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What is the best way to connect an amplifier to your computer

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello guys, I recently bought a Marantz PM6003 and need to find the best way to connect it to my Macbook pro. Currently, I am using a Creative X-fi extreme fidelity usb sound card as my sound output device, and using a DIY mini-RCA cable to connect it to my amplifier. I was wondering if that's the best way of doing things or can I get better SQ if I do things another way? I was thinking about the concept of the LOD of the Ipod and was wondering if the same existed for a Macbook pro, where the amplifier is the only component that is responsible for amplifying the signal it receives by the computer. Also, I own a presonus firepod that can also be used as a sound card, in case the solution you provide me with requires any of the characteristics that it may offer.

Thanks!
post #2 of 18
MacBook's optical out --> good DAC with optical in --> good quality RCA/RCA cables.

That would be slightly superior. Mind you, I don't know my way around a Mac, so, I couldn't tell you much more than that.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, i was thinking the same but need to find a reasonably price DAC for this task.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Oh and btw, my presonus firepod has an S/PDIF input and output jack. Could I used that to connect it to my amplifier? If yes, what kind of cable will I need? Thanks!
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerdimitri View Post
Oh and btw, my presonus firepod has an S/PDIF input and output jack. Could I used that to connect it to my amplifier? If yes, what kind of cable will I need? Thanks!
This firewire in/out center?

PreSonus
post #6 of 18
I just tried this (meaning using the MacBook's optical out) and it was a solid improvement over my normal mode for listening to iTunes (MacBook via 802.11 n (b/g compatible) > Airport Express> external DAC > headphone amp).

Streaming iTunes usually delivers pretty satisfactory results, but it's subject to RF interference and has a tendency to cut out when my MacBook is backing up wirelessly to my Time Capsule hard drive.

I might order a 10' optical cable and run it to my listening chair so I have the option of ditching the convenience of wireless for the stability of wired.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
This firewire in/out center?

PreSonus
Yes that's the one
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerdimitri View Post
Yes that's the one
That's some piece of equipment. o.O Regardless, I'm not really sure which would sound better. It's hard to compare, because the Firepod is more built for the input than the output.

Check this out:

How Do I Connect FP10 to Headphone Amp? - PreSonus Forums
post #9 of 18

Really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by McPanse View Post
I just tried this (meaning using the MacBook's optical out) and it was a solid improvement over my normal mode for listening to iTunes (MacBook via 802.11 n (b/g compatible) > Airport Express> external DAC > headphone amp).

Streaming iTunes usually delivers pretty satisfactory results, but it's subject to RF interference and has a tendency to cut out when my MacBook is backing up wirelessly to my Time Capsule hard drive.

I might order a 10' optical cable and run it to my listening chair so I have the option of ditching the convenience of wireless for the stability of wired.
I am curious as to what sound quality differences you can attribute to the direct optical out vs over the air?

Assuming you are playing standard 16 bit files the Airport Express should do fine into an external dac, although there have been reports that jitter can be high. Wondering if the DacMagic is not coping well with this or if there is some other phenomenon being expressed.

I use Apple TV optical out to an external DAC and feel the sound is very good. I am now tempted to bring my Macbook into the office from the living room and directly connect to see how bad it might really be.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Check this out:

How Do I Connect FP10 to Headphone Amp? - PreSonus Forums
Thank you for finding that link. I know found the solution to my problem. I need to make two TRS 1/4" mono to RCA cables and plug them into the cue mix line out 1 and 2 to get the stereo signal.
post #11 of 18
I am currently using the iBasso D10 (PC -> optical -> D10 -> HF-1 / powered speakers)
Inputs = optical, coax, USB
Outputs = Line out, Headphone out

The iBasso D4, Pico DAC and the $99 Nuforce uDAC are also talked about highly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerdimitri View Post
Thanks for the info, i was thinking the same but need to find a reasonably price DAC for this task.
post #12 of 18
My Harmon Kardon HK3490 receiver has an optical in and I just use the optical out from my Mac Pro or Macbook Pro to that. Haven't compared it to any standalone DAC but the converters (AK4384) are pretty good to my ears. Saves at least one piece of the puzzle.
post #13 of 18

 

Hi,
I connected my white macbook headphone output to the HK 3490 optical digital input using a Toslink cable, but I get no sound. Does anyone know what I need to do to make this work? 
Thanks,
oldmannewears

 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmannewears View Post

 

Hi,
I connected my white macbook headphone output to the HK 3490 optical digital input using a Toslink cable, but I get no sound. Does anyone know what I need to do to make this work? 
Thanks,
oldmannewears

 

 

I assume you are using the correct mini to standard toslink cable, right?  And you can see the red light at the end of the cable before you plug it into the HK?  Then just make sure you have the setting in the Audio Midi setup program  set to digital out on the output settings.

 

 

post #15 of 18

Thanks.  The cable is fine and the Audio Midi setup program is set to digital out.  Is there something I need to do on the amp to toggle the input?

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