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    What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

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    Tube Nube

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    What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by Tube Nube on Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:19 pm

    Hello Esteemed colleagues,

    For years I've been using a SqueezeBox to receive music files from my computer to pass on to my Monica3 DAC.

    Well the SqueezeBox is becoming less and less reliable so as to other options . . . It's been so long since I last looked, I don't know what alternatives there are. I've spent a little time searching via Google, but I'm just "not getting it." I've read a little about "network something something somethings", but an understanding of what they do eludes me.

    Thanks for any guidance.

    mazeeff

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    Age : 63
    Location : Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by mazeeff on Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:09 am

    I have been using Squeezebox touch clones for years, and they work great. The squeezebox community is very active, and is constantly updated. Here is the link for instructions on building a "touch" clone. There are many other alternatives out there, but if you have been happy with the squeezebox, then building a new clone might be a good option.

    http://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/03/howto-building-and-installing-raspberry.html
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    WLT

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    Join date : 2013-07-13
    Location : Rochester NY

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by WLT on Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:37 am

    My Logitech SB Duet has been working fine for a number of years and is now used on my basement system regularly. I did move on and purchased a Bluesound Node 2. There are a number of high end streaming audio devices but they can cost a bundle. The Node 2 has a nice internal DAC that I use in my main audio room. It also has an optical out connection that I feed thru wall to my office and the DAC located there. I like being able to operate two systems at the same time. Nice for comparisons if nothing else.

    The Node 2 streams thousands of radio stations and has a USB port to connect your digitally stored music collect. I also subscribe to Tidal to stream their content (including MQA files). The Node 2 runs around $500 and has great factory support. There are starting to be several other manufacturer's options that are getting good reviews and cost even less. It is a great time to keep abreast of this changing technology.

    Others may be using some of these other cost effective products and I would love to hear how they are doing.

    audiobill

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by audiobill on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:54 am

    Subscribe to Tidal....30 million tracks at 16/44 cd resolution, more at MQA.

    $19.99 per month ($11.99 if a veteran).

    That's like having 3 million cds at your disposal for the cost of one per month.

    Let them worry about backups, indexing, etc.
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    Tube Nube

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by Tube Nube on Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the feedback, gents. These are all helpful tips!
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    deepee99

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by deepee99 on Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:01 pm

    Nube,
    I would second Bill's Tidal advice. Their service has improved considerably over the past year (i.e. drop-outs & etc.) and they are customer-friendly.
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    Kramer

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    Location : Chicago

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by Kramer on Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:40 pm

    Raspberries Pi's are a great option but require a bit of setup. My external music drive is plugged directly into its USB and song are selected via a web terminal or a wired screen can be used.

    MoOde Audio is the software I am currently using and I like it quite a bit. I am able to stream via AirPlay as well as Spotify Connect but the latter took some more effort to setup.

    Well worth the $40 or so for the PI

    I am running my DAC and PI both from a very quiet linear power supply.

    Here is what the interface looks like.
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    cci1492

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    Location : Bergen County NJ

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by cci1492 on Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:44 pm

    Just ordered a Bluesound Node 2 from Crotchfield since WLT is happy with his. I've been streaming from my ipad to a Yamaha receiver using airplay and then to the 2 channel. Maybe this will sound a little better.
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    bluemeanies

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by bluemeanies on Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:44 pm

    A 3rd vote for TIDAL. I am streaming TIDAL from my Mac Mini using AirServer.
    PERFECT for my 2channel system.
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    WLT

    Posts : 25
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    Location : Rochester NY

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by WLT on Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:25 am

    I searched for info on the Mac Mini. It looks like a great device with multiple uses - not just audio. It costs about the same as a Node 2. The Node 2 has a linear power supply with good specs on its internal DAC. I do not find that info on the Mac Mini nor do I find an optical port out to connect a coaxial digital cable for use with an external DAC. The Node 2 has its own control app that is easy to load to any device. I have it on a lap top, a desk top and my IPad.

    Does ithe Mac Mini use a separate internal DAC or use the main i5 processor? Is it a switch mode power supply?
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    peterh

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by peterh on Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:58 pm

    WLT wrote:I searched for info on the Mac Mini. It looks like a great device with multiple uses - not just audio. It costs about the same as a Node 2. The Node 2 has a linear power supply with good specs on its internal DAC. I do not find that info on the Mac Mini nor do I find an optical port out to connect a coaxial digital cable for use with an external DAC. The Node 2 has its own control app that is easy to load to any device. I have it on a lap top, a desk top and my IPad.

