ Controller (NI Kontrol S2 MK3) via RCA cables, and I liked the sound better that way, I guess because the integrated DAC was better than the one in my PC. I also have a pair of ATH-M40x headphones, which I love. I'm planning on getting a turntable and join the vinyl hype, I've even already bought and own some decks which I cannot wait to listen to.

So, after explaining what I currently have I can finally ask what I'm searching for Obviously, I would need some kind of a DAC to connect the monitors via balanced cables to my computer. Also, I want to connect my headphones with the 6,3 mm jack to it and get a decent experience. The headphones are only 35ohms by specification, so I guess the output should not be amplified? Everyone seems to love the Scarlett 2i2, but isn't it an overkill with the mic/instrument inputs and stuff as I've told you that I will be only listening to stuff? Aren't there any multimedia DACs with balanced outs, as many people are using studio monitors for music listening nowadays, because they prefer the truer sound they have?

Now comes the trickier part of my question, which I guess the Scarlett 2i2 and all the other DACs I've researched couldn't solve? I also want to connect my future vinyl player to this device and be able to switch the source easily between my PC and the turntable, without having to mess with cables every time. Example:

I'm listening to some FLACs on my computer, but it's a Sunday morning and I feel the urge to listen to the sound of a vinyl instead with my cup of coffee. I push a button or click on something in Windows and voila, the sound coming from the speakers is now from the turntable.

Could a DAC with 2 inputs - balanced and RCA achieve this? Do I need some kind of studio monitors passive controller or something? Do I need more than one device? Really, can't answer these questions myself. I would really appreciate your help.

I live in Europe and my budget is around 250 - 300 euros.
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