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Mac G5/Lynx AES16e Set-up

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I have access to a Mac G5 running OS X 10.4 and am thinking about buying a Lynx AES16e and running the output to my Meitner DCC2 SE to get a taste of what Chris is hearing using a Mac Pro. (I understand that the Meitner is only able to decode 24/96.)


My questions involve what to do after installing the Lynx. What is involved in directing the iTunes output through the Lynx? What brand of cable between the Lynx and the Meitner will provide the best sound?


Then, once I have the taste, will the Pro provide better sound than the G5?


Currently using G4 Powerbook ->Saffire LE -> Coax -> Meitner


Pure Music&Amarra/iTunes ->Mac Pro ->Firewire->Weiss 202 ->VTL 7.5III Line Stage -> VTL Siegfrieds -> Alexandrias, Series 2

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Hi Opsman - The G5 is a hidden gem. The cost is rather inexpensive. In fact many people seem to have access to them just like you. Comparing the Mac Pro and G5 was done at the Computer Audiophile Symposium and I think about 70& preferred the G5 sound. Tiger is also a good thing to many people I work with. You will want to purchase the PCI version of the Lynx card, the AES16. The G5 does not have a PCI-Express slot. Fortunately this is not a bad thing. The PCI card receives better reviews from almost everyone I know in the pro and consumer audio industry.


Directing the sound out to the Lynx card is pretty simple. In Audio Midi Setup you just select the Lynx as you audio device and you're done. You'll want to match the sample rate to your music, but that's just as easy and setup in the same window. There are more cable options becoming available. You can try the standard Lynx breakout cable and if you're not happy you can upgrade to something different.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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A few of my better servers involve Power Mac G5s, (2.0 and 2.7 processors), Tiger, with 4 GB RAM, and a Lynx AES16 PCI card.


Presently, all my Power Macs - Lynx use earlier Lynx firmware and early drivers, (I think ver. 1 firmware and 42 driver.) I'm traveling at the moment and am unable to give precise specifics. The older drivers and firmware are in the archive section of the Lynx site.


I also presently use an earlier release of Amarra with this configuration. Perhaps you can acquire a "temp" Amarra iLok.


Directing the audio to the Lynx is straight forward. Go into Audio Mini and change the default input/output and properties for to the AES16.


I'm always listening to AES cables and presently use "in house" built AES break out wires using Gotham Audio. I do have a couple of cable manufactures that have an interest to send cables to A/B.


For playback only, everyone I've encountered is extremely pleased with the above defined configuration. BTW, it's presently my "go to sever" and I have many to choose from.


Please make certain you acquire the Tiger OS discs so you can custom load Tiger. When this is done correctly, the OS is only 1.9g. Going a step further, you can turn off precesses to further tweek the Power Mac to be a music server vs. a computer.


Please note, the G5, 2.0 does have more fan noise than a Mac Pro.


Best Regards,


Tim Marutani

Emeryville, CA


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Many thanks, Chris. I thought that the G5 might be a compromise vs. the Pro, but now I am really excited. Thanks, too, for the heads-up about getting the non-e version of the Lynx. I would have ordered the wrong one.


RE the cabling: Does the Lynx come with a cable that I can use initially?


Pure Music&Amarra/iTunes ->Mac Pro ->Firewire->Weiss 202 ->VTL 7.5III Line Stage -> VTL Siegfrieds -> Alexandrias, Series 2

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Thanks, Tim:


I think that I can get access to the Tiger discs in order to install just what is required for music, as you suggest.


Would you please give me some guidance about what I should select/deselect to install?



Pure Music&Amarra/iTunes ->Mac Pro ->Firewire->Weiss 202 ->VTL 7.5III Line Stage -> VTL Siegfrieds -> Alexandrias, Series 2

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Rosetta, the translation software that allows Power-PC based programs to run on Macs with Intel processors is supposedly what causes the difference in sound quality between the G5 and Intel machines. Macs with Intel processors have to run Rosetta supposedly downgrading sound quality. People were able to experience this G5 vs. Mac Pro (Intel) comparison at the Symposium. Snow Leopard gives you the option to NOT install the Rosetta software so, Chris, perhaps the Mac Pro and G5 machines will finally be equal sound quality wise when Snow Leopard comes out next month? I'm definitely interested to see how it turns out.


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

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Are you saying that the Lynx drivers were never ported to Intel?




Normally, there's a customize option on OS X install disks - usually in the lower left corner of one of the screens during the install, if my memory is functioning today. Start by unchecking every box possible - language, printers, applications, etc.


