or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › New iMac and Swan M50w's. Do I need a DAC and if so is Dragonfly a good option?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

New iMac and Swan M50w's. Do I need a DAC and if so is Dragonfly a good option?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Recently replaced the wife's Windows XP machine with a new iMac.  Ordered the Swan M50W's for 2.1 sound and they should be here next week.  The computer is in a small office next to the kitchen so I wanted a system with a small footprint that would work for both nearby listening and with a bit more power to pipe music while I'm cooking, etc...

 

The Swan is a powered system so I'm assuming I don't need an amp.  Would an external DAC like a Dragonfly or ODAC improve the sound or should I leave well enough alone?  320kbps tunes are as good as I have thus far (previously MOG now Beats Music streaming via wifi), but I'm really enjoying the forum and I may shift more towards lossless tunes (the AudioTechnica ATH M50X's have been awesome so far!!!).

 

Thanks for any advice you can offer.  I've been reading a lot, but still very much a rookie.

 

Sam

post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

No thoughts???  I was hoping someone could enlighten me on the quality of the inboard DAC on the Mac vs an external unit in the say <$200 range.

 

Sam

post #3 of 4

I've had the dragonfly with my iMac and liked it, but I like a separate headphone jack. I just got the Schiit magni/modi combo and it is very good for the price. You can use splitters for powered speakers. I think the DAC helps a lot, but my iMac is a few years old now.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdawg View Post
 

I've had the dragonfly with my iMac and liked it, but I like a separate headphone jack. I just got the Schiit magni/modi combo and it is very good for the price. You can use splitters for powered speakers. I think the DAC helps a lot, but my iMac is a few years old now.

 

Thank you for the response, bdawg. 

 

I searched in the forum and didn't find anything all that useful.  I later did a search via google and came upon this thread.  Useful info and differing views.  Perhaps your model of Mac will be included in the specs referenced. 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/640264/imac-onboard-dac-vs-external

 

All I can offer personally is that I used my ath-M50x cans directly into the headphones port of the Mac and the sound was enjoyable on a variety of music.  The only time I got hiss or interference was when I was downloading pictures from my iPhone onto the Mac...it got pretty ugly on songs I was streaming from Beats Music (320k bps via wifi supposedly).  The songs would literally jump.  Otherwise the cans sounded good to my ear...no discernible interference, noise, etc...  I then added a Fiio3 amp that came with my headphones (same price as the cans without it on Amazon).  I didn't hear a lot of benefit unless I used the EQ settings and then I picked up some exaggerated bass and warmth on the EQ1 setting.  The EQ2 setting seems to be to my taste...warm with a bit more bass (the add'l bass wasn't necessary but I do like the overall sound which reminds me of listening to vinyl back in the day...warmer but not as clean/clinical).  At first blush I didn't like EQ2, but shortly thereafter I concluded it's a nice, friendly sound to my ears.

 

I have looked at the Schiit equipment and it looks sweet.  I don't need the amp for the powered Swan speakers, but their DAC's have caught my attention.  What I like about something like the dragonfly is I can use it on the iMac or unplug it and use it on my Mac Air without much work.  Simple connections as well.

 

Sam

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › New iMac and Swan M50w's. Do I need a DAC and if so is Dragonfly a good option?