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Apple iMac + WA7 + Audeze LCD3 connection

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

I'm currently using my iMac to listen to audio files via Schiit Bifrost/Valhalla + Sennheiser HD650 combo, sourcing audio from iMac's optical spdif minijack. 

Now I'm all into upgrading my system to WA7 + Audeze LCD3, however I noticed that WA7 doesnt have optical SPDIF input, only coaxial RCA and USB. So I'm virtually left with two options: USB connection, which usually is considered to degrade signal comparing to "clean" optical/coaxial, or TOSLINK-to-RCA adapter, which I suspect also may degrade signal quality. After investing so much money in top quality headphones and amp/dac I dont really want to loose even slighter bit of quality on connection.

So, what are your suggestions in this situation? Apple iMac + WA7 + Audeze LCD3 look like nice combo for me, and should be popular set up, please share your experience. Thanks!

post #2 of 3

Welcome to head-fi...


I think you got one thing wrong: the WA7 has only one digital input, being USB. The RCA connectors on the back cannot be used for coax - they are analog in/out. So, if you are dead set against the USB you have the choice of keeping the Bifrost as your DAC and using the WA7 as amp only, or looking elsewhere.


Obviously you have your reasons to dislike USB, but let me just state that in many implementations there are no differences in sound quality whatsoever - it is just a different pipe to send the data through. In some cases USB gives even better results.


One more thing: I have tried the LCD-3 with my WA7 and to me it sounded like AM radio. Not sure what sound you're after, but if I was to recommend a high-end headphone to go with it, it would be the HD800.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

PleasantSounds, thanks for the clarification about RCA connections, this is something I really missed. 

The problem with USB is that software layer is present, so if your computer happens to be under high I/O load, and then, for example, time machine kicks in, you will most probably notice sound artifacts. And even the biggest problem is, that since that, you start watching for that and simply cannot relax properly while listening for your music.

And I cant see reason to use WA7 and amp only, for the similar price you can get WA2 dedicated amp, which seems superior.


Thanks for the headphone suggestion, I find HD800 a bit too neutral and clinical sounding for my taste, looking for something more dynamic and live.

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