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Old March 26th, 2009, 06:26 PM   #1
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How to connect audio monitors to Mac Pro

Just got a 2009 mac pro and a mxo2, now I need to get some audio monitors. What is the proper way to connect these? The headphone outputs or should I output from the mxo2?
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Old March 27th, 2009, 01:40 AM   #2
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I'm not an owner, but since you have balanced xlr-out, look for powered nearfield monitors with xlr-in like m-audio's bx8a, tapco's s8, or krk's rokit line. Those are just examples. If anyone knows which reference monitors work well with the mxo2 or just for video editing in general, chime in.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 02:53 AM   #3
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Marshall,
I use Soundcraft Absolute 4p monitors which are quite old and now discontinued, but allow you to connect either to xlr or rca, which is useful if you are using/swapping between different set ups. Something to look out for if buying reference monitors. As the previous poster said, going xlr from the mxo2 is probably best, what does the manual say?

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Old March 27th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #4
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Marshall,

Unless you're doing any sort of critical 5.1 or 7.1 surround sweetening or your sole purpose is that of an audio engineer then I'd suggest using whichever setup costs you the least amount of money.

I've had my BlueSky Pro Desk monitors connected both ways, via the mini-jack to XLR adapters into a Mackie mixer and, using the direct audio outs on the KONA card direct to XLR ins on the Pro Desk. There was no distinguishable difference in audio quality or floor noise at all - of which I was surprised.

I'm always critical of the lack of innovation Apple doesn't put into their hardware offerings but one area they have always excelled in is the audio channel circuitry on the mainboard. Very few PC boards are as sonically clean - another surprise.

If you really want to go all out and get the best possible audio, use the SPDIF optical in/out on the MacPro into any device that can use them. Then you'll really hear something different.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #5
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If you really want to go all out and get the best possible audio, use the SPDIF optical in/out on the MacPro into any device that can use them. Then you'll really hear something different.
For the budget conscious the Edirol (Roland) MA-15D powered monitors connected to the Mac Pro via optical SPDIF sound better than any similar sized speakers that I have heard whether connected to a computer or HiFi. The clarity & bass response is just incredible for the price.

Cheers

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Old March 29th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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I'll second Nigel's choice of MA-15D's for budget minded, reasonably accurate near fields. They are what I use in my edit bay. Again, I don't do HEAVY audio post, mostly documentaries and TV commercials for broadcast and training and promo videos.

If you're mixing music, look elsewhere. "Standard" video faire? A very reasonable solution. Connectivity includes 1/8" TRS stereo, rca stereo and optical and coaxial digital.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #7
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Nigel / Shaun -

Do either of you have a Sub-Woofer hooked up to these? And if so, what model / brand would you recommend?
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Old September 7th, 2009, 11:05 PM   #8
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Andrew,

The model isn't nearly as important as proper setup; if you look at the Blue Sky support pages about how they advise setting up their systems with respect to unit placements and directionals you can use nearly that exact procedure for any 2.1/5.1 system.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 11:46 PM   #9
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Thanks Robert!!

I was at a Guitar Center and heard the Blue Sky monitors you mentioned....in a 2.1 setup....very nice sound.

I was also considering the Yamaha HS50m's, the Alesis M1's, M-Audio BX series....but am glad that I did a little bit of research here before making a purchase.

Thanks to all you for sharing your inputs. If you all have any more suggestions, please do tell!! I would most appreciate it.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #10
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Actually, audio setups specifically with various brands and which type to buy - either large-sized near-fields not easily combined with a sub or, a complete 2.1 system instead - is something I've spent quite a bit of time researching and testing. It's one of the things I'll be putting on my upcoming review and workflow site, coming soon.

The short version is that Blue Sky systems, specifically either the Media Desk or more expensive Pro Desk versions have in point of fact the most accurate and well thought out pro-level near-field monitors I've ever tested. Better still than even the venerable Dynaudio, Adam and Genelec brands, and that's stiff competition.

Above all, stay away from the M-Audio monitors regardless the series; even their top-of-the-line offerings have way too much built-in floor noise than other brands at similar prices. (You can plug them in and even before connecting any device hear a low yet perceptible and annoying "hiss").

The Blue Sky Media Desk is unbeatable even by more expensive systems costing double the price - but *proper setup* will make all the difference in your actual performance, so make sure you read up on the procedure and be patient finding that sweet spot in your room.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:21 AM   #11
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Mackie MR5

I needed some monitors for my edit system and ended up with the Mackie MR5 monitors. They are very inexpensive ($175 Each) easy to hook up (TRS, XLR, or RCA) and as far as I can tell have great sound for an edit suite. They aren't what I'd choose for sound engineering, but they are miles better than any computer speaker, and perfectly acceptable in an edit suite. I put them on stands at the proper level and position and havnt looked back.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 02:10 PM   #12
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I've had my BlueSky Pro Desk monitors ....
What's the difference between the ProDesk, MediaDesk and EXO versions...(besides the price obviously)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
.....If you really want to go all out and get the best possible audio, use the SPDIF optical in/out on the MacPro into any device that can use them. Then you'll really hear something different.
Would this include the Edirol/Roland MA-15D's....for your mention of optical out?
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Old September 9th, 2009, 05:28 PM   #13
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The best way to answer that question is to visit Blue Sky and see for yourself.

EXO - bottom of the line
Media Desk - step up in satellite size and driver quality
Pro Desk - Quantum leap up in satellite and sub quality, especially the tweeter technology.

The Rolands do have an optical in but don't come anywhere close to the sonic quality of even the EXO system.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 06:52 PM   #14
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Thanks Robert.

Yeah, I visited the Blue Sky website; specs are nice, but I'd prefer to have a listen to them. So I sent them an email for suggestions of any local dealers in my area that would stock these.

So are you utilizing the ProDesk system for your video productions or audio productions or both?
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Old September 9th, 2009, 09:42 PM   #15
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After demoing Adam, Genelec, DynAudio, JBL, Mackie, M-Audio and Event over a 3-month period I landed first on the Blue Sky Media Desk and shortly thereafter the Pro Desk. I haven't heard or tested anything else that comes close at any price point - except the Big Blue which isn't designed for desktop single users but for large audio post facilities like Crystal Sound in Dallas or BMG.
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