Originally Posted by Nightfall
As the topic says, I'm completely starting from scratch here. After attending a couple audio shows over the past 18 months and noting how many exhibitors were using Mac laptops as the source for their audio systems, and some initial research, it seems clear that this is rapidly replacing expensive cd sources as the option of choice. I could really use your help in identifying how to optimally get started. My initial options are either purchasing a refurbished, older, Mac Pro laptop from one of the established refurb vendors, or purchasing a new MacBook Air. I would prefer the older Mac Pro option, but simply do not know the horsepower requirements for use as an audio source, or whether the best music software programs for the Mac play well with older operating systems. Also, Apogee Duet 2 DAC has been highly recommended to me, but while I know audio system DAC's fairly well, I have no knowledge in the MAC audio world. So, to sum things up, what do I need to start, what are the best options, how expensive a proposition is this, assuming I want a high quality result? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
There are various Mac OS X media players available that optimise the sound quality by allocating resources to the audio playback.
I personally use Audirvana Plus since it's easy to use, has iTunes integration (if you use iTunes), and is kept updated regularly.
You can try out a free trial of that software, or a full free version is available (though it's a bit outdated and may take up a lot of RAM).
Audirvana and other "audiophile" media players stores the music file in RAM memory in order to allow a more responsive loading.
As you can see, I use the Objective DAC for my external DAC and it's quite an affordable and good-performing DAC.
More information about integer mode in OS X: http://www.head-fi.org/t/539740/mac-os-x-music-players-alternatives-to-itunes/1350#post_8594243
"Hog mode" essentially allows the media player to take control of all of the audio processing in the operating system and only plays back audio through its interface (meaning if you're playing music in Audirvana Plus, you can't play audio from a YouTube video while using the same DAC).Edited by miceblue - 2/2/14 at 6:53pm