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Recommendations for Mac Mini set up with JRiver


Sartorius

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I'm about to pull the trigger on a new Mac Mini now Apple has finally updated it at today's launch.

 

My plan is to run JRiver MC20 on the Mini, and I was going to hard wire it to my Denon CEOL Piccolo (as DLNA is not reliable enough).

 

The Piccolo has USB 2 and optical in, but I notice the new Mini has no optical out. Instead it has USB 3, HDMI and Thunderbolt 2.

 

So, any recommendations as to set up? I'm willing to consider replacing the Piccolo if necessary.

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The Piccolo has USB 2 and optical in, but I notice the new Mini has no optical out. Instead it has USB 3, HDMI and Thunderbolt 2.
The Piccolo's USB 2 input is actually a USB storage input, ie, for the Piccolo itself to directly access & play music files from the storage contained in iDevices, Android devices, USB memory sticks, etc. So it can't be used as a USB audio DAC input to allow the Mini to use it as an external USB DAC.

 

 

 

My plan is to run JRiver MC20 on the Mini, and I was going to hard wire it to my Denon CEOL Piccolo (as DLNA is not reliable enough).

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So, any recommendations as to set up? I'm willing to consider replacing the Piccolo if necessary.

Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with what you require, so cannot help you with that set up. However, I am curious to know why you have concluded that DLNA is not reliable enough. Presumably that's using the Piccolo's UPnP/DLNA streaming functions, rather than just a general statement about UPnP/DLNA streaming, is it? What was the problem, if you don't mind me asking?

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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I am curious to know why you have concluded that DLNA is not reliable enough. Presumably that's using the Piccolo's UPnP/DLNA streaming functions, rather than just a general statement about UPnP/DLNA streaming, is it? What was the problem, if you don't mind me asking?

 

Thanks Cebolla.

 

I have two issues with DLNA. One is drop outs. Currently I use JRiver on a MacBook Pro to pull files from a Synology NAS and then push them to the Denon Piccolo. Don't get me wrong, it's not disastrous, but try as I might I can't get everything to reliably talk to each other without having to reset one part of the set up several times a day.

 

My idea is that by using a MacMini I can hard wire part of the set up (the Mini would connect (via ethernet to a Devolo homeplug) to the Synology; and in turn to the Denon - although that's looking tricky given I can't use USB or optical).

 

The other issue is gapless playback. Denon claim the Piccolo supports gapless but it seems this doesn't include gapless over DLNA.

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No worries Sartorius.

 

It's possible that you may be making inefficient use of the resources you have, which would make it more difficult to get the Denon UPnP/DLNA network streaming properly, especially if by the sound of it you are connecting some of the devices wirelessly to the network and your WiFi signal is not up to it, causing the dropouts. Wireless higher than CD resolution file streaming can be a particular problem.

 

Presumably you've got the Piccolo connected wirelessly to the network. Is it not possible to use wired ethernet connection to it instead, or at least via the compromise of using powerline homeplug adapters for some of the way?

 

Hopefully you are using a wired ethernet connection for the Synology NAS.

Which UPnP/DLNA media server and therefore music library are you using: the NAS's one or JRiver's? It would be far more efficient on the network to use the NAS's music library from its UPnP media server, rather than JRiver's. This is because the NAS media server can access the music files directly from its own storage drives. The JRiver UPnP media server has no direct access to the music files and has to use the network to get to them on the NAS. During playback the NAS media server only has to access the network to send the music data to the Denon, whereas the JRiver media server has to also firstly access the network to get the music data from the NAS storage and then again access it to send the music data to the Denon.

 

When you say you have to reset some part of the UPnP/DLNA setup, is it because the devices randomly stop seeing each other? This is a classic sign of your network management device (usually the router) not implementing UPnP/DLNA discovery properly. For example, there are some makes & models of router that have known issues in allowing UPnP/DLNA devices to see each other accross the wired/wireless portions of the network.

 

Since you are using JRiver for controlling the music playback on the Piccolo, it would be doing so via its built-in UPnP/DLNA control point. For gapless playback to work over UPnP/DLNA, both the UPnP/DLNA renderer (ie the Piccolo) and the UPnP/DLNA control point have to support it. Are you using a reasonably up to date version of JRiver? I seem to remember its UPnP/DLNA control point having problems supporting gapless with earlier versions. If you have an Android phone or tablet you can test UPnP/DLNA gapless support of the Denon with the free version of the excellent BubbleUPnP controller app. BTW with a UPnP/DLNA control point app running on a handheld device you won't need JRiver (and the MacMini) at all, if you are using the NAS's UPnP media server!

 

John

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Thanks John. Very interesting. Here's some answers which might help you advise me further.

 

Presumably you've got the Piccolo connected wirelessly to the network. Is it not possible to use wired ethernet connection to it instead, or at least via the compromise of using powerline homeplug adapters for some of the way?

 

Yes, I could connect the Piccolo using wired ethernet (via a homeplug) but that would bypass JRiver. The Piccolo's GUI is very basic (a small display on the front) and not a practical option IMO particularly as we have it out of site in a cupboard.

 

 

Hopefully you are using a wired ethernet connection for the Synology NAS.

 

Yes, correct.

 

Which UPnP/DLNA media server and therefore music library are you using: the NAS's one or JRiver's? It would be far more efficient on the network to use the NAS's music library from its UPnP media server, rather than JRiver's. This is because the NAS media server can access the music files directly from its own storage drives. The JRiver UPnP media server has no direct access to the music files and has to use the network to get to them on the NAS. During playback the NAS media server only has to access the network to send the music data to the Denon, whereas the JRiver media server has to also firstly access the network to get the music data from the NAS storage and then again access it to send the music data to the Denon.

 

Understood, but I use JRiver for its GUI, which is fantastic. Using the NAS's media server would by pass JRiver. Again, not an attractive option IMO.

 

When you say you have to reset some part of the UPnP/DLNA setup, is it because the devices randomly stop seeing each other? This is a classic sign of your network management device (usually the router) not implementing UPnP/DLNA discovery properly. For example, there are some makes & models of router that have known issues in allowing UPnP/DLNA devices to see each other accross the wired/wireless portions of the network.

 

Yes, devices randomly stop seeing each other. I use a Sky router, which I'm sure is far from the best out there, but Sky won't support anything other than their own unit. As we use Sky for TV and internet I'm nervous about replacing it.

 

Are you using a reasonably up to date version of JRiver?

 

Yes, I use the latest build - MC 20.

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