• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.
  • Black Friday Deals
    Visit our Black Friday page for our frequently updated, hand picked deals on TVs and other tech.

iMac external DAC?

p3rfect

Standard Member
Hi all. As you can see from my sig I have an aluminum iMac, an Arcam a90 and a pair Acoustic Energy AE3 MK1's in the bedroom. I'm planning on grabbing a P90 when one crops up second hand, but I'm also curious as to what difference an external DAC would make?

Am I right in thinking:

iMac Optical Out > External DAC > A90 would work and be better quality than the standard DAC in the iMac?

I'm really happy with the sound I have already, but I'd consider splashing a couple/few hundred on a DAC if I could get it sounding even more crisp :)

I will also be adding a Blueray player later, so I'm not sure if any external DACS offer multiple sources? The TV has an Optical out too..

Any suggestions? Just thinking out loud really!

Dom
 

p3rfect

Standard Member
Hmm. Is this in the wrong forum?
 

hughwi

Active Member
ok, without starting off a big debate about which DAC is best and which form of cable gives the best sound, i think you would do well to get an external DAC. I recently got a Beresford DAC and am over the moon with it.

The reason i bought it is because it has several inputs (2xOptical, 2xCoaxial), a headphone amp, and 2 outputs (1 of which is now balanced with the headphone amp in newer models). I, like you use the spdif out of my computer, and also have the optical out on my tv connected to the unit, and it is working perfectly. I will tell you now that it required a fair bit of burning in though!

Generally, when offloading processes such as digital to analogue processing to dedicated components such as an external dac, they produce a better sound. If i were you, i would give the beresford a go, as he even provides a moneyback guarantee if you arent happy. You can find his store on ebay.
 

p3rfect

Standard Member
Cheers. I've checked a few reviews and they are all extremely favourable! Sounds perfect for me. Did burning in really make all that much difference or do you think you eventually got used to the sound? I just cannot get my head around how electronic circuits can improve with use!
 

p3rfect

Standard Member
After reading more reviews I couldn't resist.. Beresford DAC plus XtremeHD audio and optical cables ordered! The only thing that bothers me is manually switching channels for different equipment, so I'll probably only use the one. Yeah, I am lazy :)

I'll give it a couple of weeks and if it lives up to its reputation I'll be getting another for the AppleTV / MF A5 :) Will post back on my findings. Thanks for the advice hughwi.
 

JohnWH

Active Member
Personally I'd have gone for a Benchmark dac as it has better jitter rejection than most (measured not just subjective opinion) and comes in a bit cheaper... But as you've already ordered the beresford, Enjoy!

John.
 

p3rfect

Standard Member

hughwi

Active Member
I found that on the first listen, it sounded much better than my previous setup (normal 3.5mm jack to RCA adapter £1 off ebay!) and after about 2 days of running a source through it at med-high volume, it had really "opened up".

I think it is all rather subjective, i am not entirely sure whether i just began to listen more closely, or whether in fact the sound did improve, but what i can say is that the largest part of the sound improvement will be immediate, and you can enjoy it from the moment you plug it in!

As for the headphone amp, that definitely needs a few hours running in, especially if you have a particularly powerful pair of headphones.
 

p3rfect

Standard Member
Well hopefully I'll have a play tomorrow. One other thing, I've noticed there's a volume control, is that for headphones?

P.s. Couldn't find his eBay, but he has a website http://www.homehifi.co.uk
 

p3rfect

Standard Member
Well, I've spent some time with the Beresford now. My system still sounds like my system, which is a good thing as I already loved it, only now its even better. Its hard to put my finger on exactly what has been improved, perhaps because everything has been lifted equally.

I'm extremely happy with the whole setup now, its very, very easy to listen to but still provides some back-of-the-neck hair-raising moments :) In fact, I prefer listening to it over my main HiFi.

Thanks for the top-tip hughwi, I'm delighted with it :) Will be getting one for the AppleTV next!
 

hughwi

Active Member
Great! I am glad you are enjoying it, trust me, it gets better the more time you give it. I cant imagine what the new Mk6 sounds like (apparently it is a fair bit better than the Mk5 i have).

Yes, the volume control is for the internal headphone amp the unit has, however, if you have one of the newest versions, that knob also controls the variable volume output of the second set of RCA outputs.

I know just what you mean, I could not put my finger on the improvement either, i just had to attribute it to an overall cleaner signal, and after a bit of a run, it opens up beautifully.

It was suggested to me that i should get the beresford or the Zahlou (sp?) a while ago, and the fact that Stanley Beresford is in fact in London aswell swung the decision for me.

Enjoy!
 

ssbaby

Standard Member
Hi,
I've got a mac mini which has stores my mix of mp3's and FLAC.

Currently it's connected to my Yamaha RXV2700 and it sounds good - but I want to make the most of my B&W CM7s (admittedly there's only so much I can get from my mp3s)... would a DAC (even the one mentioned above) make much difference? I've also been considering getting a squeezebox as I've heard there're good too, but I'm less concerned about the networking abilities since all the equipment is in one room.

Thanks,
stu
 

dazzler9000

Active Member
Hi,
I've got a mac mini which has stores my mix of mp3's and FLAC.

Currently it's connected to my Yamaha RXV2700 and it sounds good - but I want to make the most of my B&W CM7s (admittedly there's only so much I can get from my mp3s)... would a DAC (even the one mentioned above) make much difference? I've also been considering getting a squeezebox as I've heard there're good too, but I'm less concerned about the networking abilities since all the equipment is in one room.

Thanks,
stu


Same question here. I have the Yamaha 2600 and SqueezeBox 3. I'm fairly happy with the results when passing the signal to the Yam via digital but I'm always looking to improve things. For a £100 it certainly sounds like a bargain.

Anybody know if I would improve the sound at all?
 

The latest video from AVForums

Guardians of the Galaxy Xmas Special, Strange World, Bones and All, and Cabinet of Dr Caligari in 4K
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom