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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Best way to get RCA Audio Outs from Powerbook?

Best way to get RCA Audio Outs from Powerbook?
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djmpower
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Oct 18, 2003, 01:25 PM
 
I am ultimately trying to hook my 15" AL Book to my HiFi Stereo and want the best solution to get RCA Output (preferably from USB) to hook up to my preamp.

I have tried using the built in headphone out on the Powerbook but it does not sound very good (most headphone amps are pretty poor). Thus, I am looking for something that will give me two high quality RCA Audio Outs from a USB Port.

I was looking at the iMic from Griffin, but that device seems to be more geared to audio in, which I do not need. Then I looked at the Powerwave, but it was a lot of features that I don't really need.

Ultimately, I just want the best sounding solution. Any opinions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
DJ
     
TypeMRT
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Oct 18, 2003, 02:30 PM
 
Originally posted by djmpower:
I am ultimately trying to hook my 15" AL Book to my HiFi Stereo and want the best solution to get RCA Output (preferably from USB) to hook up to my preamp.

I have tried using the built in headphone out on the Powerbook but it does not sound very good (most headphone amps are pretty poor). Thus, I am looking for something that will give me two high quality RCA Audio Outs from a USB Port.

I was looking at the iMic from Griffin, but that device seems to be more geared to audio in, which I do not need. Then I looked at the Powerwave, but it was a lot of features that I don't really need.

Ultimately, I just want the best sounding solution. Any opinions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
DJ
Here's a good start http://www.osxaudio.com/index.php?story=163
Follow that to M-Audio and you should be set. RCA output is something that I haven't seen, but digital could be an option.

Cheers
     
hadocon
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Oct 19, 2003, 11:43 PM
 
Just go to RadioShack an buy a stereo headphone to rca cable. They are less than 15 bucks.
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PCTek
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Oct 20, 2003, 12:24 AM
 
Um, if the audio coming out the headphone jack sounds bad, i'd blame it on the source rather than the headphone amp.

Go grab a Monster iCable, it converts the headphone jack to twin RCA connectors. It's Monster quality, i've had mine for months, and I have no complaints.

Don't go overkill, I doubt you'll notice a difference between USB and the Monster Cable
     
scott brown
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Oct 20, 2003, 07:07 PM
 
monster quality is not saying much...
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fisherKing
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Oct 20, 2003, 07:44 PM
 
imic is fine...
but the headphone output should sound good too...
try that, but lower the output from the pb...
"At first, there was Nothing. Then Nothing inverted itself and became Something.
And that is what you all are: inverted Nothings...with potential" (Sun Ra)
     
RayX
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Oct 20, 2003, 07:54 PM
 
Originally posted by PCTek:
Um, if the audio coming out the headphone jack sounds bad, i'd blame it on the source rather than the headphone amp.

Go grab a Monster iCable, it converts the headphone jack to twin RCA connectors. It's Monster quality, i've had mine for months, and I have no complaints.

Don't go overkill, I doubt you'll notice a difference between USB and the Monster Cable
This is incorrect. The audio coming out of the headphone jack is not a line level output. It is designed for headphones.

If you want half decent quality when connecting a hifi type setup, you need better quality output. Something from m-audio would do the trick.

You will notice a BIG difference between the analog headphone jack and using a USB device that provides an optical connection to your HiFi or AV/Receiver.

M-Audio Sonica USB might be what you're after (quality wise) djmpower, if you can accept an optical input. Otherwise they (and other companies) have devices with RCA output that should be suitable.

P.S. If you like throwing your money away, buy Monster cables. They have colorful jackets and packaging, that's about it. The people that buy monster cables are the same people who think you can hear a difference between two different brands of optical cable.
     
CobraNT
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Oct 20, 2003, 08:36 PM
 
M-Audio? Monster cables? Links please......
     
nate_02
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Oct 20, 2003, 09:22 PM
 
I use my 15" PB Al to play music on Concert Quality sound systems. It sounds great. If your headphone jack doesn't sound good, have it checked out.

Just get a cheap cable from Radio Shack.
-nate
     
PCTek
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Oct 20, 2003, 09:55 PM
 
Originally posted by RayX:
This is incorrect. The audio coming out of the headphone jack is not a line level output. It is designed for headphones.

If you want half decent quality when connecting a hifi type setup, you need better quality output. Something from m-audio would do the trick.

I never said that it was line out, I never even mentioned the words "line-out" in my post. The jack can power headphones OR act as a line-out jack. Check dev note.

No, you won't notice much of a difference between the headphone jack and USB. Yes, Monster Cable *is* higher quality. I used crap cable in my car, then I replaced it with Monster Cable, and the change was unbelievable, a MUCH clearer signal.

Or you can spend the money, go digital, and see a minimal change. Your choice.
     
fisherKing
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Oct 20, 2003, 10:07 PM
 
i dunno, i use my usb audio thing sometimes...
but i am mixing cds on my powerbook, using the headphone out (to xlr in's on my m-audio speakers).

try checking level out from the pb; try the griffin imic as an alternative (u could have mine if i could find it... )
"At first, there was Nothing. Then Nothing inverted itself and became Something.
And that is what you all are: inverted Nothings...with potential" (Sun Ra)
     
RayX
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Oct 20, 2003, 10:40 PM
 
Originally posted by PCTek:
I never said that it was line out, I never even mentioned the words "line-out" in my post. The jack can power headphones OR act as a line-out jack. Check dev note.

