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Article: Desktop Audio For The Apple Pro Display XDR


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Super cool article. I just started a desktop set up about a year and a half ago with a Mac mini purchase. Had many of the same desires you did and, having already been very pleased by the KEF LS50 wireless  was definitely looking at the LSX, Magnepan, and others as well. I ultimately settled on a different KEF product: KEF Egg. 

 

So, just trying to be helpful as the KEF Egg  is  another alternative for those who might be looking. It’s supports 24/96, has USB plug-in that can go directly out from the Mac mini for all computing sound, looks great, and uses that same coaxial driver technology as their other speakers for their “house sound”.

 

I later spent a little bit extra on a used REL T0 sub and it’s amazing. Very different than my other set ups. Nearfield listening is truly unique but rather enjoyable especially as we spend so much time in front of our computers in general. 

 

I’m more just throwing us out there for anybody who might be in a similar position who is looking for a style friendly product that accepts USB straight from a computer.  it’s brainless turnkey solution and sounds great with or without a subwoofer.

 

Thanks for another great review!

Aurender S10--> Berkeley Alpha USB—> Meitner MA-1 --> Audio Research REF6 Pre --> Audio Research REF-110-->Vandersteen Quatro CT Speakers

 

Sonore UltraRendu with Uptone power supply —> Meitner MA1

 

AQ Sky XLR Interconnects, Audioquest Diamond USB, Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB, Nordost Heimdall 2 AES-EBU

 

AMG Giro Turntable w Lyra Delos Cartridge —> Audio Research Ref 3 PhonoPre

 

HRS RXR Rack with Isolation Bases

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2 minutes ago, blaven said:

Super cool article. I just started a desktop set up about a year and a half ago with a Mac mini purchase. Had many of the same desires you did and, having already been very pleased by the KEF LS50 wireless  was definitely looking at the LSX as well. I ultimately settled on a different KEF product: KEF Egg. 

 

So, just trying to be helpful as the KEF Egg  is  another alternative for those who might be looking. It’s supports 24/96, has USB plug-in that can go directly out from the Mac mini for all computing sound, looks great, and uses that same coaxial driver technology as their other speakers for their “house sound”.

 

I later spent a little bit extra on a used REL T0 sub and it’s amazing. Very different than my other set ups. Nearfield listening is truly unique but rather enjoyable especially as we spend so much time in front of our computers in general. 

 

I’m more just throwing us out there for anybody who might be in a similar position who is looking for a style friendly product that accepts USB straight from a computer.  it’s brainless turnkey solution and sounds great with or without a subwoofer.

 

Thanks for another great review!

Very cool. Thanks for the suggestion.

 

Is the KEF Egg still made?

 

https://us.kef.com/speakers/computer-speakers/egg.html

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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As someone that bought the 4K LG Ultrafine, in 32 inch size, and being blown away by the quality of it, I can't imagine what the Apple Display must look like...

No electron left behind...

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On your comment about Elac not having something that met your requirements, I am guessing that meant no digital inputs? I have a pair of the ARB-51 that I use with my LG OLED TV but I have a Bluesound Node 2i set up that I have been pleased with, but that is not a desktop system. My son has a pair of the older XEO 2 in a desktop Mac system and he loves it.

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3 minutes ago, Roy Boy said:

On your comment about Elac not having something that met your requirements, I am guessing that meant no digital inputs? I have a pair of the ARB-51 that I use with my LG OLED TV but I have a Bluesound Node 2i set up that I have been pleased with, but that is not a desktop system. My son has a pair of the older XEO 2 in a desktop Mac system and he loves it.

 

Yeah. I love Elac, but couldn't find a speaker with inputs I needed. 

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Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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20 hours ago, blaven said:

Super cool article. I just started a desktop set up about a year and a half ago with a Mac mini purchase. Had many of the same desires you did and, having already been very pleased by the KEF LS50 wireless  was definitely looking at the LSX, Magnepan, and others as well. I ultimately settled on a different KEF product: KEF Egg. 

 

So, just trying to be helpful as the KEF Egg  is  another alternative for those who might be looking. It’s supports 24/96, has USB plug-in that can go directly out from the Mac mini for all computing sound, looks great, and uses that same coaxial driver technology as their other speakers for their “house sound”.

 

I later spent a little bit extra on a used REL T0 sub and it’s amazing. Very different than my other set ups. Nearfield listening is truly unique but rather enjoyable especially as we spend so much time in front of our computers in general. 

