Help Choosing DAC/Amp

Hello all, new here. I’ve scoured the internet and can’t seem to address my exact needs. Currently I’m using the onboard sound on an Asus Maximus XI Code and a gen 3 Astro Mixamp and an Astro A40 TR. as well as Logitech Z906 speakers. I’m looking to upgrade the headphone dac/amp and headphones and have found lots of good information on headphones and mics. I haven’t been able to figure out which dac/amp will allow me to use both my headset and my speakers just as I have been.

I’m currently feeding the mixamp with an optical from the Z906 which is fed by an optical from the mobo. Right now it’s just a matter of turning the mixamp on or off to use the headset. I picked up a creative G6 but it introduced some irregularities. To use it I had to disable onboard sound, delete all drivers etc. This is normal. What is odd is my keyboard and the g6 itself do not control master system volume anymore or mute. The only volume or mute that works now is on the Z906 command unit which wasn’t the case before. I’m looking for an upgrade but I also don’t want to make too many ease of use compromises. Your help is greatly appreciated and my apologies for the long post. Just trying to be thorough.

So you could either get something like a schiit hel, or get a more complicated setup that I tend to prefer which I will link because I recently discussed it in a different thread (if you read the thread I go into more info)

Thank you so much for the reply. So for my needs I need to get the Focusrite so I have an upgrade path, clean mic. In addition I need the dac which would be a JDS labs atom. Is that correct?

I’m unclear on how I would hook them all up. The focusrite will connect via usb to the pc and the atom to the Focusrite. So what goes back to the Z906? Will it be stereo only or 5.1 etc? Will I no longer need the mobo sound card? Your previous post mentions plugging in the mobo until they got the Focusrite.

The Scarlett would act as the dac and the atom is a separate amp that would be connected to the line out of the Scarlett

Also what microphone are you using right now? And will you be planning to upgrade your headphones? I would highly suggest that imo

USB from PC to Scarlett, 1/4 inch to rca to Atom

You would want to continue to use optical to connect your Logitech speaker system because otherwise you won’t get multichannel (as that’s the case with most higher end dac/amps as they are not made for multichannel)

Right now I’m using the A40’s. I plan on going with either the Phillips SHP9500s or the Phillips X2HR and a Moda Boom Mic Pro based on watching Zeos’ in depth coverage.

I misunderstood the optical. So I would continue to utilize my mobo soundcard in addition to this equipment in order to feed it optical?!

So this setup is mainly for upgrading the mic and the headphones, not really touching the speakers as you really can’t do anything with that setup as it’s a closes system, do you would just have to continue to use optical with that if you wanted multichannel. This might not exactly be what you are looking for unfortunately

Also for headphones, might I suggest the beyerdynamic dt880 600 ohm for gaming? I think if you get a dac amp setup it would be a big upgrade from the shps or x2s. If you get the Scarlett as well you can get a xlr mic like the Shure sm48lc

Yes. The changes were mainly for the headphones and mic. The audio quality of them is subpar and I would like something better. Additionally I like the upgrade path in the event I get into streaming. Overall the sound quality of the mobo and the speakers has been fine. I use my setup mostly for gaming/productivity so I don’t need to get too crazy on that end and music is minimal. If I’m reading your response correctly then this works and I’ll go with that. Thanks so much. Hopefully this is as seamless as the old setup since the creative option was kind of a nightmare from a user standpoint.

Thanks for the recommendation on the headset. I’ll check it out. I was staying away from the Beyers due to the integrated cables.

The cables are very durable, I think they are built very well for their price. For streaming, having an xlr mic like the Shure is something you really want to have to give your audience a good experience, and also with the Beyer’s to give yourself a good experience lol. Also they are fairly neutral so you can edit content on them well if you want to get into YouTube or something. The 880 600 ohm are just great for gaming (top pick under 200 for me imo) and also very enjoyable for music too

Great information. I’ll take a look. I checked out some xlr mics I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go the the mic/boom/shock mount/pop filter setup yet. I know the audio is far superior. Just not sure if I’m ready to game with a boom in my face.

I really appreciate all of the information.

Lol yeah that’s a whole nother thing to figure out

Ok so which cable do I need for the atom to Focusrite? I googled and then ran into this and I’m not sure which to get now.

You can either get adapters like this and then just grab a regular rca cable:

Or some cables like this:

So I don’t have to worry about balanced vs unbalanced?

Also saw this the comments section:

“ I use cables similar to this, which I think it’s better:

However, I think there can be a THD+N penalty with the 2i2 when using unbalanced connectors. An active balanced to unbalanced solution might be better. However, most off the shelf ones are worse than the cable solution. There are some ebay bare board solutions though.”

I saw a few things but wasn’t sure which would be best.

TISINO Dual 1/4 inch TS to Dual RCA Stereo Audio Interconnect Cable Patch Cable Cords -3.3 ft

Or these two together

RCA to 1/4 MOBOREST RCA to 6.35mm Mono Plug TS Audio Adaptor 1/4 in Male to RCA Female Phono Pure Copper Color Paint Adapter Coupler Connector, (1Red+1Blue)

AmazonBasics 2-Male to 2-Male RCA Audio Stereo Subwoofer Cable - 4 Feet

Yeah those would work just fine. You can’t run them balanced, but really it’s not noticable besides volume for balanced vs unbalanced with the scarlett 3 gen, it’s really nothing to worry about

Thanks again.

Ok so I have everything hooked up. I get sound but not clear on which thing the mic/headset should be plugged into.

So do you have a headset splitter and also the antlion xlr adapter? You are still using the astro a40 correct?

I bought only the items mentioned previously.

I have the two headsets not sure which one I’ll keep. The headset with the mods boom pro and a 1/4” adapter

The atom connected to the Focusrite with the adapters and RCA cables.

Gotcha, so above I did mention you would need a mic adapter

You would need to pick up one of those

Damn. I must have missed that part.