Sound Devices USB Pre II


Does anyone have any experience using the Sound Devices USB Pre II as a DAC into a good headphone amp?

Coming from studio background I happen to have one of these and know that the headphone output is not very good but what about the DAC. Sound Devices makes excellent professional products.


I used to use one of those at my desk, it makes a fine dac, nothing to worry about imo (although I have only used it as a dac in a pinch, if you would like I can go grab it an use it as a dac to make sure). What amp are you thinking to use?


Thant would be appreciated.

1 Like

Any specific type of amp you would want me to try it on?

Not really, if you could summarize how it compares to any high end DAC you may be familiar with that would give me some reference as wether it’s rough like output of the headphone amp, or as I suspect it is likely be at moderate quality level. I do not imagine that is can compare directly with dedicated DAC above 500$ but if it sounds like 300 - 500$ DAC that may influence some purchasing.

Again, thanks for taking the time.

Gotcha, from previous listening using the xlr output on the back, I think it matched or exceeded a smsl su8 v2 which is very good imo. Being around the 1k mark it doesn’t compete with higher end dacs there, but it’s not supposed to. Just wondering, what headphones do you have? The built in amp in the usb pre II is decent but not amazing for more music listening, so you def would just want to use it as a dac

Lemme go run it through a few more amps to make sure

So spending some time with it and putting it through a few amps on my desk 1 setup it’s pretty solid, pretty comparable to stuff around the 300 ish range (running balanced into my switcher setup to my amps). So very solid and I think you can easily use it as a dac without missing out on much

Thanks, useful info. Never thought I would find someone who happened to have that around.

I’ll update the post when I move forward. Was looking into all sorts of options Soekris 1541 or some combination of Ares and THX or RME. Might try with the USB Pre for a while.


1 Like

I never thought I would see someone else on here with one lol

Nice nice

So. Personally I would suggest you shy away from the thx amps imo, I think you can get similar or better performance for cheaper (or more). Also the rme is a great dac if you want the features, but I don’t think it’s the greatest value if you don’t use the features that it has

1 Like