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Best interface between a Mac Mini and Bryston BDA-1 for Stereo or Home Theater


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Hi Folks, I'm new here and this is my very first post. After reading CA for about 2 months I am ready to jump into the Computer Audiophile band wagon. I started this journey with the recent purchased of Bryston BDA-1 from a local distributor and can't wait for it to arrive at my door step!

 

The purchase of this DAC is to connect to a new Mac Mini for both 5.1 channels through an AV Receiver and 2 channels for audiophile listening.

 

Below is the plan of my set-up:

 

Stereo 2 channels

 

Option 1 - Mac Mini on OS (X) through combined optical digital audio output/headphone out (minijack) at max 24bit/96khz sample rate limited by Mac.

-> Purchase a ‘Mini Toslink to Toslink’ SPDIF digital interconnect (i.e. Van den Hul OPTOCOUPLER Mk II) between Mac Mini and BDA-1 then analog balanced (XLR) out to my pre/power stereo system.

 

Option 2 - Mac Mini on OS (X) through Firewire 800 port at max 24bit/192khz sample rate limited by Mac.

-> Purchase a Firewire interface (e.g. Weiss AF1 or Vesta, Konnekt X32, RME FireFace 400/ 800) to Mac Mini then from the firewire interface AES or SPDIF RCA out to BDA-1 then analog out through XLR to my pre/power stereo system.

 

Home Theater 5.1 channels

 

-> Utilize above Stereo 2 Channels Option 1 or 2 and connect a SPDIF digital out (according to manual it is the same signal from the input source i.e. from Toslink or RCA or AES) from BDA-1 to a 5.1 Home Theater Receiver for D/A conversion of 5.1 channels.

 

Questions

1. If with the combination of the Stereo 2 Channels Option 2 using firewire interface into BDA-1 and out to a receiver do I still get digital 5.1 channels into the Receiver and out?

 

2. Some firewire interface available in the market has a clock link to slave the computer to the DAC or Interface? How would you make this connection with a Mac Mini from the firewire interface? However, Weiss Vesta do not require such a link but is generated ‘internally’ (see below from Weiss brochure).

 

“Sampling Rates, Wordlength: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz at up to 24 Bits. The sampling clock is either generated internally (computer slaved to the VESTA) or can be fed externally via XLR, RCA, Toslink connectors. Intrinsic jitter figures and jitter suppression are excellent.”

 

3. My primary purpose for the Mac Mini is to set-up a low cost media centre but would like to have the option of 24bit/192khz sample rate from the Mac Mini to the BDA-1 and I do not need A/D conversion or many other features available in some of these Firewire Interface. Which firewire interface would CA recommend?

 

Any thoughts or suggestions or recommendations are most welcome!

 

Cheers!!

 

JL

 

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1. If with the combination of the Stereo 2 Channels Option 2 using firewire interface into BDA-1 and out to a receiver do I still get digital 5.1 channels into the Receiver and out?

 

You should if the firewire device passes along the unchanged signal to the BDA-1, but I suspect that you will have to test it to confirm because of the added fail point.

 

 

2. Some firewire interface available in the market has a clock link to slave the computer to the DAC or Interface? How would you make this connection with a Mac Mini from the firewire interface? However, Weiss Vesta do not require such a link but is generated ‘internally’ (see below from Weiss brochure).

 

In audio MIDI you will have the option to select clock source as either the Vesta or the Mini.

 

 

3. My primary purpose for the Mac Mini is to set-up a low cost media centre but would like to have the option of 24bit/192khz sample rate from the Mac Mini to the BDA-1 and I do not need A/D conversion or many other features available in some of these Firewire Interface. Which firewire interface would CA recommend?

 

I think the off the shelf recommendation is the Weiss INT202. This doesn't have A/D conversion and is only 2 channel which should still pass through 5-channel code like dts and dolby.

 

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