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Newbie with some questions.


Oscar0990
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Hello everybody! Greetings from Houston, Texas! Im new to the forum... Been a lurker now and then and just recently got back into the hobby. I have a very minimal set up with a small schiit DAC to my yamaha integrated amp but im currently building an audio dedicated room and would like to beef it up a little. I have some fair minimal knowledge on how it all works but i have one big question for my future plans. So here is my question.... Is it possible to get for example a macbook air and run all the softwares on it and hook it up to a DAC but have the music stored on an external HD? Im asking this since i cant shell out all the money for an expanded memory in the Mac itself and would like to have the music stored aside... Is this possible? Being that id like to use my mac for other none audio related things aswell... Or would a dedicated computer such as a mac mini be a better choice? If i recall solid state HD is a better alternative to avoiding "noise" from a traditional spinning HD? What is the best scenario for my idea?.... Any help is highly appreciated!

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Hi. Welcome. The easiest thing to do is get a USB hard drive and connect that to your Mac. Piece of cake!

sources:  intel nuc8i7 (audiolinux, roon core) (server) | simaudio moon mind 2 (renderer)
headphone rig:  chord qutest > bryston bha-1 > audeze lcd-3
main rig:  chord dave > parasound jc5 > kef reference 1
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Hello everybody! Greetings from Houston, Texas! Im new to the forum... Been a lurker now and then and just recently got back into the hobby. I have a very minimal set up with a small schiit DAC to my yamaha integrated amp but im currently building an audio dedicated room and would like to beef it up a little. I have some fair minimal knowledge on how it all works but i have one big question for my future plans. So here is my question.... Is it possible to get for example a macbook air and run all the softwares on it and hook it up to a DAC but have the music stored on an external HD? Im asking this since i cant shell out all the money for an expanded memory in the Mac itself and would like to have the music stored aside... Is this possible? Being that id like to use my mac for other none audio related things aswell... Or would a dedicated computer such as a mac mini be a better choice? If i recall solid state HD is a better alternative to avoiding "noise" from a traditional spinning HD? What is the best scenario for my idea?.... Any help is highly appreciated!

 

You may be able to use an Air but I'm not sure how well the new USB connection would serve your purpose. I'm not familiar with it. I use a Mac Mini and a medium-sized LED TV to play music, watch movies, rip CDs, etc. This gives me lots of flexibility to add storage, use different types of playback software and do a lot of other things. External storage is the best way to go and it doesn't need to be SS, which would be expensive and unnecessary, IMO.

 

Before you spend any money, the most important consideration is expandability, so you don't end up buying redundant equipment.

 

There are also network storage devices that contain playback software that you can control from a laptop or pad. It depends on how much flexibility you want and how much money you want to spend.

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Well I really dont mind having the software on my mac since thats how I currently have it on my iMac. My idea is to have the music on a solid state hard drive and have the mac to the DAC to the amp... how would i go about having the music on my external HD fed into the Mac into the DAC? From my minimal experience ive always had my music on the Mac and dont know how to go about having it external?

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I just came across the Elac Discovery music server... Would that eliminate the need to use the mac as the head? Just plug the external HD to the Elac and then to the DAC and control from an iPad? Sigh sorry for all this confusion... Im really new to this and i see that theres millions of ways of doing this.

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Well I really dont mind having the software on my mac since thats how I currently have it on my iMac. My idea is to have the music on a solid state hard drive and have the mac to the DAC to the amp... how would i go about having the music on my external HD fed into the Mac into the DAC? From my minimal experience ive always had my music on the Mac and dont know how to go about having it external?

 

Now that I look, the Air has two USB ports. You would connect one to an external storage drive conastining your music, and the other to your DAC (provided it's compatible with the USB 3 port--I would check with Schitt to be sure). I wouldn't go with an SSD drive for music. Aside from the fact that it doesn't sound as good IMO, you're going to run out of space pretty quickly if you use lossless files like FLAC or ALAC.

 

The only drawback I see is that you're going to have to keep the AIR close to the music system. You could use a VNC program to control it from your listening position, or a program like JRiver Media Center which has a remote control app for phones and pads.

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I just came across the Elac Discovery music server... Would that eliminate the need to use the mac as the head? Just plug the external HD to the Elac and then to the DAC and control from an iPad? Sigh sorry for all this confusion... Im really new to this and i see that theres millions of ways of doing this.

 

Don't apologize--it IS confusing! :-) The ELAC was what I meant by a "headless" server. It might be a very good way to go. You get an upgrade in your digital sound quality, excellent music software and more flexibility in configuring your system.

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From my now extensive research id rather have a set up with a NAS or an Aries mini or the new Elac discovery. I like the feature of for example the aries mini or drag and drop music into the aries mini with a HD over the network. Seems like a much more easy route.

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"how would i go about having the music on my external HD fed into the Mac into the DAC? From my minimal experience ive always had my music on the Mac and dont know how to go about having it external?"

 

You can do it either way. If you get an external HD you run a usb cable from the drive to the computer. Once connected, it shows up in the file manager like any other drive/partition.

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From my now extensive research id rather have a set up with a NAS or an Aries mini or the new Elac discovery. I like the feature of for example the aries mini or drag and drop music into the aries mini with a HD over the network. Seems like a much more easy route.

