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Who will be first to use Apple's Thunderbolt interface?


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The new Macbook Pro models are equipped with a new interface called Thunderbolt. Basically it's Intel's Light Peak which is a two way high speed interface capable of 10GB/sec in both directions. Reportedly twice as fast as USB 3.0 at first eventually scaling up to 100GB/sec.

 

Also supposed to be coppper at first instead of the originally planned fiber optic which seemed to me to be it's biggest advantage.

 

Is there a need for this in pro audio or audiophile DACs? Will anyone adopt it while it's copper based or wait until the fiber version comes out perhaps next year?.

 

Should be interesting.

 

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Hi hawkeye1911 - A couple things to keep in mind.

 

1. Don't purchase a DAC based on the interface. Purchase the DAC that sounds best to you and you can afford.

 

2. Thunderbolt capable DACs will not appear for quite a while. Most manufacturers haven't even implemented USB properly. The first peripheral devices like hard drives with Thunderbolt will be out this spring. I'm guessing spring is the earliest these drives will appear. Also, a DAC manufacturer must consider how many people have the computers to use its products. Not many people are going to have Thunderbolt anytime soon.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

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

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I think the any DAC with well implemented USB will work as well as any other interface.

 

DACs don't really need the bandwidth of Thunderbolt interface. The fiber optic part of Thunderbolt is where it will be great for digital audio because of galvanic isolation and long runs up to 100 meters. But it'll be next year or so before it's even available. Then probably years after that before it'll be in digital audio products.

 

 

If you like to build, Twisted Pear has some neat modules which get updated every year or so. Their Async USB module is supposed to coming out sometime in the next few months. You can always upgrade as you go.

 

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@labjr

 

Fiber optic would mean another set of modulator/demodulator, may add noise as in the case of toslink?

 

My understanding - Twisted Pear's proposal is to use XMOS's reference design for USB Audio. It is asynchronous by design but is compatible with only USB 2.0 (with downward compatibility). You will need a completely new controller with Thunderbolt.

 

Mac Mini ? Weiss DAC202 ? ML 326s ? ML 532h ? Wilson Sophia3

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If you read the literature on Intel's web site is says ,

 

"Thunderbolt technology was specifically designed with

video and audio applications in mind with inherently low latency and highly accurate time synchronization capabilities."

 

Other protocols like Firewire, which can run asynchronously, will run transparently over Thunderbolt. Seems like this was very well thought out.

 

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"Basically it's Intel's Light Peak"

 

Thunderbolt is also Intel's name. Light peak was the name of the tech during development, and they have rebranded it as thunderbolt now that they are rolling it out. Not a case of Apple adding their own nomenclature as they sometimes do.

 

Some are surmising this name applies only to the copper variant, and they will use the light peak name on the fiber version.

 

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Well, I started the thread the day Thunderbolt was introduced. More details became apparent by the end of the day.

 

However, I'm not sure Light Peak was a code name. I suspect it was changed when they decided to do a copper version at first which doesn't use "light".

 

 

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As long as you go stereo both USB 2.0 and firewire have plenty bandwidth already.

 

The highest kbps files I have are in the 5000 kbps range (high quality 24 bits/192 Khz) which is 20 times less than what real world slower than average USB 2.0 can deliver.

 

High end audio in stereo has no need whatsoever for Thunderbolt in terms of bandwidth.

 

There could be other advantages, but firewire has it all covered very well already.

 

Another thing being that due to the chaining ability of the standard, most computers will only have one Thunderbolt port, and that one is likely to be used by many users to connect several devices. That alone might discourage dac manufacturers from considering TB as a promising I/F...

 

Cheers,

Bernard

 

 

Room: Gik Acoustics room conditioning | Power: Shunyata Omega XC + Shunyata Everest + Shunyata Sigma NR v2 power cables | Source: Mac mini with LPS running Roon core (Raat) | Ethernet: Sonore OpticalModule + Melco S10 + Shunyata Omega Ethernet | Dac/Pre/Amplification: Devialet D1000 Pro Core Infinity | Speakers: Chord Company Sarum T speaker cables + Wilson Benesch Act One Evolution P1

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