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Mac Mini vs Synology


Rick Yarussi

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Building my first CA system. I already have an iPad, and an Arcam rDAC. Now I just need everything in between. :)

 

What are the pros and cons of Mac Mini vs Synology? I would also consider a CAPS server if it's possible to get one for <$750. CAPS2?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Rick

Raspberry Pi B+, HiFi Digi+ with galvanic isolation to SPDIF of Arcam rDAC. MBP with Win7, LMS, and Tidal. iPad with iPeng. NAD amp, PSB Synchrony 2B.

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It really depends on how you are planning to feed your audio files to your DAC, and whether you need activities such as upsampling, room correction, etc.

 

I spent a lot of time building a Mac CAPS but am still hoping one day to bypass the Mac and serve files from the Synology to the DAC using a wifi bridge.

 

If DLNA/UPnP is possible to your Arcam, I would try that first. Run Media Server on the NAS, use something like Plugplayer as the controller.

 

A highly tweaked Mac still runs ~50 simultaneous processes whereas the NAS will run about 2. I have heard the difference reducing processes makes. In addition you can electrically and physically distance the NAS from your DAC. Much easier than the kludgy and electrically noisy USB connection from the Mac.

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Building my first CA system. I already have an iPad, and an Arcam rDAC. Now I just need everything in between. :)

 

What are the pros and cons of Mac Mini vs Synology? I would also consider a CAPS server if it's possible to get one for <$750. CAPS2?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Rick

 

CAPS can be done for nearly half that if you shop around for the components and use a free operating system such as Linux.

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Thanks tranz and blownsi,

 

For now I want to keep it simple. No upsampling or room correction.

I agree about the number of threads. I've been reading this post about Windows Server 2012 and Audiophile Optimizer:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-music-servers/whos-used-audiophile-optimizer-windows-2012-server-or-windows-8-a-17897/

 

Maybe that's the direction I should go...

 

I could do that on a Mac mini, or CAPS. I don't know if there's a version of a Synolgy NAS that could run that? Pardon my ignorance while I climb the learning curve here. :)

 

I really want a single computer solution but I'm starting to see the advantages of two...

 

Cheers,

 

Rick

Raspberry Pi B+, HiFi Digi+ with galvanic isolation to SPDIF of Arcam rDAC. MBP with Win7, LMS, and Tidal. iPad with iPeng. NAD amp, PSB Synchrony 2B.

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tranz, so it sounds like NAS to rDAC using the rDAC's wireless connection (USB transmitter plugged into the NAS) would be a good solution. If the driver for the USB transmitter can run on the NAS...

Raspberry Pi B+, HiFi Digi+ with galvanic isolation to SPDIF of Arcam rDAC. MBP with Win7, LMS, and Tidal. iPad with iPeng. NAD amp, PSB Synchrony 2B.

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Win 2012 server with AO is Windows only, i.e. CAPS, and is a great way to lower simultaneous processes. If you go Windows you also have the possibility to add an SoTM USB Card, which is not possible with a Mac.

 

The only reason to go Mac is if you like a specific playback software that is Mac only. Amarra (Mac only) used to be the only game in town, but they have been left behind in functionality, and in my recent testing, they sound the same as JRiver. JRiver is the current playback king and not a reason to go Mac. If you do go with a full blown computer, you do not need a NAS.

 

If I were to start again at this point I would go:

 

1. NAS direct to DAC with ethernet input

2. A streamer solution like Auralic Aries, or all in one box like the Brits ( e.g, Arcam, Linn, Naim)

3. Win server with AO

 

And I may have mentioned this before, but USB sucks for audio and is difficult and expensive to get right.

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tranz, so it sounds like NAS to rDAC using the rDAC's wireless connection (USB transmitter plugged into the NAS) would be a good solution. If the driver for the USB transmitter can run on the NAS...

 

Interesting option. Curious if the wifi receiver on the rDAC is also a USB one. A NAS is often on Linux, so you would need to check with Arcam. The rDAC would also likely need to be DLNA/UPnP compatible. But with that dongle you could just use an old laptop with a big harddrive instead of a NAS, and save some money. If the USB is connected directly to the pc via cable, that is when electrical noise from the computer goes into the DAC via ground, 5v and if connected the drain wire shield.

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I'd run Bootcamp on the Mac mini, then install Windows server and AO. Then use the USB transmitter for the rDAC.

 

Yes, USB sucks for audio. I don't understand why everyone does it?? Fancy USB cards from Paul Peng, SoTM, etc... Is it the lesser of all evils? Better than optical out?

 

Being an optical engineer, I prefer photons to electrons :) so my first inclination was to use the optical out from the PC to the rDAC. But nobody seems to use optical. Is that somehow even worse than USB?

