Need confirmation on highest quality audio cable for iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Photekk, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Photekk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #1
    Hey guys I took a look at some previous threads here which answered most my questions.. from what I could gather, my iMac 24" (3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB memory, one of the newest generations) has an audio out jack that double as an analog/digital out?

    I have a high end sound system with receiver, sub, speakers, surround, etc. that I want to deliver the highest quality sound I can from my iMac. I use optical cables with my other peripherals yet I was unaware that there was a converter that could take an optical signal to an analog "headphone" jack? This doesn't reduce the quality at all? Could someone tell me the exact name of such a converter and if I'm correct in assuming it allows a standard optical fiber audio cable to fit in the "headphone" jack on my iMac - would be much appreciated :) Would like to run out and grab one

    And again, is this the best option for highest quality audio from my iMac?
     
  2. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #2
    You need a mini toslink to regular (square) toslink cable. Digital all the way. Just go to Monoprice and get a cheap one. Digital is digital and the quality will be exactly the same as a $100 Monster Toslink cable (aka total ripoff).
     
  3. Photekk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #3
    Awesome :) Had no idea that unassuming stereo mini jack doubled as an digital out

    One other question, this may sound dumb, but are all digital cables fiber optic? The ones I have are illuminated on the ends and I'm wondering if this is a type of digital audio cable or standard?
     
  4. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    Toslink is optical; there is also Coaxial digital which is copper.
     
  5. Photekk thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 16, 2008
    #5
    And only Toslink optical is supported on iMacs?
     
  6. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    Yes.
     
  7. Photekk thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 16, 2008
  8. shymacking macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #8
    you might want to consider sending the audio output signal via USB into a dedicated DAC, then feeding the DAC output to your audio-system. Most USB-DAC costs less than $250, and it's definitely worth it. Check out www.computeraudiophile.com for more information.
     
  9. theLimit macrumors 6502a

    theLimit

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Location:
    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    #9
    I have a FireWire box that I use for recording that also works as a DAC. On my home sound system, I honestly can't tell a difference between it and my MBP optical out. No need to spend more than a couple bucks on an optical cable unless you've got a several thousand dollar sound system.
     
  10. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #10
    ... are you feeding MP3s to this setup?

    If so, you're wasting your money.
     
  11. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    Yeah while you're at it, get an amp, better speakers. Did I mention rebuild you home to make it most acoustically efficient? :rolleyes:
     
  12. Stephen23 macrumors member

    Stephen23

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    Just to clarify, the optical link on those analog outs is a true optical, not some sort of bastardized adapter. It's a simple matter of putting the optical link at the end while putting the connections for the analog headphones jacks along the walls. Pretty ingenious, actually. They have the same connection on the Airport Express, which lead me to finally move away from CD's about three years ago. All of my music is now in iTunes as lossless files, streaming to the Airtunes optical output which goes into my Yamaha receiver/amp.

    The issue of running compressed mp3 or AAC audio through the digital vs the analogue output is overstated... Yes, compressed music sounds like garbage, and running it through an optical out is overkill, but the biggest reason for going with optical instead of analogue is to get rid of noise and signal distortion that goes with those analogue connections, something that is completely different in terms of sound quality than the artifacts that appear and things that go missing from compression.

    In other words, even the crappiest mp3 sounds better sent to the amp optically instead of analogue. It still sounds like compressed mp3, and if your ears are differentiating enough to hear the the compression issues, then you're probably not going to care about the tiny difference between optical and analogue underneath that compression, but the signal will be cleaner.
     
  13. illetrikflowz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    PA all day
    #13
    second that ^
    Blue Jeans Cable is also worth checking out
     

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