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cjtyler's picture
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hardwire playback from Macbook Air to hi-fi
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At the moment I am listening to Spotify 320k via a 3.5mm headphone jack to red and white phono leads through my line 1 input into Roksan Kandy Mk1. I also listen through headphones.

Would a USB DAC be of any benefit to me, and if so, why? Would it improve the MP3 playback or would it only help with hi res flacs and WAVS etc?

Thanks,

cheeseboy's picture
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RE: hardwire playback from Macbook Air to hi-fi

the dac is the bit that converts from Digital to Analogue, so in theory yes it could improve the sound on all the files you play on your mac.  Like all things sound based, it's subjective so you may prefer one over the over, and you may even prefer the sound direct from your mac!

AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: hardwire playback from Macbook Air to hi-fi

it is very unlikely that you will notice any difference. your computer already has a dac built in and all good dacs sound the same (or almost the same). Because that is what they are suposed to do - convert digital to analog without adding or subtracting anything - so any good dac does the job. the  one in the mac is as good as any. 

cjtyler's picture
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RE: hardwire playback from Macbook Air to hi-fi

Still not quite sure what's going on here. Most of the listening fraternity are siding with DACs, so I'm going to explain a little bit more about my set-up. I have a MacBook Air running Spotify and iTunes. I use Spotify to find stuff, then iTunes to buy it; compile a playlist and burn a CD (for the old car, like).

The signal leaves the 3.5mm headphone output and enters via RCA on Line 1 on my Roksan Kandy, circa 2002, which feeds a pair of Kef Concertos (also circa 2002).

If I read this right, a third party player like Pure or Decibel 'should' improve my iTunes files (PS What file format is iTunes), but if I buy a DAC, say a Dragonfly and feed the same 3.5 to RCA in exactly the same way, both iTunes and Spotfy 'should' sound better. Is that how it works? The existing set-up converts the digital file using the MacBook DAC whilst the Dragonfly would take a digital signal via the USB and process it 'better'. I mean surely a laptop's DAC is never going to be as good as one made by a company specialising in turning digital files to an analogue signal?

Anyway I tried Qobuz on the 320k mode and it knocked Spotify's socks off, so I tried their Hi-Fi service and to me this sounds better than iTunes, even on my ageing kit!

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