 

I’m more just throwing us out there for anybody who might be in a similar position who is looking for a style friendly product that accepts USB straight from a computer.  it’s brainless turnkey solution and sounds great with or without a subwoofer.

 

Thanks for another great review!

Using the KEF Egg also, and it's a nice little setup for me when I'm working on editing photos. They're set a bit farther apart than I'd like, given the size of my editing monitor and the distance I prefer for editing, but it doesn't seem to affect the sound. Instruments in the middle come from the middle of the screen, with a nice little soundstage on my desk. They have the KEF sound character, too, reminding me of my living room LSX speakers. 

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1 minute ago, ednaz said:

Using the KEF Egg also, and it's a nice little setup for me when I'm working on editing photos. They're set a bit farther apart than I'd like, given the size of my editing monitor and the distance I prefer for editing, but it doesn't seem to affect the sound. Instruments in the middle come from the middle of the screen, with a nice little soundstage on my desk. They have the KEF sound character, too, reminding me of my living room LSX speakers. 

Have the EGGs been discontinued?

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44 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Have the EGGs been discontinued?

YES

 

but...

 

KEF EGG Powered Desktop Speakers w/ Bluetooth Black | Accessories4less last pair too.

Current:  JRiver 26 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an AMD A10-5700 with 8 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Amplification - Audio Research SP-16 > Pioneer M-22 - Bow Technologies Wazoo Integrated (great amp - silly name)

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage - KEF LS50 - Revel M126Be - others......

Cables: Tara Labs RCS Reference speaker cables and DiMarzio Interconnects

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Quote

they worked for about a day before the left channel was lower than the right. I dug into it further and discovered that Roon was setting my left channel volume to -10dB in Audio Midi, upon reboot. I didn't see this previously because I had no reason to look at Audio Midi. I never used it for volume control because the Xeo has its own remote control. I uninstalled Roon and the issue disappeared.

I'm curious that you didn't pursue this further. Is it a bug in Roon? It seems like a rather serious issue.

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8 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Oh I’ve pursued it but Roon isn’t very interested in it.

 

It's truly amazing how uninterested companies are now.  Customers are really pains in the keister, aren't they?

 

Somewhat off topic...  

 

I'm typing this on a somewhat more recent vintage iMac than your previous computer, but Apple in its great and powerful wisdom haa decided to not update the firmware in it for the past year.  That may not be a problem now, but it could be.  Their answer is that it's up to date, but I keep getting eficheck notices that my firmware is not up to date.  Apple is about as interested in my (and other people's) issue on this as Roon is with their issue.

 

Aside from Retina displays and the wider spread use of SSDs over the past decade or so, the improvements in computers have been rather small in a practical sense.  People make more of a deal of them than is really merited.  Which is exactly what the companies want.

 

So, your plan of getting a really great display and a lower priced compute engine makes great sense to me.  There doesn't appear to be an earth shaking display performance improvement on the horizon, and all the computing improvements will largely be incremental.  Your approach seems like a better allocation of resources than buying a new iMac.

 

So, how's it working?

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18 minutes ago, CG said:

 

It's truly amazing how uninterested companies are now.  Customers are really pains in the keister, aren't they?

 

Somewhat off topic...  

 

I'm typing this on a somewhat more recent vintage iMac than your previous computer, but Apple in its great and powerful wisdom haa decided to not update the firmware in it for the past year.  That may not be a problem now, but it could be.  Their answer is that it's up to date, but I keep getting eficheck notices that my firmware is not up to date.  Apple is about as interested in my (and other people's) issue on this as Roon is with their issue.

 

Aside from Retina displays and the wider spread use of SSDs over the past decade or so, the improvements in computers have been rather small in a practical sense.  People make more of a deal of them than is really merited.  Which is exactly what the companies want.

 

So, your plan of getting a really great display and a lower priced compute engine makes great sense to me.  There doesn't appear to be an earth shaking display performance improvement on the horizon, and all the computing improvements will largely be incremental.  Your approach seems like a better allocation of resources than buying a new iMac.

 

So, how's it working?


It works fantastic. Best computer system I’ve ever used. 8-10 hours in front of this display is a breeze on the eyes. 
 

Speaking of firmware, I pulled the power cable on the monitor three times, in the middle of a firmware update (unbeknownst to me) and it came up just fine and on the newest version of firmware. Incredible engineering. 

