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Old 24th April 2010, 01:58 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default MacBook Pro 13" 2009 - onboard sound

Hi Guys,

I've got a July 2009 (the 'unibody') MacBook Pro 13" with, apparently, 24-Bit onboard sound. Now, this sounds absolutely fine playing 24/96 FLAC files via VLC to a pair of Sennheiser HD280s.

I've bought a TruPath TA2020 ('chip') amp and am in the process of cooking up some foorstanders, but but just curious as to those with MBPs how you reckon the onboard sound stands up to an external DAC. I've heard that it's actually rather good, but don't hesitate to recommend a DAC (Optical/Firewire etc) for <CA$200.


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Old 25th April 2010, 03:36 AM   #2
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Apogee Duet - something similar to this, but not quite as wallet-intrusive!
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Old 25th April 2010, 03:39 AM   #3
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A bit over budget, but i'd heartily suggest the Edirol FA-66 (Firewire ADC/DAC with mic pre so you can use with Fuzzmeasure too).

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Old 2nd May 2010, 08:28 AM   #4
Yonzie is offline Yonzie  Denmark
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My understanding is that when using the optical output on a Mac, you get the raw bitstream. Ie., If you play a lossless track, you will get the exact data out the optical port that was recorded.
Why is optical digital audio locked at full on a Mac? | Ask MetaFilter
Some sound cards convert first to analog, then back to digital to output via S/PDIF or toslink.

I would just use a "normal" DAC with optical input.
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Old 26th July 2010, 11:28 PM   #5
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Define 'Normal' DAC - are any of the HiFiDIY kits good? It'd be cracking to have ADC/DAC capabilities for needle drops into 24/96 etc...
The more I look at the Apogee stuff, the nicer it is, unfortunately their new 'One' has only support to 44.1kHz ! Damn Nyquist!
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Old 26th July 2010, 11:43 PM   #6
Yonzie is offline Yonzie  Denmark
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Join Date: Apr 2010
While it's somewhat over your budget, I just invested in this:
Matrix mini-i 24/192 Balanced DAC + Headphone Amp - eBay (item 260616878150 end time Aug-07-10 19:12:21 PDT)
which is getting pretty good reviews, especially for a $300 DAC/Preamp/Headphone amp

There's a gaggle of cheap Chinese DACs on eBay. They may have their faults, depending on what you choose, but the price/performance is impossible to beat. And it's certainly much cheaper and easier than DIY.
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Old 28th July 2010, 09:56 AM   #7
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/me is salivating. If only it went the other way too!
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