Jump to content
IGNORED

Mac switch to which for best audio?


vinylist

Recommended Posts

I'm getting ready to switch from DellHell to MonopolyMac in a few months and have begun my audio research. I have a Beresford TC-7520 DAC running to my home stereo, and a Bellari VP-530 tube phono pre-amp for burning in my vinyl collection. My question is what would be the best Mac to go with from an audiophile angle? I'm partial to laptops but not set on one.

 

The rest of my home set-up is McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F TT with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4's and JBL Aquarius 1's. So while this isn't the most modern equipment, it does deliver some darned decent analogue wonderment.

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

Most people use Amarra with Mac....they say it sounds the best.

 

Others use the installed iTunes or some other player, like Play, or in my case XBMC.

 

Amarra has a free trial, compare and go with what sounds best to you in your system.

 

I have all 3 operating systems Mac, Linux and Windows. If this is ONLY for audio and you have a bit of time and patience Linux might be a good option. Making a small headless computer that sounds outstanding can be had very cheap. Small as in Mac Mini small, cheap as in $300 bucks or less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment

Thanks for the info Dynobot, I'm sure it will come in handy. But, My question is what would be the best Mac to go with from an audiophile angle? I'm partial to laptops but not set on one. In other words which Mac should I be looking at? Imac, Powerbooks, Powermacs, and which model would best serve the music.

 

Also...If I'm not mistaken, Amarra (and iTunes of course) doesn't support FLAC yet. Which IMHO is the best format for quality audio reproduction.

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

I used Fluke to play Flac with iTunes, works perfectly.

 

I have a Mac Mini, people are saying that the Mac G5 makes the best sound of all the Mac's. I do know that more RAM is best with Mac and also solid state hard drives are best. Otherwise you might just want to consider, size, firewire connections, noise. G5 for example will make the most noise because of the power supply. Mac mini is pretty silent but it does make some fan noise.

 

 

 

Link to comment

I am in a similar situation. I may be considering getting a Mac/Amarra setup sometimes later on this year (when Amarra begins to support flac). MacMini with SSD 4 GB ram sounds like an easy way to go. However, some friends who have both Mac Mini and Mac Book Pro swear by Mac Book Pro as a better sounding server, all else being equal. One is gettting a Bolder power supply to go with Mac Mini so I am waiting to hear how much of an improvement that might be. Leaving out the fan noise factor, I am still curious to hear what other people think of all the various mac computer options. G5 is very difficult to find over here in used market but I am not exactly trill about investing in Mac Tower unless it is truely better than other Mac, sonic wise either.

 

 

 

Link to comment

I'm interested in the audio aspect, of course, but I'll be using the mac as my main OS too. One for all, all for one. I've posted this query on a few other audiophile sites and the main philosophy seems to be the Power Mac is truly the best option for, not only audio, but just about everything else I'll be doing. The fans are a bit noisy but the tower will be far enough away from my stereo to have an effect. If I was just interested in a mac as a server, I would get the mini in a heartbeat. The Power Mac is way $teep and doesn't include a monitor, but I've got a few nice screens I can use. Anyway I'd still love to hear more comments and anything else Mac and audio related!

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment
Guest WATERLOGIC

Hi !

 

I have both MacPro (8Gb RAM) and Mac mini(2GB).

 

In my experience MacMini wins ! Quiet, small, powerful more then enough especially when used for music only. SSD (oposed to other opinions) is NOT a must especially if you pick a nice external HHD and put your music there (usb or firewire -- I use DROBO) . I would not use a desktop (I doubt Power Mac sounds any better) for music, especially not with internal sound cards.

 

For vinyl ripping I use EDIROL FA 66 firewire external sound card (you can even try it as a DAC).

 

I do not know your DAC, but if you have "coax spidf - in" you might try using M2tech Hiface USB to Coax converter for 99 Euros ( in my system it sounds great).

 

I use iTunes and Play (Pure Vinyl is good - I might get this one when they polish it a bit more).

Amarra could not win me (see my other posts) .

Other gear: Bedini Class A pre and power electronics, Nottingham Audio HyperSpace Turntable, Decca MM Cartridge, speakers B&W floorstands and/or Schahinian Obelixs, Lehmanaudio black cube linear headphone amp, Sennheiser HD 800 cans, Aqvox and/or Bel canto III DACs. No fancy cabling, no snake-oil, just a lot of music.

