Search:
Submit Search


Mac mini to speakers

Speakers, amplifiers, headphones, multi-channel audio, reverb units, mixers, wiring, ...

Mac mini to speakers

Postby gary.chapman » Sat May 25, 2019 10:28 am

Newbie audio-related question. I'm looking to get some modest speakers (though ideally with a subwoofer to make sure bass is strong) for a practice instrument in a small room (12’ x 12’). Budget is $600. Hauptwerk will be running on a Mac mini.

My basic problem is that I simply do not understand the basic options for attaching audio speakers (even a simple stereo pair) to a Mac. Reading through many posts, it seems that such understanding is taken for granted!

So far I've had the following inconclusive advice on precisely how to hook up speakers to the Mac mini. Help!

Computer technician says:
Get a “USB equalizer” (plus some speakers)

High-end audio store consultant says:
I have no idea what he means by a USB equalizer ; get an amp + D/A converter, plus some speakers

Best Buy sales guy says:
Just consider some Bose speakers made to hook up to computer, or: receiver (computer AUX port to receiver input port) + speakers. Use a receiver that has subwoofer output)

Hauptwerk forum comments include:
Use some active/powered studio monitor speakers (built-in amp) e.g. Behringer Nekkst K8 8 Powered Studio Monitor (how connect to computer? can add subwoofer?)
or
Behringer Studio 50USB 5 Powered Studio Monitor (can connect to computer via USB which seems interesting), but again not clear how to add a subwoofer

Thanks in advance! - Gary Chapman
gary.chapman
Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby organtechnology » Sat May 25, 2019 10:56 am

HI,

I feel your frustration. When I first started out with the MacMini I was not sure how to get the best sound out of it either. There are several ways to go and each step gets more complicated and expensive.

So here is my take on the subject.

1.) THe Mac Mini has AU audio which is quite suitable for two channel Hauptwerk free, basic or advanced. The Headphone jack is used to access the audio and an adapter cable is used to go from the 1/8" headphone jack to the 1/4" TipRingSleeve (TRS) jacks for the powered studio monitor speakers. Hauptwerk will automatically use this output when you install it so there will be few if any adjustments to Hauptwerk. To add a subwoofer you simply route your cables to the subwoofer and then use other cable to connect from the subwoofer to each of the speakers. The sub will send the audio on to the speakers as a normal condition. You can also use a 1/8" to RCA pin plug adapter and plug into your home theater system but it will be stereo not dolby.

2.) After you have the Advanced version of Hauptwerk you will have access to more than just two channels of audio in Hauptwerk but it gets more complicated with both the hardware setup, (which will require a multi channel sound module and multiple identical speakers) and the Hauptwerk set up. So I believe that to start off you should do paragraph 1 first and play a while before you go to try to go to 6 speakers and a subwoofer.

Here is the process step by step.
Step one is locate the headphone output. Get Hauptwerk working with headphones theough this jack.
Step two is purchase an audio cable(s) to allow you to put your speakers in an appropriate location along with two powered speakers like the Behringer, M-audio or JBL LSR305 to put there.

Step three is get this working and the add a suitable subwoofer to the setup. Set the subwoofer to 50 Hz crossover and send your signal to the subwoofer first and then to the speakers.

Step four is play, play, play :)

Best regards,

Thomas
Complete VPO systems powered by Hauptwerk™. Real Wood Consoles, PC or MAC Computer Sound Modules, Audio for Home or Church.
info (at) organtechnology.com http://www.organtechnology.com

Authorized Hauptwerk Dealer; Milan Digital Audio Dealer..
User avatar
organtechnology
Member
 
Posts: 1809
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:58 pm
Location: DFW, TX USA

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby IainStinson » Sat May 25, 2019 10:58 am

The MAC mini built-in audio is quiet good and used by a number of HW users.

Many sub woofers will take the stereo source (from the Mac mini) play the low frequencies and and pass on a stereo signal to which you can attach a pair of stereo "powered" (means they have an amplifier built-in) speakers. By adjusting the crossover point and the volume levels of the powered speaker you can get quite a smooth coverage.

Something like:

1 x Behringer Nekkst K10S 10" Powered Studio Subwoofer ($200)[or a possibly more expensive alternative which extends the frequencie range to lower frequencies (20Hz?) but still has the facility to send the signal on to the other other two powered speakers (to handle the upper frequencies).]

2 x Behringer Truth B2031A 8.75" Powered Studio Monitor ($400)

might be suitable.

Connect input of the the K10S to the Mac Mini audio output. Connect one of the B2031A units to the left output of the K10S and the other to the right output of the K10S. The K10S will play the low frequencies and leave the B2031As to play the upper frequencies. See the image at https://media63.music-group.com/media/sys_master/h75/h86/8850422956062.jpg.

I started off with a similar arrangement to this using the simple stereo output from HW with a PC. the Mac sound quality will be better!

Iain
User avatar
IainStinson
Member
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:08 pm
Location: NW England, UK

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby gary.chapman » Sun May 26, 2019 9:51 am

Many thanks for these replies! I like the approach (especially whereby subwoofer can be utilized from the beginning, or added later).
gary.chapman
Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby SomeChap » Thu May 30, 2019 3:07 pm

Is the headphone out socket on a Mac Mini low enough latency to be used with Hauptwerk then?

