View Full Version : Audiophile sound from iMac?

Mar 22, 2008, 12:18 AM
I was looking for some input on using my iMac to produce audiophile sound through headphones. This is my first Mac so... I have a set of Shure SE310 headphones and I am considering a set of SE510's. $500 headphones wont make a differnce is the sound source is bad.

I assume the sound card has a bunch to do with the sound quality. Is the original sound card good?

I was thinking about purchasing a headphone amp such as the Total BitHead that uses a USB input from the Mac. Is this the right track?

So basically what do I need to do or buy to get the best most accurate sound currently possible from my Mac through really good headphones?

Mar 22, 2008, 12:29 AM
you need a good d/a converter and a good headphone amp. the benchmark DAC-1 has both.

Mar 23, 2008, 01:27 PM
Apogee Duet (http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/duet.php)

Superb sound and great integration with Garage Band/Logic.

Mar 23, 2008, 01:30 PM
On sale for $1275???

That is insane.

Also for the OP, is the source of your audio going to be good enough for going to sound like crap on your expensive audio equipment?

Mar 23, 2008, 01:55 PM
On sale for $1275???

That is insane.

why? it sounds good.

if you don't need the USB, it's about $300 cheaper. i've gone mine hooked up through s/pdif.

Mar 23, 2008, 01:57 PM
I don't know why so many people cite these phones as such zeniths of sonic excellence, but Shure SE5xx's equate at best to midrange professional monitoring headphones (which cost nowhere near $500) in terms of the quality of sound they deliver. I use the SE530PTHs as my beater commuters.

You don't need to throw a whole lot of money behind it for it to sound reasonable. The Bithead to me wasn't such an amazing leap over very low-budget pro soundcards (which you can turn to at the low end, say the M-Audio Transit), and I'd point you to a decent $400-level soundcard as being able to max out the Shures in terms of sound quality, and also give you an in into music making as well. The Duet mentioned above is also a very nice solution although it's more like $500.

Beyond that it just depends on your budget and level of uncompromising (or deluded, depending on the solution / point of view) audionerdiness. The sky is the limit: What I do headphone and speaker wise is regarded as extreme lunacy by some - I own a Sennheiser Orpheus headphone and that's just for starters - but very good results can be had from any highly regarded midrange soundcard with most headphones.

For most equipped with very high quality headphones and willing to spend a decent amount, the likes of the abovementioned DAC1 or the Grace M902 should be more than sufficient for computer-based use.

Mar 23, 2008, 02:07 PM
I own a Sennheiser Orpheus headphone