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Good day to everyone and thank you in advance...

 

As some know I just purchased a W4S DAC2-DSDse and it is time to change how I deliver my digital audio to my new DAC. I am currently using an old HP laptop (dv6t-1200) Win Vista and just itunes. Stripped out all unnecessary software. Updates, wireless, sounds etc. disabled.

 

I know windows very well, MAC not so well, and Linux not at all.

 

I need something for audio only. A touch screen would be very interesting and easy for the misses to use would be great. I have CAT6 already to the system if needed.

 

Budget wise trying to stay in the park of 1500. Music capacity just topped 1tb. I do like the simplicty look of the mac mini with thunderbolt ext. HDD.

 

In a nut shell if you had to do it over again....

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Good day to everyone and thank you in advance...

 

As some know I just purchased a W4S DAC2-DSDse and it is time to change how I deliver my digital audio to my new DAC. I am currently using an old HP laptop (dv6t-1200) Win Vista and just itunes. Stripped out all unnecessary software. Updates, wireless, sounds etc. disabled.

 

I know windows very well, MAC not so well, and Linux not at all.

 

I need something for audio only. A touch screen would be very interesting and easy for the misses to use would be great. I have CAT6 already to the system if needed.

 

Budget wise trying to stay in the park of 1500. Music capacity just topped 1tb. I do like the simplicty look of the mac mini with thunderbolt ext. HDD.

 

In a nut shell if you had to do it over again....

 

Hello VCoak,

 

Excellent post. I am sure you will find knowledgeable members who can offer a broad band of perspectives for you to discern as what would be best to meet your outcomes. It can get very technical and while my signature demonstrates what I chose, there are so many other systems to create. I look forward to what fills this thread with suggestions.

 

Thank you for starting this thread.

 

Enjoy the music,

Richard

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Sounds like a CAPS Lagoon, an iPAD and an external 2tb NAS type hard drive (WD MyCloud) to me. Comes in at pretty close to the price list and meets your requirements. Plus you get the iPad that is useful beyond being the remote touch screen. If you have the iPad already then a CAPS Carbon would be the way to go.

 

As you mentioned you have wired then the NAS drive you can put in another room and stream through the ethernet connection. The 2tb is so you have room to expand and once you discover the convenience of a NAS you will doubtless put other stuff on it.

 

I am assuming you have WiFi to your router which you use to connect the iPad. You don't need WiFi in the CAPS so that cuts down on unnecessary stuff there. Using JRemote on the iPad and JRiver Media Center is pretty much as good an experience as it gets notwithstanding personal preferences.

 

Lots of discussions about the choice of CAPS and there are lots of different things you could do but this is a good start and it is easy to build up even if you are novice.

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Hi Richard,

 

With your setup can a mac mini use a touch screen? and homw many thunderbolts ext hdd drives can be daisy chained?

 

thx

 

Hello VCoak.

 

Bill answered one of your questions. Thunderbolt Raid 5 allows daisy chain up to six drives. My main system has four daisy chained. I believe in redundancy. There are many solutions. Very clever of you to encourage help from the membership.

Best,

Richard

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Running windows on a mac mini.. do you leave the mac's os and install windows. With both OS's do they run concurrently and will that degraded sound quality?

 

Not an expert. I would choose one OS instead of employing a virtual machine program like Fusion or installing Windows in Boot Camp. Consider the merits of a touch screen and whether it is ultimately that important. Where I am coming from is this: Simple is best. Keep it elemental. I know it is important for your wife to have easy access. However, in the long run, enjoyment of the music might be the outcome you favor. How the niceties of this and that may pale when the SQ and the software that plays the files and the Dac, preamp or not, amps, speakers delivers what you experience from the vantage if your listening chair.

 

I sort by SQ and enjoyment. Whatever promotes that outcome has the highest value. I guess you can have your cake and eat it. Touch screen? Any downside. My system delivers what I deem "good enough" which is a euphuism for what delivers the best SQ and enjoyment I can afford with the least intrusion and problems. There are many paths to that outcome. CA is a perfect place to explore those possibilities.

 

Enjoy the music,

Richard

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DaQi I do have access to my sons iPad that he does not use very often. I have built numerous computers just for gaming but as a music based machine I feel a bit lost. The word jitter never was used when we were building but terms like crossfire latency were everyday words.

 

Richard your words are of sound approach with touch of a deep breath. To me it is very relaxing. As I enjoy my newly discovered music all over again I can not thank the members of CA who take their time to help out :)

 

And yes I do like the "Enjoy the Music" very much. To me it is exactly what most of us enjoy.

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Running windows on a mac mini.. do you leave the mac's os and install windows. With both OS's do they run concurrently and will that degraded sound quality?