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27 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:


It works fantastic. Best computer system I’ve ever used. 8-10 hours in front of this display is a breeze on the eyes. 
 

Speaking of firmware, I pulled the power cable on the monitor three times, in the middle of a firmware update (unbeknownst to me) and it came up just fine and on the newest version of firmware. Incredible engineering. 

 

Good to know.

 

There's rumors of a less expensive monitor coming out Any Day Now.  (The only things really coming out Any Day Now are the rumors.)  As you alluded to, this monitor is overpriced.  Just because they can overprice it.  For example, the stand doesn't appear to be that much different from what you get on an $1800 27 inch iMac.  (Is the stand $1000 and the rest is only $800?  Somebody should go into the boutique stand business.)  Anyway, if there's a lower priced alternative, that might be the way to go for us puny humans.

 

Thanks for the report.  Back to the shadows.

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7 hours ago, CG said:

So, your plan of getting a really great display and a lower priced compute engine makes great sense to me. There doesn't appear to be an earth shaking display performance improvement on the horizon, and all the computing improvements will largely be incremental.  Your approach seems like a better allocation of resources than buying a new iMac.

 

I would actually go the opposite direction, I'm sure it is a fabulous display but the most progress has been in that arena so investing $6K+ in a display that will likely be outdistanced very soon makes no sense to me.. look how fast we went from 1080 being state of the art to 4K being ubiquitous. I understand that if you want the state of the art now in displays you have to pay the premium and I have no problem with others doing it, just not for me. 

 

 

The Mac Mini M1 may be "lower priced" but for tasks that use a single core it is the fastest that Apple has at the moment. Faster than a Mac Pro. My 2018 3.2GHz i7 was choking with HQ player to DSD 512 and my M1 sails through it. Prior to the M1 the iMac was the fastest and the M1 is about 50% faster so not in agreement on the assessment of incremental computer improvement ,,, 50% to me  is a leap.. not an increment

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-04-03 at 7.14.09 PM.png

Tidal/Qobuz >> Roon >> Mac Mini >> USB >> Antelope Eclipse 384  DAC and headphone amps >> Avantgarde Duo Omega with DIY 16 foot bass horns

 

ZYX Optimum - Moerch DP8 arm - Merrill Williams >> Esoteric E-02 >>> either Antelope as above or  Placette Passive >> DIY 300B amp

 

 

IMG_0974 2.jpg

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I was one of those people waiting for the next big fancy monitor to come out, and except for the Apple Display, as of the moment they are all coming at some indeterminate future date... And none of them will be cheap. In fact I bet they will be 5K plus as some of the just below that tier models are right now selling for 4.5 to 5K. The one I was really interested in is the upcoming LG OLED 32 inch computer monitor, but again, I need it now, not at some unknown time in the future. So I did the next best thing and got a super deal on the LG Ultrafine monitor from Microcenter and I could not love it more. For my needs it's perfect. I also have it paired with an M1 mini and I love the little machine.

No electron left behind...

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On 4/2/2021 at 9:37 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

Have the EGGs been discontinued?

I’m not entirely sure. I suspect so, but I have been thinking about getting a pair in blue and periodically I check on Amazon and they will suddenly have 30 available. I have no idea what warehouse is secretly discovering a lost stash or what is going on, but you definitely can still get them knew through a number of outlets. Even Crutchfield up until recently but I think they’re still on Amazon.

 

I really love the Nearfield listening experience. It’s just nice to have a different set up compared to 5.1 and two channel where you were further back. I’m really surprised by how much I enjoy listening to music there and how great it sounds from a relatively simple set up.   It’s almost a headphone like experience. I can only imagine what those Dynaudio’s sound like

 

thanks for all your work on the site Chris. I’ve been on it since the beginning and it’s such a wonderful resource. big fan of the site and the location (dad grew up in St Louis Park)

Congratulations on all your life and site successes

 

 

my computer rig. such a fun hobby. Thanks for contributing so much to it

844780C5-585F-4E39-8A43-BC86226458A1.jpeg

Aurender S10--> Berkeley Alpha USB—> Meitner MA-1 --> Audio Research REF6 Pre --> Audio Research REF-110-->Vandersteen Quatro CT Speakers

 

Sonore UltraRendu with Uptone power supply —> Meitner MA1

 

