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Maccotto

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Original poster
Oct 6, 2012
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I will switch from desktop to Mac mini 2018 but I have a doubt about audio DAC.
In my old pc windows I use a creative x-fi and Edifier R1800bt for listening music at 24-bit / 192kHz.

Will Mac mini 2018 support 24-bit / 192kHz audio output ?
 

thirdsun

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
98
101
The Mini's audio output is a simple headphone jack. For the bit depth and sample rate you have in mind you most certainly want a proper audio interface.

On the other hand is it really worth using such silly sample rates with rather entry level speakers? I think you're focussing on the least relevant part of your signal chain. Lossless 16 Bit / 44.1 KHz should be indistinguishable. However that's a different discussion. Also see: https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
 

Maccotto

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 6, 2012
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On the other hand is it really worth using such silly sample rates with rather entry level speakers? I think you're focussing on the least relevant part of your signal chain. Lossless 16 Bit / 44.1 KHz should be indistinguishable. However that's a different discussion. Also see: https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

Cna you explain better pls?

I listen music a lot of time and edifier won't be 1000+€ speakers but i can listen the difference of deep between 192 and more lower Dac.
 

thirdsun

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
98
101
Cna you explain better pls?

I listen music a lot of time and edifier won't be 1000+€ speakers but i can listen the difference of deep between 192 and more lower Dac.

I can't possibly disprove your point, but I have a hard time believing that you can reliably distinguish between lossless audio at CD quality and high definition audio in a blind test. Hardly anyone can and it's not getting easier on entry level speakers.

Furthermore I think your focus on the DAC is misguided. Your speakers will have the biggest impact on your audio/sound quality - by a long shot. In fact I think the most important factors in your signal chain are:

Speakers > Room treatment/acoustics > Amplification > DAC

And each step a long that path with diminishing returns.

Again, it is entirely up to you and you didn't ask for my advice, but I'd strongly recommend to put your money towards your speakers and get a budget audio interface/DAC. An entry level Focusrite interface and a pair of powered studio monitors or HIFI speakers (as good as you can afford) will be much more worthwhile.
 

macdos

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Oct 15, 2017
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Cna you explain better pls?

I listen music a lot of time and edifier won't be 1000+€ speakers but i can listen the difference of deep between 192 and more lower Dac.

You can't hear neither 96 kHz nor 192 kHz, and you can't distinguish between 16 bits and 24 bits. The reason 24 bits 96 KHz is used in recordings is the same as why 16/32 bits Prophoto is used for photographic production. It allows you to get smooth curves from data processing with filters, although the final result is always set at the human perception range.
 

Maccotto

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Original poster
Oct 6, 2012
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thanks for the explanation because you open my eyes, but i have a question: why when i bought edifier and soundblaster my friend told me to download 192khz mp3?
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,319
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I can't possibly disprove your point, but I have a hard time believing that you can reliably distinguish between lossless audio at CD quality and high definition audio in a blind test. Hardly anyone can and it's not getting easier on entry level speakers.

Furthermore I think your focus on the DAC is misguided. Your speakers will have the biggest impact on your audio/sound quality - by a long shot. In fact I think the most important factors in your signal chain are:

Speakers > Room treatment/acoustics > Amplification > DAC

And each step a long that path with diminishing returns.

Again, it is entirely up to you and you didn't ask for my advice, but I'd strongly recommend to put your money towards your speakers and get a budget audio interface/DAC. An entry level Focusrite interface and a pair of powered studio monitors or HIFI speakers (as good as you can afford) will be much more worthwhile.
Room treatment is more important than speakers if you paid more than 300€ for them

Else i agree
[doublepost=1544003116][/doublepost]
thanks for the explanation because you open my eyes, but i have a question: why when i bought edifier and soundblaster my friend told me to download 192khz mp3?
192kbps is NOT 192KHZ/24bit.