 

I don't think the rDAC needs to be DLNA compatible. It's just receiving a bit train. There's no other communication...

Raspberry Pi B+, HiFi Digi+ with galvanic isolation to SPDIF of Arcam rDAC. MBP with Win7, LMS, and Tidal. iPad with iPeng. NAD amp, PSB Synchrony 2B.

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I have a circa-2005 mac mini hooked up to my DAC via USB and connect to my Synology NAS via wifi and file sharing, using JRiver to play the 96-24 HD files that reside on the NAS.

 

This isn't optimal for, I am sure, many reasons, but mainly is that the old mac mini will die soon and if fairly old technology.

 

I'd like to replace the mini with something (cost effective), but am unsure what, any ideas?

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I have a circa-2005 mac mini hooked up to my DAC via USB and connect to my Synology NAS via wifi and file sharing, using JRiver to play the 96-24 HD files that reside on the NAS.

 

This isn't optimal for, I am sure, many reasons, but mainly is that the old mac mini will die soon and if fairly old technology.

 

I'd like to replace the mini with something (cost effective), but am unsure what, any ideas?

 

Do you run the Mac directly yourself, or is it on the other side of the room, and you control it with an iPad? My goal is to control the system with an iPad from my couch....

Raspberry Pi B+, HiFi Digi+ with galvanic isolation to SPDIF of Arcam rDAC. MBP with Win7, LMS, and Tidal. iPad with iPeng. NAD amp, PSB Synchrony 2B.

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Do you run the Mac directly yourself, or is it on the other side of the room, and you control it with an iPad? My goal is to control the system with an iPad from my couch....

 

I currently use JRiver (mac mini) with JRemote (iOS) to control the mini for music and use a laptop with screen sharing on the mini to control the mac itself. It's possible to control the mac via screen sharing on an ipad, but I haven't done that in a while. It worked severla years ago and I am sure it has gotten better, but can't recommend a current program.

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A highly tweaked Mac still runs ~50 simultaneous processes whereas the NAS will run about 2. I have heard the difference reducing processes makes. In addition you can electrically and physically distance the NAS from your DAC. Much easier than the kludgy and electrically noisy USB connection from the Mac.

 

I cannot comment on the number of processes on the Synology, but I once had the Synology directly connected via USB to my Devialet. The sound was totally disappointing so that I reverted to the Mac in between within a couple of days.

 

@Rick

If your budget is 750$, I would recommend a NUC running Daphile. I have converted my Mac mini to a Daphile player and I am quite happy with it. The sound is excellent and operability is the best I have experienced yet. If you're lucky, your budget will be enough for a NUC and a (small) Synology. It's also very easy to run Daphile totally headless and control it via your iPad's browser or any Logitech compatible iPad app (e.g. Squeezepad).

 

Regards

Kay

Mac mini (Mojave, Audirvana/Amarra/Roon) -> Dirac -> Audioquest Carbon USB -> devialet 200 -> MIT Shotgun MA -> Verity Audio Leonore

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Building my first CA system. I already have an iPad, and an Arcam rDAC. Now I just need everything in between. :)

 

What are the pros and cons of Mac Mini vs Synology? I would also consider a CAPS server if it's possible to get one for <$750. CAPS2?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Rick

 

Get an AURALiC ARIES. Save a bit more and get the entry version for $999 and use your iPad to control it. You can either plug an HD directly into it (end of this month) or when you decide to grow your music collection you can use a Synology NAS and wirelessly stream to the ARIES.

 

This is from a person who is selling his 2009 Mac Mini...

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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I cannot comment on the number of processes on the Synology, but I once had the Synology directly connected via USB to my Devialet. The sound was totally disappointing so that I reverted to the Mac in between within a couple of days....

Regards

Kay

 

That would indeed be the worst possible connection.

 

Even with my highly tweaked Linear PSU Mac, IFI USB power and dual-headed cable, Berkeley USB converter USB is not ideal.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Thanks tranz and blownsi,

 

For now I want to keep it simple. No upsampling or room correction.

I agree about the number of threads. I've been reading this post about Windows Server 2012 and Audiophile Optimizer:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-music-servers/whos-used-audiophile-optimizer-windows-2012-server-or-windows-8-a-17897/

 

Maybe that's the direction I should go...

 

I could do that on a Mac mini, or CAPS. I don't know if there's a version of a Synolgy NAS that could run that? Pardon my ignorance while I climb the learning curve here. :)

 

I really want a single computer solution but I'm starting to see the advantages of two...

 

Cheers,

 

Rick

 

I discarded a fully tweaked system with Server 2012 and AO after buying/comparing to Synology NAS as media server. I don't miss having to reboot from core to gui mode and back every time I wanted to add new music to the server.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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