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Optical cable from mac to dac

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by chogm, Sep 24, 2012.
  1. CHOGM
    I'm looking to get audio from my mac powerbook to my Cambridge audio Azure DAC  which is 7 metres away.  I tried usb, but this only allows 16 bit.  I just bought a 7.5 metre optical cable (Saturn series $30), but it keeps cutting out.  Is there a signal strength problem out of the mac or is that too long for optical cable?
    Alternatively I could run 8 metre RCA's to the amp and place the DAC next to the laptop?
    I tried a wi fi setup but it was woeful with large music files.  Dropped out a lot.
    I'm going a bit mad trying to solve this so any help would be awesome.
  2. PleasantSounds
    Toslink specs suggest that you may have issues going over 6m, however I have been using 10m optical connections without any problems.
    Dropouts could be also caused by buffer underruns in your player - maybe play with that and see if it has any impact.
    Running 8m analog connection would be the last thing I'd try. Do you have a coax input on the DAC? Maybe a 5m optical and a Toslink to coax converter would be a better option?
  3. CHOGM
    I tried a short (about a foot) optical cable and it worked fine, so I've been thinking either the distance or poor quality of the cable would be the reason (although it's seems decent enough).  My instinct was not to run the analogue that far so I appreciate your emphatic no.  Finally my DAC only has optical inputs and usb, no coax.  I've just ordered a cheap optical amplifier online.  It was about 15 bucks!  It claims to increase the stretch of the signal to up to 20 metres.  Seems too easy and cheap.  Have you heard of these?
  4. PleasantSounds
    I have never used optical line amps but it sounds like a good solution. It's highly unlikely that they would degrade the signal as they have pretty simple job to do. 
  5. CHOGM
    Right that's what I was hoping, no degradation. Being a digital signal it can't be effected too much, especially by a 15 buck device? It'll be here within the week so we'll see. Cheers for your help.
  6. CHOGM
    OK so that achieved nothing.  I've tried the amp and still the signal is scratchy to non existent.
    Is it possible to extract 24 bt sound from a mac?  I'm starting to think not, unless the computer is within a foot of the receiver or dac.
    Optical is pretty flimsy in my experience to date.

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