Jump to content
IGNORED

MacBook Pro?


Recommended Posts

I am considering the purchase of a laptop to serve as a music server and travelling computer. I will admit up front that I am not very computer knowledgeable and as a long time pc user cautious about going Mac. In computer Audiophile I am definately more audiophile than computer guy but increasingly find myself listening to and enjoying audio from my computer. Trouble with my PC is viruses, virus protection (actually reversed order), and slow slow. Also time to upgrade so have been reading here a bit and am thinking macbook pro might be a good way to go. But looking for a little Computer audiophile 101 - is macbook pro a good way to go, what should I consider for ram, software, connectivity.

 

for audio I have an Audio Note dac that I need to also purchase a converter for because it is spdif only but to a nice Accuphase 530 Amp and Harbeth or Ellis Audio speakers.

 

should also mention I have recently upgraded my monitor to 22 inch widescreen panel that I will want to plug in and watch video.

 

Any beginner advice is appreciated even if it is pointing me to things I should read.

 

David

 

Link to comment

You should be happy with this thing if you get it. It will have optical audio out, so if I am reading correctly, you won't need any converter.

 

Apple computer hardware is generally among the best, and the operating system is far better than windows. Since mac is now intel, you can also run windows on it, either as a dual-boot, or in Parallels or VMWare Fusion, which are "virtual machines" so you can have the best of both worlds. VMWare will allow you to clone your old PC onto a virtual drive, so you can run it within your new computer if you want to. However, you might prefer to make a clean break.

 

For travel, I actually prefer the MacBook Air, but it lacks the optical digital out, for example. It is quite stripped down for portability.

 

You should be able to have DVI out to connect to HDMI or whatever your new upgraded monitor wants.

 

Between home and work I have around a dozen Apple computers. I've never been sorry. For work, I use them primarily for scientific computational tasks, so I need a good stable OS with the flexibility that a unix-based operating system offers. I've never had a virus in 10 years of working with OS X.

 

The latest MacBook Pro puts out 32-bit 196 kHz, which should make the tweak-heads happy.

 

I might buy one for my wife.

 

As for reading: OS X Missing Manual is a nice place to start.

 

Also, a propaganda video about switching.

 

 

Link to comment

Here's a good overview of things that may be counter-intuitive on a Mac if you're used to Windows:

http://lifehacker.com/software/mac/hack-attack-a-guide-for-switching-to-a-mac-224674.php

 

Apple tutorial pages in addition to the Switcher page linked by wgscott:

http://www.apple.com/support/mac101/

http://www.apple.com/support/quickassist/

 

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Finder.

 

 

HQPlayer (on 3.8 GHz 8-core i7 iMac 2020) > NAA (on 2012 Mac Mini i7) > RME ADI-2 v2 > Benchmark AHB-2 > Thiel 3.7

Link to comment

I understand your 'worries' about moving to a Mac. I am traditionally a PC person and audiophile rather than computer expert , so I bought a second hand Mac Book purely for my music, running Amarra into a M2Tech Hiface and then to my Audionote Dac.

 

There is not doubt the Mac route for music is easier, whether you need Amarra or Pure Music is a whole debate in itself, but itunes combined with a wireless remote using Ipod Touch/Iphone is a blindingly good interface.

 

The modularity of adding music in different rooms via the Airport is also fun.

 

In fact my experience has encouraged me to go fully Mac so my office PC will soon be on it's way to be replaced with a Mini Mac and then I will be left just with an small XP based Laptop.

 

So I guess my advice is, if you can, do things in steps.

 

I had tried a 'cold turkey' approach to the Mac world before and I went straight to the PC, this time with a 'progressive coalition' approach it is much less painful.

 

A couple of points on the Mac Pro, SSD memory, rather than traditional hard drives, seems to produce a better result, this is mainly due to the requirement of the operating systems - not the actual music storage.

 

In my mind you may be better not to get the standard Apple SSD (it is the cheaper MLC type SSD), just get the cheapest hard drive they do, then get a small 32 or 64GB SLC (superior to MLC) SSD fitted afterwards and keep your music on a separate hard drive.

 

I use an Iomega d2 Quadra external Firewire 800 connected hard drive which is the first drive I have had that has not crashed after a year or so. I choose a Firewire connection as it leaves the two free USB sockets for the M2Tech and the Amarra USB ilock security dongle.

 

Second do get the at least 4mb of Ram. (I think that is what they come with).

 

Regards

 

 

 

Trying to make sense of all the bits...MacMini/Amarra -> WavIO USB to I2S -> DDDAC 1794 NOS DAC -> Active XO ->Bass Amp Avondale NCC200s, Mid/Treble Amp Sugden Masterclass -> My Own Speakers

Link to comment

"The latest MacBook Pro puts out 32-bit 196 kHz, which should make the tweak-heads happy."

 

I have a pretty new Intel i5 15" MBP, about 3 weeks old now, but hadn't heard this.

 

Do you remember where you read about it?

 

And were you talking about via USB, optical, both, or other?

 

Thanks!

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

Link to comment

I read it here first, and I had to go to the Apple store that same day, so I had a look at audio midi, and it in fact listed all those options. It wasn't hooked up to anything, so presumably that is the internal sound card. They just came out with the new line rather recently.

 

I found the thread:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/2010-Macbook-Pro-offers-more-digital-output-options

 

My memory might be wrong about the higher sampling frequency. Sorry.

 

 

 

Link to comment

Just confirmed that the higher sampling frequency isn't correct.

