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Cheapest Mac With Optical Out


bball3748
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I'm looking to add a computer as a source to my dad's stereo. He has a DAC already with an extra optical input so I'm looking at MACs with the optical output. We tried it with a borrowed Macbook and it sounded good. He wants to set it up with a Mac through the optical output for as little $ as possible. The computer would be dedicated so as long as it can handle audio it'll work. I saw some Mac Pro G3 desktops with around 500 mhz for less that $30 on ebay. Would something that slow/old work and does it have optical out? (I'm under the impression the G4 does)

 

Basically, what are the recommendations for the cheapest old Mac that I could pick up but would still sound good via the optical out as a dedicated audio computer? Could it be done for less than $50?

 

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www.macupgrades.co.uk have details of Macs since about the original iMac (maybe even before). IIRC some of the later G4 PowerMacs have optical out - try to get one with Tiger restore disks and do a clean install of Tiger for best performance.

 

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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Thanks for the link Eloise. I looked at some of the G4s and didn't see any optical digital out on them. I'm starting to think that I might have to get a G5 (but those are a lot of money)

 

I'm not really sure what apple tv would do because I'd still need to buy a computer too.

 

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I use and airport express to optically feed my EMU-0404. Like the AppleTV, the Airport Express provides an optical output and their limitation is that they only deal with 16/44.1 audio data, nothing higher.

 

It's very cheap, I actually got the G4 for free and only bought the airport express on ebay for about $70.

 

You are correct in that no PowerMac G4s have optical outputs.

 

CD

 

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Of course - you could buy any old G4 and add an M-Audio Transit for £50 (Amazon) or a TC Konnect 8 for £230 (also Amazon). {Edit - Sorry the TC Konnekt 8 only has coax not optical output, you need the Konnekt 24D for optical}

 

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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Looks I can get some type of converter like M-audio or Airport for a cheap enough price. I would want 24/96 so that seems to eliminate the Airport/Apple TV. There are a lot of cheap devices that turn usb into SPDIF/Toslink but I'm not sure I want to invest in a USB device until this Asynch stuff is figured out. I can probably baby a few more years out of the old Esoteric transport I'm using that'll buy me enough time to monitor the Asynch USB for a while. And if that turns out really well I'll have to consider that. If it doesn't really settle for a while then I can always pick up a Mac Pro G5. Thanks for clarifying my questions about the Macs - now I know which have the optical out.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I didn't want to start a new thread because it's related.

 

I found an Imac G3 DV 400 mhz version for practically nothing. If I'm using a dac that works with USB 1.1 which is what this mac has would there be any problems you could see with audio quality or being too slow with a computer this old? I could make it dedicated to audio so I won't slow it down with other stuff. So should I buy it or should I wait for something a little newer?

 

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My first computer based music server was based on iTunes 6 on a G3 running jaguar 10.2.8.

Then one day I tried to buy a 256K AAC file from the Apple store and was forced to upgrade to iTunes 7.

Everything went downhill from there.

Itunes 7 was not quite right on a G3. Sound quality suffered immensely. I read the minimum system requirements and it said a 400 Mhz G4. I upgraded to a 733 Mhz G4 and all was good again.

 

iTunes 8 is now the most current and I would not recommend a G3 at all.

 

CD

 

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