Need Help Finding Solution to Current Audio Setup!

Hey there all!

I’m new here and to posting on forums in general so I am sorry if the post is in the wrong place, etc.

I’m looking to find an all in one, or simple solution to my current audio setup.

I have a pair of HD 660s on the way, and a Shure SM7b as my daily driver for my cans and microphone.

Use case is for competitive gaming, high quality music listening and the mic is there because I like the quality it provides for my business calls and shooting the shit with buddies.

I’ve been going crazy down the research rabbit hole trying to find an audio interface with a great dac/amp to run the HD660s.

My budget is currently around $500, but if necessary can be higher.

The only solution I’ve found seems to be the Mackie big knob Studio which apparently has an absolutely garbage dac and the GoXLR which no one can attest to the quality of the amp/dac.

Not sure if any of this is true, just what I commonly hear from people.

Currently, I am running a Scarlett 6i6 (gen1) with a cloudlifter to power the mic.

For the cans, I was planning on going JDL Atom with modi3 or a JDL Element 2.

Does what I want even exist and if so is it one of the options I listed or something different?

I would love to hear about it.

If you guys think there is a better way to run this instead of an all in one I’m open ears.

Honestly, with all of this I am super flexible and would love to hear the opinions of people undoubtedly much more educated on these topics than I am.

Thanks so much for your time!

With what you have, I would actually say perhaps pick up something like a schiit magni heresy and run it from your current interface (using it as a dac) from the monitor outs, you should be good go and have a great setup. Is there any reason you are looking to upgrade the interface you have, it’s pretty solid already?

Hey M0N, thanks for the quick response!

Personally I just hate the interface because it doesn’t have good live eq options for the microphone.

Maybe I’m just stupid and don’t know how to do it but I’ve given it a good shot.

I’m actually not familiar at all with the dac quality of the Scarlett 6i6 gen 1 so if you think it’s solid paired with a decent amp I’ll most definitely take your word for it.

I most definitely do not HAVE to get rid of the Scarlett if there is the possibility to add some nice live EQ options to it via software but the default ones it comes with are awful.

I think I tried APO or something like that too but it wouldn’t work with it.

In regards to why I want the upgrade it’s really more of a “wanting to get the most potential out of the gear” type thing (within a reasonable budget of course).

So, I would actually point you towards a nice simple channel strip for the mic like the dbx 286s, and you would connect this to a line in to your scarlett. That would give you a better mic preamp, a nice analog compressor and deesser, a really simple somewhat kinda eq (they call it lf detail and hf detail, essentially adjusts the bass and treble so not super precise but actually sounds pretty good. Also a nice expander too. If you needed more fine eq for the mic you could grab a VST host and a nice eq plugin (easy to do)

Regarding the interface side of things, I think if you really wanted to be taking a step up in interface quality you would be looking at a ua apollo twin mk2 or sound devices usbpre2, but I think those are most likely out of budget (with this option you wouldn’t go with the dbx processor). Otherwise I would just stick with what you have imo.

For headphones I would just grab that external amp as the 660s isn’t that picky in terms of amps and if you get a nice clean amp you will be well off imo

1 Like

Thanks for the advice!

I’ll definitely try that Magni heresy out with the gen 1 6i6 and let you know how it goes.

In regards to the mic preamp, I’m definitely interested that looks like a really solid option.

Does upgrading to the Apollo twin mk2 give me the benefit of a Really solid dac/amp for the 660’s, as well as the options of the preamp you mentioned?

Or maybe upgrade to a newer Scarlett?

Yes. It would pretty much be an all in one imo

You got a nice setup going.
I would take the 6i6 as a center piece and build a setup arround it. Take the Line-outputs in the back of the 6i6 and direct that to your headphone amp of choice.

As @M0N said, get a mic-preamp like the DBX 286s or ART Tube MP - Project Series. The later does not have the finesse of the DBX and will color the sound, saves on footprint though.
Either option could be sent through the front inputs of the 6i6 or the rear line ins.

Software has the potential cause you some headache. Not sure what Focusrite Control allowes you to do, so it may require some fiddling with software like Voicemeeter to pipe multiple audio streams through the 6i6, but it can be done.

I would actually suggest looking for a used ProChannel II instead of the tube mp if you want an ART product as imo that won’t handle the sm7b well, and also the prochannel has way more features

Correct, latency will also potentially be an issue, I would recommend using something like VSTHost and a nice eq vst plugin and go that route. If you go with the UA Apollo that has it’s own software and can emulate analog preamps by actually adjusting the sound of the built in preamps (not eq) so that’s pretty sick and more painless. But you wouldn’t really need the plugins either if you go for the prochannel or the dbx imo

1 Like

Was more thinking software to mix audio before piping it into the ASIO stream, which is exclusive to one programm. So for Discord, WebEx, etc., music player and games to all come out as one, you would have to use a software mixer before the interface or have multiple interfaces and a hardware mixer.

You could do that as well, but it would add complexity that might not be needed

1 Like