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Choosing a DAC for iMac

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Trying to bump up the audio from my 2008 iMac.

 

Here's what I'm looking at, I appreciate any help deciding.

 

Amp/Dac:

 

• Fiio E10 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier

 

• Audioengine D1 24-BIT DAC

 

• Schiit Magni/Modi

 

Headphones:

 

• Sennheiser HD 598's or 558's

 

Speakers:

 

• Audioengine A2+

 

 

I'm mostly split on the DAC/AMP decision, but I welcome any other suggestions within this price range.

 

thanks!

post #2 of 13
I use PS Audio DAC to connect my Mac Mini late 2012 to my Ayre Pre-Amp. It works beautifully and I love the sound. It has balanced outputs which was a big plus since my main listening system is fully balanced. To amplify my headphones, I use my Woo Audio WA6-SE as the DAC does not have a headphone amp/output. If you don't need an all-in-one DAC, I highly recommend Ps Audio products.
post #3 of 13

I've been using Audioengine D1 for a little over a year now on may MacMini and now a MacPro with Audioengine A5+. The DAC itself opens up the sound tremendously. There are a couple of downsides to it: no 24/192 native support and the headphone amp is less then perfect. I've used it with both my Sennheiser HD600 and Momentum over ear model, and they are much more suited for the former. Ended up getting a Little Dot MKIII for the HD600. Good product, not great. I'd look into iFi Nano iDSD as an alternative- something I'm considering as my next purchase. DSD support is becoming very important with much more content rolling out every day pushed by SONY. 

post #4 of 13

Keep in mind that the A2+ speakers have a built in DAC already, so you could hold off on a separate DAC and see if you like the sound.

If you then decide to get an external DAC,, it WILL override the A2+ DAC, which is what you would want anyway.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I just wish the A2+'s had a headphone out. Thanks for the tip.

Is the Dac in the A2 comparable to the D1 does anyone know?
post #6 of 13
I have had two Filo E10s and both units were initially pretty good
but failed (both the DAC and amp in both units) shortly after the
return period expired. Filo customer service was no help so both
are land fill fodder. I do not recommend the E10 at all and based
on my experience with their service, would not recommend any
patronage of that company.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggilman View Post

I just wish the A2+'s had a headphone out. Thanks for the tip.

Is the Dac in the A2 comparable to the D1 does anyone know?
post #8 of 13
The D1 DAC is superior to the A2+ Built-in DAC. Plus it has a headphone port.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'd  like to find a nice set of powered computer speakers with a built in DAC, and a headphone jack. Am I asking too much, or does it exist? 

post #10 of 13

As long as you are willing to pay... Bowers and Wilkins MM1 speakers. I own them and can vouch for them totally.

post #11 of 13
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the advice.
post #13 of 13

The E10 is a definite step up over the built in sound card on your Imac. I either own or have tried extensively all the products you have listed there....besides the Schiit.

 

The A2 is more thick in the mids. Some love it. I personally find it to sound too hi-fi. I like my music presentation neutral yet engaging, without too much focus on mids or vocals.

 

The E10 is excellent for the price. Although nothing special compared to high end stuff, even to my Marantz CD player. Excellent way to start out though. I did the same.

 

The HD598 are quite fun to listen to, although lack the bass for electronic or even hip hop. I personally went with D2000 over them initially when making my decision.

 

The D1 should be better than E10, although until you hit that $400+ mark, almost all the products are limited to the same performance. They'll have different sound sigs, but neither will have that polish though.

 

LOL I hope this doesn't sound demoralizing. Take it as a solution almost. I'd try to pick up maybe a E10 or some cheap used DAC. Don't skimp out on DAC. You want to feed the speakers and headphones as well as possible. At this price, maybe go for separates so you can mix and match later on.

 

Maybe look at other powered monitor based speakers around that price, depending on your music preference.

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