Rogue Amoeba SoundSource and a DAC - how does it work?

Audio, MIDI and other software, not including effects or instruments
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Touchstone64
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Joined: 15 Feb 2020, 07:44

Rogue Amoeba SoundSource and a DAC - how does it work?

Post by Touchstone64 » 15 Feb 2020, 07:49

Hi folks!

Looking for a bit of education here; thanks in advance to anyone who can help :)

I've just invested in a new DAC, the Chord Mojo, which I'm now waiting for. In the mean time I've been experimenting with my current DAC, a Fiio Q1, and have found that I appear to be able to add effects in Rogue Amoeba's SoundSource (for example, the graphic equaliser) to hi-res audio played from (e.g.) Tidal using SoundSource.

The DAC is connected via USB to my Mac, the question I have is, how does this effect get applied if it's the DAC that's converting digital to analog? Is the SoundSource equaliser a digital effect or something? If it does operate on the digital signal, is it still a high-res signal when it reaches the DAC?

I'm completely confused!

Touchstone64
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 Feb 2020, 07:44

Re: Rogue Amoeba SoundSource and a DAC - how does it work?

Post by Touchstone64 » 15 Feb 2020, 23:24

Aha! (Answering my own post here...)

Chris from Rogue Amoeba has been in touch and explained that "All audio processing within macOS is digital until it's actually played through your output device".

I didn't know that! Explains a lot :)

Also: "As far as the resolution of the playback, that's determined by the sample rate of the device [edit]. If your audio file is at a different sample rate, the app and macOS will automatically handle resampling as necessary in the internal audio system."

Fantastic support from Rogue Amoeba as always :D

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Re: Rogue Amoeba SoundSource and a DAC - how does it work?

Post by G » 15 Feb 2020, 23:25

Hey Touchstone64!

Very much digital, yes.

I don't know what kind of EQ Rogue Amoeba has in there, but digital effects can be extremely good quality nowadays. Consider that most of the music you listen to today is probably mixed with several digital effects.

If you want to be absolutely sure it's a top quality EQ, use SoundSource's ability to host AU effects plugins and you'll have dozens of top quality, professional plugins to choose from.

FabFilter Pro-Q
Dangerous Music BAX EQ (mastering EQ)
Lindell Audio PEX-500 (less expensive, still great)
Any EQ from PSP (depending what you want, I like NobleQ)
...and many, many more!

Don't worry about some of the higher prices. Plugin sales often bring deep discounts.

If you want to do more than EQ, you can either add other plugins or go for a "channel strip" plugin which emulates an entire series of controls in a mixing console, including EQ, dynamics, tone and colorization, and more.
MacBook Pro 15" (2016) . UA Apollo x6 + Quad . macOS Catalina . Logic Pro X . TwistedWave . FCPX . PS CC . Affinity Suite . Get Info

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