If you have a MAC, you don't need a DAC
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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_upadrian.buzea, wildmanjohn, and 18 others
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JGalt
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wisenlucky
0
Feb 14, 2020
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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?
(Edited)
Feb 14, 2020
Wizardofvoz
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Jan 23, 2020
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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!
Jan 23, 2020
DoGood1981
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Jan 8, 2020
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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 8, 2020
MiNdCoNtRoL
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Jan 2, 2020
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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.
Jan 2, 2020
adrian.buzea
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Dec 25, 2019
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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.
Dec 25, 2019
wildmanjohn
0
Nov 6, 2019
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I am using a mid 2012 Macbook Pro, running the 3.5mm output to the 1/4 TRS input of a pair of Mackie CR3's. I have been wanting to know if I should switch to a USB DAC and tube preamp or some kind of hybrid combo valve unit.
Nov 6, 2019
Motorrad
2463
Oct 19, 2019
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I've never been impressed by Apple audio anything. Going back to the iPods sound was poor. iRiver had them beat and the ZUNE (yes ZUNE) was a substantial improvement to the Apple products. I can't say MBP's are great either. Depending on the HP's you're using, you'll benefit from a DAC and Amp. Fanbois chime in below...
Oct 19, 2019
Motorrad
2463
Dec 11, 2019
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haha. It's true. they are the low-hanging fruit and I think they're on to me this time.
Dec 11, 2019
Qwervy
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Sep 24, 2019
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I agree that macs have good DAC's but there is still improvement that could be made by upgrading.
Sep 24, 2019
PeteMtl
318
Sep 22, 2019
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I agree. the Mac’s Cirrus Logic or Wolfson DACs (depending on Mac’s model) are 1st class Delta Sigma DACs. By the way Cirrus Logic owns Wolfson, same manufacturer since Wolfson was acquired a few years ago... The only DACs that could make a sensible difference (and the debate is out whether it is sensibly better or not) are multibit DACs such as in my five CD players I own (all with TDA1541 multibit Philips DAC). It would be great for Massdrop to offer a lower cost IC multibit DAC, probably based around the Analog Devices chip or maybe a Burr Brown (Now Texas Instruments) multibit chip (are they still manufactured ?). The only multibit DAC offered by Massdrop at this time are discrete component multibit DACs, far more expensive and probably more difficult to calibrate to perfect linearity than IC DACs. The only drawback in the case of internal DACs in Mac computers is their relatively low voltage output... about 1V to 1.5V depending on models. This drawback may not be a drawback depending on headphones used, their impedance and their efficiency. Worst case you may add on a headphone amp at the Mac’s output and still use the premium DAC inside the Mac. Just my 2 cents of personal opinion in the matter...
(Edited)
Sep 22, 2019
Wkinsey123
1
Aug 7, 2019
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i have a Imac 2011 27 inch fully spec'ed out and the dac sounds better than most pc on board audio and plugging it into a dac is more clean but the Imac still has a good amp it still wont drive anything high OHM properly, but its still good for high end headphones if you don't have a dac but I would strongly recommend a dac for audiophiles, that is at least if you have a high end pair of headphones.
Aug 7, 2019
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