Best Audio Output for Monitoring from iMac?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by recordprod, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. recordprod macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #1
    Most people here are more concerned with the Mac for recording but I'm looking for a decent DAC to plug my KRK active monitors in to. I'm using a i7 iMac so ideally want to take an optical output in to a DAC and output via balanced XLR.

    I'm not really finding much so wonder if anyone has any ideas?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
  3. BenjaminScot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #3
    I am new to the whole realm of pro audio and have some similar questions.

    I also just got a new iMac and this is what I want to do....

    I'd like to get some good studio monitoring speakers (Dynaudio BM5A's... at the recommendation of an audio engineer I work with) to plug into the iMac.

    Obviously I need a box between them and my iMac to get the best audio out of my computer.

    I am no sound pro...or mixer... and never intend to be. I do edit videos though.. and want to have great speakers for getting the sound right.

    However, the speakers will also serve for entertainment... overall listening enjoyment.

    I plan on playing a Project Debut III turntable through the speakers as well.. so now I need a box that has TRS outputs (for the BM5A's), a Phono input (for the turntable), and some sort of USB input for sound from the iMac

    The same engineer that recommended the speakers said to get the Mackie Big Knob... but this seems overkill... and it doesn't have a way for sound to get from the iMac to it unless you have a mini plug.

    I looked at the benchmark DAC1.. and it has the XLR outs I want.. but no phono in.

    What single box.. or combination of boxes will do the trick for me?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    you're talking about two things: a d/a converter, and a DAW controller or mixer.

    some devices combine the two, but conceptually they're two things.

    the mac does have a cheap-ass d/a converter built-in, but if you're spending the money for the Dynaudios, it's simply not good enough.

    functionally, the Big Knob has everything you need except the d/a. i probably wouldn't want to front some Dynaudios with that, though.

    maybe check out the Presonus Central Station, that's an example of a box that combines both things.

    btw, unless you're treating your room (properly, not by just throwing up some foam), the Dynaudios are overkill. i'd rather mix through some mackie hr824s (which i don't like) in a properly treated room, than through the Dynaudios in some random room. waste of money, imho.
     
  5. BenjaminScot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the tips...

    I checked out the Presonus. This may be a stupid question... but what wire runs from my iMac to the Presonus? I see TOSLINK and S/PDIF inputs... but that makes me think there is something else in between???

    Stupid question #2.. the presonus says "passive speaker control" on the front... yet the dynaudios are active...I guess I need to do a lot more research on how this stuff all works?

    I hear you on the Dynaudios... I by no means have a properly set up room. But why buy the Makie's for $650, when you can get the better quality Dynaudios for $999 and have room to grow later on?

    What is your definition of a properly setup room?

    Maybe I should just stick with my Sony MDR headphones and save myself some money?? haha
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #6
    as far as i can tell, the imac has a digital output. that'll likely be a s/pdif signal, though i don't know the exact cable. probably toslink, but best to double check. redco.com can sell you the right cable.

    the speakers being active means you don't have to buy a separate power amp. the passive speaker control means that part of the circuitry internal to the presonus doesn't have active electronics. it will work fine with the speakers.

    that's a big topic. head to realtraps.com and start reading and watching the videos. they make good stuff.
     
  7. BenjaminScot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #7

    I don't think I have a digital output... other than the headphone/speaker output. I was under the assumption the audio out of that would not be as good?

    http://www.apple.com/imac/features.html#ports

    I'll definitely check out those sites! Thanks a bunch!
     

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