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20 minutes to Audio Nirvana


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Gang,

I have been toying with getting a new computer for use at shows and stuff. I was thinking it would be cool to get a Mac Air but the preformance had me a little leary.

 

So make my own but better....

 

I scored a new MacBook 2.4GHZ/2BG off ebay for $1100. I then got 4gb of memory for $100 and then I scored a Samsung SSD 64GB SATA2 drive for $600. Believe me the Samsung is worth it! It's fastest damn drive I have ever used.

 

Ok step one make sure the original works. Boot up check stuff ok...

 

1) unplug, remove battery, remove L bracket to expose the memory and drive.

2) pop out the old memory plug in the new.

3) pop out the old drive, take off the protective sleeve put it on the new drive and pop the drive in. I could have done this in 15 minutes but did not have the correct star driver to take off the protective sleve.

4) battery and power supply connected power up. Hold C down put in the install DVD.

5) format drive, partition for boot.

6) install the OS and software.

 

Just to give you idea of the speed here... typical raw install takes about 1:50. It was done in less than 35 minutes.

 

I will report back but really at $1800 or the Price on standard sata drive 1.6GHZ Mac Air. This thing will run circles around it. Albeit not as cute!

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Hey Gordon - I've been thinking about this option for a little while now. I'm am quite jealous!

 

I was considering putting an SSD in my MacBook Pro, but Apple has made the MBP so user unfriendly when it comes to opening it up that I soon got over this idea.

 

Question - Does your new MacBook run cooler, thus less fan noise? If we could figure out a way to get rid of the internal fans this would be the music server that goes to 11.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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OK, so that is really cool, but what does it do for the performance/sound of the system. I'm also curious about the 4GB of RAM. Are these just operationally good upgrades or do they have any sonic benefit? And did you get the macbook in black? If so then I'm really jealous.

 

McIntosh C500T&P, MC501s, Sonus Faber Cremona M, Ayre QB-9, Oppo BDP-83 Mac Mini

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Guys,

 

Yes it runs allot cooler and can run litterally 2x longer on batteries than with the drive.

 

I checked the current draw from the 2 drives and it is literally 10x better with the SSD.

 

What this means is less power supply noise in the system which means less contamination overall. The speed means better preformance and less critical time for anything.

 

As for the memory... I found that with any OS the more the better just fill her up and they run so much better, faster and with less problems.

 

I am trying to talk a good friend who programs macs to write a killer mac player and maybe this might be the carrot he needs. At 48 he is retired... man these guys use to work for me.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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I leave the battery in n my MacBook Pro. Apple actually recommends leaving the battery in because your MBP may require an extra bit of juice in certain circumstances and it will use the battery in addition to the external power supply. I'm not sayin' I totally agree, this is just what Apple says :-)

 

I do think you may save your battery a little by not leaving it in, but there are other effects that may cause the same thing you're trying to avoid. If it is unused and not drained and charged fully once in a while the cells may not perform as well in the long run. Not scientific about this one, just my guess based on experience.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Rick from Audioport here. I guess I echo Gonzo's question. You state on your website that anything beyond $1200.00 or so doesn't give you any greater sonic returns. Are you rethinking that? As you well know, $1200.00 in the high end world is not expensive at all for a good transport. I would just like to be comfortable in the advice I give and, selfishly, of course, want to make sure I have the best I can justify for my home system.

 

By the way, although we come from different perspectives in terms of amp power required - I use Vandersteen 5A's at home, which are not appropriate for SET's, the finesse of even your Brick does bring out the strengths of the 5A's. I listen to lots of acoustic and semi acoustic jazz and the intimacy and "rightness" is to die for.

 

 

 

 

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Rick,

 

I am rethinking my original statement and have made some changes to the website to reflect it.

 

Maybe what I did here was more fun than makes a difference but I do like the idea of the fan not going off and some other sudelties that this system provides.

 

Maybe a better way to put it is this. Think about everything in audio as a climb that is exponential. We look at achieving 90% of what we think it ultimate in audio. Then to get to even like 93% we almost have to spend 3x as much. To reach 95% even more...

 

So a computer like this may add only 1% to a 95% system. Too some it may not make any difference at all. Just like people who say they cannot hear the difference between say AIFF and Apple Lossless.

 

As for power for your Vandies... sorry Richard is a great guy and makes nice stuff. But too me SET's really sound the best. I have made over 1500 amplifiers since 1981. A good 400 of them being Push Pull amplifiers that sounded really nice. But a single device will always sound better than multiples especially in PP or parallel configuration. So I live with speakers that match that.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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I usually use the analogy of amp power. Twice as much power gives you 3 (db) increase in output. Double again and another 3db.

 

Spend twice as much you get X improvement. Double it again, another X. This is less precise and there are the occasional bargains but in general I think it holds true. That last few doublings of outlay can be a bunch.

