Title says it all really - but I’m looking for suggestions to physically connect my MacBook Air to my streamer to exploit the streamer’s DAC
Problem being that the MacBook has only USB A (or headphone) out and streamer doesn’t have USB B in
Roon is too expensive and don’t really want to buy another DAC as I already have one!! Also don’t want to go the NAS route as I want to stream not store
Does the Air have a dual purpose headphone/optical out? If so, stick a Toslink cable into it, and you’re done.
There are alternatives such as using a USB to SPDIF converter, or a network connection with AirPlay or Chromecast.
Otherwise, if it’s like the MacBook Pro, then like Chris explains above, the Headphone out may well have an s/pdif output integrated within. You would just need an optical TOSLINK cable with a 3.5mm optical adaptor at the MacBook end. I recently bought one of these to connect the digital audio output of an old Airport express to my office Unitiqute (thus giving it Airplay capability) and it works great and cost less than a fiver.
Dene, as someone who can’t use internet streaming services at home, I’m probably not the best person to answer your question, but certainly Qobuz will offer the option of Hi resolution streaming in FLAC format, which your Naim streamer should be able to decode. Do ensure though that your own infrastructure and home network is up to the task (unlike mine, which is very unreliable thanks to ancient infrastructure).
I do love vinyl, and with so many LPs to play, I’m hardly roughing it, but I would really love to have fast and stable internet. I’ve given up moaning to BT. We discovered they can (eventually) fix it (or ta least improve it) after months of calls and heartache, but then it quickly deteriorates again. They’re putting fibre in up the road in a couple of months. Sounds great until i realised that the last half mile across the fields will still be our old crumbling aluminium cables with rusting junction boxes joining it all together - I guess they feel it’s not worth it as we usually lose the cables after every storm due to running power and phone along the edge of a wood - it just takes one branch to fall. We’ll probably lose power and phone again tomorrow, in which case I’ll be moderating the forum on a mix of 3g and maybe sometimes glimpses of 4g…
The ND5 XS 2 supports Airplay and Chromecast. Thus, in your MacBook, you should be able to select the ND5 XS 2 (instead of the internal speakers) as an audio output.
If you want to connect the MacBook to the ND5 XS 2 via S/PDIF, you need a USB to S/PDIF bridge because, as you have realized, the MacBook has no S/PDIF output.
The Shiit Eitr is an inexpensive USB to S/PDIF bridge that works fine for me. A Meridian Explorer works also fine. It has an headphone output and both electrical and optical S/PDIF outputs. There is plenty of alternatives in the same price range.
It is rather the other way round: a USB to SPDIF bridge (or, equivalently, the USB interface of a DAC with USB inputs) can provide isolation and, depending on the quality of the onboard clocks, improve the timing of the incoming stream, see for instance the InnuOS Phoenix USB to USB reclocker.