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Thread: iMac output to Caiman Mk2 DAC

  1. #1
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Sheffield/Peak District. UK

    Posts: 516
    I'm Richard.

    Default iMac output to Caiman Mk2 DAC

    For years I've used the headphone socket on the iMac (Late 2015) to output to the DAC (and then Rega Brio in my study).

    I've experimented with the Audio Midi setup to change bit & sample rates etc but TBH have not heard much difference - if any; at present it's on 'Red Book' settings.

    I've just used a USB lead from the iMac to the DAC and think I can hear an increase in clarity and separation (Using Audirvana -very good IMHO).

    Is this what others find? Are there good technical reasons for my perceptions?

    (I thought the Mac's headphone socket was also an optical output - but I'll need to check that).

    Making the assumption that the USB IS superior, can anyone suggest a good quality 'budget' USB cable.

    Many thanks,

    Richard

    Edit: Audio output on the iMac is TE7022 w/SPDIF

  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Navan

    Posts: 320
    I'm Joanna.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonky View Post
    For years I've used the headphone socket on the iMac (Late 2015) to output to the DAC (and then Rega Brio in my study).

    I've experimented with the Audio Midi setup to change bit & sample rates etc but TBH have not heard much difference - if any; at present it's on 'Red Book' settings.

    I've just used a USB lead from the iMac to the DAC and think I can hear an increase in clarity and separation (Using Audirvana -very good IMHO).

    Is this what others find? Are there good technical reasons for my perceptions?

    (I thought the Mac's headphone socket was also an optical output - but I'll need to check that).

    Making the assumption that the USB IS superior, can anyone suggest a good quality 'budget' USB cable.

    Many thanks,

    Richard

    Edit: Audio output on the iMac is TE7022 w/SPDIF
    Hello Richard, most macs nowadays have a dual purpose headphone/optical out. Your 2015 should be dual purpose too. I use either an optical or USB out into a Caiman SEG if i am playing files stored on my Macbook. I would expect either to sound beter than an analogue from the headphone out because of the background noise generated by the computer. That at least is my experince - a much better sound, quieter background and better data processing and analogue out circuitry. I prefer the sound of the optical over the USB, others find the opposite is the case so just experiment and see what you think.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Sheffield/Peak District. UK

    Posts: 516
    I'm Richard.

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    Thanks John,

    I must get myself checked out... I HAVE been using SPDIF all along ... it's all such along time ago and I just assumed it was analogue.

    Well, to my ears at present, the USB is a little better.

    More experimentation (and beer) needed.

    Thanks again,

    Richard.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Moved to frozen north, beyond Inverness

    Posts: 1,817
    I'm Dave.

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    Might depend on your Macbook version, and the Caiman version, as well as the software you use. The optical output is limited in range I think - maybe it only goes up to 96 kHz, and the Caiman input via USB might be limited to 16 bits. Newer kit might allow higher output data rates and/or more bits per sample. It is interesting that you can hear a difference. The first thing is to hear a difference, then the next thing is to decide which you prefer. I have used both methods with my kit, but it may be older than yours.
    Dave

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