    Does ithe Mac Mini use a separate internal DAC or use the main i5 processor? Is it a switch mode power supply?
    mac mini uses most likley a switched power supply (as far as i know). It has no built-in fiber connections, but support a wide range of usb and firewire devices.
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    corndog71

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by corndog71 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:32 pm

    With my Mac Mini I have the signal routed to a Schitt Wyrd USB decrapifier and then to a Musical Fidelity V-DAC II. I've been thinking about getting a nicer DAC but really can't complain about the sound. The V-DAC II is asynchronous and can handle up to 96/44 files. I also use an app on the Mac called Bit Perfect which is not too expensive. It can be buggy on occasion but also helps with high rez files.

    audiobill

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by audiobill on Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:23 am

    Correction - The mac mini does have an optical out, via a mini-toslink jack in the headphone output. The Mac Mini is absolutely wonderful for audio use as it can join or create a wireless network, can store all your CDs, can access any streaming service the internet offers, and can be operated remotely from an iPhone or ipad. As well as function as a full blown desktop computer.

    I use mine with a wireless mouse/trackpad and keyboard for further convenience.

    Absolutely the best value out there for these uses, head and shoulders above others.
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    peterh

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by peterh on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:17 pm

    audiobill wrote:Correction - The mac mini does have an optical out, via a mini-toslink jack in the headphone output.  The Mac Mini is absolutely wonderful for audio use as it can join or create a wireless network, can store all your CDs, can access any streaming service the internet offers, and can be operated remotely from an iPhone or ipad.  As well as function as a full blown desktop computer.

    I use mine with a wireless mouse/trackpad and keyboard for further convenience.

    Absolutely the best value out there for these uses, head and shoulders above others.
    Nice to be corrected with good news !
    What model are you referring to that has a optical out ?

    audiobill

    Posts : 350
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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by audiobill on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:57 pm

    As far as I know, every Mac Mini sports this feature. Some info from the internet:

    It’s a simple 3 step process:
    ◾️Plug the Toslink To 3.5mm Mini Adaptor into the headphone port on your Mac. It will click into place.
    ◾️Plug one end of the Toslink cable into the Mini Adapter.
    ◾️Plug the other end of the Toslink cable into a Toslink/Optical Audio in port on your receiver or pre-amp.

    Making It Work

    If you get no sound… don’t panic. There are a few things to check:

    Is the receiver set to the correct output? It’s very easy to get this wrong. Take a minute to ensure your receiver is on the right output. And make sure that mute isn’t on or that you have the volume turned down.

    Are the Mac’s Sound settings correct?
    ◾️Go to the black Apple in the top left-hand corner of the screen and select System Preferences.
    ◾️Click on Sound.

    Sound Output Control On The Mac
    ◾️Select the Output tab.
    ◾️When you play sound through your Mac’s built-in speakers the output is set to Internal Speakers – Built In.
    When you play digital audio the output should be set to Digital Out – Optical Digital-Out Port.
    If the wrong output type is selected, click to change it.
    ◾️Close System Preferences.

    Are the Mac’s Audio Midi settings correct?
    ◾️Go to the Finder.
    ◾️Open the Applications folder and locate the Utilities folder.
    ◾️Open the application Audio Midi Setup

    Audio Midi Sound Control On The Mac
    ◾️On the left-hand sidebar click on Built-In Output.
    ◾️On the right-hand side, select the Output tab. ◾️Source should say Digital Out
    ◾️Format should be set at a sample rate of 44,100.0 Hz and the bit-depth at 2ch-24 bit integer.

    ◾️The above settings are normal for iTunes playback. If you own music that’s encoded at a higher bit rate, you should play with these settings to get the best sound possible.
    ◾️When you play a movie with encoded surround sound like Dolby Digital the Format should be set to Encoded Digital Audio. If it isn’t, then go ahead and change it.
    ◾️You may have to experiment here. Don’t worry, you won’t break anything
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    deepee99

    Posts : 1993
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    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by deepee99 on Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:02 pm

    audiobill wrote:As far as I know, every Mac Mini sports this feature.  Some info from the internet:

    It’s a simple 3 step process:
    ◾️Plug the Toslink To 3.5mm Mini Adaptor into the headphone port on your Mac. It will click into place.
    ◾️Plug one end of the Toslink cable into the Mini Adapter.
    ◾️Plug the other end of the Toslink cable into a Toslink/Optical Audio in port on your receiver or pre-amp.

    Making It Work

    If you get no sound… don’t panic. There are a few things to check:

    Is the receiver set to the correct output? It’s very easy to get this wrong. Take a minute to ensure your receiver is on the right output. And make sure that mute isn’t on or that you have the volume turned down.

    Are the Mac’s Sound settings correct?
    ◾️Go to the black Apple in the top left-hand corner of the screen and select System Preferences.
    ◾️Click on Sound.

    Sound Output Control On The Mac
    ◾️Select the Output tab.
    ◾️When you play sound through your Mac’s built-in speakers the output is set to Internal Speakers – Built In.
    When you play digital audio the output should be set to Digital Out – Optical Digital-Out Port.
    If the wrong output type is selected, click to change it.
    ◾️Close System Preferences.

