Mid 2014 MBPR DGPU - DAC needed for music making?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Heterosethual, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. Heterosethual macrumors newbie

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    Alberta
    #1
    Pretty much what my title says.

    Would a DAC improve much of anything when it comes to music production?

    I want to start with Logic Pro X and maybe move on from there.

    I use Shure SE 315 earbuds on the go and Audio Technica ATH-M50 for other listening. Also have some Yamaha Pro 300 headphones laying around, never used them though.

    So with this set up (no external speakers), would I really need a DAC like Dragonfly or AudioQuest?
     
  2. simoncastic macrumors newbie

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    Sep 30, 2014
    #2
    Generally the most benefit with external sound cards / DAC's come from the AD/DA conversion (analog to digital and digital to analog). So if you're talking about making the music all internally - eg in software - then there is little to no benefit in having an external DAC as the audio card in MBP's is definitely sufficient for the headphone output. I mix using headphones and the internal card all the time when I'm on the move and have never had the need for an external DAC, I only do when I take it to my monitors / in the studio - and then I have the need for line inputs and line outputs etc (this is talking about a device like the RME FireFace 800, Echo Audiofire 12, etc)
     
  3. Anitramane macrumors 6502

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    Dec 23, 2013
    #3
    What internal dac does a mac have anyways? Is it a good one?
     
  4. simoncastic macrumors newbie

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    Sep 30, 2014
    #4
    Just the internal motherboard one - eg probably something Intel makes. Nothing special, and spec-wise I'm sure the ones OP mentioned are better but to be honest, if you're just making music on earbuds or headphones (unless you're spending $1000+ on headphones that need external amplification) you're not going to hear a difference until you bring your Mac to some nice studio monitors or audiophile Hi-Fi speakers.

    ... obviously my 2c, I'm sure some people will disagree haha.
     
  5. Heterosethual thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I see, so with my setup (headphones, earbuds, no external speakers or other equipment of any kind, besides my iPad running Homeband to be used as a MiDi keyboard), no external DAC of any sort will be needed?

    ----------

    Makes sense. My friend who is running a bigger setup (two monitors, 5 or more headphones, a DAC, some other technical ****) says that I absolutely need a DAC but I am like "bro calm the **** down I like money so why would I go spend it on all this **** if I don't need it?"
     
  6. simoncastic macrumors newbie

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    Sep 30, 2014
    #7
    Nope not necessary to me. Any benefits from having an external sound card wont be noticed or used until you get to a bigger setup and have some nice speakers - and when that happens, you'd be better off getting a proper interface (eg with mic preamps, external volume control, a couple of different line ins and line outs etc).

    While you're only making music with software and playing back through headphones, it's a little unnecessary and I doubt you'd be able to hear a beneficial difference especially considering you'd be spending $100+. You're better off putting that money to a hardware synth, music software, etc...
     
  7. Heterosethual thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Alberta
    #8
    Thank you for the advice. Yeah I am using my iPad Mini as a MiDi keyboard right now and it suits my needs. The software would be the next thing to get.
     
  8. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #9
    100% agree. Don't spend money on a DAC. The one built in the computer is good enough (especially considering the headphones you'll be using). Save for other stuff. When you'll get an audio interface you'll get a good DAC on top of other things you'll need like a simoncastic mentioned.

    I'd use my money as follows: good DAW, monitors, interface, something to control the DAW (I'm guessing you'll be doing electronic music).

    Just to be sure, you won't be recording by plugging something into the 3.5mm jack on your macbook, right? That would be using the ADC (analog to digital) rather than the DAC (digital to analog) and then it would be a really good idea to get an audio interface.
     
  9. Heterosethual thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Alberta
    #10
    Nope, I use my iPad as a MiDi keyboard and that is all I will ever need.
     

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