Mac Pro Sound Card

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by SLR2009, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. SLR2009 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #1
    Hi, I plan on purchasing new speakers when I receive my mac pro and wanted to know how good the built in sound card is.

    Is the sound card that comes with the mac pro any good?

    how does it compare to a sound blaster audigy?

    Can I upgrade the sound card on the mac pro or is that not possible?

    What are my options in terms of hooking up speakers to it?

    Could I add an external sound card or is the built in sound card good enough?

    Any info is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #2
    it goes up to 96/24bit in theory, but the quality is.. well, depends on your needs actually. it doesnt have that much noise actually, and its better than the macbookpro anyway.. :) its pretty decent.

    you can hook up stereo speakers to either of the stereo outputs (back or front), and for casual music listening it isnt half bad.

    you can hook a digital 5.1 system on the optical output (or any external DAC for that matter), and you can connect many USB/FW cards to it, whilst internal options are a bit worse since there is not many PCIe audio cards.
     
  3. SLR2009 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #3
    Thanks for the response.

    I forgot to mention that I'm a big music listener. I have a few more questions? I'm still a bit confused.

    So I can't add an internal sound card to mac pro? only an external?

    Is it recommended to add an external sound card?

    Would it work in Mac OS X Leopard? or only on Windows Vista through boot camp?

    Which would be the best sound cards that I could get for the mac pro?

    Last question, What is a Dac? if I purchased one then do I still need a sound card? Do the speakers hook up directly to the Dac?

    Comments are appreciated
     
  4. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #4
    In the world of Macs, I don't believe there are many internal sound cards. There are, though, a great deal of FW and USB external sound devices (I don't call them cards, because they're not, uh, cards).

    If it were me, I'd try using the built-in and see if it's good enough for you. If the analog isn't good enough, try the digital optical out.

    DAC = Digital to Analog Converter
     
  5. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #5
    I find the onboard sound to be pretty darn good on the Mac Pro. I have toyed around with the idea of outputing the optical to a receiver and getting some nice speakers just for fun. I'm not really familiar with any of the Firewire solutions out there. Perhaps someone else can chime in there.
     
  6. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #6
    uhm, they will work with leopard because most cards support Core Audio drivers (macs core audio), there isnt really much of a choice for "listeners" on the internal section.
    the Audigy series lack driver support for OSX, and whats left is Digidesign, RME, Apogee... which is all more of a "professional" domain than listeners. i mean they sound AWSOME but they get tad expensive. :)

    its not UNrecommended to add it.

    well firstly, try for yourself the builtin soundcard and then look further, personally i think its better than on the majority of PCs and of course the best in all of the Apples.

    you connect a DAC (digital to analog converter) to the Optical (i think its TOSLINK) output of your macintosh.
    they came in various shapes, you can get "dac" with only a normal audio output, or with preamplifiers (that are more preamplifiers with DAcs).

    mchalebk advice is the best actually, try the builtin and if it isnt good enough go in search for a receiver/amp with an optical input
     
  7. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #7
    I am curious, what is all the excitement around the alien dac solutions all about? I know for headphones you would want an amp but I'm wondering why people seem to love the alien dac kits so much. Are they really that much better than onboard?
     
  8. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
  9. SLR2009 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #9
    I appreciate the comments. The Apogee Duet is bit out of my price range. What do you guys think of the M-Audio 2496?
     
  10. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #10
    1st; it doesnt fit in a macpro
    2nd; stay away
     
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    If you want a nice looking USB based solution, look at the Lexicon U22 which is $300.
     
  12. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #12
    good call..

    if you want firewire based solution, perhaps Echo Audiofire 4 or 2 would suit you
     
  13. SLR2009 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #13
    Are you sure it won't fit in a Mac Pro? May I ask why I should stay away from it?

    I don't plan on doing any recording with the device, just music listening. I forgot to mention that I'm getting the Audioengine A5 after I receive my Mac Pro. Which would work best with these speakers? Thanks
     
  14. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #14
    you meant audiophile 2496? because last time i checked it was PCI not PCIexpress

    you can try to use it with the builtin soundcard as they are powered speakers, and then decide
     
  15. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #15
    There are a few internal cards for Mac Pro:
    http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products.../en_products_overview_pci_express_list#intern
    [​IMG]
    But probably nothing a home user would be interested in. I dunno, maybe..



    I use a combo of the EDIROL UA-1000 and the M-AUDIO oZone

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But only because I have a few studio mics and a bunch of guitars I want to hook up - and leave hooked up. As others have said the Mac Pro's sound is very very good and if I didn't need all the inputs I wouldn't use these things at all.
     
  16. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #16
    you could technically hook up something as motu 8pre to the ADC to avoid having a separate interface if you had a wish of using Mac Pro's internal clock (which is actually surprisingly quite solid even at 96khz)
     
  17. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #17
    Yeah, I heard about guys doing that and recommending it - over on
    the Apple forums it came up a lot as being a very good option.
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/closeup/8pre--Main
    At the time I set this up I didn't know what the differences were.

    Not sure I do even now. :) I got the UA-1000 on clearance for about $450.
    Originally it was $1100 so that made me feel pretty good. :) And of course the
    oZone is a control surface albeit and small one. :) If I ever need to attache
    any of these devices to a PC or a laptop all there is to do is just plug it in. ;)
     
  18. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #18
    if you have an interface with a firewire connection + optical i/o you can bypass the devices clock&firmware by hooking it digitally to a mac pro, that way you are only using the signal path of the device.
    but core audio has a smart way of handling clocks so you can choose your clock source if you have it connected via firewire aswell, but that usually works until CPU gets jammed. :) everything depends on the clock quality of the interface.
    the convenience of plug & play is awsome... :) especially if you deal with more computers.
     

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