 

Looking in the Audi Midi settings for my 3 week old MBP:

 

Highest bitrate: 2ch-32bit

Highest sample rate: 96khz

 

 

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

Link to comment

So if the max sample rate the new MBP can put out is 96 kHz, how does one play 192 or 176.4 kHz files? I assume it will downsample to 96 kHz, but wouldn't you want to play those files natively?

 

MacBook Pro 2020 16” (16MB RAM, macOS Big Sur) > Audirvana Plus  > Pangea Audio USB-AG > Sony TA-ZH1ES > Nordost Heimdall 2 > Audeze LCD-3

Link to comment

If you want to play 192 kHz "natively", then you need a DAC that will sample it at 384 kHz. Does such a thing exist? Human hearing cuts out around 20kHz for a child with good hearing, so any sampling over 40kHz won't contribute to improving the signal in the audible range. I'm all for over-kill, but at some point won't transferring the contents of huge data files potentially do more harm than the suggested improvements of ultrasound?

 

Link to comment

"but at some point won't transferring the contents of huge data files potentially do more harm than the suggested improvements of ultrasound?"

 

Can you elaborate? Because I don't understand your thinking on this. Unless the file becomes corrupted, why would it moving it around be harmful to its sound?

 

 

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

Link to comment

Bigger data transfer rates require bigger pipes (or faster ones).

 

For the record, what I meant was I don't think either (the improvement, or the potential slowdown) will be significant. It some point the file is so big that the bus becomes a bottleneck.

 

With every additional bit, the number of levels doubles. 16-bit has 65,536 levels and 24-bit has 16,777,216 levels for dynamic range. 32-bit has 4,294,967,296. So the ratio between 16-bit and 32-bit is like the ratio between my mortgage and the California debt crisis. That is quite a bit of dynamic range, even for the Grateful Dead.

 

Link to comment

"So if the max sample rate the new MBP can put out is 96 kHz, how does one play 192 or 176.4 kHz files? I assume it will downsample to 96 kHz, but wouldn't you want to play those files natively?"

 

Simply purchase an external DAC or interface converter that supports 176.4 and 192 kHz :~)

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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

Link to comment

Returning briefly to basics for the benefit of people new to the Mac:

 

The maximum sample rate listed in Apple's specifications applies only to the built-in Toslink output. It has no relevance to USB or Firewire audio interfaces. A USB or Firewire interface or DAC has its own sample rate choices that are determined by the design of that particular model of interface or DAC.

 

Beware that some USB or Firewire interfaces or DACs offer a sample rate of 96 KHz but not 88.1. Avoid those models if you expect to purchase 88.1 music from companies like Linn and Reference Recordings.

 

HQPlayer (on 3.8 GHz 8-core i7 iMac 2020) > NAA (on 2012 Mac Mini i7) > RME ADI-2 v2 > Benchmark AHB-2 > Thiel 3.7

Link to comment

Thanks for the clarifications, Chris and Bob. Good to know, and it makes total sense to me! (And I assume you mean 88.2 kHz, not 88.1..... ;-) )

 

MacBook Pro 2020 16” (16MB RAM, macOS Big Sur) > Audirvana Plus  > Pangea Audio USB-AG > Sony TA-ZH1ES > Nordost Heimdall 2 > Audeze LCD-3

Link to comment

I wholeheartedly endorse MacBook Pro.

 

Apple is user friendly and very intuitive, making it far easier to live with and learn than a windows PC. You'll find it enjoyable to use even when your not using it for music. It's an excellent piece of industrial design and worth the money. It's well built and solid.

 

I have the 15" which is convenient for traveling while still having the dvd and options but I do admire the 17". If you can get away with a 17" during traveling then I recommend it. The screen is beautiful on both sizes.

 

Apple is also excellent for audiophiles. As mentioned above I also recommend the HiFace for spdif to work with your Audio Note.

 

Good luck with your purchase. I'll also have to say that I admire your Accuphase, it's an excellent piece of kit. I have a E-211 in a second system and enjoy it very much.

 

Cheers

 

Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

Link to comment

One of the things I am concerned about is software. Do I need Amarra - it is pretty pricey to get the most from MAC as a music server. Also seems complicated to work with - again I am good at using my pc but not so good at tweaking and troubleshooting. Want mostly plug and play.

 

the Accuphase 530 is a nice amp, best I have ever had in my system.

 

I have ordered a Hiface for my Audio Note dac. Thanks for all the good feedback and discussion.

 

David

 

Link to comment

I'd try it first without the software and hardware ad-ons. I'm not going to buy Amarra unless presented with an absolutely compelling reason to do so. Ditto with the Hiface. At least try it with the normal optical out and see how it sounds.

 

Try the free Play.app if you want an alternative to iTunes. I just started fiddling with it, but so far I am pleased.

 

Link to comment

I agree with the post's above. No need to worry about Amarra or Pure music add on software. Keep it simple, you'll need the HiFace for your Dac but I think you'll be quite happy with the way iTunes sounds. Later on you can experiment and upgrade.

 

I think You'll find Apple OS software quite easy to learn and a relief from Windows after you get use it. You'll wonder to yourself why I didn't do this sooner.

 

Macbooks have a lot more to offer than just good audio.

 

Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

Link to comment

~

 

Lyngdorf TDA2200 int.\ Accuphase E-211 int.~ Totem \Mani's & "The One\" monitors~Bryston BDA-1 DAC~Halide HD DAC~Micromega Transport~AnTi cables & Synergistic Research cables~JohnBlue JB3~(mod) Totem orig. Model One monitors[br]Mini Mac,1.8ghz Core 2 Duo

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...