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Macbook to B&W Boookshelves circa £400-£600 budget

Johnsnowery

Member
Jun 29, 2020
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I'm hoping someone can point me in the best direction. Ideally least amount of lag best sound quality

I have some B&W bookshelves and a MacBook whats the best way to output the MacBooks sound to them for an office desk environment?

I 'think' my options are

1) USB DAC -> Amplifier -> Speakers
2) Google Audicast (or similar streamer) -> Amplifier -> Speakers
3) Airplay device/amplifier?
3) Some sort of all in one amp and steamer? Audio 8000a sort of thing?

Help appreciated
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
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18,870
I would recommend buying a stereo Network receiver that supports Airplay. Several brands like Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha make them. You will get a one box solution: amplifier, DAC + network streaming.

I think the Yamaha R-N303D will suit your needs for £300.

Airplay is a very robust protocol for streaming at CD quality.

We've been using a Yamaha R-N602 for a couple of years now and we're really happy with it. The MusicCast app for the iPhone and iPad works well too. But you can also directly stream from the MacBook music app or iTunes, depending of the version of macOS.
 
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Johnsnowery

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Jun 29, 2020
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Thanks although Id like to hear everything from the MacBook through the speakers e.g. chrome video playback, youtube etc. Basically output the sound of the MacBook direct to an amp as opposed to its internal speaker
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
237
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18,870
You did mention streaming so I focused on that. It depends on your model of MacBook what the options are. Some older models have a combined analogue/digital audio output. If you want to keep things really simple you can buy a very simple stereo amp and connect the minijack (headphone) jack to the amp.
You could get a decent stereo amp for about £100: https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/amplifiers-receivers/cambridge-topaz-am1-blk.html

What is the model of your MacBook? You can find that if you click on the Apple logo top left of your screen and click on "About this Mac".
 

Johnsnowery

Member
Jun 29, 2020
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0
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2020 macbook Pro only has 2 x usb-c ports although I can get an adaptor for traditional usb. Their is no 3.5mm jack or audio out optical etc.
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
237
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18,870
I see. That makes things a little bit different. Airplay will obviously work but you will need a converter of some sorts. You will have to use one of the usb-c ports for that. You could consider a docking station for the MacBook Pro. Most of them will have an audio out (analogue). Here's a website for some inspiration: https://www.imore.com/best-docking-stations-macbook-pro

However, docks are quite expensive. You could also consider a multiport adapter with audio out like https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adapter-Gigabit-Ethernet-Delivery-Compatible-Grey/dp/B0856XWTP6/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=usb-c+multiport+adapter+with+audio&qid=1593456026&sr=8-3

If you don't mind using one of the two ports you could just get a usb-c to audio adapter like https://www.amazon.co.uk/TuooYuoo-Adapter-Headphone-Adaptor-Splitter-White/dp/B081XLC8SM/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=2HE23WTB3U0OO&dchild=1&keywords=usb-c+audio+adapter&qid=1593457316&sprefix=usb-c+audi,aps,160&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzVzA5VFBGRDBDVFdTJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzM2MjE3MjlQOEhGSDlNQzlYQSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwODg1MzI2WDY2RjJLWjlSMlZRJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
Or there's this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Belkin-RockStar-Charge-Adapter-Samsung/dp/B07QS5CH5V/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2JVY5546V4YP0&dchild=1&keywords=usb+c+digital+audio&qid=1593457429&sprefix=usb-c+digital+audio,aps,161&sr=8-3

There are loads of usb-c to analogue audio adapters available.

For a USB-DAC you can connect to an amplifier you could have a look at these reviews: https://www.whathifi.com/best-buys/hi-fi/best-dacs
 
Last edited:

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
401
156
19,070
Get a proper computer audio interface such as those made by Focusrite, Motu, Steinberg, Native Instruments etc. (There are plenty of others at various prices) from a pro music store and connect an amp (Can also be got from the pro music store) to feed your speakers. (Hi-Fi DACs are not usually the best for computers unless you go really high end, plus they don’t provide any software to get the best out of your system)

Bill
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
237
55
18,870
In the case of new Macs the complications start with the lack of audio out ports.
https://www.macworld.com/article/3205890/how-to-replace-the-missing-optical-digital-audio-output-on-newer-macs.html

I would recommend to get an USB audio interface that converts the signal to optical. I would connect that to a decent integrated amp with optical in and a good DAC.
A Beringher UCA 202 will convert USB audio to optical. More expensive options are available.

There is also software available that can stream any sound from your Mac via AirPlay. I use that myself and it works really well.
It's called AirFoil.
 

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