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Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by SnowTronic, Apr 5, 2012.
What does everybody use to run sound out of their Mac to things like pa systems, sounds systems etc.
You can simply use the built-in audio. It is a 3.5mm TRS jack. That would work but I don't like to do that. I'd get something like the PreSonus "audio box". It's about $150 and has pro-audio type balanced outputs.
There are other audio interfaces that are as good at the same price. Just look to see what outputs they have. m-audio, motu and lexicon and others are OK. Putput to a pa is not a hard problem so all of those do fine.
Just to add onto and clarify what ChrisA said, the built-in audio output is a STEREO 1/8" TRS jack. TRS can also be used for balanced connectors, so don't get those confused. Plugging the 1/8" TRS stereo signal straight into a TRS balanced line input on an audio mixer can result in very wonky sound (the stereo signals combine to cause serious comb filtering).
If you're going out of the built-in audio output into an audio mixer, you'll need a stereo-mono split Y-cable, such as this:
Typically you can get better audio quality and more varied/solid connection options with an external audio interface like ChrisA suggested.
If you're trying to get sound into a home theatre sound system, you could also use a Y cable, only with RCA instead of 1/4" connectors. Also, you could use the Mac's digital audio output with a Toslink cable into the optical input on your receiver.
Are you just curious as to what people are using or looking for a suggestions. I am using an Avid MBox 3 that I am very happy with. If you're looking for a recommendation, what is your budget?
I use a 3.5mm Toslink optical cable into my DTS system.
Yeah, although you don't technically need anything to run sound out beyond the 3.5 mm cable, if possible I might suggest getting some kind of external audio interface, even a fairly cheap one, as it will not only improve your sound, but also because it will eliminate any hum or noise that I sometimes notice when connecting directly to larger PA or speaker systems. This is not always a problem, to be honest, but I notice it sometimes (large pa's are sometimes just more sensitive so they amplify hums that might not otherwise be noticeable).
If you're not having any trouble with that, then I wouldn't worry about it, but the other advantage is that most usb or firewire audio interfaces will improve the sound quality. Quite a bit, if you buy a fancy one!