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Mac Mini question

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I am about ready to purchase a mac mini and DAC (?bryston) to hook into my high-end audio system. I've got 2 questions:

1. I was going to run HDMI out to LED screen so I can see computer desktop and programs. But then I need audio out to DAC. Is it possible to "split" video to LED screen and audio to DAC? Which audio out?

2. What is the best digital connection to DAC. Haven't bought a DAC yet.

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  1. GoldenEar's Avatar
    ... this is not the place for asking questions.

    Anyway, yes, it is possible to run audio out to a different output than video. Most of us are doing this. You should consider operating your Mac mini "headless", i.e. without keyboard or mouse attached. You can then use Apple's remote app on an iPod/iPhone/iPad to operate your system.

    The answer to the second question is USB. The analogue and digital outputs of a Mac mini are inferior to USB. If your system is truly high-end, then you would want to go for a DAC with asynchronous mode.


  2. weyskipper's Avatar
    A great way to get the bits out of your Mac is through FireWire. I have explored various options and I really like FireWire best. I suspect you would need to look at other DACs that can handle this such as Weiss.
  3. TGoldblum's Avatar
    Sounds good. Which DAC to you have hooked up for firewire? Weiss is pretty expensive!

  4. TGoldblum's Avatar
    Thanks - I accidentally posted this to blogs. ANyway, If USB is the best, then why do so many people use S/PDIG converter with it? And I thought firewire was the best out of a mac mini

  5. GoldenEar's Avatar
    USB with or without SPDIF converter depends on the inputs of your DAC. If you are a beginner from scratch, you will probably buy a DAC with USB input. However, there are many good DACs out there that do not offer USB inputs. In that case you can buy a converter to connect your Mini to the DAC.

    I cannot say anything about the sound difference of USB and Firewire from my own experience. Theoretically, USB ismore jitter prone than FW. The main reason why I recommended USB is that FW DACs are in most cases VERY expensive and thus probably not the first choice for beginners.