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Recommendation for USB audio interface, Low output impedance, low absolute noise level
googlebot
post Mar 31 2012, 13:00
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I have a pair of excellent IEMs with 119 dB SPL/mW sensitivity, that aren't too easy to drive on conventional higher-impedance headphone outputs (2-way balanced armature, <27 ohms). I'm looking for a desktop USB interface with manual volume control, a headphone jack with low output impedance (~0 ohms), and a low absolute noise floor (due to the low sensitivity). Many manufacturers post their SNR figures, which do not help me decide, whether the latter requirement is really fulfilled. For example, with the IEMs plugged into an onboard Realtek ALC261 output, which has got a SNR close to 100dB, I can hear the SSD working.

I had a look at the E-MU 020x devices, which seem to be great, but their 22 ohm headphone output jack looks like a constraint for the intended usage.

Could you recommend anything else?

*** Edit: I just noticed: Sorry, wrong forum. Please move to 'Audio Hardware' if you find the time.

This post has been edited by googlebot: Mar 31 2012, 13:14
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xnor
post Mar 31 2012, 22:12
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Is the HUD-mx1 usb isolated? If not it might not get rid of the noise. Either way, please let us know what you think about it once you get it.
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googlebot
post Apr 1 2012, 09:52
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Unfortunately I had read about the HUD-mx1's actual output impedance of 5 ohms after I had placed my order and immediately tried to cancel it. Due to the weekend it should have been early enough, lets wait and see how good their customer service is.

A headphone amp with high input and low output impedance should be sufficient in my case. The amp's input could then be driven in a voltage range, where the onboard DAC can deliver its rated SNR. The amp's output could then deliver a low voltage signal (and actually work as an active attenuator) to the IEMs.

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