There are sites available that discuss which files can then be deleted from the minimum install. If Tiger is only 1.9Gb, you're in good shape anyway. I did this for OS X 10.5 the other day, and even the minimum was still 6 Gb, which would still fit on the 8 Gb Flash drive I've ordered, but waaay tooo biiiiig for only audio.








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Just a note to the OP and to everyone, not ALL G5 PowerMacs have PCI slots - the later "dual-core" PowerMacs have PCIe slots where as earlier "Signle-Core" (but could be sold with dual processors) have the PCI slots. To quote from Mac Upgrades (a site I find useful for technical descriptions of pretty much all Macs since the original iMac) ...


How to Identify these Machines


The PowerMac G5s are easilly distinguishable from earlier machines by their size, shape, distinctive handles and front and rear grills. If your machine looks like the picture to the right you've got a PowerMac G5.


To distinguish between the latest PCI-Express dual-core PowerMac G5s and earlier ones, one way to tell is by the number of ethernet ports. Machines dealt with on this page have 2 x RJ-45 ethernet ports on the back. If you have only one RJ-45 socket, you need to refer to this page.


You can also tell the difference by opening System Profiler (Apple Menu > About This Mac, then click on the "More Info" button), then selecting Memory on the window that comes up and checking the speed column for any of the modules already installed. For this later PowerMac G5, it will start PC2-4200. Earlier non-dual core machines will start PC3200 or PC2700.


Other main distinguishing features are the number of processor cores - the earlier machines use single-core processors (although frequently were sold with dual processors), use DDR RAM as opposed to the newer DDR2 RAM in these machines. The machines on this page were all sold in or after October 2005.


Apple's own specifications for this Mac can be found here.


Hope this helps someone





...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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Clay, sorry for the confusion. I was simply throwing this info out because of Opsman's question about the Mac Pro sounding better than the G5 with all things being equal. It seems the sound quality difference is just the opposite of what he asked; but when Snow Leopard is released next month I'm waiting for another comparison. I could offer a conclusion on the differences myself because I have a developer's copy of Snow Leopard but once I install the drivers for my interface and open up the software (Digidesign Core Audio) which allows me to use it, my interface does not appear in my sound preferences. The link and word clock lights even illumnate that shows it's connecting properly but I can't select it to output audio. It's a cruel joke really because I was hoping to offer some heads up information on any differences between sound quality with the new OSX without the use of Rosetta. I'll just have to wait until next month. I will say that Snow Leopard really takes advantage of multiple cores and is much zippier to get around on than Leopard 10.5.8. Everything in general just feels much quicker such as opening apps, surfing the web, etc.. I can honestly say I'm looking forward to the $29 upgrade, perhaps a boost in sound quality is coming, and if not, it's still a faster more efficient OS. I'll take it.


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

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is very interesting. So one of the best sounding configurations can be had using?:


1. Second hand G5 PowerPC, (IBM chip)

2. Optimized Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger),

3. Lynx AES16 (PCI),

4. iTunes,

5. Amarra,

6. An Intel X25M G2 SSD to run the applications

7. Run iTunes and Amarra from Ram Disk

8. DAC of choice


Not knowing much about Macs, do the following conveniences still work on that older box and OS?


1. iPhone using Remote application to access iTunes

2. Bluetooth mouse and keyboard

3. 802.11 N wireless

4. Gigabit ethernet port

5. iTunes 8.2

6. SATA drives

7. Firewire 800 or 400

8. USB 2.0

9. Connecting a NAS




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Assuing a pre-October 2005 machine with single-core processors and PCI bus (externally identifiable by a single Ethernet connection)...


1) control via iPhone works if you install new (post v7.8 IIRC) version of iTunes.

2 & 3) both Bluetooth and Airport (Wireless network) were optional.

4) wired networking is 1000BT.

5) yes runs newest (8.2) version of iTunes - but there may be newer versions in future which drop support for PowerPC chips.

6) HDD are SATA so would support SSD.

7 & 8) FireWire is FireWire 800. USB is USB 2.0

9) no problem using a NAS.


For more details - click http://www.macupgrades.co.uk/store/machine.php?name=powermac-g5






...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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"but there may be newer versions in future which drop support for PowerPC chips."



The possibly unfortunate news for those using hardware based on powerPC chips is that they will not be able to benefit from any improvements (if indeed there are any) from Snow Leopard (aka the new OS optimized for 64 bit processors).




