Mac Mini HTPC + External DAC

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Bye Bye Baby, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Bye Bye Baby, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011

    Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    Hey guys.

    A question about a Mac Mini HTPC and the value of an external DAC.

    My current setup is music in iTunes and all video through Plex.

    I have a 5.1 surround sound system setup for movies through an Onkyo 609 receiver. Works great and sounds fantastic.

    Problem is that setups for movies don't do well for music.

    I would like to re-route my music through an external DAC and play through the receiver using the amplifier to drive my two speakers as stereo and not 5.1. For that I can use the pure audio setting on the receiver.

    An extrnal DAC would help in this case? Anyone have any ideas about the best way to hook it up?

    Thanks a lot
  2. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I'm confused, are the B&W's not on the system with the Onkyo that we're talking about? If so, why would you want to drive them as stereo instead of 5.1?

    BTW, nice receiver choice although considering the high end B&W's I think I'd like to see a little more amp behind them. Maybe a NAD t747 for about the same money as the Onkyo?
  3. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    Would an external DAC help in your situation, you ask?

    It might help some but how much are you considering spending? If you are considering several hundred dollars for a DAC, to send back through your Onkyo to be amplified, then I don't know if it's really worth it.

    I have friends that spend many $1000s on home theater gear, speakers, DAC, etc.... And they are in AWE when they hear 192kbps mp3 coming out of the cheap analog DAC in the airport express to my 1999 (back when made in USA) Mackie 824 Studio Monitors. ( granted they cost me $1000 but they have built in amps, and 8 inch woofers)

    (I have most of my music is Apple Lossless now but still have the 192kbps mp3 from CDs that were solen from my car )

    I'm just saying that alot of us can get caught up in gear as a hobby, but $1000s of dollars later, there might be a couple % quality ( if even measurable ) difference.

    I'm currently trying to figure out how to have an intervention with a friend who wants to go gear head.

    I worked in music recording studios and film editing for several years, and dragged a couple of friends into the studio to teach them that they can't tell the difference between the things they thought they could.

    I'm not saying don't buy a DAC, but if you do, buy a great amp, and think to yourself if this the best use of your money, since you may have other hobbies or obligations. I like many things and currently my 1999 setup with cheap DAC sounds better than many of my friends' current $3000 setups so I choose to spend money on Macs and photography.

    Audiophiles are a crazy bunch since we all hear things differently, it's hard to recommend specific products. Many self professed audiophiles that I have met have never played an instrument and have less understanding of music than professional musicians that survive ( and are content ) on much cheaper sound systems.

    I'll get off my high horse and I didn't mean to offend anyone but this rant is over.

    Enjoy your music :)
  4. Bye Bye Baby thread starter macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    At the moment I have an MT-30 with the Onkyo 609. Great for movies.

    I want to add two tower speakers. I am thinning of the Vienna Acoustics Mozarts or Beethovens. I was thinking about B&W CM8s or CM9s, but I have been persuaded to go a notch higher. Eventually I will go all out with separate amp and pre-outs and selectors. But that's way down the track.

    What I want is the ability to have my music in stereo- I do not want surround for my music.

    I don't know how to do it well. I was thinking of the FURUTECH ADL GT40 which is also good for headphones.

    Any ideas?

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