What is the best external sound interface?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by karotto, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. karotto

    karotto Guest

    Hi there,
    I have much music stored in uncompressed format on my computer. I woudl like to buy an interface that takes this digital data and converts it the best way to analog and then hooks up to my (state of the art) amp. I only need it for playback and not recording and obviously I only need 2 channels. I want the best, most pristine sounding device that gives me the best D/A conversion that technology currently has to offer. What device should I get? I was looking at the Edirol UA-1EX but they don't even list the signal to noise ratio or dynamic range. I have spent much time and I find it very hard to find reviews of audio interfaces of such sort. I have a laptop so only Firewire or USB2 are an option.
    What I am trying to do is to set up a large hall (300sq m, 3100 sq ft) with a great sounding system. Mayve I do not need an interface at all since I got optical out. Maybe these large amps do have an optical input?
    Any suggestions are very, very much appreciated. Thank you.
    One other thought
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Sorry in advance if I seem sarcastic....

    You state that you have state of the art amps and that you are looking for the absolute best way to convert digital to analog and yet you mention Edirol, a budget line of semi-pro audio...

    I would request that you define state of the art amps and specify a price range for your potential puprose.

    for high-end digital to analog conversion, your choices would be:

    Lavry gold
    Ed Meitner

    and potential others. however, these choices range between 5 and 50 times the price of the edirol.


  3. karotto

    karotto Guest


    thanks for your reply. Well, does more expensive automatically mean better? I did not want to just assume that automatically. The specs of the edirol UA-1EX seem fine but then again that's why I am posting here to find out why other one's are more expensive and better. Alright, maybe I went over the top a bit. I had no idea how expensive things can get. Let's say for a budget of $500 max. Also, I recently realized that my Powerbook has optical output. Maybe I could find a great amp that has optical in and then I would not need an interface all together? I am trying to outfit a large dance hall with a sound system, but again, quality is extremely important to me. Thanks again
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    More expensive doesn't always mean better, but it's often a good indicator. especially if it's a popular piece. People wouldn't keep shelling out the dough if it sucked.

    Just as price doesn't always mean anything, specs rarely mean anything at all.

    For the $500 price point, you're quite restricted, but there are good pieces to be had. Both RME and Lucid have DA converters for around $500 that are quite nice.

    Personally, I would up the $$ a bit and go for the Benchark DAC1 for ~$1000. It's very very nice and you'd have to pay a lot more to get any better.

    As for the amp with optical....i'm not familiar with any that have that, but even if it did, I certainly wouldn't use it. It's very dificult to build good digital into an amp - noise is the primary concern, power supplies would be secondary.

  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    My question is - What are you going to hook your "external interface" to, on the computer??? The possibly inferior soundcard(Or built-in sound device) already IN the computer? If so, that may be a poor start to quality, right there?

    Have you looked at the Lynx sound cards? They have 2 channel cards in the $500 range that would do everything you need and alot more, if ever needed/desired. Their analog outputs are "pristine" as it gets for the price, they are easy to use, with XLR connectors(On an included "harness" that may be long enough to reach your amp?)and, you'd have a "real" sound card, with digital I/O to boot! As mentioned, RME would be another fine choice, if they have something that suits your needs better?

    Frankly, the multi-thousand dollar "standalone" D/A's may be great, but you'll never hear the difference between them and a Lynx in a "large hall" situation(Or in most studios). Your computer and a Lynx card would be a great "base" for a very fine sound playback system.

    I wonder what you're going to use as a "player"(Software) in your computer? There are "pro disc jockey" programs that would let you run your music beautifully, allowing you to pre-plan/program/manage and automate or run it manually.

  6. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    But yes, we know you love your Lynx card. :roll: :lol:
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