If you have a MAC, you don't need a DAC
If your music library is coming out of a MacBook Pro, the internal DAC is already extremely good. Adding a dedicated DAC will not yield meaningful improvement. Thoughts? Discuss.
thumb_upNikhil Chandra, wisenlucky, and 20 others

Sep 10, 2020
I have a 2018 MBP. I picked up a cheapo FX-Audio DAC-M6 solely for the headphone out for less than $30. Have it connected via USB A via a hub. Was able to increase from 48K to 96K in MIDI setup, but 192k is not an option. Given that I probably won't be able to hear a difference and am only doing this for the principle of the matter, what should I do to get the 192k? Options: USB A to optical input (using hub) USB C to optical input USB C to B input USB A to B input (using hub, what I am using now and not the answer) Something Else Any ideas? TIA.
Aug 8, 2020
DACport HD, E1DA 9038s (both are dac+amp) - They make a significant difference. Moreover, the sound recording matters too. There are a few songs for which I feel the Mac suffices, but very few, and just about. But to each his own. There is nothing like being satisfied with something, sir. Or, as someone said. this is a train to 'nowhere'.
Jun 8, 2020
2018 Mac mini ... what is my internal DAC? Apple don't seem to be very proud of it!
Mar 6, 2020
Dang... That rhymes and stuck in my head... If you have a MAC, you don't need a DAC..... Repeat...
Mar 2, 2020
I think it depends on the DAC and your budget. I picked up a really cheap Moshi 24/192 usb-c dac and it has more power than the standard output but I don't really push my Focal Clear Professionals very much. I was listening yesterday to music on the Zdac v.2 and I think it was considerably more detailed but that is a $500 vs $24 DAC. My phones sound great with my Apollo Twin Duo as well. Even the cables matter IMO so I got some Moon Audio Blue USB cable for the Zdac and I use the Black Dragon cables which really add some clarity and spaciousness. I've been looking into DACs quite a bit the last couple days because I want something nice for my phone but ultimately I think the cans you have make the biggest difference. Kinda like how a Microphone makes the biggest difference when recording (don't get me wrong the whole chain matters). I guess I just have to think what mood am I in and how critically do I want to listen to my music. The Clears are really easy to drive though so really it's not about that but even this little $25 thing makes it more enjoyable. I'd say if you are on the fence get something like this or a dragonfly and hear the difference (never tried the dragonfly but I assume it's better) and then think about how much more you'd get from higher end setups.
Mar 24, 2020
I don't consider myself as an audiphile, even with my current equipment I can't diferentiate a high quality sound file (eg. 96khz vs 44khz, 16bit vs 24bit), but I can hear the differences between a FLAC and an MP3, but it's really hard for me to identify what are those differences, it just sounds better, and I can hear them for longer. For me, the macbook is too dark. It feels like the bass gets between everything else, If you have open back headphones they don't feel open, lower staging and imaging. While in the multibit, the bass is still there, more defined, probably equally strong but without interfering with everything else, I can hear music for longer with the multibit without getting tired. It's like comparing the bass from a movie theathre versus the bass from a tv. The other big difference I notice is the quallity in the highs, and the rest of the spectrum, they are crispier but without feeling painful. I also connected my speakers to the multibit, and I can finally listen to them without feeling anoyed. With everything else they used to feel cheap and like they were inside a box, now I can finally enjoy music and movies with them. (Audioengine A2) But as MartinMan said, it depends what are you going to use for listening. I bough the Focal Clears last week, and I don't hear a big difference either. At least not the $500 investment in DAC and AMP.
Mar 24, 2020
I also want to add that after comparing it from the USB input and the TOSLINK one, there is a huge difference. Too bad apple removed the mini toslink from their macs. Or my multibit is broken, or I need a new cable, or I need something to clean the signal.
Feb 14, 2020
My 2 cents. Got myself O2 SDAC+AMP and HD6xx. Just my experience: I cant hear noticeable difference with amp or connecting HD6xx directly to my Imac 27" same as to MacBook Pro 2019. Of course you can get cans to sound louder with the amp. But internal DAC provides just more than enough loudness I need. Just tested it on a few songs . Anyone have any good playlist/song i can test difference on?
Jan 23, 2020
2012 Mac Pro. Recently developed an audio issue. It works for a little while, the you hear a few light pops. After a few minutes, there is no audio output. Reboot fixes the issue for a little while. Ideas? Thanks!
Aug 4, 2020
I have the new-er Mac Mini, and am having the same issue. I thought it was my amp, so I got a new one, same issue. after a reboot clean sound, but after a while I get pops. I've noticed this is mostly with really low frequencies like in movies (watching the last kingdom).
Jan 8, 2020
I like this thread. I too am trying to use my mac dac instead of buying external. However, this is weird what apple is saying...the only way for my early 2015 MBP to sample high res, 192, /24 etc...is using a mini toslink. My receiver does not have optic input just RCA, so I have been using 3.5 audio to RCA (not mini toslink) to me, it should be analogue through the internal DAC right from the headphone jack....right? or am I missing something?
Jan 2, 2020
Mac's DAC might just be good enough but what about static noise? I have a 2015 MBP and when connected straight to my AMP there is static noise without anything playing. Switching to a usb DAC solved the problem. I'd say it's worth it to get a cheap one.
Dec 25, 2019
Totally true. I've got an iFi nano DAC/AMP, a 2017 15" Macbook Pro and a pair of HD58x. I've tried comparing them and there's basically no difference, or at least no noticeable one. I switched back and forth multiple times and really tried to find any differences but at that point it's becoming just placebo. All these audiophile gurus here claiming a dedicated DAC makes a clear difference are just eating shit. Don't even get me started on amplifiers. Amplifiers, by definition, just amplify the signal. They should not magically make your shit sound different - if they do then they're doing the wrong thing. Don't spend your money on expensive DACs and AMPs, they're better spent on better/different headphones or speakers.
Apr 7, 2020
Jun 2, 2020
Expert right here
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Oct 1, 2020