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Mac Mini sound gets worse over time


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Mac Mini mid 2011


120 GB flashdrive


No matter if I use the minijack, the toslink OR the USB to another DAC, the sound gets worse over the hours. Sounds as heavy jitter actually. Thought it might be due to heating, or lack of RAM. But it's none of those. A simple restart cures it for some hours, and then it comes again.


For the stangest of reasons, my 16GB Mac Book Pro with 512 GB flash sounds not nearly as good, as the mini. No matter what output tried as above.


What's the fix boys?

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2 hours ago, look&listen said:


Try watching Activity Monitor apps CPU, Memory ,Disk, and Network graphs over that time. Maybe a clue ?


It doesn't offer any clue, to me at least - They don't seem to go anywhere, like they do on a PC. There are a mio threads running, but no one really uses a lot, except from 





and agent for photo, but as soon as I kill it, it respawns that little twat! Same with calendar agent a the others.

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On 15.1.2018 at 7:41 PM, dude2010 said:

What's the fix boys?


You are looking for a fix? Find the culprit first:


In your situation I would at least get me an SD-Card, put OSX and a few songs onto it, disable the internal drive (unmount) as well as Bluetooth, IR, WLAN and all services that are not required (Time Machine and others, lists can be found here and in google).


I believe your Mac got an external PSU right? Replace it with a compatible standard PSU just for testing - I got me one for 50 bucks just in case.


Use the USB-port to connect with your DAC and do not use any of the other USB ports or any other port than LAN port maybe. In case you connect a LAN cable run the MacMini headless and manage it from your Macbook by screen sharing. You will need a headless adapter to improve display resolution through your Macbook and reduce CPU-load on the MacMini but I do not think this will cause your issue. However, UBS doesn't cause it either because I have had mine on USB for over a year now with no issues.


Then play and listen to your music over a while. If the effect still occurs your MacMini is ok and the root cause is somewhere outside the device. I would then test a different DAC, lend one from a friend...


Hope this helps,


Software > Roon Server & HQ Player4 on Windows 2019/AO & MacMini MMK (plus Audirvana 3.5)  > Netgear GS105EV2 > Meicord Opal > Naim NDX 2 > Naim SN2 + Lyngdorf CD-2 + Rega RP8/Aria >  > Harbeth SHL5 plus

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I haven't done a single one of those hardware modifications listed above, and leave my mac mini on for weeks at a time, or longer, with no sound degradation.  


Before spending any money on any of these (or other) "upgrades", try to find out what the offending process is.


It would be worth turning off Time Machine, and Spotlight/md processes. Open up activity monitor, and make sure you are watching all of the processes, not just "my processes."


I install MenuMeters on all of my macs, to keep an eye on things.

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  • 1 month later...

Here are a bunch of things you could adjust if you wish.


I found that repairing disk permissions as described in this link had an audible effect on SQ and did that about once every two weeks or so.




Also  on my win machine I noticed if I had Plex loaded at startup that the sound was not as good as when I exited it before playing music.


Good luck in hunting down the Gremlins, it can be challenging.

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