    Are the Mac’s Audio Midi settings correct?
    ◾️Go to the Finder.
    ◾️Open the Applications folder and locate the Utilities folder.
    ◾️Open the application Audio Midi Setup

    Audio Midi Sound Control On The Mac
    ◾️On the left-hand sidebar click on Built-In Output.
    ◾️On the right-hand side, select the Output tab. ◾️Source should say Digital Out
    ◾️Format should be set at a sample rate of 44,100.0 Hz and the bit-depth at 2ch-24 bit integer.

    ◾️The above settings are normal for iTunes playback. If you own music that’s encoded at a higher bit rate, you should play with these settings to get the best sound possible.
    ◾️When you play a movie with encoded surround sound like Dolby Digital the Format should be set to Encoded Digital Audio. If it isn’t, then go ahead and change it.
    ◾️You may have to experiment here. Don’t worry, you won’t break anything
    Go with God! (i.e. audiobill.) He spent hours on the phone with me setting up Tidal through a pair of Mac AEs, Linux controlled.. No charge. He knows his stuff and loves to do it.   He's also a helluva builder for VTA/Tubes4hi-fi gear for the more timid among us. The M-125s he made for me were textbook. I still kick myself for selling them and getting a Sachs ST-120, but the 125s went to a good home. I don't kick myself for the Sachs ST-120 with Pavel's AB board. It's all the power I'll ever need with 91dB speakers.
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    cci1492

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by cci1492 on Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:25 pm

    Got the Node 2 about 30 minutes ago, sounds nice. My son could have written a better app for it when he was about 8. But other than that, it sounds really nice, I'm happy. It's my father's day present...wife asked, I answered. Connected to the receiver via toslink and RCA to my pre-amp for Bob's amps. Hardwired to the network and let it update, now wireless, but will go back hardwired....I'm stuck in 1995 I guess.
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    WLT

    Posts : 25
    Join date : 2013-07-13
    Location : Rochester NY

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by WLT on Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:52 pm

    The Mac Mini sounds like it can connect to a remote DAC via the mini Tos link. Good. But it still uses a switch mode power supply. The Node 2 has a linear power supply and will play your stored digital material but that needs to be on a USB connected drive. The Node 2 is not suitable as a desk top computer. Both access all radio stations on the internet. Both controlled by any portable or desktop device. Both cost about the same. Any info on the Mac Mini internal DAC processor?

    The Rasberrry Pi is cheaper yet but has more limitations.

    Do I have this correct so far?



    audiobill

    Posts : 350
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    Location : Philadelphia

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by audiobill on Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:51 pm

    No,not even close. The switching power supply means nothing when procesing digital data. And of course you want to use an externsl dac. step up to the mac mini and be done with it.
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    cci1492

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    Location : Bergen County NJ

    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by cci1492 on Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:42 am

    I own an iphone, and an ipad-pro, my wife and son use iphones, my wife is a teacher and uses a Mac for work. They all work very well, especially the phones and ipad.....the laptop Mac OS is another story. I find that if I don't use the Mac OS enough, I forget where everything is. It's like when Windows comes up with a new release and moves everything around, or takes things away. With Windows, I have learned to do everything from CMD and no longer bother at all with their dumb user interface. With Mac OS, not so much. It's a me problem for sure, Apple products are nice, but if I cannot jump on a device and do what I need to do quickly, I get old man cranky mad fast!
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    corndog71

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by corndog71 on Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:21 am

    The more recent Mac Mini's do not have a toslink output.  They only have a 3.5mm analog output, USB and HDMI.  

    audiobill

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by audiobill on Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:30 pm

    The toslink output is hiding IN the 3.5mm jack.......at least in mine, Bluemeanies and everyone else's

    It is accessed using a mini toslink to toslink adapter.

    I use it everyday.

    From the Apple site today:

    Audio


    Audio line in minijack (digital/analog)
    Audio line out/3.5 mm headphone jack (digital/analog)
    HDMI port supports multichannel audio output
    Support for Apple iPhone headset with microphone
    Built-in speaker
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    corndog71

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by corndog71 on Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:22 pm

    Oh right. I forgot about that. Toslink is kinda limited if I remember correctly whereas USB is not. USB Dacs have come a long way in the last few years.

    audiobill

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by audiobill on Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:24 pm

    Either will pass data, but the toslink provides galvanic isolation as well......
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    bluemeanies

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    Re: What digital sources are available for use with a DAC?

    Post by bluemeanies on Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:38 am

    The Mac Mini provides me with more advantages there is IMO more value. Computer and the ability to stream my music from APPLE or TIDAL OR other media formats like SPOTIFY.
    I have flawless streaming and multitude choices of artists in ALL GENRES. Storage and format are right up there with album/song selections.
    I am using a MINI TOSINK to USB cable connecting the Mac Mini and my external dac.

    Oh yea, the sound is delightful, rich,full of lifelike REAL LIFE performances. Timbre is very much replicated,disquishable instruments, there is no mesh mash...you know what you are hearing.

    Sponsored content

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