Agreed with the suggestion of a pair of (Behringer) studio monitors to start off with. They can be supplemented later if and when you need more channels of audio.

@Gary: I feel your pain. In case you didn't know, latency = how much delay there is between pressing a key and hearing the sound. High latency means it feels horrible to play, dragging behind you. Most computer and consumer audio equipment introduces high latency, so as a hauptwerker you're really only looking to buy professional studio equipment, which sounds expensive but isn't necessarily. Normally I'd expect to need to buy a dedicated external sound card to get the latency low enough use Hauptwerk properly (£80 - £400 depending on number of channels). However I've always used Hauptwerk with Windows PCs rather than with Macs, so I wouldn't know if the Mac's built-in headphone socket is adequate in this respect - I'd be surprised though.

When I say 'dedicated external sound card' I mean a thing which attaches via (e.g.) USB or thunderbolt, and provides a high-quality (ie low-latency, multi-channel) alternative to the headphone socket on your computer. It's the same thing as when organtechnology mentioned a 'multi channel sound module'. Also known as a sound 'interface'. I'll allow others to recommend models, as I haven't bought one for about 15 years, and mine is discontinued.

In terms of the help you've already had:

Computer technician : probably trying to help, but the fact that (s)he used the term 'USB equalizer' suggests (s)he doesn't know what (s)he's talking about. Thank and ignore politely.

High-end audio store consultant: Ignore these people under all circumstances no matter what they say. They are absolutely full of rubbish because they work on commission selling products which are more aspirational than useful. In this particular instance, the solution would look shiny but cost way more than you need to spend, and the D/A converter would very likely have high latency, making Hauptwerk unusable.

Best Buy sales guy: Bose speakers are not suited to hauptwerk; you need something with a flat frequency response that doesn't attempt to colour the sound to 'make it sound cool'. Again, I would expect the receiver (I presume he meant a multi-channel surround sound one like Denon / Yamaha / Pioneer) to have high latency and make hauptwerk unusable, but haven't tried one myself.

Your two most obvious options:

1. Built-in headphone jack -> cable -> behringer monitors (easy to try out, might as well but could be laggy)
2. USB -> decent low latency sound module -> cable -> behringer monitors (more likely to give satisfaction long term).

Hope that helps.
SomeChap
Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:47 pm

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby IainStinson » Thu May 30, 2019 3:44 pm

The headphone socket on MAC machines plus the system core audio support is fine for stereo HW output. I have used it successfully as part of my "mobile" set up for a sometime. My main setup uses a PC with external audio interfaces;I agree that the latency when using the built-in PC sound hardware and Windows drivers is not really satisfactory.

In order to keep to your proposed budget, I would suggest starting with the built-in audio system on the MAC, and when you are ready to spend more and want to improve the sound quality or use multi-channel output then add a professional audio device.

Iain
User avatar
IainStinson
Member
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:08 pm
Location: NW England, UK

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby johnstump_organist » Thu May 30, 2019 11:27 pm

Just be aware, Not all subs have high frequency pass through. Double check the specs before buying a sub. I don't know about current DefTech models, but a few years back the entry level DefTech sub did NOT have hi frequency outputs.
John
User avatar
johnstump_organist
Member
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby gary.chapman » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:48 am

Thanks for the additional comments. As I have a small room (12' x 13'), I've ordered

1 Behringer Nekkst K10S 10" Powered Studio Subwoofer
2 Behringer Nekkst K5 5" Powered Studio Monitor
1 Hosa CMR-210 Stereo Breakout 3.5mm TRS to Dual RCA - 10'
2 Pro Co EXM-10 Excellines Microphone Cable - 10'

from Sweetwater (superb service from them btw). I predict this will be very nice.

- Gary
gary.chapman
Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Mac mini to speakers

Postby organtechnology » Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:05 pm

gary.chapman wrote:Thanks for the additional comments. As I have a small room (12' x 13'), I've ordered

1 Behringer Nekkst K10S 10" Powered Studio Subwoofer
2 Behringer Nekkst K5 5" Powered Studio Monitor
1 Hosa CMR-210 Stereo Breakout 3.5mm TRS to Dual RCA - 10'
2 Pro Co EXM-10 Excellines Microphone Cable - 10'

from Sweetwater (superb service from them btw). I predict this will be very nice.

- Gary


Hi Gary,
If you can afford it, you need at least the Presonus Temblor to reproduce the 16' Low C pipe in the pedals which is 32.703 Hz. The 40 Hz spec of the Nekkst is going to sound a bit weak in the lower octave of the 16' ranks. If it is not too late, upgrade to the Presonus if you can.

Best regards,

Thomas
Complete VPO systems powered by Hauptwerk™. Real Wood Consoles, PC or MAC Computer Sound Modules, Audio for Home or Church.
info (at) organtechnology.com http://www.organtechnology.com

Authorized Hauptwerk Dealer; Milan Digital Audio Dealer..
User avatar
organtechnology
Member
 
Posts: 1809
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:58 pm
Location: DFW, TX USA


Return to Amplification

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests