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just ordered the new Mac mini. What do you think about it as a media server.

i was waiting for the new one to arrive as managed no F-upp the connector to the fan In my old mac mini while replacing HD to SSD. so for a couple of years it has been standing on laptop cooler,?

is there any benefit using the new usb-c/thunderbolt connection while playing music. ?

I am using audirvana to my dac

 

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as a media server, it is way, way overpriced...

 

@mansr

said there was no benefit to Thumperbolt to the DAC - still needs galv. isolation & buffers solve any speed issues anyway

 

dunno if Audirvana might benefit from one or more of the above


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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Thunderbolt is basically PCIe over a cable, providing much higher bandwidth than USB2 and lower overhead than USB3. For normal music playback, USB2 is more than adequate, so there's no benefit from using a more advanced interface. Besides, the vast majority of DACs have only USB2 inputs anyway.

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 Two items.

   I accidentally removed the connector for the fan while swapping out SSD drives in one of my Mini’s. 

  Sent it to a place in NYC and they repaired the motherboard for around 90.00. They advertise on eBay. They fixed the power up issue in a 2009 model I had with motherboard surgery and it lasted another five years.

  I think TB1/TB2 buss is huge. But have a couple TB buss interfaces  to utilize it. If you have a FiveWire interface the TB port with an Apple TB to FW converter sounds better than the FW buss. 

  Also now using a Corning optical Thunderbolt cable to connect Mini to dac. It does have galvanic isolation. And costs less than many USB2 cables and also the multitude of USB gadgets. 

  The newer Mac Mini’s may be better than the old ones. But I like being able to install 16 GB of 1600 MHz ram in one for 80.00. Plus install larger and better SSD. The Samsung 860 Pro in 500 GB are now under a 100.00.

  I purchased two spares instead of a new one. 


 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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11 minutes ago, Panelhead said:

 Two items.

   I accidentally removed the connector for the fan while swapping out SSD drives in one of my Mini’s. 

  Sent it to a place in NYC and they repaired the motherboard for around 90.00. They advertise on eBay. They fixed the power up issue in a 2009 model I had with motherboard surgery and it lasted another five years.

  I think TB1/TB2 buss is huge. But have a couple TB buss interfaces  to utilize it. If you have a FiveWire interface the TB port with an Apple TB to FW converter sounds better than the FW buss. 

  Also now using a Corning optical Thunderbolt cable to connect Mini to dac. It does have galvanic isolation. And costs less than many USB2 cables and also the multitude of USB gadgets. 

  The newer Mac Mini’s may be better than the old ones. But I like being able to install 16 GB of 1600 MHz ram in one for 80.00. Plus install larger and better SSD. The Samsung 860 Pro in 500 GB are now under a 100.00.

  I purchased two spares instead of a new one. 

Well i live in Sweden and did not find anywhere to repair my old mac mini. 

The memory is upgradable in the new mac mini. But the SSD is not. I don't se that as a problem,  i am using external disc to store music and film files. 

I think i have seen on software forum that it is recommended to have the external disc on thunderbolt connection.

Dac i will be using regular USB-a connection. But i guess it is possible to connect the Dac also to USB-C/thunderbolt connection using an adapter.  

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  I thought the Ram is welded in now. Supposedly more reliable, but never heard anyone needing to reseat the SO-DIM modules. 


 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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1 minute ago, Panelhead said:

  I thought the Ram is welded in now. Supposedly more reliable, but never heard anyone needing to reseat the SO-DIM modules. 

Mac mini

2012 sq-dimm

2014 soldered memory

2018 sq.dimm up to 64GB

if you choose to upgrade to 64gb on apple shop. It cost whooping 1400 dollar

 

 

 

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just use the regular USB-A connection - but galvanic isolation is what you want - some DACs do it internally (which is likely best)


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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mansr "Thunderbolt is basically PCIe over a cable, providing much higher bandwidth than USB2 and lower overhead than USB3. For normal music playback, USB2 is more than adequate, so there's no benefit from using a more advanced interface. Besides, the vast majority of DACs have only USB2 inputs anyway. "

 

so it sounds interesting
then why a lot of company design and produce DDCs ? (USB converters before the DAC)  e.g: http://www.coreaudio.eu/karuna-reference-usb-s-pdif-converter

They say USB2 is actually a data output which is not really fits for audio.