 

In brief, OSX has a guided approach (wizard) called Bootcamp for installing Windows on the same computer on another partition. The prerequisites are:

- Full Licensed key for Windows version of your choice, XP upwards.

- An ISO file for the Windows installation (google search will find you the media, it's usually free)

- An empty 8GB USB Stick

- Patience

 

You advise Bootcamp what size partition to set for Windows, and Bootcamp creates the partition, necessary bootfiles to prepare a Windows install. Patience is required for OSX to download the necessary Windows drivers and prepare the USB stick, so it has a full blown OS ready to install. On a reboot, the windows install will start automatically.

 

If you're brave and have the skills, you can blow away OSX during the Windows setup, it's up to you.

 

When you have OSX and Windows on the same machine, you can boot into one or the other once you're in the GUI of each OS, or hold down the option key at boot up.

 

I find that JRMC on Windows is streets ahead in usability compared with the OSX version, but give it some time, and it should come good. The SQ is roughly the same. The mac mini lends itself to be a very good Windows machine, since it is out of the box electrically and acoustically quiet. I just find OSX kind of boring, but it does have some advantages at times, some aspects of OSX infuriate, just a some of Windows behaviour.

 

Most of the time though, I use Windows 7 on a MacBookPro for day to day computing.

 

As advised, operating a VM/Parallels is not recommended to play music files at high quality. VM take up too much RAM and mess about with timing to real interfaces. Give it a miss for audio.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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There are numerous Mac Mini type of computers. One needn't buy a Mac just to run Windows on it.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Thanks Guys. I am leaning towards the mac mini more and more. Even though I am not familiar with OSX. Since it will only be using it for now as medium to serve music. As for storage I read up on the Pegasus systems for storage but does Synology also work with mac's?

 

Thx

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I should have been a bit less cryptic. You can buy a mac mini and if you decide you don't like OS X, you can still run a different operating system on it. I run windows so my kid can play with some remote control model airplane simulation software. I've tried playing music with it in windows. I do not hear a difference. Normally I have it booted into OS X.

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I run Windows Server 2012 with AudioPhil’s Optimizer. For the touch screen part I use an iPad with JRemote. It works very well. I only use my music server for music as server does not make a good work station. Of course a dual purpose workstation does not make the best music server as there are too many compromises made to still be able to use the workstation for other than music. So it kind of depends on what you really want.

AMR 777 DAC, Purist Ultimate USB, PC server 4gig SOTM USB, server 2012, Audiophil Optimizer,Joule Preamp LAP150 Platinum Vcaps Bybee, Spectron Monoblocks Bybee Vcaps, Eggleston Savoy speakers, 2 REL Stentor III subwoofers, Pranawire Cosmos speaker wire, Purist Dominus Praesto cabling, Purist Anniversary (Canorus)power cables and Elrod Statement Gold power cable, VPI Aries I SDS w/Grado The Statement LP, 11kVA power isolation, 16 sound panels and bass traps TAD,RPG,GIK and Realtraps

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After thinking this through and some careful thought I opted for a Mac Mini. Why? First and foremost as Richard signs his posts "Enjoy the Music" that to me is what is all about. Yes there will be a learning curve but in the end I believe this is the right choice for my needs.

 

The mini is a late 12 I7 quad 2.3. I will add a ssd and 16 gigs of ram when it arrives. To ease into it I will add a thunderbolt external HDD.

 

Thank you everyone for your help and advice.

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After thinking this through and some careful thought I opted for a Mac Mini. Why? First and foremost as Richard signs his posts "Enjoy the Music" that to me is what is all about. Yes there will be a learning curve but in the end I believe this is the right choice for my needs.

 

The mini is a late 12 I7 quad 2.3. I will add a ssd and 16 gigs of ram when it arrives. To ease into it I will add a thunderbolt external HDD.

 

Thank you everyone for your help and advice.

 

Hello VCoak,

 

I waited for you to make your choices to give the space to sort the matter out. Now that you have made a decision, I will add my support. Of course, there are many solutions. Based on my experience, your choices provide flexibility, reliability and are generally very popular.