Mp3s cannot be 192khz!
And 192kbps mp3 is rather bad.
Itunes/apple music is 256kbps AAC

Also if sources arent 192khz/24 bit, outputting audio thats recorded at 44,1/24 just means you are resampling it - which is worse than listening to it at original sampling rate
 

Maccotto

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 6, 2012
301
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Room treatment is more important than speakers if you paid more than 300€ for them

Else i agree
[doublepost=1544003116][/doublepost]
192kbps is NOT 192KHZ/24bit.

Mp3s cannot be 192khz!
And 192kbps mp3 is rather bad.
Itunes/apple music is 256kbps AAC

Also if sources arent 192khz/24 bit, outputting audio thats recorded at 44,1/24 just means you are resampling it - which is worse than listening to it at original sampling rate
+


Sorry a lot for error , the 192khz are only for Flac files or hires files.
About mp3 i go only with 320kbps and 256kbps aac from itunes.
 
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F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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Hi Maccotto,

I don't know why the self-appointed audio police on this computer forum can't answer your question and instead have given you unsolicited advice that they present as fact on issues about which reasonable people disagree.

On a Mac computer, there is an application called Audio Midi Setup. You use this to control how your computer records audio and plays audio. The screenshot below shows your choices if you want to play audio (output). The choices are 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz and 96kHz. Interestingly, the default for playing through speakers is 44.1kHz, but the default for playing through headphones (which is what I have chosen for the photo) is 48kHz.

This means that you can play one of your FLAC files at 96kHz, but not at 192kHz. To play a FLAC file at 192kHz, you will need a separate audio interface that effectively replaces the audio hardware in your computer and that supports playback at 192kHz. Regardless, a separate audio interface is a good idea. Many, although not all, do a better job than your computer of converting the audio file's digital data into analogue form so that you can listen to it on speakers or headphones.

Having answered your actual question, I am now going to comment on the unsolicited advice that people decided to give you.

When I set up a computer to record and play back audio, the most important component for me is the separate audio interface. The quality of the interface has a lot to do with the quality of my recordings and determines the potential quality when I play audio through speakers or headphones. It isn't necessary to spend crazy money on an interface, but it is important to understand that interface quality is basic to recording quality and to what you will hear through your speakers or headphones. The DAC is the beginning of the audio chain and limits/facilitates everything afterwards. The suggestion that it is the least important component is in my view incomprehensible.

On a limited budget, I would spend money on headphones, preferably open back ones, before I would spend money on speakers. The speakers that you mention in your first post cost €162. They are probably of OK quality, but for that money you can purchase headphones that are probably better. If you are interested in headphones, I would suggest that you check out a company called Massdrop. It is very popular in the headphone community because it is able to offer, through subscription, high quality headphones at very reasonable prices. Massdrop's headphones are not knockoffs. Its headphones are made in partnership with Sennheiser and other leading headphone manufacturers. There is also a specialised forum called head-fi.org that features discussion about headphones, DACS and headphone amplifiers. This is a useful resource, although it can become a rabbit hole if you aren't careful.

The people who have responded to your post so far present their opinion on high definition audio as fact. I am not going to get into a debate with them, but I want to make clear something that not one of them had the intellectual honesty to acknowledge. There are people, including people who know quite a lot about audio, who think that high definition audio can make a difference to one's audio listening experience. There is a rather large market for high definition audio, and it is not my place, nor theirs, to dismiss all of these people as idiots; and certainly not in this forum.

On that, I want to refer to a thread that I just read on the most highly regarded forum for users of Logic Pro X. The thread was started by someone who wanted to listen to his work on a Mac, using the computer's sound hardware, at 96kHz via headphones. At the time, there was apparently an issue about the ability of his model of Mac to play music through headphones at 96kHz. Not one of the replies, including a reply by the author of the most highly regarded book on Logic, lectured him on listening to music at 96kHz, or on what he could or couldn't hear.

