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gryphongryph

Best USB port on Mac Mini ?

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Hi guys, I asked this in an other forum, but thought that this forum would be more appropriate.

Got me a late 2012 Mac mini with 16GB of ram, a 500GB ssd and a 1TB normal HD. I am running the OS and Roon from the ssd, my music library is on a 2TB ext HD connected to the mini with FireWire 800.
My question is this, when connecting my dac to the mini, is there, between the 3 USB port, one that is better sounding ? Like it used to be on the old Mac Book Pro ?
Thanks.

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Yes, The old MacBook Pro 2009 model had 2 ports, one sounding much better that the other, just wondering if the ports on the Mac Mini are different sounding or the all are the same.

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I believe each of four USB ports fits well for connecting the DAC. However, you should avoid DAC on the same Bus with Bluetooth Controller. To check this you may open apple icon top left > About This Mac > System Report... > Hardware > USB. If you see DAC in the same Bus with Bluetooth Controller use another USB port and check again.

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can I convince you to try a device in between your computer and your DAC that provides galvanic isolation?

 

use something you can return if your DAC doesn't "need" it


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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Then you should be fine.  Use the most convenient USB port, tho it won't hurt to use one 'distant' from Bluetooth.

 

Time/$$ put into noise isolation for the DAC will likely be more worthwhile.  Acoustics will likely be much more worthwhile. 


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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On 5/14/2019 at 7:06 PM, gryphongryph said:

My question is this, when connecting my dac to the mini, is there, between the 3 USB port, one that is better sounding ?

 

Yes, on the Mac mini (2012 for sure), ports #1 and #3 give markedly better SQ than ports #2 and #4.  (Calling port #1 the furthest to the outside of the case, and port #4 the one closest to the mid-line of the machine, next to the miniDisplayPort.)

Compare them for yourself. :D

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1 hour ago, Superdad said:

 

Yes, on the Mac mini (2012 for sure), ports #1 and #3 give markedly better SQ than ports #2 and #4.  (Calling port #1 the furthest to the outside of the case, and port #4 the one closest to the mid-line of the machine, next to the miniDisplayPort.)

Compare them for yourself. :D

 

Which one is better between two - #1 and #3? 😏

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33 minutes ago, AnotherSpin said:

Which one is better between two - #1 and #3? 😏

 

In my comparisons #1 and #3 bought sound equally good. #2 and #4 had the same disturbing qualities.  It was a long time ago, so I can't recall well enough to be more descriptive.  

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6 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

In my comparisons #1 and #3 bought sound equally good. #2 and #4 had the same disturbing qualities.  It was a long time ago, so I can't recall well enough to be more descriptive.  

 

I was trying to find out the same years ago as well. Just by accident (or not) I have DAC connected to #3 now and for a while. All other ports used for connecting external drives. 

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Very interesting! DAC was connected to port #3 (it was ok, as per @Superdad suggestion), but there was external HDs on the same Bus with DAC, accordingly to System Hardware report. I thought it was not a big deal as far as Bluetooth Controller kept separate on other Bus. Nevertheless, I decided to re-connect DAC to port #1, just for comparison. All three other ports are used for connecting external HDs, BUT, this time system report shows DAC on separate Bus. One thread to DAC, second to BT Controller and third to HDs. After this I hear discernible improvement in sound. Less noisy, more clean and natural. If I understand and explain it correct, two things should be checked and insured: DAC on port#1 and on separate Bus without anything else in the same thread.

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what DAC?  and any other devices in the chain?


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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On 5/17/2019 at 6:50 AM, AnotherSpin said:

Very interesting! DAC was connected to port #3 (it was ok, as per @Superdad suggestion), but there was external HDs on the same Bus with DAC...

 

Sorry but USB drive attachment on a DAC-connected Mac mini is the worst of all choices SQ-wise for music storage connection. Please read this report (which is readily corroborated by others and can be by your own experiments):

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

Sorry but USB drive attachment on a DAC-connected Mac mini is the worst of all choices SQ-wise for music storage connection. Please read this report (which is readily corroborated by others and can be by your own experiments):

 

 

 

I remember this post from long time ago...) In fact, in my much simplified present audio set it makes no audible difference whether files are taken to mac mini from external HD, or from SD card, or from mac mini SSD. Maybe because of regen, or because my Gungnir Multibit DAC immune to this?)

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Is this coming from the old problem of finding a USB port that was not shared with another device? That really did give better sound back a while ago. 

 

I am am not at all sure it actually still applies today, but maybe in a 2012 machine... 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

or maybe because the "test" results are meaningless due to lack of controls

 

or... lack of statistical validity

 

or... the "subtle" differences (if any) escaped you 

 

 

 

If differences escaped I am more than happy) And, only control valid for me is my perception which tells me "no difference". Of course I think it is quite pointless to check my perception with this or other whatthefuckmeter...)

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No, a control in an experiment is not a measurement.

 

Perceptions are highly variable.  If you will buy a good bottle of Scotch I will administer some to you at your next listening session, as a test.


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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0000

0001

0010

0100


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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7 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

No, a control in an experiment is not a measurement.

 

Perceptions are highly variable.  If you will buy a good bottle of Scotch I will administer some to you at your next listening session, as a test.

 

I do not drink alcohol. If perceptions are highly variable (and they are) there is no reason to look for "better" port or "better" type of connection – perception will necessarily adapt to any.

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