 

 

The easiest way to do what you're asking is to use an external usb HD. You take it out of the box, plug the power cord in and run a usb cable from the hd to the mac. And that's it. Start putting music on the drive.

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Why don't you just save all the hassle with a computer and just get a Aurender N100H, Yes its more but in the long run it will save you big time and the sound quality will be superior from the get-go.

2 Channel: Bricasti M21 / M28 SE /Aurender W20SE Treatments: Acoustical panels(F, S, Bass Trap & R walls) Misc.: SR Orange Fuses

Speakers: Martin Logan CLX ART (Dark Cherry) w/30# weights / 2-ML 212's Subs tuned w/PBK and Special Phase technique

Grounding: QKore 1&6 / Networking: Sotm switch and Pwr Supply / AQ Diamond Power: Furutech GTX-DNCF / Oyaide inwall  wire

Nordost: QV2's, QK1's, 2-QX4, QPoint's,TC Kones, Sort Fut & LIft / Full O2 Loom / QSource & Points 

Misc.: iPad 3 /Lovan Rack Media Rm: ML: 13A's, Descent i's, Vanquish, Focus / Parasound: 3-A23 / Mark Levinson 433 / 77" LG 4k OLED / Anthem AVM60 / Pioneer Elite DVD Nordost: Odin/V2/T2/H2, BC Kones, H2 Network, V2 HDMI

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Why don't you just save all the hassle with a computer and just get a Aurender N100H, Yes its more but in the long run it will save you big time and the sound quality will be superior from the get-go.

 

*Really* a questionable assumption.

 

-Paul

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

Robert A. Heinlein

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Im really liking the Aries Mini being that you can install a SSD on it and just drop and drag music to it from the Mac... I like that convenience and i also love the fact that you can connect it to an external DAC since im planning on buying the Schiit yggdrasil down the road.

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You can copy my setup, which uses a Mac mini, but could easily use a MacBook Air in its place:

 

-Mac using iTunes (go into iTunes settings and point iTunes to the music folder on your external HD). I use the apple remote on my iPhone or screen share from my MacBook to control everything. I also use Pure Music, but I'd consider a higher quality player application down the road if I were you. Also, go into the MIDI app on your Mac and set it to the correct bit/khz (e.g. 24/96).

 

-WD thunderbolt hard drive, but a USB external is fine too. My hard drive is 8 TB, which is comprised of two 4 TB, 5400 RPM drives. This lives next to the Mac.

 

- DAC out to integrated amp

 

It's possible I'm forgetting some details, but that's should illustrate the overall idea of one way to set things up.

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One thing to consider about the Elac server is that it runs a limited version of Roon that is not upgradeable. This is especially significant given that Roon is still very much a work in progress. (I think other Roon users would mostly agree with me on this.)

 

From reading the Roon forums, I have the sense that the Roon team are not too happy with the outcome of their partnership with Elac and that they regard it as a "lesson learned."

 

While Elac has some other very good products, I personally think that if you want to head in the direction of a simple-to-use dedicated server, you'd be better off looking at the Aurender range, or maybe Auralic. Overall, put me down in the camp that thinks you can get good results from an off-the-shelf computer without too much fuss, and that this is the option that offers you the most flexibility as you learn your way around computer-based audio.

 

--David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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One thing to consider about the Elac server is that it runs a limited version of Roon that is not upgradeable. This is especially significant given that Roon is still very much a work in progress. (I think other Roon users would mostly agree with me on this.)

 

From reading the Roon forums, I have the sense that the Roon team are not too happy with the outcome of their partnership with Elac and that they regard it as a "lesson learned."

 

While Elac has some other very good products, I personally think that if you want to head in the direction of a simple-to-use dedicated server, you'd be better off looking at the Aurender range, or maybe Auralic. Overall, put me down in the camp that thinks you can get good results from an off-the-shelf computer without too much fuss, and that this is the option that offers you the most flexibility as you learn your way around computer-based audio.

 

--David

From the look of it the Auralic mini seems to be catching my attention the most at this time... I would go a mac mini direction but id like to also use my mac for other non audio related things and the mac mini is a stationary thing as opposed to a macbook air is portable. I like the fact that you can install a HD directly on it and save the music there... Let me look into the Aurender you speak about.. Thanks!!

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*Really* a questionable assumption.

 

-Paul

 

*Not Really*

2 Channel: Bricasti M21 / M28 SE /Aurender W20SE Treatments: Acoustical panels(F, S, Bass Trap & R walls) Misc.: SR Orange Fuses

Speakers: Martin Logan CLX ART (Dark Cherry) w/30# weights / 2-ML 212's Subs tuned w/PBK and Special Phase technique

Grounding: QKore 1&6 / Networking: Sotm switch and Pwr Supply / AQ Diamond Power: Furutech GTX-DNCF / Oyaide inwall  wire

Nordost: QV2's, QK1's, 2-QX4, QPoint's,TC Kones, Sort Fut & LIft / Full O2 Loom / QSource & Points 

Misc.: iPad 3 /Lovan Rack Media Rm: ML: 13A's, Descent i's, Vanquish, Focus / Parasound: 3-A23 / Mark Levinson 433 / 77" LG 4k OLED / Anthem AVM60 / Pioneer Elite DVD Nordost: Odin/V2/T2/H2, BC Kones, H2 Network, V2 HDMI

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