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I haven't done this in a while and I'm going to buy some monitors soon so I need to figure this out asap...

Basically, I have my DAW on a laptop. I need to get the output of the DAW to my studio monitors. I'm using 1/4" balanced here from the output of the USB interface into the monitors. Does the output go straight from the USB into the monitors this way? Maybe I have to choose the interface as the sound driver? I don't know. I'm sure this is an easy question for some of you and I will upvote the first correct answer promptly.

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Just to clarify, I believe you are saying that you have a laptop, and a USB audio interface that goes from USB to a pair of 1/4" balanced outputs (TRS). You are now about to buy some monitors and want to know if they will work with your current setup.

Assuming that your monitors have balanced inputs of some kind (either XLR or 1/4" TRS), they should work fine with your current setup, as long as you have the proper cables to connect them.

Yes, you will have to select your audio interface as the sound output for your computer.

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Your question does not make sense at all. If you put cable from the USB interface to the monitors, obviously the output does not go "straight from the USB into the monitors" because there is the USB interface in between. It does buffering, upsampling, D/A conversion, line driving and so on. That's what it is for in the first place. And "so I need to figure this out asap" doesn't mean that there is a necessity of "figuring this out" in theory before having the monitors there.

Naturally your soundcard will be configured as the output for that. It sounds like you have it there already, so it should even be easy enough to test your setup using headphones or whatever. If they are not copying the line-out anyway, you'll have to visit some menu or something in order to select them as output, and the same something will allow you to select the line outs.

Your main problem will be to have the right kind of cables matching the sockets in your sound card and your monitors.

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