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Thank you!


The hunt is on for an "early 2005" G5. This family of G5 does seem to have all come with dual processors.


Does anyone know the exact specifications, version and setup of the G5 used during the latest Computer Audiophile Symposium?


Anyone want a newly refurbished Mac Mini. :)


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Just a word of warning with the older G5's - I have 2. After 3-4 years the refrigerent that cools the dual processors ceases to be very effective (maybe it leaks slowly). The problem manifests itself as the unit getting hotter hence the fans spool up. To be fair the macs still run well even at the elevated temp. but its a bit noisy. The fix unfort. is not to replace the heatsink but the Motherboard which has the heatsink firmly attached - the cost was around US$2k. This was the point at which I decided to upgrade to the newer Intel Mac Pros. Note this happened on both my G5's.






Serious Listening:[br]Intel Mac Pro 6G (SSD) -> Amarra ->Alpha USB ->Alpha I Dac -> Ayre KX-R -> Tom Evans Linear Class A -> Avantgarde Mezzo Horns (107db) + Basshorns-> Engineered Room (Power, Traps, Helmholtz Resonators, Ceiling Diffusers)[br]Computer Listening:Intel Mac Pro 6G -> Lavry DA10 -> Adams S3A Active Monitors

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Thanks for the warning. The following are the models with liquid cooling to watch out for:


The Power Macintosh G5/2.5 DP (PCI-X) (June 2004), Power Macintosh G5/2.7 DP (PCI-X) (Early 2005), and Power Macintosh G5 "Quad Core" (2.5) (Late 2005) all have a liquid cooling system.


I guess that narrows the hunt to the dual 2.3 or dual 2.0 Early 2005 family models.



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I have been visiting this site for a few months and greatly enjoyed all the useful information. Although I am still a little unfortable switching from a PC to a Mac, because of iTunes vs. Media Monkey, I finally decided to buy a new Apple Mac Pro with the Snow Leopard operating system and a Lynx card to start putting together a state-of-the music server. My computer guru son has been helping with the various decisions. However, at the last minute, I decided to write an email to Lynx about which sound card I should buy. The answer may be of interest to others like me getting ready to spend some money on a new Apple.


RE: Lynx sound card????


From: Phil Moon ([email protected])Sent: Tue 9/01/09 3:15 PM


For the Power Mac you will need the AES16e PCI Express card. This will interface with the Berkeley DAC using our CBL-AES1604 cable. Snow Leopard will require us (and everyone else) to make extensive changes in our drivers. At this point the AES16e will not work with Snow Leopard, but it will on the next version of our driver. We do not have a release date set at this time. Thanks.

Lynx Sales Lynx Studio Technology 190 McCormick Avenue Costa Mesa, CA 92626 Tel: 714-545-4700 ext 204 Fax: 714-545-4777


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Please clarify,


Are you purchasing a computer to use as a computer, music server, or both. Is the quality of playback of any concern, if so, to what degree.


There may be some misinformation in the last few comments and do not seem to be congruent with my understanding and experiences, owning and using Power Macs, Mac Pros, Mac Book Pros, and Mac Mins. I should not for get to mention the plethora of custom PCs.




Tim Marutani

Emeryville, CA



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Doesn't the Berkeley accept any other input than AES?


A cheap glass Toslink cable might be the short-term answer, assuming the Alpha accepts other variants of S/PDIF (than AES).


If not, I'd say it is the very definition of a legacy (aka dinosaur) DAC, useful for transports, but not entirely appropriate for 'computer audio'. Actually, I'd say that anyway. :)


The Alpha is great and all, but only seems to accept the lowliest of interfaces actually found on computers. But that's just MY HUMBLE OPINION. It's mine and you can't have it!








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Firewire input on Alpha?


Is that the question you mean? He's probably been scared off by the need to write Firewire drivers, and would likely be working on USB, if anything.


Ironically, in the 'driver' wars, the Firewire drivers for my Metric Halo were available - and working perfectly - on day One of Snow Leopard release. Meanwhile, the Lynx drivers don't yet even have a release date one full week after the release.


Perhaps DAC manufacturers with primary focus on AES inputs would be better off adding Firewire and writing their own drivers rather than being beholden to Lynx's release schedule?


Am I wrong to consider that as yet one more reason to recommend pro audio Firewire DACs and consider Lynx->to->AES DACs as a dying breed?


Question withdrawn. ;)




PS, No egos are meant to be harmed by my statements...ever!





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