Sound options on the Mac Pro

Liver

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 24, 2005
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On my desktop computer I listen to music and when gaming (Warcraft) I use Vent. So gaming sound and a mic.

Wondering what sound options are there for a Mac Pro? I've always used add on cards for a Windows based PC, but what about for the Mac Pro?

Are there any options for internal sound cards? Or is what it ships with pretty comparable with third party Windows options?
 

hungryduck

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Mar 29, 2005
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Unless you want a special interface for recording, the built in sound will be fine for gaming and vent.. It won't have all the input/output options and sound modeling features of say a creative X-fi or something.

If you are an audiophile type, that's another story too. Then you'll want to check out a usb-DAC of some sort and an amplifier for headphones/speakers.

Might want to consider asking this in the audio sub-forum too, some knowledgeable folks over there. (the forums at head-fi.org too...)

I've never owned a mac pro, but all the macbook pro's, imacs and mini's I've used have had acceptable sound. But I'm not an audiophile. I find the mic quality to be fine for gaming however.
 

Arkangyl

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Mar 3, 2005
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No internal cards that I know of. The integrated should be the Intel HD audio (Realtek 889HD I think?)

If you're just running a basic headset or PC speakers, that will be fine.

If you've invested in higher quality gear then an external DAC & AMP are the way to go. Also remember that if you're connecting to a home theater receiver that using the Mac's optical-output to the receiver will probably yield good results.

Check out www.head-fi.org for some good external options. Offhand two good options:
http://www.audiophileproducts.com/ - the Fubar DAC works quite well
or
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/269458/review-zero-24-bit-192khz-dac-headphone-amp-pre-amp
the 'Zero' dac, generally found from the OEM on eBay

Both have good DAC chips, and quality amplifier components in them and both work with the Mac via USB or optical audio output.

For Warcraft + Vent, the internal will be fine. MP3's will be fine on the internal up until about ~170 kbps, and even then it depends on what speakers & headphones you are using.
 

CKMorpheus

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I don't know the specifics, but I do know the Mac Pro's have optical audio out so you can pump them through a receiver and get 5.1 (I assume)
 

intogamer

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Jan 23, 2005
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I don't know the specifics, but I do know the Mac Pro's have optical audio out so you can pump them through a receiver and get 5.1 (I assume)
I assume it's through optical connectivity? Will it pas DTS and Dolby 5.1 ?
 

CKMorpheus

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From what I understand (and take this with a grain of salt), DVD's and video files with the correct audio (I'm thinking .mkv's in VLC), as well as apps like Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro, etc would take advantage of it. Dolby for sure... DTS most likely.

There are in fact two optical TOSLINK ports on the Mac Pro. In and Output.
 

Arkangyl

Gawd
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Mar 3, 2005
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I assume it's through optical connectivity? Will it pas DTS and Dolby 5.1 ?
Yes.

Optical I/O passes uncompressed, raw digital data, so whatever form it's encoded in is what will be passed to whatever is on the other end of the optical line (some sort of digital-analog converter (DAC) in either stand-alone or receiver form).

MKV is just a container folder (audio file + video file) and can hold many different types of audio encoding.
 
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