Mac Mini as a Music Server

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Cressy Snr
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#16

Post by Cressy Snr »

Hi David,

As you say there are one or two issues with Bitperfect. I have had the static issue and for some reason, after a while, the time counter in the iPad remote app stops working. I don't use Bitperfect anymore unless I want to play one of my few hi-rez recordings.

Re the use of asynchronous USB, my Musical Fidelity M1 DAC will only work up to 48k and I am not sure it is even asynchronous, could be only adaptive, so I am stuck for the time being with optical.

Audirvana sounds an interesting option.
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Cressy Snr
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#17 K

Post by Cressy Snr »

Downloaded the 15day trial of Audirvana and I must say, it is very good.
I reckon I'll be buying a license for it.

Thanks for the tip David.
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#18 Mac Mini

Post by David »

Glad you like Audirvana. I trialled all the main ones available and it was best equal for sound quality, best for features /I Tunes integration and realistically priced compared to some at $200 or os!
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#19 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by cressy »

finally after hours of fighting with itunes, i now have a working mac mini media server. my old man had reset it to factory settings so it was essentially as if it was a new machine to set up.
much swearing ensued.
i hadnt used a mac in probably 10 years, the last one i had was a flowery imac g3 with the first iteration of osx on it. much has changed.
however, i puzzled it out and got it all running.
so......
onto the anger inducing, baffling, stupid program that is itunes............
much much swearing ensued trying to get the library off the laptop and onto the mac.
i discounted using the house network to transfer it as it would have taken days, so borrowed an external hard drive to copy the library onto. the laptop wouldnt see the drive so i couldnt format it. swearing ensued. plugged it into the mac, that could see it so could format it. formatted to fat32 so both the mac and the laptop could see it.
i then followed apples guide to moving the library onto a new computer by copying and pasting the itunes media folder onto the drive..........
a few hours later i had it on the drive.
plugged into the mac and copied the folder to the desktop so i could then put it where i wanted it.
removed the itunes media folder that itunes had created and replaced it with the copied one.
no joy.
so i rechecked the file path in the advanced tab on itunes preferences and it saw the library, told me it could see it, told me it had added the files, then wouldnt show them.
much swearing ensued.
i then held alt down as i started itunes and told it where the library was in a different way.
still no joy
so much swearing and stomping around cursing and looking for a hammer ensued.
there followed a babbling rambling perplexed call to my old man who knows about these things. he couldnt figure it out either.

after regaining some composure and finishing my temper tantrum, i decided to delete all the folders in the file path back to music so there were no itunes files of any kind. it didnt like this and told me there was no library, which was met with ranting at the inanimate object as if it could hear me, telling it that i knew there f######g wasnt because id removed it all.
i reformatted the hard drive to wipe the copied library, the copied the entire itunes folder instead of the itunes media subfolder.

a few hours later, i had another copy on the hard drive. by this time i had buggered about with the finder preferences so that i could see the user and internal hd and also see the external drive on the desktop. rather than copying to the desktop and them moving it to where i wanted it, i put it directly into the music folder so that it formed the same file path as the default one in the itunes preferences.

when it had finished, i fired itunes up and it was all there. much air punching, shouting at it that i'd beaten it and fist shaking ensued.

after activating the optical output which is not an optical output, but is buried inside the headphone jack and requires an adapter, i plugged in gregs very kindly donated beresford dac and played some tunes.

i am now exhausted, but happy that it finally works.

thank f##k for that you stupid bloody thing
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#20 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by Paul Barker »

I would have given up.
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Cressy Snr
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#21 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by Cressy Snr »

Given that I’ll be getting a second hand 2020 M1 Mac Mini with 256g SSD off my nephew for a very reasonable price at the end of this month, I decided to retire my late 2014 Intel Mac Mini from general duties and set it up as a music server. The last OS it is compatible with is Monterey, so that’s that.

Since I had a 2011 Mac Mini serving up entertainment, things have moved on apace. The Music app now offers CD quality, lossless ALAC and 192K hi-res streaming via a Mac, iPad or iPhone. My AppleTV4 HD does not; the 4K version is required for that. The late 2014 Mac Mini was also the last to sport an optical digital output via the headphone jack, so using that to connect to the DAC was a no-brainer.

I must say that the sound quality with the CD quality lossless ALAC streaming knocks the AppleTV into a cocked hat. This may be because the digital audio from the AppleTV goes HDMI via the TV then out through its optical digital output, or it could be a function of the higher resolution streaming, or the Mac Mini has better digital audio handling capabilities. Either way, I’m pleased with the results with the Lossless ALAC streaming.

No point in trying the hi-res option as the Beresford DAC only goes up to 24/96 and I doubt very much that the optical output on the Mac Mini is capable of doing it. I’d need the USB or Thunderbolt outputs and a new DAC to fully realise the hi-res streaming capability.
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#22 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by Greg »

Nice to have an upgrade. It’s worth checking the optical capability of your Mac-mini. Sounds like you are using mini-TOSlink. You may find that is limited to 48kHz although I understand various more recent servers support 24/96 via TOSlink.
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Cressy Snr
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#23 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by Cressy Snr »

Yes, the mini-toslink is probably the weak point in the wider scheme of things, but I'd need a modern DAC to use properly the USB/Thunderbolt hi-res capability the Mac has.
My other 2010 Musical Fidelity M1 DAC has a usb input, but that is 24/48KHz and no higher. However the CD quality lossless ALAC streams from Apple Music do sound very good via the mini-toslink connection to the old Beresford.
I'm obviously quite a bit off the pace in terms of modern computer audio but at least I'm now enjoying higher quality streaming in terms of the "good, better best," progression.
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andrew Ivimey
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#24 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by andrew Ivimey »

I have a macmini running something a couple of os behind Monterey which connects to the devialet sp eakers using 'Airplay ' - kind of upgraded Bluetooth(?) - sounds great. I don't pretend to get itunes; an external hard drive with flacs just works but I don't need it as I'm still using Squeezebox. VLC player maybe what deals with playing the flacs... don't 'member.
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Cressy Snr
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#25 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by Cressy Snr »

Hi Andrew, it’s probably the VLC player which plays the FLACs. I used to use it for FLAC playback when I had the 2011 Mac Mini as the music source.
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andrew Ivimey
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#26 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by andrew Ivimey »

Yep that's the one!
Philosophers have only interpreted the world - the point, however, is to change it. No it isn't ... maybe we should leave it alone for a while.
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Cressy Snr
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#27 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by Cressy Snr »

I took the first step towards a decent streaming setup today. I set up my 2020 Mac Mini M1 to stream lossless via Apple Music.
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IMG_0329.jpeg (108.56 KiB) Viewed 6512 times
The Mac outputs digital, via a short USB cable to the M1 DAC for now. However I hope to be sorting out the RTZ DAC PDQ as the receiver for the Mac Mini.

My M1 DAC is the original model, which has an adaptive, synchronous USB input (whatever that means) which according to those in the know, is inferior sounding compared to the more modern asynchronous. The M1 USB input only does 32, 44.1, and 48KHz. Whatever the disadvantages of adaptive USB, the sound through the system is wonderful; superior by a fairly wide margin to the AppleTV, which goes HDMI to the TV then optical from there to the M1 DAC.

This all promises to be a superb listen, once the RTZ DAC is boxed and up and running.
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Ray P
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#28 Re: Mac Mini as a Music Server

Post by Ray P »

Good stuff Steve. We'll look forward to seeing what magic Ant works with boxing up the RTZ too.
Sorry, I couldn't resist!
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