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Best headphone setup for Macs

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
Before you complain, I want to say im not an apple fanboy, I just own a mac computer. Seeing that im using a mac there are many audio programs that run only on windows, so I want to know what some fellow mac users have found to be a good system. Currently I am using iTunes to play and manage my music. I am also looking into getting a EMU 0404 which seems like a decent DAC. Let me know what your setup is!

post #2 of 73
I would use the Itunes lossless on the mac through the digital out. Pretty much sky is the limit using the mac as a transport with bit perfect 44.1 output.
post #3 of 73
Thread Starter 
you mean the mini optical out?
post #4 of 73
Well...naturally you could get the the AKG 701's because they are nice and clean and white. They have that "ipod" look to them, and they sound incredible. Actually, I primarily use my PC for listening to music, but throwing an EMU 0404 into my mac would be great because I doubt you will need any EAX for gaming on a mac.

I am not sure if there are any compatibility issues with using an external USB DAC with OS X, but that could be another route to take as well.
post #5 of 73
This works beautifully for me:
iTunes (Apple Lossless) -> Digital out -> External DAC -> Amplifier -> Headphones
post #6 of 73
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
This works beautifully for me:
iTunes (Apple Lossless) -> Digital out -> External DAC -> Amplifier -> Headphones
Same thing here.
iMac (ALAC) -> AQVOX -> STAX 005 / HK Soundsticks for kicks.

As it was said, don't bother with worry, just hook up whatever you wish to afford, DAC- and phonewise. If you feel like worry, worry about backing up your music to another FireWire-HDD.
post #7 of 73
I own an iMac G5 and have tested out my 0404 USB with it (Apple Lossless to 0404 via USB). It's definitely an upgrade, and a nice piece for the cash, but if you're looking for audiophile quality sound you may be able to do better.

My personal advice is to get the best quality DAC that you can afford given your budget for DAC, amp, and headphones. It's very frustrating to have a high quality amp and headphones only to have the DAC holding you back.
post #8 of 73
My setup is:

iMac + iTunes alac -> Aqvox DAC -> Singlepower MPX3 Slam -> Headphones of choice

Macs are wonderful computer sources.
post #9 of 73
Thread Starter 
Yea, im looking into the EMU 0404, its a decent price for the performance but I only wished it looked a little nicer.
post #10 of 73
Thread Starter 
The majority of my music is 320kbps and I have been ripping CDs in lossless.
post #11 of 73
I use a Powerbook G4 as the source. Itunes does the ripping (ALAC) and playback. Output is to a Benchmark DAC1 USB, which has a good headphone amp built in, and Shure E500. Alternative output is via Ethernet to a Squeezebox, DAC1 standard, and Sennheiser HD25. It all works very well. Best audio system I've ever owned, and convenient.
post #12 of 73
I use the following:
MacBook Pro + iTunes alac -> Airport Xpress TOS -> Scott Nixon TubeDac+ -> RSA Raptor-> UM2 or HD650.

The best sound I have heard so far from my Mac.
post #13 of 73
I used a MacBook -> Lavry DA10 -> Sennheiser HD650 balanced setup for over a year. Nice compact system. Went back to single-ended with the addition of the WooAudio 6. At the recent San Jose meet people seemed to like that setup (especially when using FrontRow and and iCurve stand). Another bang for buck option is using a Squeezebox 3 as a DAC (though it would only be for music, not video, etc.).

Personally I'd look heavily at the Pico intro buy right now. I was very impressed with the SQ and for $500 you'd have a DAC and amp for your computer and amp for your iPod.

The gear has changed a little since this photo, but it's all run by a MacBook in the other room.
post #14 of 73
The Mood Labs Dice looks very Mac-like to me as a DAC, although it's about double the price of the 0404 you're looking at.

I use a Mac Mini exclusively for music, and use my Macbook Pro as a computer. I'm also building a setup, and am more interested in the coolest-looking gear as opposed to the best-sounding gear. It's sad, but I'm not going to buy something ugly just because it sounds good.

Maybe a Woo Audio Tube amp, that would look good with most current Apples...
post #15 of 73
Thread Starter 
What is a good amp with optical input for a modest price? And would connection through optical or usb result in better audio quality?
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