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Just ordered a 2018 Mac Mini last week. Planning to use it to handle the grunt-work of HQPlayer processing. (I already have an audiophile music server, but it has an i3 processor and can't handle doing HQPlayer upsampling past 192k PCM.)

 

I'm going to dual-boot it between MacOS and Windows 10. With Windows available, I can skip using iTunes and get something more versatile. With MacOS there aren't a lot of choices available.

 

Has anyone else purchased a new Mac Mini for audio purposes?

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On 11/4/2018 at 7:39 PM, Ralf11 said:

just use the regular USB-A connection - but galvanic isolation is what you want - some DACs do it internally (which is likely best)

I have just set up a Mac Mini 2018 as a headless server.

 

It's the basic quad-core i3, but with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD.

 

Yes, it does need some isolation: I was previously using my MacBook with Audirvana (as proof of concept before buying the Mini) and it was excellent save dropouts when playing (only) QuadDSD files. I would have assumed that my DAC (SA-10) was fairly competently designed. 

 

Same happened with the Mac Mini until I inserted an iFi nano iGalvanic3 isolator. In one of the three switch positions ("DC-RF") the dropouts are gone (although in other two "ISO" and "RF") they remain.

 

The basic Mini is very good - processor activity probably maxes at 60% (across all 4 cores) when loading a QuadDSD song into memory, but drops to ca. 25% or less when playing. The CPU usage seems pretty much linked to file depth.

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The Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C dual purpose interface will work in USB 2.0 (or USB 3.0) mode for a typical DAC that requires a USB A-B cable. My Topping D50 DAC is connected via a USB-C to USB-B cable with the USB-C end plugged into one of the TB3 ports on the back of my iMac. It's a decent quality cable that's shielded well and is the shortest length that I could get away with. I've had zero issues with the music produced from the DAC using this method of connection.

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The i7 Mac Mini can produce a lot of heat when it's worked hard. When I use HQPlayer to upsample to DSD256 with demanding filters, core temperature can go up to 90C-100C, which causes CPU throttling to occur. I've solved this issue via software and accessories. I purchased a Mac app that overrides the Mini's fan settings and allows me to customize them. I run the fans at their maximum setting (it's not very loud) for as long as I use the computer. I also purchased a set of 4 isolation cones from Parts Express ($30) and used them to lift the Mini off the surface of my desk. Now the maximum core temperature doesn't go above 60C and no throttling is occurring, as far as I can tell.

 

I wish Apple had incorporated better passive and active cooling to accommodate the increase in heat from faster processors, but I've made the best of it.

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On 3/13/2019 at 11:22 AM, dc-audiogeek said:

The i7 Mac Mini can produce a lot of heat when it's worked hard. When I use HQPlayer to upsample to DSD256 with demanding filters, core temperature can go up to 90C-100C, which causes CPU throttling to occur. I've solved this issue via software and accessories. I purchased a Mac app that overrides the Mini's fan settings and allows me to customize them. I run the fans at their maximum setting (it's not very loud) for as long as I use the computer. I also purchased a set of 4 isolation cones from Parts Express ($30) and used them to lift the Mini off the surface of my desk. Now the maximum core temperature doesn't go above 60C and no throttling is occurring, as far as I can tell.

 

I wish Apple had incorporated better passive and active cooling to accommodate the increase in heat from faster processors, but I've made the best of it.

 

What filters can't your Mac Mini handle?  I'm looking at a Mac Mini to replace my 2008 Mac Pro as a central server & HQPlayer machine.

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1 hour ago, Sevenfeet said:

 

What filters can't your Mac Mini handle?  I'm looking at a Mac Mini to replace my 2008 Mac Pro as a central server & HQPlayer machine.

I do like my Mini quite a bit, but it's not at all an ideal audio machine/server.

