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Computer Audio Primer


Dynobot
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I know there are still plenty of people who don't know exactly what Computer Audio is and what its benefits are so I created this Primer for Computer Audio.

 

There are also links for DIY with parts lists for exactly what is needed etc.

 

Enjoy.

 

Computer Audio Primer

Dynobots Computer Audio 

Message Board Banned List: Headfi, MoodeAudio, Roonlabs....

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 RE: Mac Mini vs. MacBook for music server?

 

Thank you @Dynobot: excellent resource!

 

I was looking for some info on the above question in your Primer, and would very much like to hear your opinion, please.

 

I've been getting into computer-based audio, and had been planning on picking up a Mac Mini for use as a music server (perhaps one of the headless models), and have it connected via USB to an external DAC (Gumby, probably) feeding a preamplifier.

 

My question: Does a Mac Mini necessarily make more sense than a MacBook? Is there a real advantage to using a Mini, sonically or otherwise, over MacBook?

 

Thanks for your help on this.
 

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Soundsparks,

 

plan for hours of reading on this forum if you want to get down to the bone of it.

 

Your questions so far are touching the surface and can easily be answered:

 

There are no headless models of a Mini. Headless means you run it without a monitor and put an HDMI dongle into the port so it believes there was a monitor. The rest of your idea is straight forward, USB to DAC.

 

There is no sonical advantage of the Mini over any other Mac. I can tell cause I have 3 at home. It is practical aspect that speaks for the Mini: You need less space, it runs without a display, it is a very cheap in comparison, you can apply some tweaks, it looks better in an audiophile setup or rack. You would then be sitting on your sofa and operate the player software from a Notebook or an iPad or even your iPhone. 

 

Other than that a Macbook Air 2011 on battery sounds at least as good as (in my mind even better) than a Mini but that might be personal taste. I am still running a Mini as my server, found black foiling on the internet and so it does not even stand out in my all black devices setup.

 

That's my 5 cent.

 

 

 

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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Thank you very kindly!

 

7 hours ago, HardrockInMiniMac said:

There is no sonical advantage of the Mini over any other Mac.

This is a great news: saves me quite a bit! Unexpected, since Mini has its PSU inside the body, and MacBook is equipped with an external one...

Could you please comment on the sound of Mini equipped with HDD vs. SSD? I wouldn't expect any differences since under Audirvana Plus all processing done before playback from RAM... Not sure if I got this right...

 

All opinions are most welcome!

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Well, as I said, there are tweaks: My Mini has an external PSU but it came with an internal PSU.

 

No experience with internal HDD vs. SSD as I have had SSD all from the beginning. 

 

If I had to start from scratch and if I still wanted a Mini, I would buy one second hand with max CPU and max RAM but cheapest HDD and get rid of the hard drive, but maybe it is not so much a big deal.

 

Note that Mini is really aged (2014) and there are plenty of other solutions out there maybe worth while looking at too. 

 

Chris

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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19 hours ago, SoundSparks said:

 RE: Mac Mini vs. MacBook for music server?

 

Thank you @Dynobot: excellent resource!

 

I was looking for some info on the above question in your Primer, and would very much like to hear your opinion, please.

 

I've been getting into computer-based audio, and had been planning on picking up a Mac Mini for use as a music server (perhaps one of the headless models), and have it connected via USB to an external DAC (Gumby, probably) feeding a preamplifier.

 

My question: Does a Mac Mini necessarily make more sense than a MacBook? Is there a real advantage to using a Mini, sonically or otherwise, over MacBook?

 

Thanks for your help on this.
 

 

As far as the Primer, more than welcome.

 

Mac Mini vs MacBook, I can only give you my opinion based on observations between laptop/notebooks vs headless computers.

 

I personally like to dedicated my audio machine to only that one task and nothing else. Whether or not the differences are audible depends on the individual. There are many reasons to choose either; MacBook = don't have to ssh into the computer to make adjustments, can play directly from the computer via a GUI, ease of use. Mac Mini = cost perhaps, more dedicated to sound only.

 

Having not done a direct comparison between the two I really can't give a good answer, sorry. Perhaps someone who has compared the two directly can chime in.

 

 

Dynobots Computer Audio 

Message Board Banned List: Headfi, MoodeAudio, Roonlabs....

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