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Deciding between Mac Mini or Macbook Air for Music Server/Streamer


JRud
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I have been streaming iPad Tidal > Wifi > Apple TV optical > DAC. Upgrading to having a Mac connected via USB to Wyred 4 Sound Remedy USB Reclocker > USB to DAC so i can not only stream in better quality but also create a music server. The sonic improvement has been eye opening. I am deciding between using a MAC Mini (2.5 Ghz and 8GB RAM) vs. the latest MacBook Air (1.6 GHZ and 8GB RAM.

 

Pros and Cons from my perspective; its nice to have a new laptop for occasional use and if it gets removed from the server/streaming chain occasionally i can stream using the iPad to Apple TV as before.The Mac Mini has more horsespower a TB drive on board for ripping most of my CDs to and perhaps i would have more apps and processes always turned off on the Mac Mini so a "quieter" computer might sound a bit better. On the other hand as far as storage is concerned a 1TB external drive to augment the MacBook air is pretty darn cheap. Thoughts?

 

Setting up the music server and using the iPad as a remote is also pretty new to me so any recommendations on Remote Control software would be appreciated. Just to get started experimenting using TeamViewer but will probably demo Audirvana for improving sound quality and using their Remote from the App Store.

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I have both mac mini and macbook air and I've been using each in the similar setting with couple of DACs. Each mac is several years old and both were customized and improved to best possible configurations at time of purchase. I use HQPlayer and A+ and most of my music is on external drives. Well, to my ears mac mini gives better sound far beyond comparison. The only downside mac mini has is a need of external monitor for control. I prefer the sound of HQPlayer, while A+ is more friendly to operate and plays more file types. Both players give trial opportunity and I would suggest to try both. It would be nice to try both macs in your setting as well. Hope it will help.

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AnotherSpin,

 

Thanks i did purchase both Macs (Mini & MacBook Air) and will return the one i prefer less, so i will A/B compare the two. I forgot to mention in my pros and cons that the Mac Mini is also $300 cheaper with is a nice pro and the con of the slight inconvenience of having to drag down a monitor and keyboard when i need to make changes to the headless Mac Mini as you mention.

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Another option is to purchase a refurbished MacBook mid 2012. This is the last model that has a built in CD player. I use the player to read in cd's from my collection into iTunes and the occasional CD's that I still buy. These models with full warranty can still be bought from the Apple Store. I run Audirvana and Dirac live from it and there are no performance issues. Be sure to include an SSD. With this you have the user interface and CD reader in one.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

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  • 1 month later...

What were the results of your comparison? Did you find the Mac Mini sounded better than the Macbook Air?

 

No Disc

HD-PLEX LPS > SLK (Chinese) DC Power Cable > Mac Mini 2012 (Uptone MMK / SnakeOil OS) > LPS-1 > UpTone ISO Regen > USPCB > Chord Mojo > WireWorld Nano-Silver Eclipse > AudioEngine A2+

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