I'm new to Apple support communities having just bought my first Macbook Pro (a 17" 2.5GHz i7 model) and this is my very first iTunes post.
I’m a bit of a Hi-Fi enthusiast, so, with my new MacBook Pro I've taken the opportunity of completely reloading my iTunes library to disk in high quality Apple Lossless format. Took a while but now I've completed the task I’m really pleased I've done it.
My question is, what is the best way to connect a Macbook Pro to a high quality Hi-Fi preamp so I can play iTunes through my high quality Lounge HiFi system ? . . . my Hi-fi system is by Musical Fidelity, and the pre amp a Musical fidelity A5cr, this is a very expensive and good quality pre-amp, which has superb audio quality, but, only has analogue RCA phono inputs.
I'm guessing one option must be to use the MBP headphone output, either as an analogue or digital source, but I suspect its analogue headphone output will be totally incompatible with the RIAA requirement of the pre amp phono input ?
I’ve also read some comments about using digital connection – USB DAC’s appear to be an option but I don’t know anything about these or which models (available in the UK) are recommended – anyone got any experience ?
I've also read in an archived post here that MBP's have an optical output so maybe that could be used as the input to a DAC ? . .again any advice on which is the best way to go much appreciated ?
Apologies if this question has been asked lots of times before but I've looked through some previous posts and can't find any answers in simple and straightforward language concentrating on the issue of connecting a MacBook Pro to an analogue phono pre amp input ?
Thanks in anticipation of some advice.
Thanks for the replies to this post,
I think I've now answered my own question . . . . . which is . . . . one good way to connect a MacBook Pro to a quality HiFi system and get really good sound quality is to use a USB DAC.
When I posted this question up a couple of days ago I'd never heard of a USB DAC. Now, I've auditioned a couple at home with my system (the ones I've tried were a Musical Fidelity M1 DAC and an AudioLab M DAC, but I can see there are lots of others on the market as well). Both these boxes are really easy to connect and use - its just a digital USB cable from the MacBook Pro to the DAC box and then either phono or XLR analogue out cable from the DAC box to an aux input on your HiFi system . . . really really simple. There is also an optical input on these USB DACs so I guess they could be connected optically, though I didnt try that method.
The only thing you have to do is go into system preferences and tell the MacBook Pro you want your sound to go to the attached USB DAC rather than the internal speakers, and this is really simple to select.
The resultant sound quality is exceptionally good and makes it possible to get near CD quality from a MacBook source. The sound is not quite as fathful as through my Marantz CD player, but, using lossless audio format in iTunes its pretty close ! . . . It is tons better than trying to match the analogue headphone signal to a HiFi system - something which I discovered sounds really terrible.
So, as no one was able to offer a simple answer to my original question, then I thought I'd post this reply up to let other people know just how simple it is.