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G4 Powerbook, Best route as a Server?


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Hello, I'm new to this forum. I've been reading all the great content, but I still have questions for setting up my G4 as a audiophile server. I have an older Mac G4 Powerbook Titanium with Mac OS X 10.3. I'm going to dedicate this for this application, it will not be tied to anything else. (no internet, nothing). I have over 1000 cd's I'm going reburn into ITunes, with the Lossless setup, I'm looking to throw this on either a Drobo, or a Western Digital Mirror hard drive, I'm not sure which is better. But my main question is that I have a Proceed (Madrigal) DAC unit, it has AES/EBU XLR , S/PDIF, Toslink/ and ST/AT&T inputs, each one can be selected independently. I'm looking to hard wire the HD to the computer but what setup should I put in between the computer and the DAC, I really don't like the mini-toslink, I've heard of Slimbox, MAudio etc, I'm just not sure which would give me the best sound, any help would be appreciated.

 

I'm still listening to vinyl but I am looking to put the cd's away, and I enjoy setting up the playlists, and just letting the system run for hours without having to change anything. Thanks for any help.

 

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I'm not sure the Titanium Macs had a Toslink output (the Aluminium ones have it via the headphone socket). My older 550MHz one certainly doesn't. You can check by going to menu bar and selecting Apple - About this Mac - More Info and selecting the audio info in the profiler. Otherwise it looks like you're stuck with an extra box between the PB and DAC. (Or get a USB or Firewire DAC).

 

Incidentally, re back up drives - check the warranty. I've recently spotted that Seagate all seem to be 5 years but the WD vary between 2 and 5 depending on model and who they're aimed at (pro or home use).

 

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MichaelB, I'm using a G4 and it's capable of sounding very good. I found that I got better overall performance when I went from 10.3 to 10.4 -- I think the 10.4.11 OS runs very well and seems more efficient that 10.3.

 

I decided to put my HDDs on Firewire and take audio out via USB -- I don't know if that really makes a difference, but I've never had dropouts in sound this way. Anyway, something to consider since you're starting fresh -- and assuming your Titanium doesn't have toslink and you want to get something link a usb to spdif converter to get into the dac.

 

Keeping a minimal configuration sounds like a good idea. However I'm on the internet all the time to download album art after I rip CDs. And now that I have a DAC that supports 96kHz, I'm getting more and more interested in downloading hi rez music from HDTracks, HDTT, Linn, etc.

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Thanks for the info, I wasn't sure if this PB was a little to outdated for the application. I thought long and hard on a Mac Mini, but since I'm replacing this G4, I thought it would be a good home for it. Let me get this straight, I'll run Firewire to the HD, then run USB to a unit that can send the info S/PDIF to the DAC. I'm still trying to get all my terms correct here, so which unit would retain the best quality of sound?? I hear a lot of different opinions, MAudio, Squeezebox?? and what about a soundcard for this model Mac? I love the sound of the Proceed DAP, it's a very capable DAC. Any advice would be welcomed, as I have a lot to learn, and I want to get it right the first time as best as I can, thanks.

 

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The Squeezebox is a wireless solution afaik. You send your music to it via the Squeezecenter software which has a rather clunky web interface, then either use analog out from the Squeezebox to your amp, or digital out to your Proceed. You can download Squeezecenter for free from Logitec and have a look at it for yourself, I don't like the look of it much but it's been over a year so maybe they've improved on it. But if wireless appeals to you you should also have a look at a wee Airport Express, you'll just have to overcome your fear of teh evil mini toslink first! For what it's worth I don't think mini toslink is all that bad, but I have an irrational dislike of those fiddly little adapters and the only non-adapter solution seems to be a limited range of very expensive cables that I can only find on-line.

 

I dunno what your budget is for the link between usb and the DAC, but have you considered the Cambridge DACMagic? Yes, it's a dac in itself, as the name implies, but it can also pass through a digital signal from usb in to coax and toslink digital outputs, and it's not all that expensive. Could be quite a versatile option.

 

I also put my old Powerbook G4 into service as a music source and I thought it sounded great. Unfortunately it didn't like being switched on all the time. Hopefully yours will work out better. It might be worth lifting it up a little to allow air to circulate under the case. You can buy various stands for this but even a couple of wooden blocks at either side would help - if anyone asks pretend they're special audiophile isolation units, not just ordinary blocks :)

 

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If you like your current DAC -- and it sounds like you love it -- I wouldn't be in a hurry to buy a different one.

 

I don't have any experience with USB to SPDIF converters, unfortunately. However just to give you a reference point, here is one (with a 75 ohm rca type connector on the output): http://www.hagtech.com/hagusb.html.

 

Maybe someone else will have tried this type of thing and can advise.

 

Although here is another thought. Does your current DAC handle 24/96 conversion? If not, you might want to consider whether that's important to you. Or not. If you're going to stay 100% from CD, then this wouldn't be necessary, as CD's are all in 16/44.1 format.

 

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Ok the Squeezebox is out then, I'm trying to stay hard wired. My PB sits on a stand already, I've noticed the heat problem before, also mine doesn't seem mind staying on all the time. I don't think my model has the mini-toslink to begin with, so USB to some sort of S/DPIF setup is in order, I'll look into the Cambridge, is there any other model out there? , and should the unit have it's own power supply?. The Proceed heads into a Synthesis Harmony Tube Preamp, (this is the quietest, and most amazing sounding preamp I have ever heard), I'm trying to find a setup that will still keep things the way they are. Thanks for all the help.

 

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