 

I have never heard your amps. My experience with SET's has been limited to shows with all the variables involved. Having said that, I have never had one light me up. Perhpaps I have never heard a good representation or perhaps my subjective preferences don't lie there. I honestly don't know.

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Sometimes, OK, most of the time, I am a little slow on the upbeat but after reading your post about the new drive advantages again I had a couple of questions. You state that the new drive has less current draw and therefore you have less noise generated by the power supply. That makes sense and I will take your word for it that it makes a difference, whatever that magnitude of difference might be. Then my question finally hit me.

 

I assume you are talking about a fairly limited amount of storage needed for your demo requirements. If there is, as in my case, a 750gig external firewire connected drive, does it matter, and if it does is the impact lessened? I understand that the drive is still read in terms of running the program but I would think that the external drive is doing most of the heavy lifting. My assumptions may well be incorrect and if so, let me know. As you can probably tell, I am a 1% kind of guy. When you get well into 5 figures on a system, your additional 1% example for a few hundred dollars and a little time is a bargain.

 

Thanks, and I'm excited about my order. Talk to you your next day open about the options.

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Gordon said:

 

"Maybe a better way to put it is this. Think about everything in audio as a climb that is exponential. We look at achieving 90% of what we think it ultimate in audio. Then to get to even like 93% we almost have to spend 3x as much. To reach 95% even more..."

 

...and then there are those of us down here reveling in out 50% or less! I recently read a user review/comparison of amps in which he judged the differences between the two of them based on his ability to hear the difference between the singer parting her lips and wetting her lips....

 

Given that it has never even occurred to me to listen for such a thing, I confirmed that I'm no audiophile. I'm sure my retirement fund is happy to know that.

 

Gordon, you're now my computer hero. I think the pending doom of the internal hard drive in laptops is the coolest thing in computerdom since the data cd. And to that point, you did absolutely the right thing getting a Macbook and maxing it instead of paying the premium for the Air. The Air is insanely cool, but it's advantages are only related to extreme portability, and it's disadvantages are several, not the least of which is the lack of the ability to rip a copy of almost anything to the world's cheapest and most reliable removable media from anywhere, any time. Until flash drives are huge and dispose-ably cheap, I will not own a laptop that won't burn a cd.

 

You did the right thing with white. The less a Mac looks like a PC, the better.

 

But are you guys really struggling with fan noise in your Mac laptops? My fan hardly ever comes on.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Rick,

 

Actually the 64GB is only used for the OS. If we look at the way the computer works and drive technology, most of the drive access is for the core OS running doing it's thing swaping you name it.

 

If we decrease the wait time for the OS that relieves the processor of burden which means it has more time for other stuff.

 

Speed of external drives will matter but not as much as the drive running the OS. Basically the external drive has to match or better the audio output. Therefore in most cases it has to be better than 6mb per second which is not really a whole lot of speed.

 

I am considering using this with a TimeCapsule but this may not do as well as my MyBook Pro which seems to be very fast at least for copies and stuff which require allot more bandwidth.

 

FYI cold boot less than 5 seconds. I am making another one of these for a customer. It took 14 seconds to cold boot that one (still has only 2gb of memory). I downloaded GeekBench and benchmarked the supped up one at 3200 and the new untouched one at 2510. Pretty good difference if you ask me.

 

This just shows that the OS will have 28% more processing time which is pretty significant.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Would you guys stop talking about this, My wallet can't take it anymore!!!!!

 

Only kidding of course. Hmm, now where can I find the best price on a good quality SSD?

 

P.S. I was up in northern Minnesota for a couple days and I'm finally back on the site. No internet up in the middle of nowhere is good and bad at the same time.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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You may be right, although I bet they can sell a whole lot more of these drives than 32 or 64gig drives. Should make for some interesting products coming soon though: Apple Tablet?? 256Gig Ipod?

 

McIntosh C500T&P, MC501s, Sonus Faber Cremona M, Ayre QB-9, Oppo BDP-83 Mac Mini

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Well, that answers my question and reminds me that I don't understand as much of the technology involved as I would like to. On the other hand, knowing what you don't know and who to ask about it does have it's merits. Much better than thinking you know what you don't.

 

Thanks for the clarification. I think it's Coca Bolla. I have it on a guitar and I like the look. I will email you tomorrow to confirm.

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Isn't Cocca Bolla one of those woods that a lot of luthiers have an intense allergic reaction to when working with it? Better wear a mask if you ever take a disk sander to that thing. ;)

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Yeah, Warmoth won't work with it any more. It's a shame because it's gorgeous but apparently it can be pretty nasty to work with.

 

I'm assuming Gordon either doesn't find it a problem or takes precautions.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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My understanding is that if you have the allergy, it is often so violent that there aren't any precautions strong enough. You'd need a top-notch dust removal system and a hermetically sealed space suit. Fortunately, there are guys who don't seem to have any problems with it and instruments are still coming out with the stuff, which is, as you said, drop-dead gorgeous and has similar acoustic properties to Brazilian.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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