How do I play YouTube music from my IMac thru my Conrad-Johnson amps?


Hi guys and gals... How do I make this work?  I’m asking you knowledgeable people here rather than going to my local Hi-Fi shop where they will try to sell me more expensive gear to make this work.  I invested more than $20,000 on my system about 15 ago and I really don’t want to spend $1000’s more if I don’t have to.  I just want to be able to play all the great music from YouTube thru my great amps and speakers.  I’m tired of most of my CD’s and my Sim Audio CD player quit working several years ago and they tell me it needs a new transport so my expensive system has been sitting idol for years and is just taking up space in my tiny downtown apartment. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance :). Gordon
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You may be able to cast it to a smart TV which is connected to your stereo. Or a Roku. But I believe you will need the TV in the path with either route. I have a Roku Ultra with a USB output. However, I don’t have a USB in on my preamp. A HT receiver might have that, but I know of no 2 channel preamp that does. Hope this helps

Doug,

If you simply want to play YouTube on your system, a simple Bluetooth receiver, like the Auris BluME HD will do the trick. Simply play YouTube on your phone, laptop, etc., and connect that device to your system via the bluetooth connection.

You could purchase a DAC with a USB input and connect a USB cable from your iMac to the DAC and a set of RCA interconnect cables from the DAC to your system. Anything you play on the iMac can be output to the DAC via the USB connection and you'll hear the sound on your system, instead of through the speakers on your iMac.

For better sound than Bluetooth and YouTube can provide, a streamer, like the BlueSound Node 2i will allow you to stream nearly unlimited content from a subscription streaming service such as Qobuz, Tidal, Amazon HD, Spotify, etc. It also has a built-in bluetooth receiver, so you could also stream YouTube to it. It also streams internet radio stations, such as Radio Paradise, etc. Lastly, streaming high-res content via Tidal or Qobuz will offer significantly better sound quality than streaming YouTube or Spotify over bluetooth connection.

You have many choices. Good Luck. I hope you find what you need and get music back into your life.
Doug, I assume you have a preamp, if so you can go directly from the iMac's audio out to an unused preamp input.  You'll need a 3.5mm to RCA adapter cable.  This is not sonically the ideal solution, but it's dirt cheap, $15, and it will work.
Streaming Youtube from sources such as Roku, Amazon FireTV, AppleTV uses a really crappy youtube app and sound quality (as well as video quality) will be pretty bad. 

Streaming using the web browser on the actual iMac computer always gives superior audio/video quality.  It will also allow you to force the youtube resolution to a higher rate (such as 1080p or 720p).  These higher rate videos always have better sound data than the 480p setting.

Like others have suggested, your best bet is to get a USB DAC and connect it directly to your iMac.
Hey all.  This is what the HiFi shop is trying to sell me... a DAC for a couple thousand $$ and I was trying to avoid investing any more cash into my system, but i pay for YouTube Premium so it is commercial free and I listen all day and night to music there these days.  And I want to be able to listen to all that available music thru my high end system.  Thanks for any and all advise my friends :)
Doug, as @onhwy61 said, you can connect directly from the 3.5 mm analog output from your iMac using a  3.5mm to RCA adapter/cable. It will be using the DAC built-into your iMac, so it is not optimal.

You also do not need to spend anything close to a thousand dollars to get a perfectly good DAC for your use case. I believe a simple Audioquest Dragonfly Black $99, Red $199 or Cobalt $299 or a Schiit Modi 3+ $99 will do the trick. You should get better sound quality using an external USB DAC than you will directly connected via analog from you iMac.
Thanks so much reubent.  Which one would you suggest for my case and where would you suggest I buy it?  I have a C-J Premier 17 preamp and C-J 2250A power amp, the smallest Focal Be “bookshelf” type speakers, plus great interconnects and speaker cables.  My Magnum Dynalab tuner and Sim Audio CD player are kinda useless at this point, so I just want to play YouTube music thru my quality amps and speakers from here on out.  My hundreds of CD’s are also useless and unnecessary at this point cause all this music is now available on YouTube and my CD player is not working.  I really appreciate your help and will gladly follow your advice.  Thanks :)
Also, my IMac is about 10 years old but it is still humming along so I have not replaced it with a newer model.  But I do have a new 7th gen IPad I just bought about a year ago.
Doug,

If it were me, and I just wanted to get YouTube music out of my PC into my audio system, I think I would just get the Schiit Modi 3+ for $99. YouTube is not high-res, or CD quality, so it will always by compromised. I would go for the low cost option. 


