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Mac Music Server


bball3748
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Nu B here trying to grasp all of this complex stuff...

First off, I'm not 100% set on a Mac system. The blown tweeters are what put me off. So I have a few questions about the Mac setup that I'm sure some of you will be able to clear up. A Mac Mini would be within my price range and I could just use the digital out built into it. Can I plug it directly into a Dac or do I have to reclock it or something?

 

With a Mac system a lot of people on here are running it headless controlling it with a laptop. Say I didn't mind getting up to change songs or had an iPhone remote, could I use the Mac with a monitor as my everyday computer AND still get the same sound quality? Is there a reason why it has to be dedicated just to the stereo? Would I be able to listen and use the computer at the same time?

 

Would the sound out of this type of system be good enough to replace an early 90s $1,000ish Esoteric transport that is on the fritz? Or to get that level of sound would I need to get involved in the Lynx sound card?

 

I appreciate any help!

 

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Mac Mini to Dac using USB, Firewire or the optical out from the mini will be fine. If the DAC is decent it won't need reclocking. I'm using an older Mac Powerbook (G4) which server as my work machine (running scanner, graphics tablet and an external monitor in addition to the built-in display) and in the evenings as my music server (external bits and pieces turned off). Works fine and sounds as good as the Naim CD player it replaced.

 

If you are concerned about using the mini for work and music at the same time, it may be best to avoid a USB DAC as I believe the devices can interfere with each other (check the Apple pages for more on this).

 

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Can I plug it directly into a Dac - yes

 

or do I have to reclock it or something - no, in fact you can get a mini jack to split RCA and not bother with a DAC at all to get going.

 

could I use the Mac with a monitor - why not get a macbook to begin with?

 

Is there a reason why it has to be dedicated just to the stereo - not really to me, I unhook mine and travel with it sometimes.

 

Would I be able to listen and use the computer at the same time? I think it kind of depends what you are trying to do.

 

good enough to replace an early 90s $1,000ish Esoteric transport - I use a Macbook with a cheapo DAC. At some point I'll upgrade the DAC. I also plug my iPod direct and use turntables. It sounds pretty good to me.

 

I don't know what you're really after, but find a pal with a Mac and rip a CD using AIFF, turn error correction on and the iTunes volume to 100%. Turn the iTunes equalizers off and plug a cord into the Mac and your rec/preamp. See if you like it. It will only get better from there.

 

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Comparing Cd with CAS is valid. Sound is the most important issue here. My new Mini is as good as my CD player, better in fact. However the advantages are many fold;

1. High Res music-Try 24/192, 24/96.....

2. Juke box your music. Music on demand. Not having to run through your 1000+ collection.

3. Cost/performance ratio.

4. Various DAC options.

5. Potential firmware upgrade to make system better??

6. Get to your music remotely, over the internet.

7. No need to look at your friend's $xxxxx CD with envy.

 

I use Mini>Benchmark1 (Via Spdif - changing to Weiss D2 soon), MHDT Havana(USB/Spdif)>LebenCS660P>LV IBXR2. Best sound of my adult life.

 

Synology NAS (LPS) >UA ETHER REGEN (BG7TBL Master Clock) > MACMINI (Uptone MMK JS-2) > Auralic Aries 2.1 > (LPS-2) > AUDIO-GD DI20HE (BG7TBL Master Clock) (I2S OUT)LampizatOr GG /Meridian 808.3> Wavac PRT1 / Wavac EC300B >Tannoy Canterbury SE

 

HP Rig ++ >Woo WES/ > Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

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... they've got it to a T.

 

Give it a try directly from the Mini at first and if you're unhappy with the sound then buy an external firewire/USB DAC or something. I'm sure many will argue that reclocking the digital stream with a good soundcard adds something but a good DAC shouldn't have jitter problems.

 

Let us know what you think and which route you decide to take.

 

As a note to all I often buy hifi mags here in the UK and am very happy to see that computer audio is becoming accepted as high end hifi. Certainly to the editors of HiFi Choice it seems as accepted a part of "high end" as any other piece of hifi equipment.

 

Good to see change is happening. It's also becoming widely accepted that you can achieve great sonic results for very little outlay with the computer route.

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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oops!

 

Synology NAS (LPS) >UA ETHER REGEN (BG7TBL Master Clock) > MACMINI (Uptone MMK JS-2) > Auralic Aries 2.1 > (LPS-2) > AUDIO-GD DI20HE (BG7TBL Master Clock) (I2S OUT)LampizatOr GG /Meridian 808.3> Wavac PRT1 / Wavac EC300B >Tannoy Canterbury SE

 

HP Rig ++ >Woo WES/ > Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

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I talked to my dad (it's his system that we're talking about) and he's going to borrow my brother's macbook to see how it sounds. He'll buy the adapter for the optical output and run it through his dac. I'm curious to hear how it will sound with the 24/96, so we'll download something in that format. From what I've read on this website the mac can't do any higher than that format without a usb or firewire dac. Unfortunately, I don't think he's interested in buying a new dac. I'll pass along our findings when we listen to it. Thanks for all the help. This website has been a wealth of information.

 

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.. tell when I'm listening to material at 24/176.4 and higher: My nose hairs vibrate, it is easier to breath the air, and my arm hairs line up in a particular pattern. (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

 

 

 

 

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You need small furry ears to be a true audiophile and everyone knows bears can appreciate sounds encoded at up to 240/360zhrtz. For that you will need Hypothetical Audio's Flyover for both reclocking, restocking and resampling. It makes hibernation so much more pleasurable...

 

 

yours, with audiophile ears, tog

 

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Are you using the HRx?

My mini is smoking.

 

 

 

Synology NAS (LPS) >UA ETHER REGEN (BG7TBL Master Clock) > MACMINI (Uptone MMK JS-2) > Auralic Aries 2.1 > (LPS-2) > AUDIO-GD DI20HE (BG7TBL Master Clock) (I2S OUT)LampizatOr GG /Meridian 808.3> Wavac PRT1 / Wavac EC300B >Tannoy Canterbury SE

 

HP Rig ++ >Woo WES/ > Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

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bball3748,

Just to protract the HD/CD debate a bit further. Please also read the review by AVguide.com, which compares your exact thoughts. i.e. if you havent read this already.

 

 

http://www.avguide.com/blog/do-hard-disk-drives-sound-better-cd-0

 

Synology NAS (LPS) >UA ETHER REGEN (BG7TBL Master Clock) > MACMINI (Uptone MMK JS-2) > Auralic Aries 2.1 > (LPS-2) > AUDIO-GD DI20HE (BG7TBL Master Clock) (I2S OUT)LampizatOr GG /Meridian 808.3> Wavac PRT1 / Wavac EC300B >Tannoy Canterbury SE

 

HP Rig ++ >Woo WES/ > Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

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