 

Personally, as you know from my signature, I ordered my second Mac Mini with a SSD factory installed. The first Mac Mini (which I still have) was ordered without an SSD. I quickly changed my mind and replaced the internal HDD with an SSD which I installed myself. Not terribly easy. Like open heart surgery. OWC provides a video that I found very helpful. I also purchased a tool kit they sell that was very useful in performing the surgery. Your choice of 16GB of memory is a good one. I started out with a Thunderbolt Promise Pegasus external 12TB (6X 2TB) Raid 5 which is lightning fast and completely trouble free. Then added another Pegasus external 8TB (4X 2TB) Raid 5 which I can easily change to 4X 3TB for back ups. The backups are lightning fast using Super Duper. Eventually, I replaced all my other external Quad port (USB/FireWire 800/400/ESata purchased from OWC with Seagate Thunderbolt external 3TB Backup Plus for Mac. I believe in at least backups 3 deep. I use one of the external Seagate Thunderbolt 3TB for my Time Machine backup and then backup the Time Machine backup. A further advantage for me is that all my software players (I bought them all back in 2011) and the Thunderbolt drives "get along". As you know, one's music library should always be stored on an external HDD and never on the internal main drive whether an SSD or not. In fact Rob Robinson of Pure Music recommends NOT using SSD as a drive to store your music library. Also if your Dac is connected by USB, HDD(s) of choice should never use the same, i.e., other than USB. I followed the recommendations of all the software program website re setting up a music system and have never had problems.

 

I believe you will find the learning curve to be a gentle/easy one. You already strike me as a fast study. And you have the benefit of a very knowledgeable membership at your call.

 

I am excited for you. Don't hesitate to ask should you need help or a recommendation or a how-to from us at CA where you are fast becoming an experienced computer audiophile enthusiast. Clearly, my route is one of many and others, I know, who chose different solutions are also quite happy. There are many roads to the enjoyment of music. For me I spend most of my time enjoying the music than trying to. But with a hobby that is constantly changing, it can be a work in progress. I have more or less stopped chasing the technology for what I have assembled a synergy that is "good enough". Upgrades that evolve that make a difference, in my opinion, are worth the investment, I.e., the Femto clock for the W4S Dac-2 DSDse. Adding iRC to Amarra Symphony 2.6. When the choice becomes a challenge between enjoying the music or convenience, I choose enjoy the music and keep an eye open for what makes enjoying the music convenient, I.e., Apple Remote App for my iPad2 which presently only works for a software program in the mode integrated with iTunes. For critical listening then I forego the convenience of the App and switch to the mode which excludes any integration with iTunes other than to manage my music library.

 

I am rambling. Sorry. Where was I? Oh, I am excited for you.

 

Enjoy the music,

Richard

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VCoak,

 

PS,

I would be remiss if I did not also pass this on to you. From Sonic Studio, creator of Amarra: The fastest processor (for your Mac Mini) is preferred. Some will argue that a processor has sufficient processing speed, but that is not the rationale. I believe what was meant that with today's constantly evolving player software now processing DSD files and DRC (Digital Room Correction) programs, one benefits from the fastest processor available in a model. Perhaps the analogy is amp power, more than enough to drive speakers and added head room when needed. The software programs that are updating demonstrate the need for more processing power. Please keep this in mind. Again, not an expert, but those software creators I am in contact with are.?

 

Enjoy the music,

Richard

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I agree with this approach. But since you decided to go with a Mini, controlling your server with JRemote on an iPad and JRMC is a pleasure, and a very powerful tool.

 

Sounds like a CAPS Lagoon, an iPAD and an external 2tb NAS type hard drive (WD MyCloud) to me. Comes in at pretty close to the price list and meets your requirements. Plus you get the iPad that is useful beyond being the remote touch screen. If you have the iPad already then a CAPS Carbon would be the way to go.

 

As you mentioned you have wired then the NAS drive you can put in another room and stream through the ethernet connection. The 2tb is so you have room to expand and once you discover the convenience of a NAS you will doubtless put other stuff on it.

 

I am assuming you have WiFi to your router which you use to connect the iPad. You don't need WiFi in the CAPS so that cuts down on unnecessary stuff there. Using JRemote on the iPad and JRiver Media Center is pretty much as good an experience as it gets notwithstanding personal preferences.

 

Lots of discussions about the choice of CAPS and there are lots of different things you could do but this is a good start and it is easy to build up even if you are novice.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Big smile on my face. First and always foremost Thank you! I enjoy saying and meaning a good thank you.

 

I for one feel the pull towards synergy systems. One of my first systems was all Sony EX components back in the late 80's. The sound was amazing, simplicity was there and the duration of usage was excellent. As time and family grew I lost the drive if you will to find peace and reflection in music. Some enjoy movie's whether it is a television or theater, for me, it is music live or recorded. My soap box has opened...LOL

 

As I read the post what also helped was looking at the signatures and the equipment one has. Then I visualize it in my home, read reviews especially those like us that are the final users. Very important. As we have different genre's so are listening rooms. Acoustics of a room can make or break the very best equipment.

 

The mac mini decision just seemed to be coming back more and more. Thou it is not the 2.6 the price $679 was a perfect fill. I did get chance to watch the videos on the SSD swap. Delicate will be the speed. Back in 1979 or 80 my first computer was an Apple IIe. Now I have come full circle.

 

As I progress with my audio system I'll keep you posted. Mini arrives tomorrow per UPS site. Boy that was fast.

