Looking for opinions on a budget DAC/AMP/MIXER setup.

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Foxtropics, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Foxtropics

    Foxtropics n00bie

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    My setup I'm going for is a bit on the weird side possibly. I recently purchased a pair of Massdrop HD6XX, and was looking for a DAC/AMP/MIXER combo to replace my old archaic setup.

    Currently I use ATH-M50x's, but I wanted to also get a pair of open back headphones. I stream on Twitch and need a mixed audio setup so I can hear my PC and my game audio at the same time. Currently I have an old Philips stereo that has a built in mixer that I run my PC and TV audio into then use the headphone out on that. However it won't be nearly powerful enough to power the HD6XX so I figured it's time to refresh the whole setup. I came across a few options, but was hoping to get some opinions on them.

    Since I am not looking for anything super complex but I still want it to sound half way decent. I came across the Behringer MS40 desktop monitors. They have a built in DAC/AMP/MIX for 180 dollars. I have no clue how good of quality the internal DAC/AMP is though since I can't find any reviews specifically on that part of them. I don't know if the built in amp would be enough to drive the HD6XX or not, or how good it would sound through them. They were appealing though because it would be a cheaper "one and done" setup.

    The TV and PC into input 1 and 2 on the monitors, then headphones into the speaker headphone jack and done. However I'm not sure that is the best way to do it.

    My other option was a Schiit Magni 3/Modi 2/Rolls MX42. This would be a bit more complex and more expensive but should sound better. PC USB into Modi, TV out and Modi out into the MX42, then the MX42 out into the Magni. From there I can use either my M50x's or the HD6XX's. As well as go from the Magni to my current speakers or replace them with another set of powered monitors. I was looking at the Mackie CR4s as an alternative to the Behringer MS40's in this case.

    The DAC from my pc into the mixer would give me a better dac than my on board sound card, I would still have my audio mix from the MX42, and still be able to power the HD6XX through the Magni. Should I want to use speakers, I would have the option of using the Magni's preamp pass through. It should be noted that the MX42 is a passive mixer. So knowing that, I'm hoping that the Magni 3 would still have enough power for the 300ohm drivers.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on this set up? I figure at first I don't NEED the Modi, since my on board sound card should suffice for now. But the mixer and headphone amp are necessary. Sorry if this was a bit long, but I wanted to try to make it clear what I was looking to accomplish from this setup. I'm running on a limited budget, so just trying to get a "cheap" half decent setup to do what I need.

    The MS40 is by far the cheapest option, but it's end result is unknown. The Magni/Modi/MX42 is significantly more expensive, especially if I add in another set of monitors on top that and the interconnects. Looking at around 250 for the DAC/AMP/MIX then another 170-250 for monitors on the cheaper side. Thanks for the help in advance.
     
  2. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    The MS40 is like Logitech plastic computer speakers. Tinny and boxy in a cardboard way. I don't recommend. Also the Mackies in that size are very questionable.

    The only real small desktop speaker that I know of, that can produce decent sound (at limited volume though) is the Vanatoo transparent zero.
     
  3. Foxtropics

    Foxtropics n00bie

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    I see, like I mentioned in my main post, the only reason I was interested in the MS40's is because they seem to be the cheapest "all in one" solution. I definitely didn't expect them to be the "best" solution though. I think right now I'm just looking at doing the Magni 3 and Rolls MX42 combo. I can add the DAC and new speakers later. If anyone else has opinions on the MS40's or Mackies to share though I'd be open to more. I've read reviews and I can definitely see how they can be very mixed.

    I'm mainly just really curious if anyone has experience with the headphone output on the MS40's though. They would just sort of be a "It's there if I need it" speaker, and I'd mainly be using the built in dac and mixer. I don't know how good they would sound driving the HD6XX though so I'm hesitant to buy them. I won't have my HD6XX until mid July though, so I have plenty of time to figure out what set up I want to go with.
     
  4. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Mayflower ARC might do some of the things that you want to do. According to them the mic input on the front will convert the analog signal to digital and show in Windows via the USB input. Then it also has an analog out for the mic so that you can run it into a mixer or whatever else you might need to do with it. It has an optical in for consoles. Made in the USA with a 10 year warranty.

    Give them a call and explain to them what you're trying to do and maybe the ARC will be part of the solution for you. The RCA on the back are outputs.


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  5. Foxtropics

    Foxtropics n00bie

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    Hmm, I'm not sure that device will do exactly what I'm trying to do. I need to mix at least 2, preferably 3 audio sources. I use a Blue Yeti desktop mic, but I don't use that as part of the mix since that is USB and not XLR.

    I was looking at the Behringer Q1202USB as an alternative to the Rolls MX42 but I think the Behringer does actually more than I would need. The DAC I don't think is super important right at first. Mainly I just need to mix 2 sources before the headphone amp, then the headphone amp needs RCA out for speakers. That's one reason why the Magni 3 looked so appealing because it fits the bill perfectly with the Rolls mixer.

    Does anyone have direct experience with the Magni 3? Does the volume knob on it change the RCA output level? Or is the RCA a line level output? I figure I will be about 50% speakers, 50% headphones most of the time. Speakers will not have to be super loud and I don't want a lot of bass with the speakers since I have a small room and people I don't want to easily disturb.