For the Schiit Modi 3+ you'll need a USB cable out of your iMAC, and a pair of RCA interconnects.

I would order it directly from Schiit Audio in order to get the 15 day trial period. Send it back if you don't like it......
Cool.  Thanks reubent.  I will follow your advise and order direct from Schitt.  Pluse I see that this is a California company and made in California (and I live in SF so this is great).   Do I need any of these other products?  I just need a DAC huh?  I see they have  different DACs   I do not currently have a turntable and my headphones are a $350 wireless model from BOSE.  I forget the model (35?) and I am currently spending time away from home in a rehab group home for a few more weeks.  So what do you think?  I’m also not sure what type of interconnects I have but they just have the 1 metal plug that plugs in and are not the type with 3 metal plugs.  From the photos it looks like this is the same type as my C-J amps so I think i am good.  Thanks buddy :)
Doug,

To connect the Schiit Modi 3+ between your iMac and your system, you should just need to buy the Modi, get a USB cable that connects between your iMac and the Modi and a pair of standard interconnect cables. You should already have the interconnects. You can use the ones from your CD player if you choose.

Regarding the other DACs on the Schiit site, just get the standard Modi 3+. No need to buy the multi-bit option (it's showing out of stock anyway). $99 and you should be good to go.

Good Luck and Best Wishes.
Thank you so much for your educated advice.  I really appreciate it.  You saved me lots of money.  You da man!!
Doug,

You're welcome. Please come back and let us know how it turns out.
I will definitely do that :)
But I think i will need a long USB cord to the DAC as my system is 10-15 feet from my computer.  Where do you recommend i buy a long cord like this from... and which one do you recommend?
Duug:

Here is a blurb on USB (long) cable length.

https://www.yourcablestore.com/USB-Cable-Length-Limitations-And-How-To-Break-Them_ep_42-1.html#activ...

Looks like you have multiple options.

DeKay
I do not see an USB input on the Schiit DAC.

DeKay
Hey dekay.  It says is has one.  Did you look at the photo of thr rear of the MODI3 DAC?  What kind of cable will I need?

I know I have RCA connections on my C-J amps

@dekay  - From the Schiit Modi 3+ specs page on the Schiit Audio Site:

Inputs: USB, Toslink SPDIF, Coaxial SPDIF
Sample Rates and Bit Depths: 16/44.1 to 24/192 via USB, Coax, and Optical

Input Receiver:
Modi 3+ USB: Schiit Unison USB™
Modi Multibit USB: C-Media CM6631A
SPDIF: AKM 4113


Maybe I just need to call SCHITT and ask them for the cable I need to order and ask them where to get it from

Looks like it is a USB-C connection on the Schiit Modi side. Not sure what type of USB connection it would be on the iMac side. 
Oh I see what you mean.  The connection on the IMac is a USB connection but I’m not sure what that plug in slot is called on the back of the DAC
I sent an email to SCHITT.  Their website is funny in the way they talk about their products... “A piece of SCHITT”. “On the SCHITTR” Etc.  They seem like a fun group there at SCHITT.
It's a USB C connection on the Schiit Modi #+. It's a small, space-saving configuration, like the ones used on a lot of smart phones, etc.
Yes thank you reubent. You are so helpful!,
I use the Qobuz app on my laptop to a Fiio Q5 USB DAC, then mini jack to RCA to my PL integrated.  Sounds great to me.  If I feel like working for my music, my turntable is also connected.
WOW I’m dizzy from just reading your post as I don’t understand the lingo ;) But I do appreciate your attempt to assist me. How about the NAD DAC2? Would that be a possibly better alternative for me to stream YouTube music thru my C-J amps and Focal Micro Utopia Be speakers?  Does anyone have experience or an opinion on that NAD DAC2??  Thanks buddies :)
@doug714  - Gordon? I'll translate for you:

"I use the Qobuz app (A subscription music streaming service) on my laptop (his PC, same as your iMAC) to a Fiio Q5 USB DAC (A DAC with a USB input connection), then mini jack to RCA (3.5mm mini connector on one end, standard RCA interconnects on the other end) to my PL (Prima Luna Audio) integrated (Tube integrated amp). Sounds great to me. If I feel like working for my music, my turntable is also connected.

