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Controlling the volume on a Mac connected to Beolabs through external DAC

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Banix
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Banix posted on Fri, Jul 13 2012 10:06 AM

Hello,

I have been reading on this excellent forum for a while now but never posted anything until now. 

I recently purchased a pair of Beolab 8000s MKII and have so far been using them temporarily with my iPod (the music files being Apple Lossless) because the sound quality was even worse when connected directly to my iMac/Powerbook/Powermac (background humming being to loud).

I would now like to connect them to my Powerbook via an external DAC (USB) and control the audio from iTunes via apples Remote app from my iPod touch/iPhone. When I asked Cambridge Audio wether their DAC Magic Plus could do this they replied that the computers own volume control would not be able to control the volume even when the DAC Magic Plus´s own volume knob is disabled. My question therefore is: Is there any way of connecting my Beolabs to my mac with an external DAC (since the audio quality without one is unacceptable) and still regulate the volume on my mac (directly, via the apple remote, or the iPod touch)?

//Banix

Beolab 8000 MK II, Sennheiser HD 800

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BeoHut
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BeoHut replied on Fri, Jul 13 2012 12:41 PM
Hi,

I'am using a HRT Streamer II for playing music from my pc (iTunes) to a pair of BL4.

Excellent sound quality, and using the volumecontrol of the pc.

In my workroom I'am using the HRT iStreamer, connected to a BM2400. Great sound! Not tried using the volume on my iThings, but will test this later at the day.
Banix
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Banix replied on Fri, Jul 13 2012 1:45 PM
Thank you for your answer Beofan53. I will have closer look at HRTs DAC range. // Banix

Beolab 8000 MK II, Sennheiser HD 800

Silou
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Silou replied on Fri, Jul 13 2012 2:12 PM

You can remote control with your BEO4 the MAC volume with the Beorevox interface!

 

Regards

BeoHut
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BeoHut replied on Sat, Jul 14 2012 1:14 AM
Beofan53:

Hi,

I'am using a HRT Streamer II for playing music from my pc (iTunes) to a pair of BL4.

Excellent sound quality, and using the volumecontrol of the pc.

In my workroom I'am using the HRT iStreamer, connected to a BM2400. Great sound! Not tried using the volume on my iThings, but will test this later at the day.

Hi,

With the volumeknob or even the slider on my iThings I can change the volume.

So not only on the BM and PC, but also with Apples Fruitthings.

I'm very satisfied with the quality of my HRT products (http://highresolutiontechnologies.com/).
elephant
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Banix:

I have been reading on this excellent forum for a while now but never posted anything until now. 

I recently purchased a pair of Beolab 8000s MKII

welcome and congratulations on your speakers !

Banix:
sound quality was even worse when connected directly to my iMac/Powerbook/Powermac (background humming being to loud).

the humming is caused by the power supplies etc inside the various Macs you have - in the archiveforum there are lots of discussions and explanations over this issue (do some searches from the link)

so the general consensus has been to use optical connections to an external DAC

 

On the other had, I connect an analogue cable from my Macbook and my Macmini to a BeoPort which then drives my speakers.  This seems to provide enough "insulation" that I don't hear any humming - one I used the right powerlink cables (mark III) to the speakers.  

The advantage for me of the BeoPort is that it is controllable by a Beo4 for volume, skipping tracks, playlists -- although now I tend to use touch interfaces for title/artist searches.

But the BeoPort does not contain a DAC.

 

An approach others have used is WiFi Airplay to an Apple Airport Express -- this cuts out the electrical interference, but does not provide a superior DAC.

 

What I now use (for 50% of my rooms) is HDMI connections, either from the MacMini or from Apple TVs -- which then lets me leverage the DACs inside the BeoVisions

 

You might want to look at the new B&O PlayMaker as a potential solution (putting to one side the debate on this site about its aesthetics!)

BeoNut since '75

Banix
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Banix replied on Sat, Jul 14 2012 10:16 AM
Thank you all for your help. I will order the HRT Music Streamer II+, which seems to fit my needs and will probably give me the best results (the Airport Express not being as good a DAC and a Beovision is not really an option at the moment).

Beolab 8000 MK II, Sennheiser HD 800

Banix
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Banix replied on Thu, Aug 22 2013 10:23 AM

I thought I would reconnect with my experience with the external DAC. 

I first purchased the HRT Music streamer II+. The sound was good but extremely loud. It does not allow the use of the Macs main volume controls (the ones on the keyboard or in system prefs) but the volume controls inside various applications such as iTunes/VLC do regulate the volume. However the lowest volume in iTunes (even with the iTunes software preeamp set on minimum) is still VERY loud. It is intended to be used with an amplifier which has a dedicated volume control unlike the one in the BeoLabs 8000. Therefore I returned the HRT and tried the DAC Magic +

 

The DAC Magic+ also sounds very good and with the onboard volume control the volume can be set at a normal listening level. It has solved all my problems with the humming noise now eliminated. The volume can also be regulated inside iTunes (the Macs main volume control is turned off, but volume can instead be regulated with the onboard control on the DAC Magic+). I am very satisfied with this and finally everything now works as I wanted. I have now started thinking about adding a BeoLab 2 to the setup... 

Beolab 8000 MK II, Sennheiser HD 800

Peter
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Peter replied on Thu, Aug 22 2013 3:28 PM

If using for music, consider BL11 or wait for the new sub-woofer.

Peter

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