No, you won't notice much of a difference between the headphone jack and USB. Yes, Monster Cable *is* higher quality. I used crap cable in my car, then I replaced it with Monster Cable, and the change was unbelievable, a MUCH clearer signal.

Or you can spend the money, go digital, and see a minimal change. Your choice.
I didn't say you did. Just that I thought the headphone jack probably isn't a real line output, even though many people do use it as such.

There is a big difference between the headphone jack and a digital output, if you are going into a decent system. When I got my powerbook (perviously using an Athlon PC), I was using digital output into a Receiver. For a few weeks before I got the Sonica device, the quality was a huge step down. As soon as I got it, all was good again. The sonica device from m-audio is about $50 US, hardly expensive. I believe the extra quality and flexibility (eg S/PDIF output from DVDs) is well worth that price. Why do you think the G5 has an optical out port?

If you've got a dongle hanging off your powerbook for audio anyway, you might as well go digital.

You could have replaced the crap cable in your car with any other good quality cable as well, just that you save half your money. That's all my point was. Plenty of other lesser or unknown brands making cable the same or better than Monster.
     
fisherKing
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Oct 20, 2003, 11:09 PM
 
the usb-audio route keeps your signal digital...until you get to:
a stereo amp...unless you're specifically going digital in.

just a thought
"At first, there was Nothing. Then Nothing inverted itself and became Something.
And that is what you all are: inverted Nothings...with potential" (Sun Ra)
     
PBG4 User
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Oct 21, 2003, 11:17 AM
 
The lifetime warranty on Monster cable is what you're paying for. Just like with Craftsman hand tools. You bring in a broken Monster cable, and it's replaced, no questions asked.

Not that other companies don't offer this, Monster just knows how to shop their brand around.
     
scott brown
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Oct 21, 2003, 02:33 PM
 
>>Yes, Monster Cable *is* higher quality. I used crap cable in my car, then I replaced it with Monster Cable, and the change was unbelievable, a MUCH clearer signal. <<


monster is crap for the price. you can get tons of better sounding cables for the same price or even cheaper

try audioquest, audio magic, nordost, kimber, even canare (and many more)

monster is like bose. overpriced and underperforming. many others sound better for cheaper....
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PowerMatt
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Oct 28, 2003, 06:09 PM
 
Originally posted by nate_02:
I use my 15" PB Al to play music on Concert Quality sound systems. It sounds great. If your headphone jack doesn't sound good, have it checked out.

Just get a cheap cable from Radio Shack.
This is the way to go. Any professional audio tech will tell you that the only difference between Radio Shack and Monster is the price. I have seen just as many Monster Cables fail as I have seen store brand cables fail. Sound quality is no better. Perceived sound quality (when upgrading from that old cable that you left on the patio during that snow storm!) will be better with an new cable. In general, the best advice for cables (of any sort) is to make them yourself (if possible).

The new AlBooks have 24-bit audio output from the headphone jack. If sound is poor, swap out the cable or take it to the Apple Store.

www.neutrik.com
Best audio connectors and terminals.
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JHromadka
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Oct 28, 2003, 07:45 PM
 
I'll second the vote for the headphone-to-RCA-jacks cable (I got mine from Wal-Mart). Cost just under ten bucks and works great. I used to plug it into my Powerbook and play iTunes thru my home stereo, but now that I have one of the new iPods I have that plugged into the iPod's dock connector instead. Sounds fine!
     
scott brown
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Oct 28, 2003, 11:25 PM
 
>>Any professional audio tech will tell you that the only difference between Radio Shack and Monster is the price.I have seen just as many Monster Cables fail as I have seen store brand cables fail. Sound quality is no better. Perceived sound quality (when upgrading from that old cable that you left on the patio during that snow storm!) will be better with an new cable. In general, the best advice for cables (of any sort) is to make them yourself (if possible).
<<

i'll agree that monsters suck, but i will NOT agree that cables make no difference in a system. the right cables can make a *world* of difference in an audio system...
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beefstu01
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Oct 28, 2003, 11:52 PM
 
Originally posted by scott brown:
>>Any professional audio tech will tell you that the only difference between Radio Shack and Monster is the price.I have seen just as many Monster Cables fail as I have seen store brand cables fail. Sound quality is no better. Perceived sound quality (when upgrading from that old cable that you left on the patio during that snow storm!) will be better with an new cable. In general, the best advice for cables (of any sort) is to make them yourself (if possible).
<<

i'll agree that monsters suck, but i will NOT agree that cables make no difference in a system. the right cables can make a *world* of difference in an audio system...
Cables account for about 10~15% of my system cost, and I didn't go all the way because I've got a lowly JVC system (it's decent, but it's no Theta Dreadnaught or anything). What kind of setup are you running, djmpower?

Myself, I cheaped out and went for the headphone > splitter deal. I'm really strapped for cash, and the music is decent. What I'd really like to do is to get a G5 and pop that optical out into my reciever. Mmmm, digital bliss.
     
PowerMatt
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Oct 29, 2003, 02:21 AM
 
Originally posted by scott brown:
i'll agree that monsters suck, but i will NOT agree that cables make no difference in a system. the right cables can make a *world* of difference in an audio system...
I don't think I ever said that cables make no difference. Obviously, a good cable will sound better than a cable with freyed terminations and other physical problems. I didn't think I would have to spell this out. Oh well.
It I want your opinion, I'll beat it out of you.
     
   
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