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Mac Mini as server questions from newbie


Kippyy
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I've been reading this forum avidly over the past year, and am now ready to plunge into computer-based audio. I presently use the ipod/itransport as my music server. Despite all I've read, I'm still confused about some basic things, and hope I can succinctly clarify my questions.

Intended system:

Mac Mini(headless)/Amarra Mini to Ayre QB9 + Airport express as wi-fi. 50" HD plasma could be connected to Mini.

Desktop imac upstairs.

iphone.

 

Questions:

1) How do I move my itunes music folder from my desktop to the Mini?

I saw the tutorial "How to move itunes library music from 1 computer to another". Will this allow me to use Amarra or do I need to transfer, not copy my music folder to the Mini?

 

2) How do I "sync" my itunes music folders on the desktop and Mini, so that if I download HD Tracks on the desktop it will also be seen on the Mini, without my having to take the extra step to "sync" anything?

Does enabling screen sharing between the desktop and Mini take care of this?

How does this change if I use a Macbook as the remote?

Can I download music on any of the Macs and have it "sync" into the Mini?

 

3) Control of the Mini music server. As I understand it options include:

a) iphone remote app-This controls play, volume via wi-fi connection to Mini.

Pros; Easy, already have, can use itap application when needed to control Mini functions

Cons: Cannot really access full itunes, small screen makes internet browsing a hassle. May need separate mouse/keyboard if itap doesnt work.

 

b) Use Macbook as both remote and actual Mac computer via wi-fi and Screen sharing

Pros; larger screen, more interactive

Cons-$, connectivity/sync issues? Can I have itunes running on the desktop, Macbook and Mini?

 

c) Role of the ipad as remote still uncertain, but seems more like a larger iphone than a Macbook

 

I think I'd like to be able to say, "Let me see what else the Zombies have done" and shop around on a Macbook while I listen, but fear complicating matters with my limited computer knowledge. Help!

 

4) How/where does Airport Express need to be hooked up for this system?

 

5)To use Amarra Mini, itunes volume must be off?

If so, and I'm listening to a playlist that has AIFF + mp3, do I need to manually increase the itunes volume to hear the mp3's?

 

5) Is a hard drive(which I intend to store all my music) with e-SATA(whatever that is) such as a Drobo worth the cost over a cheaper Lacie or Western Digital hard drive?

 

I'm nervous and excited about this at the same time. Thanks for any help that can be provided.

Barry

 

 

Barry K

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1) How do I move my itunes music folder from my desktop to the Mini?

I saw the tutorial "How to move itunes library music from 1 computer to another". Will this allow me to use Amarra or do I need to transfer, not copy my music folder to the Mini?

 

You can do a couple things. First, you can copy the files to the Mini. All you will need to do then is to add them to your itunes library from within itunes. Another option if you have a home server or NAS is to have multiple itunes programs pointed at the same library stored on that server. So you would download tunes to the server and if itunes is setup to watch that folder, it will auto update its library.

 

2) How do I "sync" my itunes music folders on the desktop and Mini, so that if I download HD Tracks on the desktop it will also be seen on the Mini, without my having to take the extra step to "sync" anything?

See above as one option.

 

Does enabling screen sharing between the desktop and Mini take care of this?

No, this just allows you to remotely control one computer from the other.

 

How does this change if I use a Macbook as the remote?

It doesn't. You simply are using another computer to control the other one.

 

Can I download music on any of the Macs and have it "sync" into the Mini?

See 1)

 

3) Control of the Mini music server. As I understand it options include:

a) iphone remote app-This controls play, volume via wi-fi connection to Mini.

Pros; Easy, already have, can use itap application when needed to control Mini functions

Cons: Cannot really access full itunes, small screen makes internet browsing a hassle. May need separate mouse/keyboard if itap doesnt work.

 

b) Use Macbook as both remote and actual Mac computer via wi-fi and Screen sharing

Pros; larger screen, more interactive

Cons-$, connectivity/sync issues? Can I have itunes running on the desktop, Macbook and Mini?

 

c) Role of the ipad as remote still uncertain, but seems more like a larger iphone than a Macbook

 

I think I'd like to be able to say, "Let me see what else the Zombies have done" and shop around on a Macbook while I listen, but fear complicating matters with my limited computer knowledge. Help!

 

Don't fear, computers are designed to do more than one thing at a time. If the macbook is just your remote, then you can setup what you are listening to and then switch programs to browse the web.

 

4) How/where does Airport Express need to be hooked up for this system?

It doesn't if you are connecting the Mini to your DAC and have another router.

 

 

5)To use Amarra Mini, itunes volume must be off?

If so, and I'm listening to a playlist that has AIFF + mp3, do I need to manually increase the itunes volume to hear the mp3's?

No, Amarra takes care of the itunes volume switching.

 

5) Is a hard drive(which I intend to store all my music) with e-SATA(whatever that is) such as a Drobo worth the cost over a cheaper Lacie or Western Digital hard drive?

I would say no, but opinions may vary. It largely depends on the application.

 

 

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While you could use iTunes library on a NAS, and simply have multiple copies of iTunes pointing towards it, you might want to consider having two separate copies on two separate hard drives.

 

The chief benefit to this is you've just made another complete copy of your iTunes Library, so you don't have to worry about a hard drive crashing and wiping out your collection. (And if you're not already backing things up via Time Machine, you should be. That said, I don't trust Time Machine for the entirety of my music collection -- I want to have another backup, as well).

 

As memory is so cheap, there is little extra expense involved, in getting another hard drive. The only issue left is how to keep the two libraries in sync.

 

I do this in a couple of ways. First, if I really want to hear a CD immediately after I purchase it, I can either rip it in the Mini, or rip it on my desktop and then transfer the files to DropBox in the my public folder on the Mini (and then copy them to iTunes).

 

I've also set up a SmartPlaylist in my desktop iTunes (where I do most my ripping) which collects all the music loaded after a certain date -- that date being the last time I copied my iTunes library from my desktop to the Mini.

 

Finally, I use CarbonCopyCloner once a month or so to completely transfer my iTunes library from desktop to Mini -- which gives me an exact, block-level clone of my original iTunes library.

 

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Thanks for the helpful responses. One more question, I'm unclear about.

I'm accustomed to "syncing" my desktop into a mobile unit such as an ipod to ensure identical libraries.

1)If I were to rip new CD's acquired into the Mini to be stored on its hard drive,then the Mini's library would have more data/music than the desktop.

Would I then need to periodically copy the Mini's library into the desktop via USB port to keep them identical?

2)Conversely, if I were to download music onto the desktop, then it would have more music/files than the Mini. I'd then need to copy itunes from the desktop to the Mini?

Keeping track of this seems alot more cumbersome than "syncing".

Do I have this process right? Thanks!

 

Barry K

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Barry --

 

You're correct. This is not an automatic way to ensure that the contents of the two libraries are identical. This is an ad hoc and manual way to the same results.

 

There are some programs out there which purport to actually sync two iTunes libraries, but I've never been able to get them to work. And if I've found the inconvenience involved with manually updating to be be minimal.

 

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