AQ Sky XLR Interconnects, Audioquest Diamond USB, Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB, Nordost Heimdall 2 AES-EBU

 

AMG Giro Turntable w Lyra Delos Cartridge —> Audio Research Ref 3 PhonoPre

 

HRS RXR Rack with Isolation Bases

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42 minutes ago, bbosler said:

 

I would actually go the opposite direction, I'm sure it is a fabulous display but the most progress has been in that arena so investing $6K+ in a display that will likely be outdistanced very soon makes no sense to me.. look how fast we went from 1080 being state of the art to 4K being ubiquitous. I understand that if you want the state of the art now in displays you have to pay the premium and I have no problem with others doing it, just not for me. 

 

 

The Mac Mini M1 may be "lower priced" but for tasks that use a single core it is the fastest that Apple has at the moment. Faster than a Mac Pro. My 2018 3.2GHz i7 was choking with HQ player to DSD 512 and my M1 sails through it. Prior to the M1 the iMac was the fastest and the M1 is about 50% faster so not in agreement on the assessment of incremental computer improvement ,,, 50% to me  is a leap.. not an increment

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-04-03 at 7.14.09 PM.png


I don’t care if a display has 8k or 16k, it’s all about quality for me. The Apple displays have such high quality it’s crazy. Text looks amazingly crisp. 
 

I also don’t need the latest and greatest. This display will be just as good as it is today, in 10 years. 

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Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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28 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

I was one of those people waiting for the next big fancy monitor to come out, and except for the Apple Display, as of the moment they are all coming at some indeterminate future date... And none of them will be cheap. In fact I bet they will be 5K plus as some of the just below that tier models are right now selling for 4.5 to 5K. The one I was really interested in is the upcoming LG OLED 32 inch computer monitor, but again, I need it now, not at some unknown time in the future. So I did the next best thing and got a super deal on the LG Ultrafine monitor from Microcenter and I could not love it more. For my needs it's perfect. I also have it paired with an M1 mini and I love the little machine.

 

I've got a iMac 27 Mid 2011 High Sierra I'll need to replace pretty soon and the new M1 Mac Mini with the LG UltraFine is at the top of my list.  Have you experienced any "gotchas" from the Mini dealing with a non-Apple display?  Do they integrate well?

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21 minutes ago, SalR406 said:

 

I've got a iMac 27 Mid 2011 High Sierra I'll need to replace pretty soon and the new M1 Mac Mini with the LG UltraFine is at the top of my list.  Have you experienced any "gotchas" from the Mini dealing with a non-Apple display?  Do they integrate well?

I’m using a BenQ PD3220U

Works without a single hiccup. 

 

Aurender S10--> Berkeley Alpha USB—> Meitner MA-1 --> Audio Research REF6 Pre --> Audio Research REF-110-->Vandersteen Quatro CT Speakers

 

Sonore UltraRendu with Uptone power supply —> Meitner MA1

 

AQ Sky XLR Interconnects, Audioquest Diamond USB, Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB, Nordost Heimdall 2 AES-EBU

 

AMG Giro Turntable w Lyra Delos Cartridge —> Audio Research Ref 3 PhonoPre

 

HRS RXR Rack with Isolation Bases

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Also, regarding non-Apple monitors integrating with the Mac Mini, one thing that can be mildly frustrating is inability to adjust brightness. There’s a pretty cool application called lunar that can run in the background and facilitate this pretty seamlessly. Otherwise, there are no hiccups whatsoever and it is brainless and easy set up.

 

the BenQ comes with this little 3 inch diameter hockey puck thing with a control dial that allows you to adjust brightness, volume, and that kind of stuff.


but that lunar program works very well and allows you to control brightness from the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. That’s what I find myself most frequently using. 

 

dont want to derail the thread but this might be helpful for others. Sorry. 

 

image.jpg

Aurender S10--> Berkeley Alpha USB—> Meitner MA-1 --> Audio Research REF6 Pre --> Audio Research REF-110-->Vandersteen Quatro CT Speakers

 

Sonore UltraRendu with Uptone power supply —> Meitner MA1

 

AQ Sky XLR Interconnects, Audioquest Diamond USB, Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB, Nordost Heimdall 2 AES-EBU

 

AMG Giro Turntable w Lyra Delos Cartridge —> Audio Research Ref 3 PhonoPre

 

HRS RXR Rack with Isolation Bases

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