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Music, Audio, and Podcasting Do you use your Mac to create music? This is the place for discussions on creating and editing music on the Mac!

Audiophile grade sound

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joelz's Avatar
Member Since: Dec 26, 2009
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 6
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Mac Specs: 17" MacBookPro2.5 8gb RAM

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I just joined the dark side (enjoying every minute) a few days ago, going from the Evil Empires PC software to the MBP 17" (freaking nice display!).

The story is I have an extremely high end 2 channel stereo and purchased an Audio Research DAC (DAC7) in order to integrate a PC into the mix and control the playback via remote control.

I was happy with Win7 sound quality until I plopped a CD into my player (still using the DAC7 though) and at that time I noticed the SQ wasn't that great on the PC.

Took the plunge buying a Mac since I heard (no pun intended) the Mac has the best USB audio support as far as sound quality. The idea is to use the MBP to playback my ripped .wav files (.AIFF).

However, I would like to get a firewire device that I could use with the PC or MAC, but if the best sounding device is only going to work on the Mac, I would nix usage with the PC.

So my first question is, what firewire audio device has these features?:
1) Firewire in
2) Balanced digital XLR out
3) Hi-Res (24/192), preferred, but not a deal breaker

I've looked on the net and it seems the devices that are available are way overkill in a sense where they are for recording and have fifty million inputs for mic etc.

I'm looking for the best sounding "bridge" (firewire to balanced xlr) if you will, at a price point up to $1k as the DAC7 is about $3,200 so it wouldn't make sense to spend more for the bridge than the DAC.

My second question is: What, if any tweaks are there on the MBP to make usb audio sound its best? Does 4gb vs 8gb ram make a difference in sound?

Any input is appreciated!

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JUKE179r's Avatar
Member Since: Nov 01, 2009
Location: DohaLondonVegas
Posts: 882
JUKE179r is a jewel in the roughJUKE179r is a jewel in the roughJUKE179r is a jewel in the rough
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Though the webpage is a bit dated, Audio Interface Comparison Chart by TweakHeadz Lab has a great list of Firewire interfaces to help find one that best suits your needs.

MBP 3,1 & 4,1 w/ Vertex 4 SSD | Logic Pro 9 | Ableton Live 8 | Traktor Pro 2 | AKAI MPK-49 | Roland MV-8000, TR-808 & TR-909 | Ensoniq ASR-10 | x0xb0x #911 | Denon DN-MC6000 | (3) Technics SL-1200MK1 | 3000+ vinyl records
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Member Since: Dec 31, 2009
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 19
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Mac Specs: 17" Mac Book Pro 2.16 Ghz Inter Core 2 Duo, 3 GB Ram

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Don't worry about getting a device with 192/24 output. Unless you're looking at bluray audio discs. If you're listening to CD's or even audio files from your computer. They most likely won't have a sample and bitrate that high. Just an FYI. Cheers.
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