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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:49 am 
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I mostly listen to vinyl but there are some albums I want to download Hi res copies of from reputable pay sites.
My question is, if I download the files to my MacBook Pro, what external or internal device do I need?
I assume downloading a 24 bit 192 khz to this MacBook and using the 1/8th audio out is not going to actually be 24/192,,,,I assume this because I am guessing the Macbook is not 24 bit?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:08 am 
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Any computer can play hi res files without problem, it's a matter of how it gets processed down stream. What matters is the DAC that it's being feed to, whether it's as DAC stand alone or a DAC built into your pre-amp/integrated/receiver.

As far as Apple specifics go I'm sure someone else will chime in but your computer is more than capable.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:10 am 
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Hi tolpheus. Thank you for responding, you partly answered my question, I think.
I have no DAC. At the moment I am just going 1/8th jack to preamp.
Are you saying there is some way of getting a digital signal out of the MacBook and into a DAC?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:25 pm 
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You will need to use a digital output to get the full benefit of the hi res files. USB, SPDIF, optical, coax as examples.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:30 pm 
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The headphone jack will output 24/192 and it's a pretty darn good sounding internal DAC on MacBooks. Easily equivalent to the average $300 DAC. The magic in DACs starts around $2000. Less than that there are only a handful that even sound unique (most sounding almost the same) and only one or two that the average person (or system) would show a meaningful improvement. The master quality is the most important, followed by the speaker, the rest of the system and then if you have a larger budget, the DAC. Btw, a lot of the 24/192 files sound far inferior to good 16/44 masters from the past due to poor sourcing from the master tapes. Don't blindly assume that more bits is automatically better. That said, if the master is the same, 24/192 definitely sounds better.

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Last edited by planetofsound on Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:32 pm 
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A USB connection is the most common (and easiest) way to get hi-res audio out of your Mac. Your 1/8" connection is definitely something to consider bypassing. If you're looking for a simple and affordable alternative that will improve the signal, consider one of the Dragonfly USB DACs.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:38 pm 
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Glad someone else chimed in, I was unaware that the headphone jack was sufficient. I mainly wanted to comment on the ability of the OP's computer to play the file.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:05 pm 
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Thank you all for taking the time to respond.

I think I get it. The 1/8 th from the MacBook is okay, and to get a bigger improvement I need to buy a serious DAC, is that correct?

Also, I am well aware of the quality of the master, that for sure is super important.
HEY! If I could sit down and listen to the actual master that Miles recorded at Columbia's 30th St studio "D" in 55 with Mr. Coltrane, believe me,,,I would.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:08 am 
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planetofsound wrote:
The headphone jack will output 24/192 and it's a pretty darn good sounding internal DAC on MacBooks. Easily equivalent to the average $300 DAC. The magic in DACs starts around $2000. Less than that there are only a handful that even sound unique (most sounding almost the same) and only one or two that the average person (or system) would show a meaningful improvement. The master quality is the most important, followed by the speaker, the rest of the system and then if you have a larger budget, the DAC. Btw, a lot of the 24/192 files sound far inferior to good 16/44 masters from the past due to poor sourcing from the master tapes. Don't blindly assume that more bits is automatically better. That said, if the master is the same, 24/192 definitely sounds better.


Well, I just did a simple test, listened to the headphone out of my brand new Macbook Pro vs Audioquest Dragonfly Red, using Audeze Sine. Let's just say it was not a fair contest, not even close. The dragonfly won easily. It's less then $300. Material was 320 kbps Spotify, not even CD quality stuff, nevermind high res or whatever.
That said, I tend to generally agree with your statement about differences in DACs and speakers being very important.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:20 am 
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retiredelectrician wrote:
Thank you all for taking the time to respond.

I think I get it. The 1/8 th from the MacBook is okay, and to get a bigger improvement I need to buy a serious DAC, is that correct?


FYI - Depending on the model and year of your MacBook Pro, your headphone jack might have a digital optical output. https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202730

I used the optical out of the headphone jack of my MBP to connect to an external DAC (Rotel RA12) via TOSLINK and it sounded very good.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:22 am 
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giantbunnyhead wrote:
retiredelectrician wrote:
Thank you all for taking the time to respond.

I think I get it. The 1/8 th from the MacBook is okay, and to get a bigger improvement I need to buy a serious DAC, is that correct?


FYI - Depending on the model and year of your MacBook Pro, your headphone jack might have a digital optical output. https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202730

I used the optical out of the headphone jack of my MBP to connect to an external DAC (Rotel RA12) via TOSLINK and it sounded very good.


The latest crop of macbooks do not have that anymore.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 12:13 pm 
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@OP, as another poster said, you may be able to get optical S/PDIF digital out of your MB Pro if it's old enough. If so, you'll need a 1/8" adapter and a plastic or glass optical cable, glass being much more expensive and also better-sounding.

The best sound out of a MacBook Pro comes from a USB port, though.

BTW I know what Gunnar means when he says the magic in DACs starts around $2K retail. My own experience has been that there is a real step up in quality at around this level, and that this has apparently been the case since I bought my first good DAC over ten years ago.

It is also true that DACs have improved greatly over that time, and some of today's $300 DACs, although not able to beat an older $2K DAC on every score, may very well be more musically pleasing.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 12:37 pm 
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Hey guys,

looks like the capability was removed in 2016...so most new-ish macbooks will still put out digital out which can be fed to any external DAC...
http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/11/ ... phone-jack

If you will compare apples to apples, I would not compare the dragonfly DAC to the analog out of the macbook. No contest...until you use the built-in optical out on the macbook.

Another option is HDMI audio out to a receiver, but I'm sure none of you guys run digital audio that way to your 2 channel rigs. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 1:51 pm 
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Ref Planetofsound
The headphone jack will output 24/192 and it's a pretty darn good sounding internal DAC on MacBooks. Easily equivalent to the average $300 DAC. The magic in DACs starts around $2000.

What about a Micromega MyDac for less than 200$? Amazing.
No chance a Mac's internal DAC will be anywhere close...

Just add a decent USB out- cable. Less than 50$.
N


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 2:52 pm 
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