Originally Posted by BokononVolta
As was mentioned, the SACD player connected digitally to the Gungnir (or any DAC) will output silence when you try to play the SACD layer. If you play a regular CD on that, it will output through the digital port. I was bummed to discover that a couple years back as well. My home system DAC ended up being better than the built-in DAC in my SACD player. I ended up going the probably-not-legal route of getting a specific PS3 that will rip the DSD layer off the SACD. I converted that DSD to 24/96 (or 24/192) and fed that to my nice DAC from my computer, and that worked well.
My guess (as was my experience) is that your SACDs (through the SACD player DAC) will sound inferior to your regular CDs (through the Gungnir). :(
I, too, am waiting for my Gungnir to arrive hopefully soon. I am curious how it will work from the Macbook Pro. Does it consider the toslink optical to be subpar? If so, then I will probably output via an M2Tech HiFace to coax optical and then out to the Gungnir. But if I can save the $200 on the M2Tech I definitely would like to!
I too "backup" my SACD via a PS3. It is not illegal to make backup copies for personal use - I don't *think* that law has changed but who knows there has been a lot of churn in DRM related law recently. I know that the high-end Oppos used to be able to play SACD rips but that capability was removed "at the request of the studios" about a year ago. However there *IS* software you can run on your PC or Mac that will either translate the DSD to PCM (.wav, which can be compressed to FLAC). And also some software that will simply play the SACD ISO rip out some digital interface to your DAC directly.
So, as long as you can find an old PS3 or a friend nearby who has one, you're still okay.
No toslink I've been able to find will play at > 96khz. Not on any MacBook-Even Pros, nor Minis. It *may* be possible to find a Soundcard to fit a Mac Pro (deskside) that can do S/PDIF (coax and toslink are both S/PDIF) if you can get drivers. The other alternative is to monitor the "Hackintosh" community to find a Motherboard or MB/Soundcard combo which can run OS X and also have the drivers to deal with S/PDIF. I believe this to be possible but have not run this to ground.
Note that there is no technical reason that toslink is limited to 96k. I work in the Networking biz and all the best interfaces are optical.
The problem is the toslink specifications are CRAP. The light frequency (red visible) and the fiber spec as cheap plastic. 3 meter distance limitation. Compare this with Long Haul Single Mode Optical fiber which can reliably carry 10gigabit for 80 kilometers! The signal on these fibers is actually dangerous. It can burn retinas and (I'm told) even skin.
See: http://www.arcelect.com/fibercable.htm for all you want to know about optical fiber.
I currently run both my Bifrost and Gungnir on USB. USB is much improved of late - so I'm told!
"Don't look into the laser with your remaining good eye"