 

You know about all the issues with the T2 chip and audio in the newer Mac models, right (like you can't install Linux or any other operating system but Windows)?  I wish I'd known about them before I bought the Mini. It's very difficult to get inside it to add your own RAM, not to mention the SSD is soldered to the logic board, which isn't ideal if you ever want to swap it out for a newer model.

 

As a server to my NAA, my Mac Mini can handle all of HQ's DSD256 filters. I'm using it as a HQPlayer/Roon server for my NAA. It is connected via a network switch via Ethernet. Mine was getting unpleasantly hot and the cores maxed out with the XTR and Closed-Form-16M filter. Once I added the isolation cones, it could handle them without any thermal issues and lower CPU usage. The core temperature doesn't go over 60% (or lower) running XTR and Closed-Form-16M filters, which is the lowest temp I've seen the Mini reach with my octa-core i7 chip, 32 GB of RAM, and a 1 GB SSD drive.

 

I'm not sure about the Mini's HQPlayer DSD512 capabilities. I have not tried sending DSD512 audio via Ethernet. I use my Mini with a monitor, not as a headless source. I'd need to use it as a headless server if I wanted it to feed either of my DACs directly.

 

There are limitations on the level of HQPlayer-upsampled DSD that the Mini can put out when it's directly connected to a DAC. I've read conflicting information that it can only put out DSD128 and/or DSD256 at most. 

 

If you're not already tied into the Apple ecosystem, I'd suggest looking at the newest configurable Intel NUCs instead. They are a little bit cheaper, can output DSD256/512 directly to a DAC, and have the same (or better) abilities with HQPlayer.

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Oh, I forgot to add that when the Mini is running XTR or closed-form filters with HQPlayer at DSD256, the CPU load is about 30%. So it could probably handle DSD512 (as a server streaming to the NAA).

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3 hours ago, dc-audiogeek said:

I do like my Mini quite a bit, but it's not at all an ideal audio machine/server.

 

You know about all the issues with the T2 chip and audio in the newer Mac models, right (like you can't install Linux or any other operating system but Windows)?  I wish I'd known about them before I bought the Mini. It's very difficult to get inside it to add your own RAM, not to mention the SSD is soldered to the logic board, which isn't ideal if you ever want to swap it out for a newer model.

 

As a server to my NAA, my Mac Mini can handle all of HQ's DSD256 filters. I'm using it as a HQPlayer/Roon server for my NAA. It is connected via a network switch via Ethernet. Mine was getting unpleasantly hot and the cores maxed out with the XTR and Closed-Form-16M filter. Once I added the isolation cones, it could handle them without any thermal issues and lower CPU usage. The core temperature doesn't go over 60% (or lower) running XTR and Closed-Form-16M filters, which is the lowest temp I've seen the Mini reach with my octa-core i7 chip, 32 GB of RAM, and a 1 GB SSD drive.

 

I'm not sure about the Mini's HQPlayer DSD512 capabilities. I have not tried sending DSD512 audio via Ethernet. I use my Mini with a monitor, not as a headless source. I'd need to use it as a headless server if I wanted it to feed either of my DACs directly.

 

There are limitations on the level of HQPlayer-upsampled DSD that the Mini can put out when it's directly connected to a DAC. I've read conflicting information that it can only put out DSD128 and/or DSD256 at most. 

 

If you're not already tied into the Apple ecosystem, I'd suggest looking at the newest configurable Intel NUCs instead. They are a little bit cheaper, can output DSD256/512 directly to a DAC, and have the same (or better) abilities with HQPlayer.

 

First, you can disable the T2's security measures with a supplied Apple utility so you can boot to Linux if you want.  However, it's not on the main boot volume.  You'll need to boot from the recovery partition to access it ("Startup Security Utility").  Reboot with the option key pressed to access the recovery partition.

 

My Roon/HQPlayer machine as I mentioned is a 2008 Mac Pro.  It was pretty stout 10 years ago or even five years ago but a modern Mac Mini will run rings around it.  But the Mac Pro has much better thermals....so your methods of dealing with it are of great interest to me.  My Mac Pro sits under the house in a non-living space so I don't care about running the fan at high speed all day since no one would hear it, especially over the din of my Dell Poweredge server :).  (It's also ancient).