Cheers


Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 8.38.23 AM.png
 
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Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,319
1,560
+
Sorry a lot for error , the 192khz are only for Flac files or hires files.
About mp3 i go only with 320kbps and 256kbps aac from itunes.
Hi Maccotto,

I don't know why the self-appointed audio police on this computer forum can't answer your question and instead have given you unsolicited advice that they present as fact on issues about which reasonable people disagree.

On a Mac computer, there is an application called Audio Midi Setup. You use this to control how your computer records audio and plays audio. The screenshot below shows your choices if you want to play audio (output). The choices are 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz and 96kHz. Interestingly, the default for playing through speakers is 44.1kHz, but the default for playing through headphones (which is what I have chosen for the photo) is 48kHz.

This means that you can play one of your FLAC files at 96kHz, but not at 192kHz. To play a FLAC file at 192kHz, you will need a separate audio interface that effectively replaces the audio hardware in your computer and that supports playback at 192kHz. Regardless, a separate audio interface is a good idea. Many, although not all, do a better job than your computer of converting the audio file's digital data into analogue form so that you can listen to it on speakers or headphones.

Having answered your actual question, I am now going to comment on the unsolicited advice that people decided to give you.

When I set up a computer to record and play back audio, the most important component for me is the separate audio interface. The quality of the interface has a lot to do with the quality of my recordings and determines the potential quality when I play audio through speakers or headphones. It isn't necessary to spend crazy money on an interface, but it is important to understand that interface quality is basic to recording quality and to what you will hear through your speakers or headphones. The DAC is the beginning of the audio chain and limits/facilitates everything afterwards. The suggestion that it is the least important component is in my view incomprehensible.

On a limited budget, I would spend money on headphones, preferably open back ones, before I would spend money on speakers. The speakers that you mention in your first post cost €162. They are probably of OK quality, but for that money you can purchase headphones that are probably better. If you are interested in headphones, I would suggest that you check out a company called Massdrop. It is very popular in the headphone community because it is able to offer, through subscription, high quality headphones at very reasonable prices. Massdrop's headphones are not knockoffs. Its headphones are made in partnership with Sennheiser and other leading headphone manufacturers. There is also a specialised forum called head-fi.org that features discussion about headphones, DACS and headphone amplifiers. This is a useful resource, although it can become a rabbit hole if you aren't careful.

The people who have responded to your post so far present their opinion on high definition audio as fact. I am not going to get into a debate with them, but I want to make clear something that not one of them had the intellectual honesty to acknowledge. There are people, including people who know quite a lot about audio, who think that high definition audio can make a difference to one's audio listening experience. There is a rather large market for high definition audio, and it is not my place, nor theirs, to dismiss all of these people as idiots; and certainly not in this forum.

On that, I want to refer to a thread that I just read on the most highly regarded forum for users of Logic Pro X. The thread was started by someone who wanted to listen to his work on a Mac, using the computer's sound hardware, at 96kHz via headphones. At the time, there was apparently an issue about the ability of his model of Mac to play music through headphones at 96kHz. Not one of the replies, including a reply by the author of the most highly regarded book on Logic, lectured him on listening to music at 96kHz, or on what he could or couldn't hear.

Cheers


View attachment 808594
i have a degree in audio tho. and am spending 15000€ on acoustic treatment right now, and i will say that anytime, a good setup in a poor room will sound worse than a decent setup in a treated room.
ive driven my focal twins from stereo out of my mac and from RME interface, and difference compared to removing two bass traps is negligible.

so i do agree with most of your post, but not everything people wrote is necessarily bad advice.
 

F-Train

macrumors 68020
Apr 22, 2015
2,271
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NYC & Newfoundland
i have a degree in audio tho. and am spending 15000€ on acoustic treatment right now, and i will say that anytime, a good setup in a poor room will sound worse than a decent setup in a treated room.
ive driven my focal twins from stereo out of my mac and from RME interface, and difference compared to removing two bass traps is negligible.

so i do agree with most of your post, but not everything people wrote is necessarily bad advice.

