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Mac Mini & USB DAC Issues


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I am in the process of updating my system to a Twisted Pair DAC (Buffalo IIISE) with a USB input and a Mac Mini (2012, i5, 8 GB RAM, 60 GB SSD).

 

My issue is that the Mini does not recognize the DAC in Audio Midi or A+. The problem seems to be on the Mini side because I was able to use my wife's MBP (mid-2009) to connect to the DAC using the same USB cable and play music via iTunes. With the MBP, the DAC was immediately and correctly identified (XMOS 500 device).

 

Both Mac's are using Mavericks.

 

On the Mini, I have used the USB ports for other purposes (mouse, keyboard, flash drive) so I am fairly certain that the ports are ok.

 

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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I don't use a mini, but my MacBook Pro sometimes has difficulty recognizing my DAC, particularly when I go from playing music on Audirvana then switch to a music streaming site or other internet sites. Plugging/unplugging the usb cable works sometimes. Other times I have to turn off the computer and restart. In some instances I have had to start and restart my computer several times before the computer would detect my DAC.

 

I assume you tried all that though. I had the most difficulty with this issue when I was using a Mapleshade Clearlink usb cable. Since I switched usb cables, this is not as much of an issue as it used to be.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Aesthetix Calypso pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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Thanks Blake.

 

I use a Mapleshade Clearlink cable but have never had any problems with my previous set up (MBP & PureDAC). In any case, I have tried other USB cables (e.g. AQ Forest & cheap USB cable) but did not solve the issue.

 

Also tried the Command, Option, P, R reset on start-up but that did not work either.

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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I wonder if it could be because the Mini's ports are USB3.0 and the MacBooks are USB2.0? I can't imagine why it would not work, since USB has a handshaking protocol to identify the capabilities of each connection, but ... it's a possibility. Perhaps there is some special code or hardware needed when one side of the connection is USB 3.0? (Although, it is still playing with USB Audio 2.0.)

 

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Did a fresh install of Mavericks and that sorted things out. Everyone is playing together nicely.

 

Thanks for the suggestions all the same!

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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In the end the fresh install of Mavericks did not work. I was able to get the Mini to connect to the DAC but it was not very reliable.

 

Talked to the guys that develop the USB board (I2SoverUSB) and they suggested adding a USB 2.0 hub. That worked. The Mini immediately recognizes the DAC. The hub I bought can be self-powered or USB powered and so far both situations work.

 

Note that my Mini is a 2012 with USB 3.0 ports and the USB board for the DAC is XMOS. There have been other devices with the same problem according the Apple Support forums.

 

https://discussions.apple.com/thread...&tstart=90

https://discussions.apple.com/thread...rt=15&tstart=0

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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In the end the fresh install of Mavericks did not work. I was able to get the Mini to connect to the DAC but it was not very reliable.

 

Talked to the guys that develop the USB board (I2SoverUSB) and they suggested adding a USB 2.0 hub. That worked. The Mini immediately recognizes the DAC. The hub I bought can be self-powered or USB powered and so far both situations work.

 

Note that my Mini is a 2012 with USB 3.0 ports and the USB board for the DAC is XMOS. There have been other devices with the same problem according the Apple Support forums.

 

https://discussions.apple.com/thread...&tstart=90

https://discussions.apple.com/thread...rt=15&tstart=0

 

Try replacing the USB hub with a super clean outboard USB power supply such as the Schiit Wyrd ($99). You'll be surprised at the improvement in sound.

George

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Thanks for the heads up on the Schiit. Sounds like the ticket. I was just glad to find a fix to my problem with the cheap USB hub.

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Try replacing the USB hub with a super clean outboard USB power supply such as the Schiit Wyrd ($99). You'll be surprised at the improvement in sound.

 

My Schiit Wyrd arrived today & I got it plugged in between the Mini & DAC. Sounds terrific, much better than the $20 USB hub from Office Depot that I have been using. Thanks for the advice!!!

 

Also, since adding a USB hub, absolutely no connectivity problems between Mini & DAC (XMOS) which was the reason for starting this thread.

Eric


Ubuntu Linux box (i7-12700K, 12 cores, 32GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber > fitlet2 (HQP Embedded OS - NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP, DSP with HQP convolution 

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