very interesting. I was wondering the same thing.
18 responses Add your response
Facing the back of the Mac and looking directly at the USB ports, the one on the far right (the first outside one) seems to sound most musical to me.You are correct! Also, for what it's worth, on a Macbook the best sounding port is the furthest right as you're facing port side of the laptop.
Ah...I don't know why anyone would do this but just in case:
If you use your Mini turned upside down, it's the port to the outside Left. If you use your Macbook upside down you're probably having more problems than trying to figure out which port sounds best but it would then be port side left.
Just trying to be thorough.
Well, thinking this through some more I think it would be best to establish a universal frame of reference.
Rather than left or right, get a compass and find due North. Have the back of your Mini facing North. Macbook: back of screen facing North. Now stand (or sit) at the back of your Mini. This puts you facing due South. Use the compass to verify this. If you're not facing due South, start over. Now choose the East port and you're done. Ta da! Macbook: Stand (or sit) facing East. This should put you at the port side of the Macbook. Again, use the compass to verify this. If you're not facing due East and at port side, start over. Once you're sure where you're at it's easy sailing from here - choose the South port. Done!
BTW, one person reported doing this in front of a mirror. He got everything all screwed up. Make sure there are no mirrors in your view as you do this procedure!
You know, how hard would it be for Apple, or any computer manufacturer, to put a North arrow on their stuff and then mark the ports East or West. Duh! An industry standard like this sure would make things easier.
Assuming you're not baiting for a debate, I don't know for sure. I just hear it to sound better and I'm good with that. It might have something to do with being far enough away from the monitor port to not be affected by EMI radiation or maybe that that port is dedicated without having a bunch of other stuff slaved to it or a combination of both.
I'd guess somebody has better info on this than I do.
If you have a Mini and haven't done any comparisons, try it and see what you think. If you hear a difference then I bet the best sounding port will be the Right/East port - or Left port if your Mini's upside down. If you don't hear a difference then you're futunate to not feel a need to obbsess and spend time over this. ;)
>>Why do you think that port on the Mini sounds better?<<
Robert's having a good bit of fun with this, and I appreciate the banter... but my original post was that particular USB ports seem to be more musical than others... I was seeking validation if that was the experience of other users of MacMini's with USB DACs.
I have three identical combinations of Mini's and USB DACs and regardless of the difference in the systems, the same ports seem to sound better than others.
To answer your question, the other ports sometimes sound more detailed, but less musical to me. The outside port seems to sound best to me: detailed, but no grit or glare, better image depth and overall "musicality." Friends and family seem to concur, but all of us feel a bit uneasy about our impressions, so I thought I'd ask for others' input in a larger venue.
Can't comment on the Mac Mini, but the IMac is a similiar scenario. Facing the back of my IMac 20, the one on the right is the "warmest" by a very large margin, the one in the middle more balanced/neutral and the one on the left far too etched/bright. It's very obvious to anyone listening, not subtle at all. Has to be due to the way the ports are wired/configured internally. Better thing about the IMac too is that it reacts the same to power cords as does any CD player or DAC. Makes it handy if you have something like a Shunyata Vx power cord.
Yes. Same changes that you hear on DACs and CD players, etc. I put a Taipan Helix on it and the sound was more punchy, dynamic and a bit smoother. I put a Taipan Helix Vx on it and the dynamics were lessened a bit, but the higher frequency response was cleaned up more to my liking(i.e. smothered).
For whatever reason, I can't run it through my Hydra. Everytime I try, it makes the upper frequencies far too strident (like having all silver cabling). My amp/dac are run off another Hydra connected to another outlet.
I tried a Mamba V2 and the Taipan Helix Vx on it recently and went with the Taipan Vx because it did a better job of "smothering" the high frequencies and dulling things a bit more (which balanced well with the rest of my system being too forward/detailed). I don't think I could stand the Taipan Vx on a DAC or CD player, but it does fantastic on a computer.