Author Topic: Onboard DAC quality  (Read 289 times)

Offline Syntho

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Onboard DAC quality
« on: July 08, 2020, 01:32:00 PM »
How is the onboard DA converter quality in Powermacs? I'm running a 9600 and something tells me it's not so good  ;D I think instead of using Pro Tools so much I might just use the onboard 1/8" jack for playing music from time to time.

Offline GaryN

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Re: Onboard DAC quality
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 02:25:17 PM »
You can't lump all PowerMac DACs together. The chip used in the 9600 was kinda sketchy… adequate for basic sound or the newfangled low-bitrate Mp3s of the time but that was it. The ones in the later Quicksilvers, MDDs and certainly the G5s were later-generation chips of far far better quality.

Since I/we don't know at all what you play or what kind of gear you play it through, the logical approach is clearly for you to take a 1/8"-to-whatever cord and find out for yourself if it works for you.

Offline ssp3

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Re: Onboard DAC quality
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 11:39:18 PM »
... The chip used in the 9600 was kinda sketchy… adequate for basic sound or the newfangled low-bitrate Mp3s of the time but that was it.
That's BS!
The chip in the PM9600 and almost any Power Mac of that era, including 7100/8100 was Crystal Semiconductor CS4217 - a custom made for Apple audio codec which was derived from the "industry standard" line of codecs CS4215/16/18.
(Codec = everything in one chip). They are fully 16 Bit and up to 48 kHz capable and were more than adequate for desktop computers at a time.
Quote
The ones in the later Quicksilvers, MDDs and certainly the G5s were later-generation chips of far far better quality.
Care to elaborate in what sense are they of "far far better quality"?

Offline IIO

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Re: Onboard DAC quality
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2020, 06:06:06 AM »
Quote
They are fully 16 Bit and up to 48 kHz capable and were more than adequate for desktop computers at a time.

the quality features of a DAC are not mainly the bitdepth and samplingrate, rather mostly the accuracy of the clock.

externals clocks used in music studios costed 1500 dollars at these times, the clock they used in the powermacs probably costed them 10 cents.

and btw.; the G5s offered a 24 bit DAC and an additional digital-out.

...

i guess for listening to music out of the professional time of the day it will be fine.

however, me personally hate to use the headphone jacks of the G4s, because as soon as you plug something in, soundmanager or soundmanager ASIO is gone for other devices, namely the built-in speaker. ;)
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Offline teroyk

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Re: Onboard DAC quality
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2020, 08:55:39 AM »
How is the onboard DA converter quality in Powermacs?

Better than onboard DA converters in PCs in that time or sometimes even today. I am impressed sometimes how they can make so bad quality. At least you can listen music with all Powermacs with onboard DAC. If you want real hifi then buy external audio box.
I bought my first new Mac when OS X 10.1 released. And I bought that Mac because it had Mac OS 9 too. And I bought my first 68k Mac when Apple stopped PPC Macs.

Offline GaryN

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Re: Onboard DAC quality
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2020, 02:04:54 PM »
That's BS!

Care to elaborate in what sense are they of "far far better quality"?

For once I totally agree with llO… no, seriously, we're in total agreement here.

It's audio my friend. It's perception. Just because item "A" meets a particular specification doesn't mean it sounds as good or better than item "B" that has the same specifications. Almost ALL of the years-long fuss over analog vs. digital audio was over the accuracy and sound quality of the ADAs used…… Hell, it still is.

I had a G3 Desktop with the same chip. I used it to play music occasionally from the CD drive thru a typical little pair of computer speakers. I also DID have that output routed thru my patch bay so I could easily pass it to my console and main system. It in NO way whatsoever sounded anything like my Delta 44 ADA I had at the time - nor did i expect it to. It was certainly never intended to be a high-quality / pro chip.

It's no different than being able to hear the difference between say, two 100-watt amplifiers with virtually identical specs. On paper, they should sound alike… but they don't. Sound is an intangible, subjective thing. Person A is perfectly happy with 128k Mp3 quality, person B won't tolerate anything less than 16/44 PCM and person C won't be happy until the newest 384 kHz $5000 ADA shows up at his door. My wife actually still has and listens to an ancient RCA 45RPM record player. She loves her old scratched up 45s. They send chills down my spine.

I DO know there is certainly a difference between the sound of Syntho's PT interface and the 9600 built-in.
That is the simple reason I said "Since I/we don't know at all what you play or what kind of gear you play it through, the logical approach is clearly for you to take a 1/8"-to-whatever cord and find out for yourself if it works for you."