imac - dac1 or dac1usb + other considerations
Jul 11, 2008 at 6:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


New Head-Fier
Jul 11, 2008
Hi, I'm new to high-end audio, but next year when Nehalem comes out for iMac's, I am purchasing one and I don't want to use the onboard audio. So I started reading these forums and also one of my friends knows quite a bit about audio and he told me that the DAC1 was a very good choice. My question is, is there an advantage gained in getting the DAC1 USB over the standard? The iMac has both USB and optical so if there isnt an advantage to be gained then I will probably go with the standard optical. By the way looking at other threads, is there some sort of adapter I need to use the DAC1 with optical? Like toslink or something..?

I've done some research and decided that it would be a good purchase, considering it is both MacOS and Vista 64 compatible which are the two OS's im going to be running (Boot Camp).

I also haven't decided what headphones or an amp(or if i need an amp) I'm getting, so I could use some guidance. I listen to mostly rock music, although I like classical and jazz. I actually like pretty much anything except country and rap. My (audio) uses for the computer are pretty much - #1. music #2. gaming #3.Movies in that order . I have heard good things about Grado Labs and Audio Technica when it comes to rock. I'm not really too concerned about budget right now, after all this is only research at the current time...not an immediate purchase. I am just kind of wondering what the best brand of headphones for rock is.

I'd appreciate the help, Thanks.
Jul 11, 2008 at 10:20 PM Post #2 of 2


1000+ Head-Fier
Apr 9, 2007
Aside from the connection advantages (more inputs, and some prefer USB over toslink and vise versa), the USB model has some updated internals over the DAC1.

My advice would be to go with the DAC1, use a toslink cable (optical) and forget about an amp - the internal amp in the DAC1 will provide all the amplification you need. Your choice of headphones depends largely on what sound signature you prefer. If you can - head to a local store where you can compare a few cans with very different signature sounds (like Grado vs Sennheiser for example), then report back for a bit more guidance.

Personally, I love how my Senn HD650s sound from the headphone out of the DAC1 USB.

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