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View Full Version : Can you help me with a new Mac + Audio Setup?




Xander562
May 17, 2008, 09:02 PM
So i'm graduating this june, and since i already have a beautiful macbook pro and i won't need a car for college(moving to San Francisco) i'm considering a really nice speaker set for a graduation present. I've been using these generic 2.1 7 year old computer speakers for the past.....7 years. I've since become more interested in audio etc and would like a new audio setup. I kind of want an external sound card as i can sometimes hear the computer "thinking" when headphones/speakers/ etc are plugged into the 1/8" jack of my MBP. So what would you reccommend as far as external sound cards (the only one i've looked at so far is the duet), amplifiers, speakers, and subwoofers. So throw them at me! :)



BCains
May 18, 2008, 02:37 AM
Ok so this is purely for listening enjoyment, no recording etc.

Bascially want you are after is a digital-to-analog converter to connect your
monitors (speakers), amplifiers, subs etc.

1) Benchmark DAC1 (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DAC1/)
2) Apogee Duet (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Duet/)

You really can't go past the duet, amazing sound quality for the price!

Next decision is whether or not to buy active or passive speakers (powered or non-powered).

Some nice powered speakers are;

1) ADAM Audio A7 (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/A7/)
2) JBL LSR4328P (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LSR4328Ppak/) - with Room Mode Calibration
3) Audioengine A5 - also has an ipod power charger port

give www.head-fi.org are gander and see some recommendations than hit the stores and have a listen for yourself!

Killyp
May 18, 2008, 05:37 AM
You can either look for monitor speakers which are designed to sound 'scientifically accurate', and are relatively fuss free, and will also be cheaper.

Or, you can go for a pair of hifi speakers and an amp etc... which may be nicer to listen to, but won't be as robust and accurate etc...

I personally have both kinds of setups and listen to my hifi practically all of the time...

Xander562
May 18, 2008, 10:48 AM
Next decision is whether or not to buy active or passive speakers (powered or non-powered).

Some nice powered speakers are;


So powered speakers do not require amplifiers of any kind am I right? Are there any tade-offs between powered vs. unpowered.

You can either look for monitor speakers which are designed to sound 'scientifically accurate', and are relatively fuss free, and will also be cheaper.

Or, you can go for a pair of hifi speakers and an amp etc... which may be nicer to listen to, but won't be as robust and accurate etc...

I personally have both kinds of setups and listen to my hifi practically all of the time...

Probably hifi speakers.

WinterMute
May 18, 2008, 12:18 PM
Powered or "active" speakers have their own amps built into the cabinet, they require no other amp.

The benefits are that the amp and speakers are deigned to work together from a power and impedance viewpoint, but the downside is that you're stuck with the amp the manufacturer specs.

Dynaudio make some excellent active nearfields, the BM5a is relatively cheap and is a true monitor.

The main problem with using hi-fi speakers for anything critical is that they are designed to flatter the recorded sound, and so are inaccurate for recording and mixing purposes, however so many other factors affect monitoring that for casual work hi-fi speakers can work.

Any small speaker is limited in the LF response and a sub is a good idea, but again it tends to throw the accuracy of the speaker system out unless set up properly.

A good interface will show the deficiencies of a poor speaker, the better your output, the better your speakers need to be.

Killyp
May 18, 2008, 01:15 PM
I'd strongly recommend B&W speakers, particularly their latest 68x range. The 686s and 685s are both fantastic speakers, and are relatively affordable, and produce a sound which is far, FAR better than you would expect for the price.

You'll need a good amp to drive them too, and for this I strongly recommend Rotel.

Xander562
May 18, 2008, 06:30 PM
So right now I'm looking at the Apogee Duet + a pair of AudioEngine A5s. (After re-considering if i really need scientifically perfect pro audio) Anyone have experience with either of these? I hear nothing but good things about the Duet and the A5s. I figure this is an upgrade from my current setup no? (Combridge Audioworks 2.1 computer speakers)

DJJONES
May 18, 2008, 07:28 PM
thats a gigantic upgrade man. you will be pleased.

interfaces and external sound cards help allot in making speakers sound correct. not colored but correct.

Abdrew
May 18, 2008, 07:51 PM
Hi, if you are a student you can get an amazing discount on Pro Logic.
If you didn't know Garage band is now a free down load and truly excellent.
As for monitoring, the Blue Skies will let you hear things that you never knew existed. Add an Se electonics mike and no further excuses for not making wonderful music may be preferred. This is not mega bucks. good luck.