That's a reason to purchase open back headphones, isn't it.

You know, it is possible to get good audio without nailing acoustic panels to your living room wall and/or ceiling and putting bass traps in the corners. Those of us who live in New York apartments, which includes most of the population of this city, have figured out how to do it without making our living rooms look like a recording studio.

Personally, I can think of better uses for €15,000/$17,000, not least when conversing with someone who is not in the business and whose sole question was whether he can play 192kHz files via a mini. It took eight posts for him to get an answer to that question.
 
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Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,319
1,560
That's a reason to purchase open back headphones, isn't it.

You know, it is possible to get good audio without nailing acoustic panels to your living room wall and/or ceiling and putting bass traps in the corners. Those of us who live in New York apartments, which includes most of the population of this city, have figured out how to do it without making our living rooms look like a recording studio.

Personally, I can think of better uses for €15,000/$17,000, not least when conversing with someone who is not in the business and whose sole question was whether he can play 192kHz files via a mini. It took eight posts for him to get an answer to that question.
I agree!
Worked with AKG 701 for years.
 
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Maccotto

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My studio is little (14-16mq) and my speakers are in front me and in the middle room.

The external noise is very low .
5bcec5c51aad1b723c7035f71069c483.jpg
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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My studio is little (14-16mq) and my speakers are in front me and in the middle room.

The external noise is very low .

If you are asking for comment, I would get a good set of headphones for music and use the speakers when you want decent sound quality but aren't feeling fussy about it.

Because the external noise is very low, I would try open back as well as closed back headphones. You may find that open back headphones give you a more natural and open sound. People who haven't tried open back before often find that they are a revelation, similar to listening to good speakers.

The AKG 701 headphones discussed in posts #12 and 13 are open back, although there are much less expensive ones available, especially through Massdrop. That said, you may decide that you prefer closed back, which many people do. When it comes to headphones, personal preference and comfort are key. Try on several, and decide what works best for you for the kind of music that you like to listen to. After all, it's your ears, not somebody else's.
 
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Maccotto

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Today i received the xonar u7 mkii .
I listen a better clear sound than original macbook pro’s output (jack 3.5).
I will return back Xonar because my headset doesn’t work (i listen only some audio parts as xonar sends sorround audio ).

Vey bad thing .

Do you know a better usb external audio that work better and 100% with Osx?
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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Today i received the xonar u7 mkii .
I listen a better clear sound than original macbook pro’s output (jack 3.5).
I will return back Xonar because my headset doesn’t work (i listen only some audio parts as xonar sends sorround audio ).

Vey bad thing .

Do you know a better usb external audio that work better and 100% with Osx?

Hi,

In that price range, have a look at this collaboration between Massdrop and Grace Design: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdr...MIh5Stg9aO3wIVjoTICh12HA68EAQYASABEgI0cfD_BwE

Grace Design is highly regarded, and the price of US$80/€70 (before VAT and shipping) is very interesting for a basic DAC. The way Massdrop works, this DAC is only available for order for another two days. It will be available again, but perhaps not for many weeks.

I have not looked at this offer in detail. This DAC has apparently been purchased by 1300 Massdrop members so far. I suggest that you read reviews by purchasers, as well as the Head-fi review and Michael Grace’s comments. There are links to both under the heading "Reviews and More".

Re your last question, this DAC will definitely work with Mac OS. Like the Mac mini, it supports up to 24-bit/96kHz, but the sound quality should be better. I don't believe that Michael Grace would put his name to an inferior product for the price.
 
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Maccotto

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 6, 2012
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I will looking for the linked hardware but I think will be hard here in Italy.

I had another idea and it fixed the problem with Xonar.

My headphones didn't work because they was headsets with microphone and audio into one jack and Xonar mixed the channels and makes the problem.
I tried to connect headsets with a split and the sound was incredible, it was near or similar at the sound of my sandblaster x-fi.

