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Mac music player software - Play, PV, Itunes and system resources/configuration


bmckenney

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I've been listening to as much of the Ayre before I have to send it back on Tuesday and I've been playing around with a few players too.

 

I do find that Play seems to be the best from a performance point of view. I mean from a sound performance perspective. Sure, it's pretty neutral, but I find it's the most resolving and I don't find it edgy or non-musical either. Lot's to like actually. Except my AIFF attributes are not coming across when imported.

 

I was thinking that my Mac mini might be holding back Itunes and Pure Vinyl + Itunes. I assume these apps require more system resources, do more processing etc, and maybe my Mac is hindering the performance enough that the sound is degraded.

 

My Mini is about 6 months old and has the stock crappy drives that ship with the Mini (but upgraded in size) and that's where my music files are stored. And it has 2 GB RAM. It is headless too.

 

Just wondering what peoples thoughts are. I'm waiting for SSD's to drop in price so I don't want to get one just yet. Not sure I want to upgrade memory too. But I bet these two areas might be the things that elevate performance of the player apps in question. Or would just getting an external drive and moving the music library off the local disk give noticeable performance?

 

Bryan

 

Edit: I originally stated I had 4Gb of RAM, but it is only 2Gb.

 

Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

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I'm surprised that people don't have an interest in this subject. I thought that getting the most of a computer music server system was very much about configuring and tuning the system and understanding how all the different parameters come in to play.

 

I discovered something that partially answers my own question. Pure Vinyl's memory play mode is sounding pretty darn good. I had not used it until today. More relaxed and coherent sounding. I suspect that playing back music from a computer where the music files are stored on the local OS disk is as wrong as I've read about and when a player app can load the file in to memory it eliminates the disk I/O contention between the OS and the player app, performance increases from a fidelity perspective. It's almost like I don't need to go with external storage now! Not true, I'm sure. But this memory play mode is nice. Good thing I have 2GB of RAM. Rob from Channel D does recommend lots of memory over a SSD drive, especially when using memory play. While an SSD drive is more responsive than disks, it's better to just have lots of contiguous blocks of RAM available.

 

Bryan

 

Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

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"I'm surprised that people don't have an interest in this subject."

 

Many do, but getting a reply to a post can be iffy when the volume increases.

 

I just sent you something offline that might solve your metadata problem with AIFF, I didn't write it, someone sent it to me, I've not tested it yet, but I know you're running out of time with the Ayre.

 

The hot ticket is an SSD AND increased RAM, the latter of which is so cheap, I'd double your 2Gb in a heartbeat - if it was me, especially for Amarra. If you're gonna run Play, probably not an issue.

 

"While an SSD drive is more responsive than disks, it's better to just have lots of contiguous blocks of RAM available."

 

Why do you say this? This would seem to imply that the computer can't access and/or swap files on SSD (i.e. Flash) drives fast enough to keep up with music. My 450 Mhz Cube plays RBCD fine. Any modern day dual core with 2.5 Ghz processors has an order of magnitude more capability.

 

 

"Sure, it's pretty neutral, but I find it's the most resolving and I don't find it edgy or non-musical either. Lot's to like actually."

 

Well, if (Rob's) "bloatware" actually does impact the sound, Play would have the edge over both Amarra and Pure Vinyl. It's as simple as can be, IMO. I'm digging it.

 

BTW, you can put Play into Ram as well, with Chris' RAM Disk script.

 

 

 

I can't attach it as CA doesn't allow zip files as attachments.

 

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

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Clay, that comment on memory comes from PV support - Rob. I don't know the rationale behind it, but he did say from their experience, and with their product, they recommend lots of memory regardless of the performance of the disk. I agree that it is something worth questioning.

 

I find PV is sounding the best, over Itunes and Play, now that I tried the memory player mode. I'm going to stop playing with players for a while and just stick with PV. I need to focus on the ULN2 now. I just pulled the Ayre out and put the ULN2 back in. I'm missing the Ayre, but the ULN2 should be given the benefit of a long break-in too.

 

And I mentioned this already, but I'd sure like to try more computer ready DACs. It would be nice to know if there is anything else in the $2K range that floats my boat more than the Ayre. They Ayre does so many things really well, it's hard to fault. But maybe there is a synergistically better DAC out there that may not be as technically good, or overall as good, but for whatever reason, floats my boat more. The Antelope, Bryston, Lavry, Apogee, Chord etc. Maybe I'll get a hiface USB adapter and open up my DAC options. I will also phone some of the other local dealers and see what else is available so I can avoid delays because of shipping.

 

Bryan

 

Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

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In the just under $2k category, I'd try the Wavelength Brick, if I didn't already have the ULN-2, especially as you don't seem to mind having tubes in your system. :)

 

And if I could put my philosophical concerns aside (fat chance), I'd consider the Lavry DA-11.

 

Re the latter, maybe Sanjay (Ciamarra) could provide a loaner for you?

 

clay

 

BTW, what tubes does your LSA use? can't seem to find it on line.

 

 

 

 

 

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Clay, Wavelength appeals to be in that it might be a good synergistic match for my system. But I have read that bass might be a little light. But I only read that once.

 

I'd like to try so many DACs. Hopefully a couple of more might end up in my home. I heard about a Meitner that's with a local dealer.

 

The LSA uses 6922's in the linestage section. It's nice and responds to tube rolling as well.

 

Bryan

 

Dedicated 240V balanced power, Torus RM20-BAL. Mac Mini/Ayre QB-9. LSA Group Signature integrated. Eminent Tech LFT8B speakers. Real Trap and GIK bass traps.

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