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DACing advice needed - MacBookPro -->iTunes-->Airport Express (Bit Perfect)-->?Which DAC?-->Genelec 8050


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Hi there!

 

I've been trying to figure out the best DAC for my new MacbookPro that I'll hook up wireless to the Airport Express to hopefully get bit-perfect output as Chris mentions elsewhere. This will be hooked up to a pair of new Genelec 8050s. Since, this rig is purely for recreational purposes, and I'm not an audiophile by any means, I thought it'd be fun to get a DAC that I can use to record music as well.

 

After looking at a lot of gear and making detailed notes, I got increasingly frustrated. As a wise man said before, 'choice is evil'.

 

Then I stumbled onto the Apogee Duet which seemed perfect for decent listening and fun recording activities, till I had to reject it because it would have tethered my macbook to cables (no toslink input to airport express) and firewire might affect the bit-perfect out to the DAC bypassing the airport express.

 

Two questions...

1. Are my concerns valid? Is there any way around this?

2. Is there any other equipment that will do a decent job AND looks good (lower priority tho)?

 

In the same vein, listening takes higher priority to hobby recording.

 

Thanks much,

Max

 

Just getting started....[br]New Genelec 8050As, Airport Express.[br]New MacBook Pro 17-inch, 8GB RAM, 500GB, 7200rpm HDD.[br]

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How about a Berkeley Alpha at $5000

 

or a Beresford at $200

 

there are devices available at all price points that will do the job well. How much do you want to spend. As you meantion the Duet I'll assume this is around the price you want to spend - so try Cambridge Audio DACMagic, VALAB from eBay and Musical Fidelity V-DAC

 

Eloise

 

P.S. Sorry missed your bit about recording too. For this you'd need a DAC which connects to your computer but can also be set in standalone mode. Again, depending on your budget, devices to look at would include Focusrite Sapphire and TC Konnect 24D (around £300) then step up to RME FireFace (around £900) and Metric Halo ULN-2 (£1400).

 

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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"Then I stumbled onto the Apogee Duet which seemed perfect for decent listening and fun recording activities, till I had to reject it because it would have tethered my macbook to cables (no toslink input to airport express) and firewire might affect the bit-perfect out to the DAC bypassing the airport express."

 

Don't be concerned about Firewire affecting (in any negative sense) the bit perfect output to the DAC.

 

From what I read above, you want a Pro Audio ADC/DAC with Toslink input. Do NOT use a Toslink for recording, stick with Firewire for that, which means you'll also need Firewire I/O on your Pro Audio ADC/DAC. Not a problem since all will have this input.

 

I'd recommend the Apogee Mini-DAC (WITH Firewire option). This device is twice the expense of the Duet, but is the swiss army knife of DACs (with apologies to Dan Weiss). It accepts Firewire (optional), USB (non Async), Toslink and Coax S/PDIF.

 

At three times the price of the Duet, my personal (i.e., it's what I use) recommendation is the Metric Halo ULN-2, which has all types of inputs EXCEPT USB. Firewire, AES/EBU, Coax S/PDIF, and yes, Toslink in the models with 2D Expansion upgrade. I believe that 2D and thus Toslink is standard now, but if buying used, be sure to check and see if the particular box has ADAT optical interface (the Toslink uses the ADAT jack). Note: ADAT is an 8-channel optical pro standard.

 

Used prices in the US are roughly twice the Duet price, but well worth it.

 

I use the Toslink input with my Apple TV for wireless 'convenience' listening, but have a Firewire cable handy for connecting to my Macbook Pro when I want to listen more critically. Highly recommended.

 

clay

 

 

 

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Eloise and Clay, appreciate your inputs and recommendations. Am checking out every one of them.

 

Budget is roughly $1000. The system will be used for recreational (rather than critical) listening most of the time. Here's what I was looking at so far...

 

ProAudio

1. RME ADI 2

2. RME Fireface 400

2. TC Konnekt 24d

 

Was also looking at the following, since might get into the recording game later (will check out Metric Hal ULN 2 as you've both pointed out).

1. Apogee miniDAC FW

2. Benchmark DAC1 USB

3. psaudio DL III

4. Cambridge DACMagic

5. Lavry DA 11

 

I'm getting a good deal on a 'new, unopened' Apogee DAC with FW (about $600). Do you think I should go for it? I can get into recording later...there's still a lot i have to do with getting a NAS, upgrading the quality of my music etc.

 

Do you think I need to invest in something like shown below to hear the big difference between proAudio and audiophile sound?

 

 

 

Just getting started....[br]New Genelec 8050As, Airport Express.[br]New MacBook Pro 17-inch, 8GB RAM, 500GB, 7200rpm HDD.[br]

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Just got a apogee mini DAC with FW. First thign I noticed is that the soundstage seemed 'live' and had spatial depth. But, still have to listen critically.

 

Anyway, trying to decent XLR cables...looking and mogami and canare...any suggestions?

 

Just getting started....[br]New Genelec 8050As, Airport Express.[br]New MacBook Pro 17-inch, 8GB RAM, 500GB, 7200rpm HDD.[br]

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