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iMac G4 + ?DAC + Quad 303/33...


muhk5
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Greetings Chaps. Here goes..

I have only recently jumped into this realm; bare with me:

 

I am lucky the recipient of some old, but magnificent high-end prototype speakers which, I am informed, are perfectly matched to my classic (stock) Quad 303/33 amp/power amp. So the analog part of my equasion is apparently quite satisfactory. My reading suggests this is a pretty good starting point.

 

I'm very keen to make the best of these units but I want to use my iMac G4 (OsX) as the primary source. So making the best of whatever the performance I currently have is my goal.

 

I looking for a DAC and the best way to bung this into the system.

 

My uncertainty lies with:

1) the choice of DAC

2) the best output to take from computer to the DAC

3) plausible connections

(I realise these factors depend on each other to an extent - hence my uncertainty).

 

(I realise post might be asking how long is a piece of string but...)

 

I don't want to go ahead and ruin the quality of the set up by underspeccing the DAC, nor do I really want to overkill what the AMP and speakers are capable of and waste all my cash on a DAC if it's not necessary. Need to be in the ball park I guess.

 

The Quad Amp has the old DIN connetors, which I am lead to believe are well worth using. (I know these can be modified if required to suit non-DIN-output DACs - so this is also an option I'm open to, but am told that if i can still use the DIN, this would be better?).

 

the Mac G4 has the standard outputs - optical, firewire, USB, as well as the onboard soundcard/jack. My understanding is I should probably prioritise Optical and perhaps Firewire ahead of USB - and then preferably not the onboard analog/soundcard (I've read plenty on this site re the issues of this so will avoid).

 

Seems like there is alot of USB DAC products hitting the market. Are they the way to go nowdays? Should they be considered par with Optical/Firewire options - or is this now a moot point and they are all suitible for the setup I'm considering? I guess perhaps it's a product v product decision but sure - I'm guessing someone has an opinion on this.

 

Anyhow:

Im prepared to spend a 1500 or more on the DAC whatever it might be connected by. Again - if I'm not doing justice to the kit I've already got - I'll fork out more.. just want to be in the right ballpark.

 

I've been looking at the Naim DAC (http://www.naim-audio.com/products/dac.html) although this comes in over my desired budget, its spec includes DIN output connectors, which is why it sparked my interest. Im suspicious this might be a bit too flash for my set up - any thoughts?

 

Am I being suckered by functionality I dont need. Im happy to have a very simple system - prefer it actually so really just want the DAC capabiity plus switching to a few addtional inputs for other devices.

 

Ive also read a bit about the likes of Apogee Duet, Devilsound and some of the other lower cost options. how do these stack up given the system I've described? I guess they are really differnt products - again - all I want is teh DAC dealt with as well as possible - no other fancy business other than the most appropriate connetion with the computer.

 

So there's my starting point. I've learned 192% more than I started with a fortnight ago. i never knew how interesting "signal care" could be. I shall have to investigate this whole business more once I have my system to base it on.

 

cheers ta cheers,

Muhk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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