Mac Mini and Musical Fidelity M1 DAC

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by hleewell, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. hleewell, Dec 30, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012

    hleewell macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2009
    I have recently connected my Mini 2010 a cheap-ass external DAC to clean up my signal to my speakers. And to my pleasant surprise, my speakers no longer sound congested, movie soundtracks have better highs. The bass improves less, not noticeable but certain music like Pop, Rock, Jazz and Electronica sounds "liberated." (Classical music has little improvements however, if none at all.)

    I am looking at this very well regarded Musical Fidelity M1 DAC. There is enough connections to the delights of audiophile but I was wondering anybody can comment on the synergy of this DAC with Mini and full range speakers (I have a pair of KEF & some B&W).


    A USB input at the rear, this should be where the Mini is connected
  2. cosmin.batica macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2012
    MF M1 Dac

    I have recently bought this DAC and it's a big bargain. It sounds very good for this price tag, and I think you'll be hard to find a better DAC on a double, even more of the price.
    I have a Yamaha A-S2000 amplifier, and a pair of Jmlab Electra 920.1. These full-range loudspeakers are absolutely formidable!
    I could tell you this Dac is the best Dac I ever heard at my place, even at others.
    It sounds delicate with a lot of details, bass are powerfull but not boomy - it is punchy and precise, highs are very clear but not harsh at all. But the main difference from other Dacs I auditioned is the clarity and fluidity of mid frequencies. Vocals, violins and brasswind instruments are stunning.
    It need at least 100 hours for burn-in, but it sounds quite good even after unpacking from box.
  3. andyroberts macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2007
    hi, i have just connected my new mac mini to a roksan kandy k2 amp via an m1 dac with B&W 684 speakers... and it sounds awesome :D
  4. hleewell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2009
    Question: Can you connect this straight to an amplifier? Not an integrated amplifier or a receiver but just a dedicated amplifier unit.

    My plan is to do this:
    Mac Mini USB> DAC Analog Out> Amplifier (Denon, Rotel, Marantz etc)> Speakers

    Thanks for any input
  5. cosmin.batica macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2012
    This dac hasn't digital or analogue volume control, so it's not suitable for use directly into a power amp. It's analogue outputs are line level outputs, maded for connect to a preamplifier or an integrated amplifier.
    Of course, you can try to use digital volume from your audio player: e.g. iTunes, but I'm doubt iTunes will let you adjust volume when your Mac is connected to MF M1 using optical or USB. But some purist folks believe (and not without reasons) you must not use any volume attenuators in the digital domain from your software audio players if you want to obtain bitperfect digital output from your Mac.
  6. locomotive282, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013

    locomotive282 macrumors newbie


    Oct 30, 2012
    Carson, CA
    Ok, so now a days I am extremely leery of so called "hi end" consumer equipment, not that there isn't some really good stuff out there but If i were in the market for the ideal DAC/ Digital Preamp to go with a Mac Mini. I would look at these three:

    Low End:
    Emotiva XDA-2 DAC ($349)
    Cutting edge tech at a rock bottom price. Virtually Transparent. Head Phone Output is the Achilles heel.

    Mid Fi:
    Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus ($599)
    Another solid DAC, all the feaures you need coupled to a true high end headphone preamp.

    High End:

    Antelope Audio Zodiac DAC ($1895)
    As good as it gets IMHO. I have only heard this in a studio/post production set up but I assume it would be the same in a home environment.
  7. hleewell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2009
    Holy Sheet!! What a beast!! LOL!!
  8. cosmin.batica macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2012
    I compare Musical Fidelity M1 DAC and Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus. DacMagic sounds flat, sterile, voices are lifeless. But the MF M1 sounds like a true high-end gear.
    But you must decide alone what DAC is matching your system. If you can, you must try before you buy.
  9. locomotive282 macrumors newbie


    Oct 30, 2012
    Carson, CA
    OK that is pretty harsh LOL. Yes I will concede that I like the Burr Brown DACs better, but whats more important is implementation. The MF M1 is designed to take the already low jitter output from a transport and convert it to a line level or balanced analog signal. Thats it.

    A device like the DAC Magic Plus is designed to receive a multitude of digital signals from different devices, especially the high jitter out out of a PC compared to a CD Transport and convert it to analog signal and perform pre-preamplification. It has specialized jitter mitigation and filtering circuitry made USB Digital Signals.
  10. philipma1957, Jan 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I like dacs in general have used them for a while> I would not spend 800 on this dac.

    Basically the mini is okay for a music jukebox with lesser dacs.

    I own one of these

    the ebay dac is 1/4 the cost and sounds pretty good.

    I go [ mini] usb2 [dac] rca [gainclone amp] speaker wires [speakers]

    this dac has a volume control I have owned it for 3 years .

    I have a house full of stereo gear with a lot of high end gear and this is a decent setup.

    I found a good sale on the dac

    600 vs 800 .

    I have used this company . They are decent they also have a huge vinyl collection. At 600 I would consider the dac you picked. I would really want it at 350 to 450.
  11. hleewell, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013

    hleewell thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2009
    Thanks for pointing at the more economical solution but I just got a fat bonus. Something that cost upward of $2000 is a waste of money for DAC. I find that these cheaper alternatives have poor build quality and zero 2nd market viability. $700 is more reasonable.
  12. RonD2 macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2010
  13. Gozar macrumors regular


    Sep 23, 2011
    Austin, TX
    The Audio Engine D1 is also a good budget DAC, also uses AKM chips (like Schiit, not the same as the BiFrost) but sounds good to my ears.

    Setup is Mini > D1 > Vincent SV400 integrated > PSB Image B6 also have a Music Hall MMF2.2LE > Musical Fidelity V-LPS w/Pyramid PSU > Vincent.

    Moved my massage chair into the office and now my wife is trying to figure how to get me to leave the office.....:eek:
  14. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    If one is going to use the USB interface (rather than toslink), then it's not strictly a DAC... it's a USB audio interface.

    Given that, is there an advantage of using something like the M1 vs. a more common pro audio interface over USB, or better yet, Firewire?

    For example, Firewire units are not that expensive if you don't need a lot of inputs and are primarily concerned with output only, like this. It's got balanced line outs but if you need a better headphone jack there are larger units available.

    I'm only asking because dedicated high-quality DAC's don't seem to be as easy to find, as they are more of a niche product, but high quality USB/Firewire interfaces can be purchased much more easily-- and it seems they would serve the same purpose even if you don't intend to use the inputs.
  15. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
  16. ralphoi macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2012

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