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DAC(found) + Speakers for new iMac...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

Hey guys,

 

Recently purchased a 27" iMac and am now in the market for a USB (or otherwise) sound card that I can run from the machine to my headphones/speakers (group environment some of the time). Main usage is listening to music (WIDE variety of music but a focus on older classic rock and a bit of electro/pop) as well as watching a whole shit load of movies (but I doubt this will have much impact on the suggestion). Whilst it would be great to keep it within $200 I may be able to get a bit more money (if I don't eat for a week :P).

 

Suggestions, thoughts... spam?

post #2 of 18

Creative X-Fi USB. Cheap enough to experiment with added volume control. Won a Red Dot design award too.

post #3 of 18

I think you'd want a USB external DAC instead of a "sound card" the likes of Creative. You'll get more sound quality for cheaper. Unless you want surround sound simulation like Creative's CMSS-3D. Which I'll admit works wonders for games, but I've come to prefer the clarity of stereo from the uDAC when watching movies.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have no real interest in surround sound simulation, I had a X-Fi Xtreme audio card in my previous computer, but never really liked the CMSS-3D stuff as it seemed like a waste of time... I was looking at that X-Fi USB card but thought there may be other possibilities my small knowledge of brands could have easily missed... Any other suggestions?

 

edit: spelling!

post #5 of 18
Look into an external DAC. Your iMac has a very nice optical out you can send to a DAC. That, with the remote control, will make a very nice music server. My sister picked up the 27" iMac at Christmas - they're really nice. Hope you enjoy it!
post #6 of 18

I don't use the 3d effects myself. But the Creative USB card is quite capable musically speaking. I like the sound, with some effects turned off. I've used them with $10-$15 Creative speakers, the A60 and the card made the speakers sound like much bigger speakers. They also drove the Creative T40 very well. I love the volume control too. Very convenient.

post #7 of 18

Use the optical out of the iMac and a DAC, .

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

OK guys, after having done some research I have come up with two possibilities (not exactly within budget, but who goes within budget here anyway?) that I can't choose between, INDECISIVE! So I was hoping considering my usage you may be able to make my decision a little easier. My choices are:

 

Agogee Duet (Pro: Music creation base/seems to be suggested a lot to Mac owners Con: FIREWIRE!!)

Maverick Audio Tube Magic D1 (Pro: Not FIREWIRE/multiple different inputs, Con: Size)

 

I plan on connecting both a set of speakers (to be replaced sometime... maybe) and headphones dependent on my surrounds and I do plan on working out a wireless streaming system in the future.

 

So, any other points I should be considering or suggestions of one over the other?

post #9 of 18
Have you had a look at CEntrance DACPort? I've heard only good things about it.

Edited by Hero Kid - 7/7/10 at 1:55am
post #10 of 18


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by astroboi View Post

OK guys, after having done some research I have come up with two possibilities (not exactly within budget, but who goes within budget here anyway?) that I can't choose between, INDECISIVE! So I was hoping considering my usage you may be able to make my decision a little easier. My choices are:

 

Agogee Duet (Pro: Music creation base/seems to be suggested a lot to Mac owners Con: FIREWIRE!!)

Maverick Audio Tube Magic D1 (Pro: Not FIREWIRE/multiple different inputs, Con: Size)

 

I plan on connecting both a set of speakers (to be replaced sometime... maybe) and headphones dependent on my surrounds and I do plan on working out a wireless streaming system in the future.

 

So, any other points I should be considering or suggestions of one over the other?

 

Why is Firewire a Con? If the Duet is in your budget, I'd say go for it.

If you really need USB(probably for other computers without Firewire?), take a look at E-MU 0202 or 0404.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Firewire is only a con because people have been telling me to use the optical out on my iMac. I'm willing to splurge on the DAC as I figure it will be worth spending more here in the long run, particularly considering how many people say the Duet is good.
 
I will end up also getting something along the line of the line of the AudioEngine A2's (or even the A5's if I can manage to get some overtime at work soon) as my speakers.
 
So, Duet it seems to be then, thanks guys! :D
post #12 of 18

Yeah, firewire audio is superior technically to usb or optical. It even supplies 12V power versus 5V with usb, so the DAC has more to work with without requiring a dedicated power supply.

 

What headphones do you use, by the way? The Duet is pretty high end for a first DAC. I'm sure it will sound terrific on any decent cans, but I reckon you'd need a good pair of headphones to really bring out their potential.

 

About the A5, there's someone selling a used pair in the For Sale forums:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/497112/fs-white-audioengine-a5

It's from the USA though, so shipping costs to your location might be insane.

 

 

ps Welcome to head-fi! And sorry about your wallet.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

Firewire being superior... HURRAH!

 

For my headphones, currently I only have Shure SE310's and Senn HD202's. I may replace the Senn's however because they are starting to show their age on my guitar amp especially, as for what they will be... lets get past the 1 grand I am already spending first :P

 

Yeah, US shipping for something like that will make those more expensive then they would be new I imagine 

 

Thanks for the welcome man and as for my wallet... ahhh well... you can't always save your money can you?

 

edit: spelling...

post #14 of 18

Currently I'm listening to HD650's off of an iMac run through a Duet. Really it is a very nice sound.

The Duet is so easy. My Genelec 8020's plug right in...highly recommended. Plus this thing is a

breeze to record with. I've thought about going a different way, a dedicated DAC perhaps, but only

if I wasn't recording, otherwise, what a bang for your buck device.


Edited by mckinetic - 8/11/10 at 8:41am
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

I just made the purchase yesterday, I also purchased a pair of MS-2i's *drool*

 

but my poor savings...

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