USB vs. Optical out from Mac

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kzhtoo

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 15
USB vs. Optical out from Mac
« on: 30 Apr 2013, 11:33 pm »
Hi,
I've never used computer audio and considering adding a macbook pro retina (the one with the flash drive) to the system. At the moment, I use optical out from AppleTV to a SM with an optical cable, and to Metrum Octave dac with HiDiamond digital reference cable (IMO HD > Cabledyne silver reference, as it should at more than 3x the price).

My question is, what would be the better way to use with a macbook pro, optical out or USB? Obviously, if I use optical out, it will go with my SM. For USB, I'd need another converter such as Offramp or AP2 with PP supply (at least $1k). I'm leaning towards using optical out (since I would not need another converter) but want to see what people think. I'm planning to use Amarra software.

Best,

path73

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 34
Re: USB vs. Optical out from Mac
« Reply #1 on: 1 May 2013, 01:20 pm »
The good thing about using the SM is that if you really want to avoid optical out, you don't need to invest into an expensive USB converter, as long as it transfers the bits correctly. The SM will ensure that the jitter in the original signal is replaced by its own extremely low jitter.
/path

audioengr

Re: USB vs. Optical out from Mac
« Reply #2 on: 1 May 2013, 06:06 pm »
KZ - the SM is really good, but the OR5 is even better.  The problem is that you must spend more money and jump through a lot more hoops to get there.  See:

http://www.empiricalaudio.com/computer-audio/

Also, I highly recommend doing these mods to the Mac OS:
iTunes iBooks:  Audio Optimization Guides

Steve N.

kzhtoo

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 15
Re: USB vs. Optical out from Mac
« Reply #3 on: 1 May 2013, 11:28 pm »
Hi Steve and path73,
Thank you for the answer. As a first step, it seems I should just try the optical out first with SM, and go thru all the recommended optimizations to see if it beats AppleTV to SM.

Note: I have yet to send my SM to Steve for OTL mod as well.

Best,