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Analog in to Mac Mini


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Since I got a Mac Mini 2011 I can no longer use my MBox 1 with it. For the occasional voice or FX recording I do at home I am contemplating which USB/firewire interface to get - then I thought, why don't I just use my Sound Devices MM-1 (that has a very good preamp) and go analog directly into the Mac Mini's line in. I tried it quickly yesterday and it sounded OK but am wondering if there is a downside to this? I'm curious what others think about the Mac Mini's A/D converters' quality?

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The Mini's converters tested about the same as any other modern onboard computers: noise around -70 below nominal -10 dBFS, fall off on the high end (probably not oversampling). Any time you can get the ADC outside of that noisy box and power supply, you'll see an improvement.

But dude: your Mini has spdif i/o, if you haven't worn out the combo mini connectors. Flat to within a few percent of Nyquist, s/n limited only by the bit depth and the external converter.

Don't you have anything that already has digital i/o? Then all you need is possibly a converter to optical, and a toslink to optical mini cable.

That's how I use the Mini at my desk, and the onboard audio for the Mac Pro in my studio.

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Don't you have anything that already has digital i/o? Then all you need is possibly a converter to optical, and a toslink to optical mini cable.

That's how I use the Mini at my desk, and the onboard audio for the Mac Pro in my studio.

Well, I could maybe use my Nomad? Is there a converter fore AESEBU to optical mini?

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Is there a converter fore AESEBU to optical mini?

I use the Hosa little blue box converters; the one you want is ODL312, about $90. They're bulletproof. I have them all over the place.

They use Toslink for the optical side, but high quality Tos to Mini pipes aren't very expensive at all, and much more reliable than using a toslink-only fiber with a plug-on adapter.

Just one warning: the combo mini analog/optical jacks on Macs aren't protected from dirt. If you've used your a lot for analog, there might have been enough dust and other junk pushed in that the optical part won't function properly. They are cleanable, though... most of the time, just a long shot of canned air.

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