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Intel Mac Mini - firewire/USB?


Romanesq1@gmail.com
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Curious as to why so many look at firewire and usb as being the optimum connection to a quality DAC.

Currently using an Intel Mac Mini with the optical out using a Sonicwave glass tosslink to the Lavry DA10.

 

The Lavry is a very solid performer and have recently gone to 24 bit (via audio/midi) with excellent results to an NHT xD system.

 

As the Lavry has an AES input, not sure if it would be worth the effort. Any comments on this as well is appreciated.

 

 

 

intel mac mini 1.6 Core Solo via WD 500 GB - Lavry DA10 DAC - PS Audio GCP 200 Preamp - NHT x-D 2.1 & modified Sony SACD 777ES SACD all sitting on a fine tuned Grand Prix Audio Monaco stand.

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I think it's probably because most people assume that's all their computer has. I didn't realise my G4 powerbook had optical out until I was prowling around the system profiler. The output is hidden in the headphone socket. Now I've found it, I'm happily using it to send music to the DAC in my receiver and it works brilliantly.

 

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Well with all the firewire and usb DACs it seems that a lot of people think there is a better output using that instead of the optical option.

 

Pretty cool that the G4 powerbook had the optical option. Hadn't realized that when I had one.

 

intel mac mini 1.6 Core Solo via WD 500 GB - Lavry DA10 DAC - PS Audio GCP 200 Preamp - NHT x-D 2.1 & modified Sony SACD 777ES SACD all sitting on a fine tuned Grand Prix Audio Monaco stand.

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A number of the pro-audio DACs I've examined are USB or Firewire for ease of connection. Plus not all computers have optical out, I guess. And it's an immediate, two way channel with only one connection, which makes life easier in a live recording situation. Edirol and M-Audio seem to have optical as well as USB or FW. I can't speak for hi-fi DACs as I haven't looked at those.

 

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My G4 laptop has the following information. I have not tried to use the optical out yet, but I do not see the digital out function. Where should one look?

 

Built In Sound Card:

 

Devices:

Texas Instruments TAS3004:

Inputs and Outputs:

Internal Microphone:

Controls: Left, Right

Playthrough: No

PluginID: TAS

Headphones:

Controls: Mute, Left, Right

PluginID: TAS

Internal Speakers:

Controls: Mute, Left, Right

PluginID: TAS

Formats:

PCM 16:

Bit Depth: 16

Bit Width: 16

Channels: 2

Mixable: Yes

Sample Rates: 32 KHz, 44.1 KHz, 48 KHz

PCM 24:

Bit Depth: 24

Bit Width: 32

Channels: 2

Mixable: Yes

Sample Rates: 32 KHz, 44.1 KHz, 48 KHz

 

 

 

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IIRC, the G4s do not have an optical out.

 

This is the Apple specs database URL:

 

http://support.apple.com/specs

 

The specs for example, for the "PowerBook G4 (1 GHz/867 MHz)" read:

 

"Headphone out (minijack)"

 

Later Intel Macbooks ( just did a quick random search ) read:

 

"Combined optical digital output/analog line out (minijack)"

 

 

 

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It doesn't look like your G4 has optical out. Mine lists it under Built In Sound Card:

 

Devices - Crystal Semiconductor CS84xx:

Inputs and Outputs:

S/PDIF Digital Input

 

and

 

Burr Brown PCM3052

S/PDIF Digital Output

 

I've no idea which revision G4 PB brough in the optical out. It was an unexpected bonus when I found it in mine.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Firewire & USB2.0 will play 24/192kHz files (but USB2.0 is not currently aval for Windows based PCs). some AES/EBU & SPDIF devices will play 24/192kHz files on a single wire, while others require a dual runs. USB1.1 & Toslink will only play 24/96kHz files.

 

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