So you’ve set up an excellent home recording system, but you notice that your headphones are just too low. Moreover, maybe you want to add multiple headphones, but the more you add, the lower the volume on each gets!
How can you fix this?
You will need a headphone amplifier.
In this article, we show you how to connect a headphone amp to an audio interface.
How Do I Connect My Headphone Amp to My Audio Interface?
Here are the exact steps you need to follow to connect your headphone amplifier to your audio interface:
1. Get Your Audio Equipment in Order
At this point, start by deciding whether you want to establish a mono or stereo connection. If you require an option that’s easier to set up, you should consider “mono.”
If you’ve opted for “Mono,” you should buy a patch lead for “mono” connections.
If you prefer stereo, start by assessing the connection leads that your technology takes. If your audio interface uses RCA leads and the phone amplifier patch leads, buy them.
In this case, you require a connection lead that adapts the two to each other. The ends of the connection lead should be “male.”
2. Mate Your Connecting Cables with Your Audio Interface
Insert the patch lead (connecting cable) into the first output on your audio interface. It should be labeled “mono.”
Note: You’ll have two options depending on your device’s model. It would be best if you went for the first one. You’ll likely find it on your left.
If you have numerous options, go for the one labeled “1” if not in use.
Insert the two leads into the “L” and “R” outputs. Be sure your leads are plugged into the correct sockets.
3. Mate the Connecting Cable with Your Headphone Amp
Insert the remaining end of the patch leads into the headphone amp’s input. It should be labeled “mono.” Alternatively, you can use the left socket labeled “L.”
Carefully insert the leads into the right input sockets. The red should go into the socket marked “R.” Simultaneously, the white one should go to the left, “L.”
4. Position Your Head Amplifier Properly
Start by putting your headphone amplifier wherever you want it to go. After that, neaten up the attendant patch cable you are using to connect these two devices.
5. Switch On
Connect your headphone amplifier to the power outlet. Switch your device on and start enjoying the enhanced listening experience.
Can You Use An Amp as An Audio Interface?
Many modern headphone amplifiers are equipped with quality USB ports. So, you can use a USB cable to connect your amp to your computer. If you can do this, you can use the amp as an audio interface. You can select the amp in your DAW preferences.
Do Headphone Amps Always Improve Sound Quality?
Connecting a headphone amp to your audio interface typically provides a considerable audible improvement in details, dynamics, and clarity. If you have low-impedance headphones, it can help to make it louder.
However, adding a headphone amp can’t improve the overall sound quality if you have low-quality or low-impedance headphones. In other words, you should choose high-quality headphones if you’re interested in taking advantage of your headphone amp to improve your experience.
Do You Really Need An Audio Interface?
If you have sound cards shipped on desktop computers and laptops, you might be tempted to ask whether you need an audio interface. You may have seen some audiophiles use these cards to improve the loudness and quality of sound.
If you have these sound cards and are asking whether you need an audio interface, the answer is, “yes, you most likely do.” An audio interface guarantees you the best audio quality that’s required for professional music production.
Most sound cards shipped with laptops and desktop computers lack this quality. In other words, you can have the freedom to choose either of them if you’re not interested in quality music production.
However, if you are into professional music production, you need an audio interface and should learn to connect your headphone amp to it.
How Do I Know If My Headphones Don’t Require Headphone Amps?
You can improve the quality of your music by using headphone amps with inbuilt digital-to-analog converters (DAC). This particularly applies if you are listening to your music on desktop computers, tablets, and laptops.
If you have a portable device, consider using a “line output” to connect to the headphone amp to get this kind of result. Alternatively, you can use the headphone jack to transmit the signals over to your headphone.
Nevertheless, there are instances when you do not require a headphone amp. So, you need to know whether you should consider this device an unnecessary investment.
If you have purchased a modern ear headphone or earphone, it might have been designed to efficiently work with most portable devices like smartphones. So, you need to find out whether your devices are that highly efficient and can deliver quality sound without the help of a headphone amp.
If you are using headphones with noise-canceling features, you don’t need to determine whether you need the amp. They have built-in headphone amplifiers. So, you’ll have quality sound without connecting your headphone amp to the audio interface. Please note that the built-in amps are also designed to prevent external headphone amps from adding significant value to the sound.
Overall, you only need to acquire and connect your external headphone amp to the audio interface if your ear headphone or earphone lacks an inbuilt amp.
What Are The Key Features to Consider When Selecting Audio Interfaces?
If you want to choose the correct audio interface, here are what you should consider:
- Cost: Budget-friendly audio interfaces currently deliver top-notch sound. You can consider cheaper options if you’re on a tight budget.
- Compatibility: Most modern audio interfaces are cross-platform compatible. However, you should ensure your chosen option is compatible with the operating system your device is currently running on.
- Connectivity: Ensure the interface can connect to whatever ports are available on your computer. You can connect with adaptors if need be.
- Ins and Outs: Your current and future requirements should help you decide whether you need more or fewer ins-and-outs.
Do Audio Interfaces Have Headphone Amp?
Some audio interfaces come with a headphone amp, while others do not. If you are connecting headphones to your interface the device likely has an integrated one built right in.
Does an Audio Interface Work as a DAC?
In most cases, you can use an audio interface as a DAC. However, in some instances, an audio interface won’t function as a DAC and it won’t provide any amplification of its own. An external Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) is needed to process the digital signal into analog that can be sent to amplifiers for playback.
The DAC will need at least one optical or coaxial input port which you’ll connect your PC’s line out output with using either RCA cables or TOSLINK cables respectively.
This connection does not affect latency in most applications since there isn’t enough time between sending data from the source application and when it arrives at the speakers/headphones for this delay between connections to have much impact.
Because of the differences between audio interfaces and DACs, some people chose to connect their headphones to both a DAC and audio interface. However, in this case, your headphone should have 2 inputs.
Do I Need an Audio Interface for Streaming?
If you’re not planning on streaming audio to your audiences, then no, an interface is unnecessary. External sound cards can work just fine for most people.
However, if you plan on recording live, mixing tracks, and/or broadcasting video with audio (including gameplay), then consider using a dedicated digital mixer or external audio interface with its own built-in DACs and preamps.
Note that some headphones have a dedicated dac and amp. This is one of them.
With this headphone, you will enjoy:
- No lag Bluetooth-enabled performance
- At least 40 hours of playtime
- Two hot-swappable batteries
When it comes to gaming headsets, comfort matters! The ear-seal on the SteelSeries Siberia 840 keeps the sound in without creating discomfort after hours of use.We also love the multi-purpose function of this headset. Your dad will even be able to use it on Zoom calls or in louder areas to block out distractions.
Now you have all the details required to connect your headphone amp to your audio interface with considerable ease. With that said, there are often a few differences between various pieces of audio equipment on the market today. So, when planning to connect your headphone amp to your audio interface, you should remember to consult your user manual whenever you come across a feature you are not familiar with.