Are there digital connection speakers I can buy for my iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PatriotInvasion, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. PatriotInvasion macrumors 68000

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #1
    I'm looking into external speakers for my 27" iMac. Although the built-in speakers are powerful enough for daily use, nothing beats the chest thumping power of a good subwoofer.

    That said, aren't speakers that connect via the headphone jack considered "analog"...which to me, sounds like yesterday's technology? Does anyone know of speakers which connect via the optical port or even USB, making them a true "digital" connection?

    Am I making too big of a deal about the whole analog vs digital thing? Or, will I get better sound via a digital connection? Curious what people think.:)
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    If you use the optical jack or USB you need an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter) which some powered speakers have. It may be yesterday's technology but I doubt your ears have evolved to notice a difference. ;) At any rate, you are either converting the signal inside the Mac or outside but at some point it is moved from digital to analog regardless.
     
  3. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 68000

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #3
    Hmmm. Ok...so yea, I won't worry about to too much. I did have a speaker system from Logitech that hooked up via USB, but you had to always go into System Preferences and select it in the Audio settings for it to work. That was a little cumbersome compared to speakers which use the headphone jack and work right away.

    Anyway...thinking of going with the Sony SRS DB-500...Read they have crazy bass.
     
  4. Detrius macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #4
    Your ears are analog. By the time the sound is actually coming out, all speakers are analog.

    The important thing isn't technically whether it's an analog or digital output from the computer. The important thing is how much data it's capable of transmitting and how much is actually being sent. If you're listening to CD-quality music (16-bit 44kHz stereo), then your 1000 watt 5.1 surround sound system will sound the same, regardless of whether the input is digital or analog. If, however, your music is coming from a DVD, you'll be able to tell the difference.

    Pages and pages could be written comparing the differences and noting what's worth it and what isn't, but the simplest way to look at it is that your source has to be able to take advantage of the destination. DVDs would. Some video games would. CDs won't. iTunes Music Store music won't.
     

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