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Mac Mini V Airport Express

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Firstly I would like to say that it is a pleasure to find a site with such welcoming members and breadth of understanding about the future of music. Well done Chris for providing such a knowledge fest! I have been keen on computer based audio for some considerable time and have now acquired a ReadyNAs for storage of my largely ALAC collection of music. I currently use an IMac to do the streaming via Itunes. I intitally used a wireless network to stream to an Airport Express and the optical out into my Cyrus DAC X and onwards to my largely Cyrus based sytem which includes the old MR3 multi room box.


I like many others have been exasperated by intermittent dropouts of music using this route although in my case the dropouts seem to be worse when a playlist is started and then eventually worsen to a point where there is a long pause and then everything is fine for hours , unless you change the track or playlist manually. Thinking this might have been a wireless issue (lots of thick stone walls) I recently "hardwired" the network using Netgear ethernet over powerline plugs with excellent connectivity (180Mbps). This made no difference and the problem is just as likely to occur on a 160Kbps AAC track as an Apple lossless one, so I don't think it is a network issue. None of the other tweaks I have tried form this and other forums have worked either. Additionally my Cyrus DAC X has been back to Cyrus and had the latest firmware flashed.


Bypassing the Airport Express by using my old G4 laptop and linking this to the library on the NAS seems to work fine (but only limited testing to date). From a space point of view a Mac Mini would fit better with my system, but does the Mac Mini have a more stable optical out (there is no USB or Firewire input on the DAC X) than the Airport Express seems to? I'm aware having read many posts here that the Airport Express is limited to 16 bit 44.1 Khz but can the Mac Mini resolve higher resolutions? If so up to what?




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