Recs on Best Audio Receiver to play music from your Mac

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by CNYinLA, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. CNYinLA macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2017
    #1
    Hi Everyone:

    Please don't jump on me if this is the wrong forum for this. The Home Theater one seems more focused on Apple TV.

    I have all of my music on my old Mac Pro on an 8TB hard drive stored in an iTunes library in Apple Lossless format. Like most seem to do, I put all of my CDs in storage and just play music off the Mac, usually to my HomePod.

    Now I'm interested in getting better stereo sound and would like to implement the pricey speakers I bought 10 years ago that used to sound great.

    My question is - What audio receivers do you all use to play back music from your Macs? Any recommendations on which offer best bang for the buck? Im not an 'audiophile' but I do enjoy playing music loud in stereo from time to time :) The HomePod just doesn't offer the same experience as my old SONY receiver and CD player did in the 90s.

    I realize there is Airplay and speakers that use bluetooth so that you don't even need a receiver anymore but I am interested in being able to hook up my old CD player and turntable and want something with options.
     
  2. xb2003 macrumors 6502

    xb2003

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Location:
    MO
    #2
    If you'd like to provide more information on budget, physical constraints (is it possible to run cables from your Mac to the location you want your speakers), what the speakers are.. I might be able to make a more specific recommendation to you.

    If you are looking for a fairly inexpensive solution and don't really need the video functionality of an A/V receiver, I'd probably just recommend some sort of an amplifier. You can use a utility like AirServer to make your MacPro into an AirPlay server, and have the amp connected to it. Run speaker wire to where you want your speakers at, and you have a pretty nifty little system.

    You could also buy the amp and set it near your speakers along with an Apple TV, Mac Mini, or mini PC of some sort and still run AirServer.

    If you are specifically looking for an A/V receiver recommendation, I'm not the best guy for the job. I usually stay in the pro-audio world. I do have a Yamaha 5.1 receiver that I have had for years. It's treated me well, but there are undoubtedly nicer pieces of equipment in the world.

    https://www.parts-express.com/ You can toy around on this website for DIY A/V needs. Let me know a little more specifically what need you want met or any ideas you have and I'd be happy to give you my opinion or any recommendations!
     
  3. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #3
    For a cheap stereo receiver. I have a Yamaha R-S202 (pretty new) hooked up to a pair of old Jensen CS308 tower speakers. It was one of the nicest sub $150 stereo option. It actually sounds quite nice. It replaced a Sherwood RX-4109 which was actually quite good too. But the darn thing didn't hold up more than a year when the Akai I was using lasted me over 20 years.

    For my media center. I use a vintage Yamaha C80 Pre Amp with a Yamaha MX-830 Amp. Connected to a pair of huge Boston Acoustic speakers. Although nearly every component in those speakers have been replaced with parts from parts-express.com
     
  4. CNYinLA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2017
    #4
    --- Post Merged, Aug 12, 2019 ---
    Thanks. The website you recommended is great! As far as budget (500 to $1000?) and I have no physical constraints as long as it sounds amazing.

    You both mention using Yamaha receivers. I have a Yamaha as well, I think its about 10 years old and I paid about $600 for it. I suppose that would work fine if I could figure out to connect my Mac to it without Airplay or Bluetooth.

    What do I use to connect my Mac to the receiver? I assume its those DAC boxes I've seen mentioned but I'm not familiar with.

    Will the sound quality be way better playing my Apple Lossless files through the Yamaha rather than listening on my AirPods or HomePod or Sonos speakers?
     
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #5
    Good ole' mini plug to RCA cable. For analog audio. These monoprice cables are fine. I've never noticed a difference between these and Monster cables.
    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=5597

    If this is a surround sound (5.1) stereo with optical inputs. You can get a Mini-Toslink to Toslink cable. I'm pretty sure every Mac with an audio jack since 2006 supports optical audio.
    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=1557
     
  6. xb2003 macrumors 6502

    xb2003

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Location:
    MO
    #6
    The new MacBook Pros dropped the optical capabilities. I think all of the Mac Pros have it though. As far as Toslink goes, that would be my recommendation for hooking up a Mac to a receiver. You can use mini plug (3.5mm, 1/8" TRS, aux, headphone jack, probably 10 other names) to RCA, but I'd advise against this if you have more than about a 6ft cable. Monoprice makes good cables, Parts Express does as well. Don't buy into the expensive cable hype.

    You can buy an external DAC, but there really isn't any point. Your receiver is the DAC if you go optical from the Mac to the Receiver. If your receiver has HDMI, that would work as well. But I'm doubting it does.

    Also, if you are expecting 5.1 over Toslink optical you need to make sure your receiver supports Dolby Decoding on the optical input. If not, it will only use S/PDIF and you will be limited to Stereo.

    Edit: Spelling
     

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5 August 10, 2019