 

As you may have guessed, I'm fully steeped in the Mac/iOS universe so while I can certainly build/operate a NUC Linux machine, I'd rather just go with a Mac Mini since I want to run Plex and a few other things the Mac Pro is doing now.  And I don't care about a Mac Mini directly accessing a DAC since the DAC it would talk to (my Oppo 205) has a NAA if its own....in this case an elderly 2008 iMac running Windows 10.  It's too slow for regular general use but it makes a perfectly serviceable NAA and/or Roon client.  As it stands, nothing in my house is powerful enough to run the Oppo at DSD512 but it sounds like the Mac Mini can except for non -2 filters, which are currently not runable on most people's rigs.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sevenfeet said:

First, you can disable the T2's security measures with a supplied Apple utility so you can boot to Linux if you want.  However, it's not on the main boot volume.  You'll need to boot from the recovery partition to access it ("Startup Security Utility").  Reboot with the option key pressed to access the recovery partition.

 

As Consuela would say, "No...no...no." You, sir, do not actually own a new Mac Mini. I do. 😁I have tried this "solution."  It doesn't work at all. You cannot install Linux or boot from a linux hard drive at this point. I am working with Euphony Audio, which makes a Linux-based audiophile OS, to try to get this to work. Their engineering team has not any luck so far, and I have not seen any proof in an online forum or news post showing that it's possible.

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 I am running a late 2012 i5 with 16 Gb of 1600Mhz ram. Plus big SSD. Use a Corning optical to connect to TB Dax.

  Purchased a NUC to hack. 16 Gb of 2400 MHz ram. Running 500 gb M2 Evo 970 and 500 gb of Evo 860 SSD. 

  But not sure even with TB3 to TB2 adapter optical cable will work. Also the WiFi will not work with MAC OS. 

  Should I install MAC and hacks? The M2 SSD is 6 times faster than any 2.5” SSD. 

  Read all the directions to make a Hackintosh, looks simple. But updates to OS can stall them.


 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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10 hours ago, dc-audiogeek said:

 

As Consuela would say, "No...no...no." You, sir, do not actually own a new Mac Mini. I do. 😁I have tried this "solution."  It doesn't work at all. You cannot install Linux or boot from a linux hard drive at this point. I am working with Euphony Audio, which makes a Linux-based audiophile OS, to try to get this to work. Their engineering team has not any luck so far, and I have not seen any proof in an online forum or news post showing that it's possible.

 

OK true.  I did read about the solution online but I guess you can't trust that pesky Internet sometimes. 😁  Oh well.  In any case, my needs aren't centered around running my favorite Linux distro on a Mac.  If I got a new Mac Mini, it would be running MacOS.  But again, if a Mac Mini Core i7 machine could tackle most HQPlayer duties, then i'd be fine.  All I'd need is 512MB for a boot volume or maybe 1TB for a stretch purchase since everything else this machine does would be on the USB 3 and Thunderbolt attached external storage.

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Good news! The Mac Mini can do native DSD512, at least the less demanding filters. I spent a few hours fiddling with the settings, but had to stop because I have other stuff to do. What was weird is that the Mini really struggled with upsampling to DSD512 for the beginning of the first song-- heat going up to 100C and CPU usage at 100% -- but then things settled down and the heat went back down to 60C and the CPU usage went down to 50% or so. Maybe the initial conversion is the hard part? I had buffering set at 250ms. 

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  I am lost on this.

 I think Apple with add the M2 memory soon. The EVO 970 sticks have read speed rating of 3500 MB/sec. The write is around 2500. Smokes the 2.5” SSD. 

  Built a NUC with these, but been concerned how fragile the Hackintosh is. People with them are constantly changing the settings to address OS updates. Just have Windows 10 on it for now.

  I think I would replace my late 2012 Mini with a new model Mini if it was able to use the latest chips and drives. 


 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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