Using that optical out port... any good suggestions?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Fayler, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. Fayler macrumors regular

    Fayler

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #1
    I have currently toyed around with the idea of getting a dedicated stereo and running an optical cable from my macbook pro to the stereo so I don't have to burn everything to cd. I know absolutely nothing about stereo equipment and I don't know anyone who uses this. What do you guys use and how much did it cost you?
     
  2. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    That there big London
    #2
    Beresford TC-7510 DAC. Cost me £100 from eBay (Stanley Beresford sells them on eBay himself).

    I'm really pleased with it, but mainly because the analogue audio output from my MBP is so damn poor, seeming to pick up, amplify and pass-on every stray noise signal coming in from the Firewire and USB ports.

    Sound with the Beresford DAC, on the other hand, is crystal clear. Fibre-optic cables can't pass noise! Furthermore, it has 2 optical inputs, 2 coax inputs and a headphone jack with its own volume control.

    It's got some poor reviews on the Internet, but most of them seem to be along the lines of "it's so cheap so it must be rubbish", since you can pay ten times as much for a DAC with fewer features. What-ever. It may not stand up to an audiophile's golden ears, but to me it's the best £100 I've spent in a while.

    Alternatively, an old Sony minidisk deck makes a good Optical DAC, and you can fish that otherwise obsolete technology of eBay cheaply enough these days.

    HTH
    SL
     
  3. Fayler thread starter macrumors regular

    Fayler

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #3
    Hmm, interesting, thought I was thinking more of a full blown stereo for my optical cable. My analog jack is perfectly fine but I want something that is a little more beefy that 2.1 sound (which to my knowledge is the max number of speakers I can get with a mbp with a pc speaker set). How many speakers do you have hooked up to that? Do you get 5.1?
     
  4. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    That there big London
    #4
    No, just Stereo. :eek:

    I'm old-fashioned and just listen to music. I don't do games and I'm not really into movies, and 99% of all music since the 1960s was designed to be listened to in stereo. If it was good enough for The Beatles, it's good enough for me.

    Anyway... I output that DAC into my trusty old (18 years old, to be precise) separates system. And I use the other inputs on the DAC for my CD player (for when I'm feelin' retro) and my Airport Express (for when I'm feelin' mobile). It gives a cleaner, more detailed sound to everything.

    Sorry to be dull. Stereo. Would it help if I called it 2.0? :cool::)

    All the best
    SL
     
  5. Jaunty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    Stereo from Laptop

    Bit late but...

    If I was you then I would

    Decide your budget and needs for your stereo. Research on the internet. If you spend a decent amount see if you can get an optical in on the amp/receiver of the stereo (to benefit from what should be a better DAC in the stereo than in an Airport Express). If your budget is limited I like the Denon lifestyle systems.

    Then use an Airport Express to stream music from your laptop to the stereo with Airtunes. Use the Auxiliary In or Optical In on the stereo depending what you have, listen to both if you have them to see what sounds best.

    I have my CDs ripped Apple Lossless to a 500Gb external drive that my MacBook streams to 3 different Airport Expresses/stereos around the house. I also use Airfoil to stream non iTunes content (notably BBC Radio). I also use Salling Clicker as an excellent wifi remote control.

    Hope this helps a little.
     
  6. darthmullet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    #6
    This is a bit late too, but if you're still interested:

    I have used a Yamaha 7.1 AV receiver (something like the RX-V661) using my MacBook Pro. You can then hook up the AV Receiver to whatever sort of speakers you like (Infinity, Boston Acoustics, etc.). Eventually, you can add (or connect an existing) HDTV and basically run a whole home theatre system from the computer through the receiver. Costs can be pretty high though, a good receiver is $300+ and speakers range from the sub-100 dollar range to thousands of dollars. This is my favorite setup, and it sounds simply amazing.

    Due to space constraints (living in a dormitory), I don't use the receiver solution right now. I had looked for an inexpensive DAC to use with an amplifier that doesn't have optical inputs (I have a set of speakers that have a built in amplifier) but they are hard to find, or expensive.

    I currently use a Miglia HarmonyAudio FireWire 400 soundcard. It sounds much better than the built in analog output and offers 8 channels of output (up to 7.1 surround). Coupled with a Logitech z5300e 5.1 system, I have a pretty nice surround sound setup. The HarmonyAudio can be had for 60 bucks, while the z5300e set is usually less than 120 these days, so it's inexpensive as well.

    The HarmonyAudio could easliy connect a MBP to a regular receiver without optical inputs as well.

    I would suggest going with a Yamaha or Denon AV receiver with optical input supporting at least 6.1, if not 7.1, as well as supporting at least 1080i. You'll have a quality investment, you can start with just a pair of speakers and add and improve as you like.
     

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