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DAC1 Pre Questions (optical out, Mac connections, and headphone jack)


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I've been liking my DAC1 Pre so far and have a few questions. If someone can answer them, I would appreciate it.

 

1. I've connect the DAC1 Pre to my Macbook Pro's optical out. It works well playing my iTunes music, but I can't seem to hear any system sounds this way (like emptying trash and other alert sounds). Is this normal when using optical out? I used to connect to USB and the system sounds were there.

 

2. On my Macbook Pro specifications, it said it can do 192Khz from optical out. But the reality is that under Audio Midi Setup, it only goes up to 96Khz. I've called Apple Support and they had no idea able it. The spec sheet link to the specs is here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3188

 

It stated: "Connect external speakers, headphones, or optical digital audio equipment. The headphone / line output jack accommodates optical digital audio output, analog audio output with a 24-bit, 44.1-192 kHz D/A converter, digital audio output up to 24-bit stereo and 44.1-192 kHz sampling rate and supporting encoded digital audio output (AC3 and DTS). For analog headphone / line output a standard audio cable with 3.5mm metal plug should be used. For digital audio, a standard toslink cable with a toslink mini-plug adapter can be used."

 

 

3. I've had my HD650 headphone for a week or so now. It's great sounding out the DAC1 Pre's headphone out with stock cable, but I'd like a bit warmth. So, I've ordered the Zu Mobius cables with XLR connectors. It sounds warmer than the HD650 stock cables and I liked it. Now, my question is, if I were to exchange the Zu Mobius w/ XLR to a Zu Mobius with headphone jack, will it still sound the same? Is the warmth I've heard coming from the Zu cables only, or the outputs I've plugged in as well? So, if I were to get the normal Zu Mobius cable without the XLR connector and plug it straight into the DAC1 Pre's headphone jack, will it still have the same warmth?

 

Reason I asked about the jacks because I found plugging into the headphone jack is more convenient because the DAC1 can automatically mute the RCA output to the speakers when I plug in the headphone jack. Plugging into the XLR out is said to sound better by some people? Since I haven't tried the Zu Mobius from the headphone jack (the built-in HPA2 amp), I can't really compare. So, it is more like a Zu Mobius cable, HPA2 amp vs. the XLR out on the DAC1 question.

 

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1. Make sure in System Preferences / Sound / Sound Effects tab the "Play alerts and sound effects through:" is set to Selected sound output device, the "Play user interface sound effects" box should be checked and in the Output section your Benchmark needs to be highlighted.

 

2. You should contact Benchmarks Tech Support.

 

3. That's a good question. The Zu cables are obviously better to your ears so if you are happy I would stick with the XLR outs. What made you try those rather than the Zu headphone cable to begin with? I'm just curious. I would think it should sound similar to the headphone out, perhaps not, but that's something you would have to find out if you are willing to spend the money. It would be an interesting experiment though. The only difference I could see would be if the headphone out was unbalanced.

 

david is hear[br]http://www.tuniverse.tv

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David, thanks for answering my questions. :-)

 

1. When I plugged into the optical out, the Sound Effects in the System Preferences automatically locked to Digital Output. So, I believe it's automatic that when you plug in optical out, the Mac automatically switch to "Optical Out mode".

 

Also, now you've said this, I've tried unplugging the optical out and there is no system sound as well. So, I think something in my Mac is broken. Audio works fine, just the system sounds are broken. Can you try something for me on your Mac? Go to the Sound Effects Tab in System Preferences and click on a system sound (ie. Basso), does your screen flicker once when it plays the sound? I can't tell if it's normal because I can see the screen flicker, but there is no sound.

 

2. I will ask Benchmarks about it, thank you.

 

3. I like the sound of the Zu cable over the stock cable. But, I'd rather use the headphone out if the TRS version and the XLR version sounds the same. Reason is that I found it to be more convenient, sometimes, to plug into the TRS jack and the DAC1 will mute the RCAs connecting to my speaker, so I don't have to reach back and shut off the speakers manually. It's more of a laziness factor if you know what I'm saying.

 

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Hi hh83917 - I've talked to Apple about the whole 24/192 via optical output thing more than a few times. Nobody there has any idea how to get this to work although they all say it's possible. A funny thing is when using Bootcamp and Windows Vista I successfully tested 24/192 using this output and it was bit perfect.

 

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Chris - so it sounds like Apple have some driver problems with its optical out on OSX? I guess bootcamp sounds like the only, and cheapest, way to go if I want 24/192. Is there a huge significance/difference by up-sampling music to 96/192? Even HDtracks.com offer only 24/96 files. And that is the most you can get out of 24/96 files, will up-sampling that file make a difference?

BTW, I think my HD650 is burnt in a bit more now, as well as the DAC1 Pre. They sounded much better than when I first got them. No more harsh/sharp sounds that make my inner ears hurt so far. This "burn-in" term was somewhat skeptical to me at first, but there is really a difference after long hours of playing. And I have to agree, the quality of the DAC1 Pre is very very good for it's money compared to other alternatives just as you've suggested.

 

 

David - never mind about the Sound Effects settings I've asked you about. Apparently something was corrupted in my system and a bootup with Disk Warrior fixed it. Now there is alert sound playing out my optical out. Thank you.

 

 

Howard.

 

 

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Chris, thank you for replying. I'll stick to my Mac outputting 96/24 now since it sounded very good already (well, for now at least, until I have more cash :-P ).

 

I have another question, I found few of my lossless files and 320k mp3s have some noise, or maybe crackles, at either very high pitch sound (like a female singing in very high pitch) or low pitch (like heavy bass). The lossless files were Apple Lossless files that were converted from FLAC format. I've listened to the original FLAC versions and they have the same noise/crackles as well. The Mac is set to 96/24 output, and the noise is less apparent at 41/16. They blend more into the music but I can still hear them. Are those distortions? But, those FLAC lossless have ripping logs from the CD that said 100% and everything. Also, I get that from few of the CDs I've ripped myself as well. Is the CD manufacturer just did a bad job authoring it?

 

Is there any way to avoid that? It is sometime annoying to hear the noise/cracks when you are enjoying your music. Thank you.

 

Howard.

 

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