 

To all have a great evening,

 

Mark

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Congratulations. :)

 

You realize of course, you can "have your cake and eat it too?"

 

Add an iPad into the Mix and you can enjoy enjoy total touch screen control of your music library playback using either iTunes, iTunes with an add-on audiophile player like Pure Music, Amarra, or Audirvana+, or with J. River's Media Center (JRMC) and a $10 app called JRemote.

 

The latter works on MacOS or Windows. ;)

 

-Paul

 

Big smile on my face. First and always foremost Thank you! I enjoy saying and meaning a good thank you.

 

I for one feel the pull towards synergy systems. One of my first systems was all Sony EX components back in the late 80's. The sound was amazing, simplicity was there and the duration of usage was excellent. As time and family grew I lost the drive if you will to find peace and reflection in music. Some enjoy movie's whether it is a television or theater, for me, it is music live or recorded. My soap box has opened...LOL

 

As I read the post what also helped was looking at the signatures and the equipment one has. Then I visualize it in my home, read reviews especially those like us that are the final users. Very important. As we have different genre's so are listening rooms. Acoustics of a room can make or break the very best equipment.

 

The mac mini decision just seemed to be coming back more and more. Thou it is not the 2.6 the price $679 was a perfect fill. I did get chance to watch the videos on the SSD swap. Delicate will be the speed. Back in 1979 or 80 my first computer was an Apple IIe. Now I have come full circle.

 

As I progress with my audio system I'll keep you posted. Mini arrives tomorrow per UPS site. Boy that was fast.

 

To all have a great evening,

 

Mark

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Congratulations. :)

 

You realize of course, you can "have your cake and eat it too?"

 

Add an iPad into the Mix and you can enjoy enjoy total touch screen control of your music library playback using either iTunes, iTunes with an add-on audiophile player like Pure Music, Amarra, or Audirvana+, or with J. River's Media Center (JRMC) and a $10 app called JRemote.

 

The latter works on MacOS or Windows. ;)

 

-Paul

 

+1 for this approach.

 

I moved from iTunes + Squeezebox to MacMini + JRMC with JRemote and couldn't be happier.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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Big smile on my face. First and always foremost Thank you! I enjoy saying and meaning a good thank you.

 

I for one feel the pull towards synergy systems. One of my first systems was all Sony EX components back in the late 80's. The sound was amazing, simplicity was there and the duration of usage was excellent. As time and family grew I lost the drive if you will to find peace and reflection in music. Some enjoy movie's whether it is a television or theater, for me, it is music live or recorded. My soap box has opened...LOL

 

As I read the post what also helped was looking at the signatures and the equipment one has. Then I visualize it in my home, read reviews especially those like us that are the final users. Very important. As we have different genre's so are listening rooms. Acoustics of a room can make or break the very best equipment.

 

The mac mini decision just seemed to be coming back more and more. Thou it is not the 2.6 the price $679 was a perfect fill. I did get chance to watch the videos on the SSD swap. Delicate will be the speed. Back in 1979 or 80 my first computer was an Apple IIe. Now I have come full circle.

 

As I progress with my audio system I'll keep you posted. Mini arrives tomorrow per UPS site. Boy that was fast.

 

To all have a great evening,

 

Mark

 

Hello Mark,

 

It is so curious, in the 80s/early 90s my office system was all Sony ES with several components at home. In fact I still have them, though I do not use them. I could not part with them.

 

Look forward to hearing from you about your experiences as your system's synergy develops. There is always plenty of support and opinions. Of course, your experience is the most telling.

 

Enjoy the music,

Richard

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The mac mini arrived today! Very fast shipping. Have not had a chance today to even turn it on. So I do not make haste decisions the setup will be a little slower than usual. Plus I have not used a mac os since the 1980.

 

I will share Nat King Cole will be there when the mini goes live :)

 

Do have one question, should I do a setup first then switch to SSD or can I just clone the software and then fire up the mini?

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The mac mini arrived today! Very fast shipping. Have not had a chance today to even turn it on. So I do not make haste decisions the setup will be a little slower than usual. Plus I have not used a mac os since the 1980.

 

I will share Nat King Cole will be there when the mini goes live :)

 

Do have one question, should I do a setup first then switch to SSD or can I just clone the software and then fire up the mini?

 

Congratulations,

 

It should be quite convenient to accomplish the set up. A lot has changed over time.

 

Recommend you set up your Mac Mini, then "clone" or migrate or (there are other ways) to the SSD. Be very careful when doing the open heart surgery for replacing the HDD with the SSD, if I am understanding your circumstances correctly. Also, do make a backup before migrating or cloning (just in case).

 

Enjoy your new system.

 

Good fortune.

Richard

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