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Help me decide which USB to Digital converter, please...


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I need two digital outs from my Mac Mini. The mini optical out works GREAT with my PS DAC III. I need another to my surround receiver. So the USB to digital converter has to be able to pass Dolby Digital & DTS. I've found a few that strikes my interest, but I can't decide which yelds the best performace for the money. Here is the list.

 

HagUSB - They now make a USB to 110ohm balanced XLR AES out version.

Since my PS DAC has AES in, will this yeld better performance than the Mini's mini-optical out?

 

M-Audio Co2 - This is basically a repeater/converter to Coaxial/Toslink.

 

Trends Audio UD-10 - Again, it bost a XLR out.

 

M-Audio Transit - This is the least expensive and the docs. shows it will pass DD & DTS.

 

Do I really want/need a fancy USB to Digital converter? HT is not as important to me as 2 channel stereo.

 

Thank you!

 

 

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If you're only planning on using one of the digital devices at a time, why not try a simple optical switch box?

 

Some folks may object that you'll degrade the quality of the signal etc, but it's a really cheap thing to try and see if it's good enough for you.

 

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I don't know the PS DAC III but on my system I use USB to my Musical Fidelity A1008 (a stereo integrated amp with good quality USB equipped DAC similar to MF X-DACv8) and then there is an optical output which I connect to my AV Reciever. Can you do anything similar with your DAC?

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I have one of these feeding my lavish Audionote DAC. It is very good, the combo of the two is very fine. I know how good the Audionote DAC minus HagUSB is so I assume the Hag is also very good.

 

Only problem is it will not do high res stuff. So if you are only using CD level stuff it is very worthy.

 

Trying to make sense of all the bits...MacMini/Amarra -> WavIO USB to I2S -> DDDAC 1794 NOS DAC -> Active XO ->Bass Amp Avondale NCC200s, Mid/Treble Amp Sugden Masterclass -> My Own Speakers

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would like to create a music server for the purpose of purchasing and listening to high resolution files. I'm interested in using the Macbook digital mini out to a DAC, maybe the PS Audio Link III. I have two questions that perhaps someone on this thread can answer. The first is will the Mac digital out on either a Mini or a Macbook maintain the full resolution of a 24/96 or 24/192 files? The second is will the PS Audio Link III receive said high resolution files and process them without further alteration? I know the DAC on the Link III is capable of upsampling to these resolutions, but will this DAC receive and decode these frequencies? If these are naive questions, my apologies.

 

 

cagctg

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Hi cagctg - The optical out of a Mac will go up to 24/96 natively. If you use Boot Camp and run Windows Vista on the same Mac the optical output will go up to 24/192 natively. The DLIII "should" accept the 24/96 stream without upsampling as long as you have selected 24/96 on the DAC itself. There are tons of DACs out there that will handle 24/96 via the Mac's optical output.

 

No worries about naive questions. Many of the questions on Computer Audiophile are very similar. It's how everyone learns :~)

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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  • 1 month later...

Try creating an aggregate device (using aggregate device editor in Midi settings). I think I got firewire and optical to work at the same time so usb should work too. You may need something like JACK to route the audio where you want it given the system will just see 4 channels of output.

 

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From recolection, the E-Mu only supports 24/192 decoded to analogue internally and only if used with a Windows PC - Mac drivers only support 24/96 IIRC.

 

Also the SPDIF outputs only support 24/96 (on Windows) or 24/48 if used with a Mac.

 

These limitations maybe removed with later firmware/driers but were still stated on the website last time I looked.

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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