Audio interface vs monitor controller?

Do you have questions about Desktop Video, Converters, Routers and Monitoring?
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blaket

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Audio interface vs monitor controller?

PostWed Nov 29, 2023 12:44 pm

First time trying to connect a pair of reference speakers to my laptop. One store has suggested to get an audio interface (PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2 USB-C Interface) while the other thinks all I need is a monitor controller (Palmer Monicon Passive Monitor Controller) . The monitor controller was suggested as I only need to playback sound whilst picture editing and I’m not needing to record any sound etc. The monitor controller seems to be a much simpler and more cost effective way and is connected to the laptop via the minijack port as opposed to the USB-C port with the Audio interface option. The store that suggested the audio interface said it’s better because of the quality as it’s converting to or from analog. But I’m told by the other store that my laptop already has that feature and and that’s what the minijack is for.

I guess at the end of the day since I got a good pair of speakers I don’t want to compromise any quality. Can anyone help me decide?
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georget

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Re: Audio interface vs monitor controller?

PostWed Nov 29, 2023 1:04 pm

I'd opt for an audio interface if using up a usb port isn't a problem, because using the 3.5mm jack option would compromise quality in any case (but nothing terrible). Good thing about those suggested devices is they have a volume control easily accessible too. You ideally want to just get the audio from the laptop to the monitor/speakers in the cleanest way possible, might not even need something as spec'd out as the presonus device. If the speakers are active (built in amp) and only have analog inputs you probably be best going with a simple usb audio interface like the one suggested.

I guess when it comes to what the system audio (playback) device is, the monitor controller would just simply ride off the onboard soundcards 3.5mm analog output, but with the presonus for instance you'd be selecting that as the default system audio device.

If you can get something like the monitor controller with usb connectivity, or any digital connection type (i.e., thunderbolt) which is suited for your laptop, that could be a perfect solution.
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blaket

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Re: Audio interface vs monitor controller?

PostThu Nov 30, 2023 12:50 am

Hey George thanks for the reply. I can understand what you mean about a usb-c connection being better. The store that recommended the audio interface did suggest a less spec’d out option (Presonus AudioBox GO Ultra-Compact Mobile 2x2 USB-C Audio Interface) but just having a look at the back it uses different cables to connect to the speaker than the other two options. They are balanced TRS cables. Not sure if this makes a difference but the guy did say that the more expensive one would be better sound quality… sorry this is my first time with speakers so I really just don’t know! Any suggestions on other audio interfaces?
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georget

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Re: Audio interface vs monitor controller?

PostThu Nov 30, 2023 1:25 am

If the speakers/monitors you'll be using have xlr inputs on them then using a trs (1/4") jack to xlr (male socket) balanced cables is what's used there. As for other audio interface suggestions this could depend on budget, and if any other audio connectivity options are actually required, but it seems that even the cheaper presonus interface mentioned should do the job fine and with good quality, for a basic monitoring setup at the least.
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