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zac92's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 08/09/2013 - 20:27
Posts: 17
MacBook Air Outputs/DACs...?

Hi Guys, 

I have a MacBook Air (2012) that I'd like to use as a source for my first hi-fi separates system.

However, I'm not sure....what kinds of outputs does it have in order to hook it up to an amp? Coaxial? Optical? I think I read somewhere that it only has analogue? Please could someone explain what this means for connectivity to an amp!

Also, the amp I'd like to get is the Marantz PM6005, which has a built-in DAC. Does this mean that 

a) if the Mac only has analogue output after all that's okay, because the amp's DAC will handle it? and


b) if the Mac does actually have its own crappy DAC, witll the amp's better one bypass/override it? And how would I connect the Mac to the amp?


Advice much appreciated by a beginner!

Thank you!


Hi-FiOutlaw's picture
Last seen: 9 months 4 days ago
Joined: 20/04/2011 - 23:03
Posts: 2530
RE: MacBook Air Outputs/DACs...?

Did you need to open a thrird thread...? 

Go with the flow, whait for the replies on the other two threads...

and welcome to the forum!



Rega RP6/Goldring Elite MC>Clearaudio Basic Plus

Synology NAS>Auralic Vega>Pathos Classic One MKIII>Dynaudio X12

empacher's picture
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 04/12/2012 - 14:27
Posts: 76
RE: MacBook Air Outputs/DACs...?

unfortunately the Mac air does not have the dual analogue digital out of the other macs (which can connect to a dac via an optical toslink/mini-toslink cable).  You can use the usb as the digital out though, but don't think it goes hi res unless there have been changes to recent macs airs or you use a usb/SPDIF converter.  have no idea if that translates into practical / audible differences so i will let others with actual experience chime in. 

iMark's picture
Last seen: 21 min 3 sec ago
Joined: 16/05/2008 - 12:21
Posts: 787
RE: MacBook Air Outputs/DACs...?

I have tested the output on my Mrs. iMark's MacBook Air. Indeed it's only analogue line out. I connected it to the amp and it didn't sound too bad but the output sounded a lot better through the Airport Express and the DAC.

I don't understand why Apple has started skimping on the outputs. Even top of the range Retina MacBook Pros no longer have sound inputs, let alone a dual analogue/optical input like my old MacBook has. No digital out either, which seams strange for Pro models.

The only MacBooks with analogue/digital out are the MacBook Pro 13 and 15 inch. The 15 inch also has analogue/digital in.

I think it's Apple's thinking that they sound outputs are hardly used anyway because people either have an Airport Express, an Apple TV or AirPlay speakers for using AirPlay.

When I bought a new Mac just over a month ago, I decided to get a Mac Mini because that still has fully featured audio ports.

Pro-Ject 1Xperience Comfort (OM 2Red), Yahama R-N602, Sony UHP-H1, Sony TV, Humax DVR, Infinity Overture 1 speakers. Range from very cheap to expensive cables.

JoelSim's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: 24/08/2007 - 16:58
Posts: 7634
I've got a MacBook Air. Just

I've got a MacBook Air. Just connect an Airport Express via a cable to the digital input of your CDP. Then it's wireless.

Job done.



System: Unison Research Unico CDE with upgraded DAC, Leema Tucana 2, Kudos Cardea C2, AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio Young Guru, Beyerdynamic MMX102iE.

simon3102000's picture
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: 01/10/2010 - 09:54
Posts: 177
RE: I've got a MacBook Air. Just

just buy an airport express, rip all your music in apple lossles and then stream wireless to your dac! very unpainfull procedure and means no wires to trip over!

Im suprised apple have removed the duel analougue/digital output though.

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