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Mac mini doing internal modification S/PDIF mini toslink to Coax


legarem
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I recently bought a Mac mini 1,66 ghz

 

The digital output is a mini toslink

 

As in the Mac mini, the digital signal is probably an electrical signal converted to optical signal output, I thought taking (inside) the electrical signal that goes to optical to make a digital S/PDIF output.

 

For me it is a non sense to do conversion with other circuits with the existing output when the original signal (electrical) I want is inside the computer before the Minitoslink jack.

 

Do someone tried that ?

 

What kind oif chip Apple is using to do electrical to optical signal ?

 

Any other idea ?

 

Thanks

 

 

 

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but I have found a website (during my mod research) that takes the i2s signal and converts it to SPDIF. Now I assume and you know what they say about assuming that the i2s in the mini is what is converted to optical. I think a better mod would be to take the i2s signal and feed it to a good dac. The website also sells two i2s dacs (cheap and expensive). Anyway, here is the website...have fun and let us know what you do!

twistedpairaudio.com

 

Also, you could have EmpiricalAudio.com reclock the mini with their Pacecar and turn it into something really cool.

 

 

 

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but even if you take this thing apart and figure it out (not easy) you will have to work in a very small area to due the work. There is also this whole thing about us not knowing what we are doing!

How about this...drop the mod! He have other products better suited for the task "A usb to spdif interface" huh? huh? huh? Now we are on the right track!

These are a few from cheapest to expensive:

1. m-audio transit

1a. emu o4o4

2. del canto usb link

3. emprical audio off ramp usb

 

just to name a few.

 

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Or possibly even better idea is a FireWire interface to SPDIF interface...

 

Didn't you read the TAS article (sarcastically said :-)

 

Eloise

 

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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Hey,

 

I am also not a fan of the Optical connector, and I did try a mini-toslink to toslink adapter which was not a very good connection to my DAC. I also picked up a cheap Optical cable with Mini-toslink on one end, which means you get fiber straight-thru instead of a fiber break on the adapter end. It does sound better without the break.

 

I borrowed an M-Audio Fastrack Pro ?around $200US?as a USB to S/PDIF converter, which sounded better the the optical cable. The problem with the m-audio (on my mac mini) was that it kept loosing connection and forgetting it's settings especially when the mac came out of sleep mode.

 

I then tried a TC Electronics Konnekt 8 as a USB to S/PDIF converter. The Konnekt 8 is firewire (before i read the TAS article!) and it does sound better then the USB connection, but then again, it could be that TC Electronics products are higher quality products then a lot of entry level M-Audio gear. On the Mac the Konnekt 8 does not have any of the disconnect and memory problems that the M-Audio had.

 

Oh and i did have the Saffire LE (firewire) very briefly (returned for the Konnekt 8) and it to did had trouble on the Mac OS. Once in a while it would crash my web browser if I played audio or video on some web pages. The Saffire LE sounded, at least in my system, very bright compared to the Konnekt 8.

 

TOM...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The problem with the m-audio (on my mac mini) was that it kept loosing connection and forgetting it's settings especially when the mac came out of sleep mode.

I had similar issues with a Transit doing the same USB-to-Toslink conversion job. These problems went away when I fitted a USB extender/hub between the Mini & the Transit, to move the device further from the computer. The sleep/wake issues weren't affected by USB cable length: I tested this. So the extender gave me a double bonus!

 

Max

 

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Some USB problems can be caused by the following...

 

Some (physical) USB connections of a PC can share a physical USB controller. With MacOS, this can be checked in system profiler if there are multiple devices under a single "USB Bus" entry. If you have this, try moving device to another port till you find one thats not shared.

 

Sometimes the bus can be unable to provide enough power. Attaching a powered hub between the computer and the device can improve that, or (ideally) use a separate power supply for the device where thats possible.

 

Eloise

 

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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Actually, both the M-Audio and the TC Electronics units do come with a power pack, but again, the M-Audio did not behave with or without outlet power.

