Recommendation needed: connect Alesis M1Active 520 to Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by b.lam, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. b.lam macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2010
    Hi folks,

    this is my first post here but I've been reading these forums for years. Therefore I'd like to thank everybody for sharing so much information over the years and all the funny discussions :)

    I started using Macs when OSX came out and back then started with a good, old iBook G3@600Mhz. When the 2010 Mac Pros hit the stores, I finally decided to upgrade my iMac and get a 3.2GHz Mac Pro with the 5870 and 6GB. It was one of the best decisions I made. This beast is blazing fast :D

    Now to my question: I'm using a pair of Alesis M1Active 520 speakers. Currently they are connected via the headphone output via an old Behringer MX 602A mixer. The problem with this configuration is, that the mixer produces some noise and the audio cable itself also creates some noise due to interferences from some power supplies (USB hub, external HDs, etc) even though it is shielded.
    What do you think is the best way to connect the speakers? I was thinking about an external audio interface but I have no overview of the current market. I do not need anything fancy since I do not make audio productions, but I would like a solution that produces as little noise by itself as possible.

    Many thanks in advance,
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    What's your budget? External USB interfaces go from $50 to $2000
    Griffin iMic is the cheapest
    Alesis and Edirol and M-Audio have inexpensive prosumer models
    Apogee has medium priced very clean models
  3. b.lam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2010
    Well, budget itself is not so much of a problem but 2k$ would be overkill for my purposes :D
    I'm mainly using the speakers to listen to music. Connecting my bass would also be nice.
    I'll check the websites of the mentioned producers.

  4. ovrlrd macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2009
    I use an Apogee Duet with my Mac Pro to output to my Alesis M1 Active mk2 monitors. It works great, but the Duet is a bit expensive, but I got it to do recording as well so it made sense to me.

    If you are absolutely dedicated to getting rid of external noise, you should also look into a DAC which offers Balanced output as opposed to Unbalanced (which the Duet only offers sadly). This will insure that no noise will be produced from interference with the cabling, so you always have the optimum sound reproduction.

    So yeah, go with a nice firewire DAC or one that accepts optical digital audio input (used with the optical digital output on the Mac Pro), and make sure it's one that supports Balanced output, and make sure you buy Balanced audio cables as well. With this setup you will have no interference issues.
  5. b.lam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2010
    OK, I'm going to search for a DAC with optical input and balanced output.


    @moderators: I've just seen there's a digital audio area in the forum. This thread might be better suited there. So, feel free to move it.

    edit: after doing some research, I'll probably get an Echo Audiofire 2 or 4. It doesn't have optical in, but is powered via FW (less cable clutter) and from what I read it works quite good and it has balanced in-/outputs.

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