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Server Advice Please

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Hi people,


I'm building a second computer based system for my workplace. I have a Benchmark DAC1 USB and have decided to go for a Mac and external hardrive as the source . My question is which mac? Is there any benefit (sound quality wise) in a high spec mac like the pro or the new air version with the SSD over the basic mini or bottom spec standard macbook. I won't be doing much other than music and maybe email and browsing but would pay for a better spec mac if there is a real benefit. Any advice or comments on personal experience would be very helpful.







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Hey PaulC - There is no benefit to getting more power. I have talked to people about using a laptop v. a Mini and I only know one person who thinks a Mini sounds better. I personally have never been able to tell the difference and have never heard of anyone else noticing a difference. In fact, if you get a laptop you can take it off the grid by using the battery if you really wanted to. I am an advocate for really low power music servers as long as they are only used for playing back music and a little email. Bigger and more powerful components generate more heat which usually equates to fan noise.


I have been thinking about the MacBook Air ever since it came out. I am intrigued by the solid state drive option, but the lack of internal disc drive and limited number of ports has me thinking twice.


I recommend the cheapest MacBook for your situation. Let me know if I missed something here or you want to discuss more stuff. I'll be happy to help.


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Hi there Paul -


There's a lot of posts round here on this very subject. It usually boils down to this. Macbook vs. Mini - Macbook generally seems to get the nod, but people are very content with both. Macbook you get a screen and the ability to have a laptop. A headless mini can work great too, but you will likely want a display be it a TV or whatnot (think upgrades, searching, writing CD's on a moments notice, confirming info prior to rip).


Don't think you need real high-end at all. Hasn't been much I've read about the Air other than magazine reviews which generally aren't glowing (so far).


The typical Mac setup seems to be along the lines of Macbook or mini, iTunes, Airport Extreme Base if wireless, external storage, into DAC into Pre/Amp. The preference seems to be USB connection lossless music, often AIFF.


If you value the screen, want others to see how to work the system, like to fiddle sometimes with the machine in your lap, go book. If you are the only user and have a HT or similar setup a mini may work fine for you.


If I have a lot of data to move around, I just drag the Macbook to the external storage unit and USB right in and it’s much faster than wireless. I went with Macbook because I don't want to always fiddle with the screen. Plus, I run Coverflow all the time on the laptop and may watch something muted on the tube. I can always see what’s playing or quickly drag stuff to lists. You can probably do that with Signal too, or something similar, but then I would have to put down my drink to find the equivalent of a remote.


Just stuff to ponder and I don’t think there is a slam dunk correct answer - but there is more to read round here on that very question!


Welcome to CA




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Thanks for the comments and advice. Seems that a basic specification Macbook is the way to go. Thats two parts sorted (Macbook and DAC1 USB) - now I'll read up on the best external storage (about 600 CDs to rip to AIFF).




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