 

The USB hub is an interesting idea and with 4 out of 5 USB ports already used up, I will look into that in the future. I wonder if it sounds better??

 

Over all though, the performance of the S/PDIF out on the Konnekt 8 is much better then that on the M-Audio. While the M-Audio has a nice tone, good bass extension and doesn't get screechy on top, it does sound smaller and shrinks the space around instruments.

 

Both the Konnekt 8 and the previously tested Focusrite Saffirce LE sound bigger, and give a more lifelike presentation. The Saffire's driver issues were a no go though.

 

Oh, I didn't mention that of the three units the Analog outs on the Konnekt 8 are really good (for a cheap DAC). I guess TC Electronics uses a better built DAC.

 

TOM...

 

 

 

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Again only what I've read ... but I've heard that you can get a performance increase by using a better (linear) PSU with the TC Connect 8 rather than it's supplied one (a wall wart style I assume).

 

If you were using 4 out of 5 USB ports when trying the M-Audio (that was plugged onto the 5th I assume), that possibly explains your performance issues. Depending what USB devices you have, sometimes connecting some via a USB hub (i.e. low rate such as keyboard, mouse, etc) can actually give better performance for the others (i.e. Hard Disks). In other circumstances USB hubs should be avoided (e.g. try to keep your USB audio devices on a separate USB bus). It all depends if your computer is dedicated to Audio, or more general purpose.

 

Eloise

 

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 also picked up a cheap Optical cable with Mini-toslink on one end, which means you get fiber straight-thru instead of a fiber break on the adapter end. It does sound better without the break.

 

Tom,

 

 

where did you get this cable? I'd like to get a better optical cable for my Airport Express.

 

Thanks

 

CD

 

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stsi.com is the company that sells the mini-toslink to toslink cables.

 

http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/stsi.com?_nkw=Toslink+to+MINI+OPTICAL&_sacat=0&_trksid=p3911.m270.l1313&_odkw=&_osacat=0

 

That is their ebay store and i did the search for the cables. They are the Gold coloured ones.

 

I would avoid the mini adapter coz it just sounds awful.

 

TOM...

 

 

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Two points:

 

1. This is an extender device operating over about 10m of CAT-5: there is one box at each end. Both boxes are powered from the Mac Mini USB - no additional PSU.

 

2. Both the extender and the Transit are (full speed) USB 1.1 devices

 

Max

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've used a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Mini for two years now, without a hitch. As I had a Konnekt 24D interface I wasn't using, I put a FireWire cable between the two, read the manual for the Konnekt, and realized I had a pretty good interface to the mini.

The Mac is connected via gigabit Ethernet to a ReadyNAS+, and I control it with an Edge diNovo and Touch/iPhone. For playback, I use VLC, iTunes, VOX.

 

If you do not like the conversion to optical, then I recommend using the FW option, given that your soundcard or other interface can accept that. The mini is slaved to the Konnekt 24D, which has the option of using either the internal clock on the latter, or an external pulse. Given the performance characteristics of FW, the internal clock of the Konnekt is more than sufficient.

 

The Konnekt sends its signal to my BeoLab 5 active speakers, via coax SPDIF. My speakers are very revealing, and I can't fault what I'm hearing from this comparatively inexpensive interface.

 

I still use the toslink optical out from the mini, sending that to a receiver for processing surround sound from DVDs, as my FW>Konnekt is dedicated to 2-channel playback.

 

The hook-up to the Konnekt was completely painless - the unit was recognized instantly by Audio MIDI Setup, and the settings in that follow whatever I set the Konnekt to do. At present, the Konnekt 24D is used in pass-through function, but I can use filters with CuBase, Garage Band or other.

I'm certain that other compatible interfaces will behave similarly.

 

(I have absolutely no connection to Konnekt (sic), apart from being a very satisfied customer of one of their products.)

 

 

 

Don\'t sample, listen!

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