Jump to content
IGNORED

Moving from a DAC1?


MontyW
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

I need some good old advice on what to do... my current set-up is Mac Mini > DAC1 USB > active monitors. I have been looking at some active monitors that accept both digital and analog inputs.

 

I like the idea of taking the DAC1 out of the chain and doing either:

 

Mac Mini optical or firewire > external sound card/interface (Metric Halo/RME) > digital AES/EBU to active monitors

 

Or

 

Replace Mac Mini with Mac Pro > internal sound card (Lynx L22) > digital AES/EBU to active monitors.

 

I've had quite a bit of advice from forum members, but help me out, which route is going to give me the best and most accurate sound?

 

Monty

 

 

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Mac Pro is an excellent investment and is fully expandable, but I chose a different option for using my Benchmark DAC1 USB. I went with the recommended ‘Audiophile Reference Server For A Song’. For me it was a no brainer because I had already relatively new Windows PC that wasn’t being used for anything. My investment was thus limited to buying a Lynx AES-XLR from Sweetwater.

 

Perhaps, if I had to do it all over again I would probably buy a Lynx AESe card, even though Chris and others have stated that the AES PCI card and Windows XP drivers are slightly better than the AESe PCI express card and Vista drivers (although at least one other CA reader has disagreed). My choice at the time was just to establish a highly recommended reference music server and then move on from there. But the AESe would have allowed be to install the card in a Mac Pro computer at some point in the future, though I guess whenever I’m ready to spend $3-4K for the Mac Pro there will likely be a different and better solution.

 

My XP Music Server sounds great, I like the fact that MediaMonkey plays all my native FLAC files without any conversions, automatically adjusts the bit/sample rates to match the source music files, and my music library plays all my AIFF, WAV and FLAC files located on different drives or directories. But I still miss the iTunes library management and the Remote application I use with my iPhone.

 

I doubt that the Benchmark DAC is the weak point in your system, but if you believe it is, another option you might consider is to have your Benchmark DAC1 USB modified by Empirical Audio or use a reclocker. Of course the Berkeley Alpha DAC or the Weiss Minerva DAC are also excellent upgrades and investments.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply - very helpful.

 

I guess I don't think the DAC1 is the weak point, but of I go the digital active monitor route then it would be odd to keep the DAC1.

 

I guess what I'm asking, is if remove the DAC1 with its digital to analog conversion from the chain would it be best to go Lynx sound card or external card such as the Metric Halo kit?

 

Thanks,

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok - I sort of understand that a DAC1 will be as good and probably better than any found inside a monitor, but can I ask why Dynaudio Air monitors and Genelec DSP monitors can be bought with a digital AES/EUB XLR input?

 

Thanks,

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I chose the Lynx AES card based on the CA recommendations and my preference for 24bit/192kHz capability. Two of my firewire DACs provided this capability with my MacBook Pro, but in my opinion, neither one exceeded the performance of my reference DACs that are either inherently limited by design or connectivity to 24/96.

 

I assume the Lynx L22 card is an excellent card but its D/A output is limited to 24/96. Thus for me an external 24/192 DAC, probably in the $2-5K range, would be my likely upgrade if I had the money and desire to do so now. With a limited budget and a Windows PC, I would probably try the Asus Essence STX PCIe sound card, though again I doubt that the internal sound card would better my reference solutions.

 

I am a firm believer in system synergy and that today’s best solution is not tomorrow’s best solution, especially when it comes to computer audio. My advice is to be flexible and invest wisely.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I simply have a Mac Mini connected via Toslink into my AVI ADM9.1, which are active monitors with digital and analogue inputs, and a built-in remote-controlled pre-amp.

 

They sound stunningly good so replaced expensive separates, and are a much neater solution.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding is that monitors such as Dynaudio Air and Genelec DSP have built-in room correction features, based on DSP.

 

Since this is done in the digital domain, all analog input to the monitor must me converted to digital, processed digitally and then converted back again to analog. So offering a digital input on the monitor is very logical since it allows to bypass the A-D conversion if you already have a digital source. If you would use a DAC to feed such a monitor an analog signal, you simply have added two unnecessary conversions in your audio chain!

 

Cheers, Vincent

 

VincentH, Pro Audio and Headphone enthousiast. Currently using Vista + Foobar + WASAPI bitperfect --> FireWire --> RME FireFace 400 DAC --> Vovox unshielded balanced XLR interconnects --> Focal Twin 6Be active monitors + Focal Sub6 active sub; Grado RA 1 + Grado RS 1; Etymotic ER-4P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is my understanding of the Dynaudio and Genelec monitors... So how do you go direct from a Mac to the monitor and take away the outboard DAC1?

 

Cheers, Monty

 

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...