I think you're limiting your choices, although a USB to S/PDIF converter isn't a bad idea. Other options include using Toslink directly from the iMac (the mini-Toslink connector is shared with the headphones adapter) and using an ethernet-based system such as a Squeezebox.
I've used both the USB and Toslink options and I can't tell the difference between them.
I totally agree with using toslink. I find toslink to have a benefit most the time. I think most of it have to do with the mechanical isolation. With some DACs it sounds great.
Amarra? Hmmmm.... ;)
Like Sufentanil I have used both Toslink direct and a Toslink>SPDIF converter (Pop Pulse) from the Mac to the Processor and couldn't tell the difference between them. My distance from the Mac to the processor is about 35'. The one thing that DID make a big improvement was the addition of an M2Tech Hiface as a USB>SPDIF converter. That was noticeable from the first note.
So you are running a short USB cord and then a long RCA SPDIF cable to the DAC? I am also in the same situation as Flg 2001 that I want to directly connect from my iMac to my DAC. I am running wireless now via an Apple TV and even have an Audioquest Optilink 5 cable but I just get to much interference and static and messages like can't connect to Apple TV. I upgraded from the Airport express as my wireless hub to the Aiport extreme and while quite a bit better I still have the occasional static sounds coming through and I'm over it. I want to also go with a solid connection. In my main rig I am running the Mac Mini with a Bel Canto link to my DAC and there is no problems ever with the sound. Just mostly wondering how to go about it, long SPDIF cord or long USB cord?
To go from Imac to a remote DAC, you can use an Airport Express.
That's what I do. I run the AE to a Cambridge CA840c using Toslink.
The AE output is either USB for printer only...apparently and the miniplug which is either earbuds / cable +splitter OR mini Toslink. EITHER from that port.
ONLY fly in the ointment is the clocking from the AE is a little wacky. My CA doesn't like it and no matter what I send it, it periodically goes out of synch.
CA has sent me the 'fix' in software for there player. I now have to nerve up and use my Serial Null-Modem cable to make the connection and use the software package CA sent me. As an aside, the dealer I bought from wanted to CHARGE me to do the upgrade!
Does the static sound Ejlif gets really glassy and like a finger nail on a chalk board? Never in the same place twice on same tune?
COULD BE your DA simply doesn't like the AE or other Apple clocking. I think the clocking may be the issue, NOT 'static'. Consult your DA's maker for any software or upgrade.
I think people should start putting the heat to APPLE since I thought I was the ONLY ONE to have such difficulties.
Mini tos out and in to both with provide a good digital signal. Other option is to use and Airport Express and beam it wirelessly to the AE and use the AE/s digital out and in to your dac. This is my case now, I bypass the computer dac and goes straight in to my audio dac. Sounds great. A used AE is only 79 bucks at apple, but you also can get a long tos cord for cheap. There are some limitations to tos vs coax digital to think about too.
I use IMac to LAN to headless MacMini to Dac, etc.
Hi, I have the M2Tech HiFace and it is outstanding, but in your case you may be interested to know that they have a new product just around the corner USB --> XLR. It is a separated box requiring a USB cable but you have an XLR on the output, great for longer runs of cable. Also I have used Amarra, Pure Music and Pure Vinyl. IMHO, PM is the better product, it does more and it sounds better (to my ears) and it set me back $129.00 vs $nearly a $1k for Amarra (the full blown version capable of 192kHZ) the lite version is I believe $395 and limited to 96khz. Just food for thought, hope it helps.
Thanks a lot for your responses, a lot of options out there!
I tend to like the use of Airport Express thru MiniToslink output and feed my Reimyo from the Toslink IN option.
Interesting info about Amarra vs Pure Music, I will just try the later and learn what happens.
Is there anything like an Minitoslink -> Toslink adapter? I mention this because I have just invested in a Wireworld Toslink cable that I like a lot.
Yes, and they are dirt cheap, too.
You can buy a Tos to miniTos from Audio advisor for about USD $4.00. Also the HiFACE does 24/192khz...today for $150.00 (RCA version) or $180.00 (BNC). Actually it (HiFace) will pass 32/192khz data but I don't think too many of us have 32 bit dacs nor is their a plethora of commercially available 32 bit music :)
Well - looks like the issue is solved - Thanks all for your input and advise.
Ejlif: Sorry to take so long to respond - I wasn't paying attention! Yes, I have used both a very short Toslink and a very short USB to my signal converter which sits on the desk next to the Mac Pro then the long run to the processor (DAC). Never had any issues either way. Recently my new M2Tech Highface arrived which replaced the Pop Pulse signal converter. The change was dramatic. It is now headed back to Ireland for the John Kenny modification. IMO, a long run of good quality digital cable is better than a long run of either Toslink or USB. Having said that though, I did experiment with a 35' run of Toslink direct from the headset outlet of the Mac to the Processor and while not as good as the Digital Cable, it was definitely acceptable. Now with the M2Tech Hiface though, nothing less will do!!