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Mac Mini to DA10


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Hi,

 

I currently have a Mac Mini (Pre optical Toslink) running USB to a Benchmark DAC1. I have bought a Lavry DA10 second hand, as I want to try it out against the Benchmark.

 

However, I now realize I need some way of connecting my Mac to the DA10. Can anyone suggest how I do this with either Firewire or USB? Oh and without effecting or degrading the sound?

 

Many thanks,

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Hi,

 

A sort of related question; are there Firewire to spdif converters available?

 

Thanks,

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Hi,

 

I am new here, so hello all ...

 

I tried an M Audio FW, using it only as a FW to SPDIF converter.

Later, I tried a U24 which is a USB to SPDIF converter and preferred it to the M Audio.

 

I am now using a Weiss AFI1 to convert FW to AES EBU to my Dac. More expensive solution, but it sounds good. The Weiss Vesta was too expensive for me.

 

You could try a MOTU Traveler if you want FW to SPDIF ... but you would pay for the DAC in it.

 

Regards.

 

Hokhost.

 

Digital Drive = Netgear NAS -> Mac Mini -> Kharma Firewire Cable -> Weiss AFI1 [br]Anti jitter = Stealth Varidig Sextet AES EBU -> Genesis Digital Lens [br]Dac = Audioquest Eagle eye -> Stax dac Talent [br]Pre/Amp = Transparent Ultra RCA -> Conrad Johnson CA200[br]Speakers = Stealth Jr -> Wilson Cub (Sound Anchor stands)[br]Power = Goldmund, Verastarr, Tara labs, Fadel Art, Shunyata Hydra/ PC, APC Smart UPS[br]Isolation = Clearaudio, Goldmund, Acoustic System, Gflex

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Ah well I have friend who has just said to me: why don't I wirelessly stream from my Mac Mini to an Airport Express and then optically to the Lavry DA10.

 

Sort of makes sense - any views?

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Hi Monty - Yes, you can certainly stream to an AE and go from the AE to the DA10 via Toslink. If you want this type of functionality the AE is a good way to go because you can still use the iTunes interface. This is not a route I would go because I don't care for the sound of the current wireless devices. Fortunately tons of people absolutely love this method and I highly suggest giving it a try for yourself. The AE is cheap. If you like it then you've purchased one of the cheapest audio components available.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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

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Chris - I must say that I'm puzzled by your lack of faith in wireless devices as a digital source because there is no reason in science why they'd be any different to the digital output straight from the computer. I've compared lots of ludicrously expensive CD players with our own DAC connected to an Airport Express and rarely ever heard one as good, never mind better. We went through a period a little over a year ago with ADM9s when everyone was concerned that computer music might not be as good and people brought CD players to use for comparison.

I think the biggest problem facing people trying out separates is knowing the cause of a sound you don't like when everything can interact.

Ashley

 

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Okay,

 

So if I keep my early Mac Mini without optical out, I need to use the Firewire to the Lavry DA10 or go wireless through the AE.

 

If I choose to go the Firewire route you are suggesting this would sound better than wireless? And if I go the Weiss route it would sound better than the M-Audio?

 

Many thanks,

 

Monty

 

Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Monty - In my opinion yes you are right on. Please remember this is all subjective when we talk about "better" sound. Your system may give totally different results. I highly recommend demo'ing these if possible. Who knows maybe you could get away with a small investment in the AE and Lavry combo instead of the Weiss unit. I highly doubt it, but there is always the possibility.

 

Ashley - I don't have a lack of faith in wireless devices in general. I think the very limited number of currently available wireless devices need improvement compared to many direct attached devices. For example, I am 100% willing to use a wireless digital I/O into my Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC provided the wireless device is equivalent to or better than my Lynx AES16e digital I/O card. In fact I can't wait for a product like this to arrive.

 

Your comment "...wireless devices as a digital source because there is no reason in science why they'd be any different to the digital output straight from the computer..." assumes everything else is equal and the only difference between devices is the wireless v. wired data transfer. I don't think that is a real good assumption.

