Tube Amp + Audio Interface?

AlexAquila00

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Jul 1, 2017
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Hey everyone, I don't know anything about audio setups but I'm trying to understand it the best I can. Apparently, an audio interface can replace an Amplifier/DAC combo. I basically want to listen to music on low-impedance cans below around 40 so I don't need an amp but I'm assuming a tube amp would make the sound "better". I'm a huge basshead and like the idea of warmer sound so a tube amp seemed attractive even though I don't need one. At the same time, I have an XLR microphone that would sound better on an audio interface. Therefore, should I get a tube amplifier and an audio interface or just the audio interface, etc. Thanks!

Edit: I forgot some important details! The headphones with below 40 ohms of impedance are meant for gaming like the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X or Creative Aurvana Live! 2. However, to listen to music and to monitor audio I'll be using the Shure SE215. Basically, I'm using two headphones for two purposes which is probably important, sorry.
 

True Buie

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Aug 29, 2016
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Heyo AlexAquila00

So let me get this right... you want to run a tube amplifier of your audio interface? There's no real problem in this other than the audio interface might not have the cleanest DAC ever, but it will certainly work. I'm currently using an audio interface as my DAC until my new DAC arrives. As of now I'm using a Focusrite Scarlett solo with a DarkVoice 336se tube amp. They go quite well together.

To actually make your audio interface connect up to the tubes it'll need to have RCA outputs on the back (Or where ever they're placed). Now just simply connect the audio interface and tube together and boom. Tubes on the audio interface. If there's an amp in the audio interface you'll be able control the gain on that as well as on the tube. So before you crank the volume, please start at like 10% or something. There's no need to blow anything.

Tbh. I don't think you know what you want yet. I'm not saying you're lost, but you kind of sound like me in the beginning of me wanting a tube. I'd probably suggest you to "get tired" of clean sound from solid states before moving onto tubes. Of course you can go tubes as the first, but I'd say experiment with music you like clean and then go tubes on them ^^
A tube doesn't necessarily make the sound "better", just different. Personally I love tubes on my HD800's, but not so much on my DT770's. The warmer sound isn't always a good thing fx. my HD800's gets a nice thick low-end sound but the sound stage shrinks a little. My DT770's loses a little too much of its immersive low, hence why I don't like them on the tubes.

But just go ahead and experiment with it.

Cheers
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
I don't think you're at the level of headphone where I'd start considering a tube amp. I'd get a few pair of audiophile grade headphones before I'd start thinking about changing the sound with tubes. And like True Buie says not all headphones pair well with tubes.
 

AlexAquila00

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Jul 1, 2017
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Will you be adding the DAC into your setup and use it with the audio interface or will you replace the audio interface entirely? If so, how would you use a microphone in the setup?
 

True Buie

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Aug 29, 2016
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I am planning on changing my DAC out completely, yes. Planning on getting either the O2/ODAC og Aune X1. So my own sound will come from the DAC while my microphone will still be running through the XLR interface on my audio interface. Currently using my XLR AT2020 and planning on just having it on the audio interface.
 
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