 

Regards

 

WL

 

 

Link to comment

Hola Waterlogic,

 

I hear ya, and thanks for advice, gems, all gems, nothing beats experience. If my billfold allowed...well, fill in the blank. I do however need to use the unit for both my work (fiction, large image art, and my little cash-cow called demonstration work) as well as all the other life/work bits that we use our AI boxes for. But it's like my car, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. The music is a must and a mini, I don't think could do all the other stuff I need. I'd love to be wrong and spend less than a third of what the MacPro goes for, but...

 

I've only checked out the M2tech Hiface, but I'll take a look at your other recommendations. Thanks for doing the work for us.

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

After posting in many, many places, talking to some Mac/Guru friends, and Jeff over at Beresford (My DAC maker), for me the best way to get my audio and Mac needs met, seems to also be a money saver as well! Instead of a way buff Mac Pro at 2,800$ minimum, with the add-ons I want, it would seem that a 699$ Mac-Mini as my dedicated music maker/server etc...& a mid range Mac Book Pro at about 1,500$ for the art and biz would be the best of all worlds. Crazy huh? Any thoughts? Please let me know, if for any reason, this doesn't seem to make the most sense to you. And thanks everyone for all your help and patience.

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

Most people use Amarra with Mac....they say it sounds the best.

Are you on drugs , 99% of Mac users don't use Amarra, its only for those with money to burn.

iTunes or Cog on a Macbook with a decent dac is enough ,unless you want to blow£1000 on software and fancy usb cables.

 

MBP>Chevron Audio Sabre UV player/Dac/Meridian Explorer dac>Chevron Audio Paradox Pre>Leema Hydra 2>Leema Xavier speakers.

Link to comment

Does that have anything to do with my original thread, rooob?

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

Get a Mac Mini and put the money you save towards a better DAC and fine tuning the Mini with more memory, a better player like Pure Vinyl, external storage for music. I have read many time that B DAC is not very good but I haven't heard it myself.

 

Bryan

 

Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

Link to comment

Roob - This is a laid back site. People come here to increase enjoyment of our great hobby. Your comments did not further that goal and added nothing to the conversation.

 

I encourage you and every reader to post honest opinions that may differ from others. It is not necessary to use the words and apparent tone you used above. The conclusion of your opinion is not what matters, it's how you say it.

 

Thanks for listening. I look forward to further comments from you :~)

 

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

Link to comment

Well, as the most important thing in listening is how it sounds to the 'listener', and you haven't heard the Beresford, well that's kind of moot, hmmm? I had read the opposite and they give you 30 days to decide...plenty of time for burn in and lots of experimenting. It is a great DAC "for me" Also, if you reread my posts you'll see I'm not only buying for Audio but for my Art and business as well. To each his own eh?

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

Its interesting how many times Amarra gets recommended - I've got a copy of Amarra Mini but prefer the Pure Vinyl player. It gives a leaner sound, more energy at the top end, and less of the bass that Amarra seems to give emphasis to. On my headphone system Amarra was a little too polite at the top end (Grado PS1000 phones, B22 amp).

 

Its very easy (and free) to trial them both

 

Source: Diskless fanless PC Win Server19, fed from a linear supply and 19v pico

All SSDs on JCat battery supplies - JPlay femto - JCat femto USB - JCAT reference USB - Chord DAVE

Plus CEC TL 5 Cd transport - Blackcat Tron BNC - Chord DAVE

Amps: Merill Audio Veritas

Speakers: Trenner and Friedel RA

Cables : Kubula-Sosna Elation I/C and speaker

Link to comment

The proposed solution for using a Mac Mini for music and the Macbook for your work is a good idea- most likely better for you to separate these activities, and keep the Mini focussed on music.

 

I use a dedicated mini for the playback system (well, not purely dedicated; it's also used for acoustics measurements, drivers and speaker systems); I don't use USB in it, which seems to be a distinguishing feature for some evaluators, and use Firewire based interfaces. Somehow, with finite resources, you must apportion and balance where to spend the money. So, what I'd suggest avoiding is being computer heavy and DAC/interface light. Even on the subject of interfaces, though I'm using mostly Firewire, I've experimented with a Hiface that I've bought, and I could see easily where combing that with a much more expensive DAC could make sense, at least as an intermediate step. For reference, I do also own a Powermac quad core G5 and a late model Mac Pro, so I have experimented quite a bit with some combinations.