 

Anyway, I have the ADM9 and 9.1s right next to each other and I must say the difference between the two is night & day. So far so good.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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

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The only reason to use the Firewire output is when you're streaming loads of channels from a mixing console. For 16 Bit stereo there would be no difference and if you used the optical cable for multiple streaming, you'd get dropouts and know something was wrong. However if you stream to an AE, iTunes sample rate converts whatever you're playing (it could be 24/192) to 16/44. This may worry you but needn't, the real benefit of 24 bit has yet to become apparent and will be as a result of the whole process of recording and processing being done in 24 Bit and not just because the master is 24 Bit.

 

This is an area where controversy reigns, but hopefully a simplified explanation will help reassure people. Many recordings are still made on Analogue tape recorders because some producers prefer the sound or simply because they are old recordings. As an example, much was made of Jamie Cullum's CD being SACD, but the sleeve note said the producer preferred analogue and had used an old Studer! This means the recording is 11 Bit. Records are about 8 Bit in digital terms and if you measure the average master tape then a lot of music isn't much less than 10-20dB down on full level, Classical Music and better produced stuff is more like 45 dB and the actual noise of the recording process on the best digital is at about 80dB. 16 Bit allows for a 96dB distortion figure and 110 S/N ratio and 24 Bit 102 dB distortion and 120 dB S/N ratio if the engineer has implemented the DAC correctly, so there is plenty of reserve.

 

There are other issues like the digital filters being better on the higher bit rate material and protecting amps better from hash, but I'm just giving generalised information to try to allay fears people have.

 

Provided DACs are properly implemented and implementation is the problem, not the choice of DAC, then with stereo material, it doesn't really matter how you get the digital signal out of a computer.

 

This will start a war but shouldn't.

 

Ashley

 

 

 

 

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Hi,

 

I have not tried the AE as I don't need a Wireless connection. My Mac Mini is connected via a network cable to my NAS drive, and it is already on the same shelf as my other Audio equipment.

From my reading though, it seems that a stock AE can be largely improved.

- Empirical tried, but still favors the USB connection over Wireless.

- A French modder seems to have good results with AE ...

 

Let's just say that in my system, it was :

M Audio Firewire (FW) < Esi U24 (USB) < Weiss AFI1 (FW)

I have not tried Empirical Audio Off Ramp Turbo ...

 

I guess that in a direct comparison, the Weiss would be largely superior to the M Audio ... if you factor in the cost of those two units, it should (10x the cost).

 

I prefer a FW converter (FW to AES EBU or SPDIF) to a USB Dac or even a FW Dac, because I can try whatever Dac I want without wasting money on the unused Dac section.

I use to have the Logitech Transporter and found the Dac to be inferior to my old Dac, so I was using the Transporter as a digital interface only, which is kind of expensive for that purpose. In my test, it was :

Transporter (standalone) < Transporter + External Dac < PC + U24 + External Dac

 

Good luck ...`

 

Hokhost

 

Digital Drive = Netgear NAS -> Mac Mini -> Kharma Firewire Cable -> Weiss AFI1 [br]Anti jitter = Stealth Varidig Sextet AES EBU -> Genesis Digital Lens [br]Dac = Audioquest Eagle eye -> Stax dac Talent [br]Pre/Amp = Transparent Ultra RCA -> Conrad Johnson CA200[br]Speakers = Stealth Jr -> Wilson Cub (Sound Anchor stands)[br]Power = Goldmund, Verastarr, Tara labs, Fadel Art, Shunyata Hydra/ PC, APC Smart UPS[br]Isolation = Clearaudio, Goldmund, Acoustic System, Gflex

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Believe it or not a change of level as little as 1/10dB between two bits of audio equipment will almost always lead to the louder of the two being preferred. There are a lot of experiments that prove this beyond all doubt. To be sure you need to set levels with a DVM and test tone.

 

Chris - I'm sure you're aware of the stir the 9s caused and now we've taken the technology as far as it will go for the time being!

 

Ashley

 

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Interestingly I've just had a series of emails from someone who's picked an AE digital out from an iMac every time in a blind test.

I've told him it's level and not sonic and, as soon as we are able, after we've packed Overture Import's order, we'll measure it and I'll report back.

 

Levels account for most of this sort of thing and something worse can win if you aren't aware of this.

 

Ashley

 

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