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Some newbie questions re Amarra


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I'm just about to dip my toes into the music server business. The reason is for convenience and to have quick and easy access to my CDs, as well as to start downloading hi-rez versions of titles that I like.

My initial idea is to get a Mac Mini with Amarra Mini software, connecting the Mac to the DAC section of my Playback Designs CD/SACD player. If happy, I would eventually upgrade to the full Amarra version, due to its ability to handle hi-rez files, and also, in order to digitise my LP collection.


My first question is about connecting these. The USB port on the DAC is limited to 44k. I presume I could use TOSLink, but I remember having read somewhere that the TOSLink output on the MAC is limited in resolution. Is that correct? I looked at other ways to connect these (Firewire to AES/EBU or Firewire to S/PDIF), but all units seem to come with a DAC included and cost upwards of $1k - it seems to be a huge waste to buy another DAC when I already have a pretty good one. Does anyone have any suggestions that allow me to use my DAC and are reasonably priced?


I intend to put the Mini on my eqpt rack, and therefore will not have a monitor available full time there. I can tie the Mini to a keyboard/screen for installation/configuration, but have no place or desire to turn my living rooom into an office. I have read that I can use my iPod Touch to control the Amarra software. Is that realistic? Or do I absolutely need to have a monitor there, full time? In the latter case, is there such a thing as a wi-fi touch screem monitor? :)


Thanks for any help




PS the rest of my system is Magico Mini 2, ARC Ref 2/Ref 5/610T, SME 20-12/V-12/Dyna XV1S



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If I may be lazy and repost the same reply as I made to someone else recently...


There are various interfaces you could consider ...


At the low priced end many people are having success with the HiFace USB to SPDIF converter - I think this is around £100.

Higher up people use interfaces such as the TC Konnekt 8 (think this is now discontinued) which cost around £300. Also the SonicWeld interface mentioned recently or (soon to come) Wavelength's Async USB to SPDIF interface.

At the top end you could look at the Weiss INT202 - this is probably pushing the top of your budget (around $1000)


You are correct in your observation that the Mac Mini's optical connection is limited to 44.1, 48 and 96k (no 88.2).


There really is no absolute answer, but with the level of the rest of your kit I don't think scrimping on an interface would be worth while. Another option would be to look at a MacPro (or S/H PowerMac G5) and use a Lynx or RME interface card.






...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Thank you - indeed, it looks as if I will have to go to such interfaces (there's another Weiss interface that I found too - it looked more expensive). You're also right in that it makes no sense to scrimp on the interface - I've got power cords more expensive than the Weiss you suggest. What was I thinking?!


I'll probably start off with TOSlink and go up to a Firewire ->AES/EBU or S/PDIF if I like the results and upgrade to the full Amarra version.


Any comments on the useage of Amarra without a monitor?




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The Playback designs is indeed a good DAC.


I run Amarra Mini on a headless Mac Mini but find I (too) frequently have to access the Mac mini via screen sharing (from my laptop Mac) to do one or another fix. For some reason, mine often thinks its iLok key has been removed.




Mac Mini 5,1 [i5, 2.3 GHz, 8GB, Mavericks] w/ Roon -> Ethernet -> TP Link fiber conversion segment -> microRendu w/ LPS-1 -> Schiit Yggdrasil

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