Regarding the NAD Dac2, it's just a DAC, but it is wireless. It uses a 2 piece hardware setup, wireless transmitter with USB input on the source end and a DAC with a wireless receiver on the other end. It's just a DAC, but the connection from the iMAC to stereo system would be wireless, instead of using a USB cable between the two. Seems you would still need a USB cable to connect from the iMAC to the transmitter and you will still need interconnect cables from the DAC/receiver to your stereo system. Could be a good solution if your iMAC is not located close to your stereo system hardware. I've never seen/heard the NAD, so I can't comment on the sound quality.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention that you are selling yourself short regarding using YouTube as your source for music. YouTube is an awesome app, but sound quality is likely compromised and you are at the mercy of whomever uploaded your music selection regarding the sound quality. You have EXCELLENT speakers and amps. I've heard your speakers on a few occasions and they are fantastic. A subscription streaming music service, like Qobuz, Tidal or possibly the "soon to be" HiFi version of Spotify will provide better sound quality and a better dedicated music focused user interface.
Hey reubent~ Yes it’s Gordon.  Douglas is my middle name and what most people call me at work. (It’s a long story ;)
Cool and helpful info as usual. I already pay for YouTube Premium so that’s why I use that for my music. But I’m gonna check out Spotify. Or which one would you recommend for me?  Which one would be best for my setup using the MODI3?
I always add714 to my name. It’s a reference to the original Quaaludes and I used to enjoy those as often as possible back in the day :)
Hey reubent... It looks like qubuz might be the best choice for me at $14.99/month.  What do YOU think??
Doug,

Most people say Qobuz has the best sound quality. Spotify HiFi is not out yet. Their current service is not CD quality bit rate. When Spotify HiFi comes out later this year, it will be CD quality bit rate.

My opinion is that Spotify has the best user interface, search algorithm and largest catalog. Once they get CD quality bit rate, it should be top notch. Until then, Qobuz would be my choice. It will probably also be the same price as their current Spotify Premium offering, which is $10/month.

I've used Spotify Premium  for the last few years. I love the service. Really looking forward to their HiFi tier when it comes out. I signed up for a one year promo deal with Tidal. It does have CD Quality bit rate and sounds good. However, I don't like the user experience as well as I like Spotify.
Gotcha.  As always, thanks for your advise.   I think I will sign up for qobuz when I get back to SF in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime I will keep researching DAC’s to determine which would be the best for my room and my setup.  Cheers!
A couple simple ideas that are cheap:
3.5 mm to rca direct from the computer to the preamp. Depending on the cable its a $15 to $50 investment:

Best Buy sells an affordable but decent bluetooth adapter for $60.

You can use the headphone adaptor and use the phones audio out: $10 for the usb-c or lightning to headphone and a 3.5 mm to rca for the preamp: Then you can experiment to see if the quality is any good. If you purchase from Best Buy, you have 2 weeks to experiment. If the quality isn't good just return and shell out the big bucks for a higher end option like a blue sound node which supports Tidal or Qobuz both which give you a hi rez option vs u-tubes low rez option.

Hi jb1. Thanks for the ideas. But I have Bose wireless headphones. I’m looking at either the MODI3 DAC or the NAD DAC2. What do you think/recommend?  My amps and audio rack are about 15 feet from my IMac computer. Thanks for your advice. Gordon
@reubent Hey I did exactly what you recommended and added a BlueSound Node 2i and chose Qobuz for hi-rez music, plus I added the REL T/5i sub to my Focal Micro Utopia Be speakers and voila... I am back in the game and I could not be happier with the results. Now instead of 150 CDs I have tens of thousands to choose from. Thank you, thank you, thank you !!!
Gordon
@reubent 

PS. I dropped the YouTube Premium.  Qobuz gives me everything I need. Thanks again :)
Hey Gordon! I'm glad you came back with an update. I'm really happy you've got your simplified system, and your mojo back.

Enjoy the Music!