The only problem of this Xonar is the volume, it is more low then macbook jack output.
 
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msh

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2009
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Headphone listening is a very different experience from speakers in a room. With speakers in a room each ear gets signal from both left and right as well as room effects; with headphones the left and right channels are isolated but room effects are eliminated; bass is also radically different, i.e., lacking physical impact. I personally dislike headphones because they are not natural sounding and uncomfortable for long-term listening and would only use them for very specific purposes. So one is not a substitute for the other; just different tools for different purposes.

Also don't underestimate the power of EQ. You can fix some acoustic issues in the room and the speaker itself as well as recordings themselves with simple EQ. While it won't work miracles with truly awful speakers or rooms or recordings, EQ can make the mediocre sound very good.

As for subjectivity, well a lot of that can be eliminated with proper (emphasis on proper) blind testing.
 
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OLDGUYWITHAHIFI

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I can't possibly disprove your point, but I have a hard time believing that you can reliably distinguish between lossless audio at CD quality and high definition audio in a blind test. Hardly anyone can and it's not getting easier on entry level speakers.

Furthermore I think your focus on the DAC is misguided. Your speakers will have the biggest impact on your audio/sound quality - by a long shot. In fact I think the most important factors in your signal chain are:

Speakers > Room treatment/acoustics > Amplification > DAC

And each step a long that path with diminishing returns.

Again, it is entirely up to you and you didn't ask for my advice, but I'd strongly recommend to put your money towards your speakers and get a budget audio interface/DAC. An entry level Focusrite interface and a pair of powered studio monitors or HIFI speakers (as good as you can afford) will be much more worthwhile.

I have sampled speakers I own using a Integra amp with a 192K / 24-Bit DAC and compared them to a high end Integra amp with a 384K / 32-Bit DAC. We used the same OPPO deck for our source material. The difference can be heard even on middle of the road speakers.

I am not familiar with the speakers the OP references, but if they can reproduce sound even somewhat efficiently, our ears may be able to hear the nuances. I have found the source has just as big an impact on reproduction as the speakers. Just my opinion.

Another point. Years ago I was auditioning some high end equipment. The shop was more than happy to spend a few hours with us demoing their flagship equipment in controlled environments. I remember listening to a pair of $50,000 speakers in stereo, and then they added a sub that looked like a flying saucer, and was capable of going down to 10 hz (Which we cannot hear). It was tuned so you couldn't really hear it while the music was playing, but it added something to the overall experience that really made a difference.

Maybe it's all subjective.
 
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F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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Years ago I was auditioning some high end equipment.

In October, John and Helen Meyer demonstrated their new Bluehorn speakers at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) show in NY. If you ever get a chance to hear them, don't miss the experience.

Bluehorn details here: https://meyersound.com/product/bluehorn-system/

For background on the Meyers and their work, this New Yorker Magazine article, entitled "Wizards of Sound", is an interesting read: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/wizards-sound

Film composer John Powell on the Bluehorns (worth watching just to get a look at Powell's gorgeous studio):

 

msh

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2009
356
128
SoCal
Oh, just spend the money and get something truly excellent like the Lynx Hilo. You might think it is expensive but it is a state-of-the-art A/D, D/A, headphone amp, monitor controller, mixer. And, yes it does 192K as well as DSD; and 8 or 16 channels to boot. And that color LCD touchscreen - OMFG. Stop buying junk; save up your money and get real engineering and performance.

https://www.lynxstudio.com/products/hilo/
 
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msh

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2009
356
128
SoCal
I will switch from desktop to Mac mini 2018 but I have a doubt about audio DAC.
In my old pc windows I use a creative x-fi and Edifier R1800bt for listening music at 24-bit / 192kHz.

Will Mac mini 2018 support 24-bit / 192kHz audio output ?
Yes, through an external audio interface via usb or thunderbolt that supports 192kHz.
 
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