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Simple but decent USB audio output amp.

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Karel Voners
Simple but decent USB audio output amp.
on Mar 3, 2017 at 10:38:58 pm

Was still running an ancient mbox2 micro as a USB audio device. I was forced to upgrade to OS X sierra and now there are no working drivers to find. I'm looking for a similar solution, I don't need inputs. Only a good quality pre amp. Preferably driverlesss... anyone suggestions? I'm a premiere pro editor. Thanks! K.


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Bruce Watson
Re: Simple but decent USB audio output amp.
on Mar 4, 2017 at 1:38:52 am

I take it you're looking for a headphone preamp since you didn't say. When I edit with PPro, I'm using headphones, which is why I'm making that assumption. Well, that and the Digidesign Mbox 2 micro is a usb headphone amp.

The Grace Design m9xx (made for MassDrop) is quite good, and no I'm not letting mine go. 😉 But you can find them used on eBay on occasion. Many of the USB headphone amps are really quite good these days, and affordable. Apogee makes the Groove, OPPO has the HA-2, Focusrite Scarlett Solo, Audeze Deckard, AudioQuest DragonFly Black (which is tiny). There are dozens of others; there are even a couple of tube preamps out there.

A lot depends on what headphones you're trying to drive. The Grace Design m9xx will drive just about anything. Some of the others will be a little more picky. That said, I only have direct experience with the Grace.


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Karel Voners
Re: Simple but decent USB audio output amp.
on Mar 4, 2017 at 7:31:49 am

Thank you for your detailed recommendation Bruce, I didn't know the mbox micro was headphones only. I do use it to drive a larger amp which is connected to bookshelf speakers. Was this not recommended perhaps? I have a pair of sennheiser hd25 headphones. But I mainly edit using speakers. Thanks a lot!


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Bruce Watson
Re: Simple but decent USB audio output amp.
on Mar 4, 2017 at 2:44:22 pm
Last Edited By Bruce Watson on Mar 4, 2017 at 3:29:09 pm

[Karel Voners] "I do use it to drive a larger amp which is connected to bookshelf speakers. Was this not recommended perhaps? I have a pair of sennheiser hd25 headphones. But I mainly edit using speakers."

In that case, most of the equipment I mentioned would be inappropriate. What you're looking for is often called a "monitor controller". Grace Design makes several. Benchmark makes some that are well regarded. Dangerous Music Monitor ST. Crane Song Avocet. There are dozens more. It's hard to find ones that are USB input, most are XLR input.

For USB, it's much more common to find combination boxes called "interfaces" which include XLR mic inputs, mic amps, phantom power, and ADC that you don't necessarily want. The pure monitor controllers however tend to cost more...

You've exhausted what little knowledge I have on the subject. Hopefully someone else who knows more will chime in.

[Edit]: Most of the monitor controllers are supplying line-out on XLR to feed active monitors. It sounds like you'd still need to feed that signal to an amplifier and take the output of that to your passive speakers via speaker wire. I don't know of any USB input to power amplifier speaker wire output boxes. That would be... interesting, but I'm not sure there's be much of a market for it.


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Peter Groom
Re: Simple but decent USB audio output amp.
on Mar 6, 2017 at 11:08:02 am

The Focusrite Sapphire is good quality, small and low cost - and RED like all good focusrite kit!
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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