 

Something to think about is how far you want to go down the upgrade road over a few years time. "Audiophile" equipment at moderate or budget prices tend to lack pro style features like work clock inputs which provide some means for upgrading the performance of the complete interface- but then they don't carry the pro type price tag.

 

Even something as basic as a PS Audio DL-111 run from USB on the Mac Mini can sound pretty nice compared with what most people are used to in under $1K CD players, and do so with all the convenience of having your music at your finger tips (I speak from being familiar with that setup formerly in my bedroom system).

 

Also, Pure Vinyl is a good product for the price, for either of it's main uses. I'm looking forward to Audiofile Engineering's product in development for playback called "Twilight". If it's any where near as good as Wave Editor from them, which is absolutely stellar for the money, it will be well worth whatever they charge (their prices are very reasonable).

 

Link to comment

I'm saying don't spend thousands of dollars on the computer and especially more than one computer. I'd just get a Mini, load it up with memory, external storage, an audio player, and then put as much funds as possible in to the DAC including possibly upgrading your existing DAC.

 

I have not heard the B, but have read enough about it that I felt it worth mentioning. It is your decision of course.

 

Bryan

 

Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

Link to comment

Hey Jonmarsh,

 

Muchisimas gracias for all the info...very helpful indeed. DACs and Interface connections, you couldn't be more right. Even with my (near crap) Dell Inspiron soundcard, once I switched from the USB interface to an s/pdf out through the S-Video & Coax adapter-(Dell made) my Beresford DAC went from 16/44.1 to 24/96Khz with the sound, while not adding more warmth, it did add a major definition/separation/clarity that I'd been missing. Especially in the FLAC & M4a formats! And strangely enough, acoustic music like blues, jazz, and folk really leapt like a Gazelle.

 

As far as where I'm going (and aren't people who really "listen" always going/searching?)

- ya gotta see this! BUT, I've previously been a vintage nut and shunned any newer techs because I don't (and still don't) believe music should 'surround', DVD movies, YES! Music No!, and most stuff made seems to be made to break within a year or two. I'm on my fourth DVD player form Best Buy, through extended warranty, in three years.

 

OK, yes within the last couple of years I've been researching the new configurations of SS and Tube combo tech and I must say it's rather impressive. Add to that the Apple's quality build, DAC's, Interfaces, Component specific pre-amps ( I have a Bellari VP-530 phono tube pre-amp for vinyl burning) and such and THE SOUND!!!! Easy to to see, while I'm keeping my Vintage set-up, I'd like to start putting together an as modern as I can afford stereo system also. That's why I post here and many other sites as part of my "key area" research phases and try and take my time and keep an open mind.

 

The PS Audio looks amazing, a little $$ for my blood, but ya never know. Until then I've been awfully gratified with the Beresford and can't wait to hear it with my upcoming Mac config (2-3 months out). I am gonna check out Pure Vinyl as I'm still undecided on which ware to use for burning in my collection, it does do that I'm assuming?

 

Thanks again, you're expertise has been helpful and enlightening!

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

Hola bmckenney,

 

While I appreciate everyone's input, more than one mac/guru type buddies of mine (and a couple of folks at this and other 'forum' type websites) have said that, with the kind of Art & Work I do, running all the programs I will be running, it will effect/affect the musical output no matter what peripherals I get. And that a 'dedicated' music source/server type set-up is the safest bet of not having to just keep buying and buying and trying and trying and will have ZERO interference. Besides I was prepared, as mentioned previously to spend about 3K, but I'm always willing to listen to reason and your reasons why 'exactly' one would be far superior than the other. Especially if you've tried it both ways. I've given myself 2 to 3 months for research, seeing as how I need to wait for my 'work from home' computer stipend before anything happens, and it needs to be UNDER 3K. So please, keep it coming. All ears I am.

 

Dell E1705 spdif out to Beresford TC-7520, Bellari VP-530 USB Tube Phono preamp, McIntosh 2100 amp, Yamaha C4 preamp, Denon DP-47F with Ortofon bronze, Rotel RCC-955 HDCD, Klipsch KG-4\'s and JBL Aquarius 1\'s

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...