Mac mini to DAC Magic help

Discuss macOS Audio in general and anything that doesn't fit elsewhere.
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wildcrafter
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:01 pm

Mac mini to DAC Magic help

Post by wildcrafter » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:26 pm

I'm updating my sound system and want to incorporate a computer to download, store and play music. Apple "genius" tell me don't worry be happy, but their community boards and sbooth make it seem quite daunting for an old luddite like me. The latest thing I don't understand, but it seems daunting is the last sentence on the Decibel homepage. "however audio is not sent in the device's native format due to an architectural change in Apple's audio USB driver." Is this a deal breaker? What does it mean?

I'll compound my ignorance by telling you more, because I haven't bought anything yet and I hope someone might save me from myself. I want Apple, but I'm not religious about it. Here's a list of what I want to connect. The right holes seem to be on both ends, but the software I still question.
Mac Mini
Cambridge Audio DAC Magic
Toshiba LED TV

The first major stumbling block is connecting the Mac Mini with the DAC. Both Apple and Moshi the company that makes a Toslink adapter cable claim that the Mac Mini's headphone jack "supports 24bit passthrough via Sony/Philips digital interface format (SPDIF)" This would go directly to the Toslink optical input on the DAC. Would this mean the USB driver problem on the Decibel homepage is moot or is this too good to be true?
Another source tells me I need M2Tech HiFace connector that outputs from the Mac USB to the SPDIF RCA type input. Do I still have the "native format" problem? Is there an easy way around it?
I may be optimistic in believing that quality sound can be downloaded to those of us on a budget, who are neither audiophiles or tech geeks. I really want to move into the twenty first century, but I need help!
How about an Echo Audiofire 2? Could it take the place of any of this and cure the jitter?

StickMan451
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:32 pm

Re: Mac mini to DAC Magic help

Post by StickMan451 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:32 pm

Wildcrafter,

I do not have a Mac Mini (yet) but I am using a Macbook Pro with the DacMagic III. The headphone jack of the Macbook does act as a straight 'digital' out. (there is a high powered LED inside the jack that flashes on/off). I am pretty sure that the Mac Minis' headphone jack works the same way.

I run a Toslink cable with a stereo mini plug from the headphone jack of the Mac into the Toslink input (not the coaxial) on the DacMagic. No special drivers are required. Just go into the Finder app on your Mac and access the Midi Settings. On the Macbook that is in, Finder, Go, Utilities, Audio MIDI Setup. In the audio devices panel select Source as Digital Out. Format 96000.0 Hz and 2ch-24 bit.

If you are using OS 10.6.8 you should be good to go. If you already have Lion it should still work but you won't be able to run Decibel in 'Hog' mode which just means it will not take complete control of the audio out and computer, shutting down certain processes to enable even better playback fidelity. Even without Hog mode the sound will be great!

wildcrafter
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Mac mini to DAC Magic help

Post by wildcrafter » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:12 pm

Thanks StickMan451. Now that I've got you. How does the dysfunction of Lion in the Hogg mode limit the ability to transfer FLAC files? Does this setup limit the sampling rate to 96khz? I hope these aren't apples and oranges questions. Thanks for the details and your time.

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