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Repurpose Mac Mini or use a streaming box?

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After ten years of storing my last HiFi system and dragging it thousands of miles and through 3 moves, it now has a home.  Of course things have changed, namely streaming.  In the interim I picked up a couple of original Sonos Play Ones and enjoy the convenience of streaming. 

 

Been reading up on the new Sonos Port, Bluesound Node 2i, and now thinking about starting off by repurposing my Mac Mini 2014, currently wiped clean and in storage.  

 

Been searching posts, and I believe this will work for me using 3.5 headphone to RCA splitter cables to my Marantz receiver, Roon software on the Mini, and Roon app on my iPhone.  Storage could be Mini internal/external, or network NAS.  I’ve read about various Mini mods, but for now this should provide streaming quality equivalent to CD 16/44, or am I overlooking something?

 

Thanks - Alan

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I am currently repurposing my 2011 Mac mini as a Roon endpoint into my receiver via USB, but there is no reason you couldn't use a 3.5mm to RCA cable as well. It works very well for me and I can't see why it wouldn't for you as well.

 

ROON makes it ridiculously simple.


No electron left behind...

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Thanks AudioDoctor!

 

Not familiar with USB to audio receiver cables and frankly I don’t recall exactly what input options are on my receiver (it’s in another state), but it’s not that old and likely has HDMI, Toslink, and of course RCA.  

 

Happy to hear it should work as I envision.  

 

 

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My receiver (McIntosh MAC7200) has a built in DAC, one of its connections is USB and that's the one I am using. 

 

I know it will work because I have a 3.5mm cable going between my Mini and the Receiver as well as the USB to the DAC. If I want I can play ROON via that connection too. I don't, but I sure could.

 

Which model Marantz is it?

 


No electron left behind...

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Fuzzy memory, however I believe it’s a Marantz SR8001.  Can’t confirm that until November when we make our final move.  Last trip to our new home, I did unpack the receiver and a pair of Definitive Technology towers, played local FM station and it sounded good.  Also have a OPPO player but all my discs are still in storage. I was just a few months into setting up the system ten years ago, then had to pack it up - until now.  

 

Planning to avoid spending on more hardware - for now.  I have enjoyed Sonos but it’s limited to 16/44.   Bluesound has good hardware reviews, but BluOS software not so much.  Roon has very positive reviews, and they have a free trial.  

 

thanks again!

 

 

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If your memory is correct that model has digital optical inputs and you can use those as well from the Mini. The headphone out (3.5mm) is also an optical out. That would enable the use of the DAC(s) in the receiver and might sound better than the Mini.


No electron left behind...

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They say that those of us that can delay gratification are more intelligent.

 

Thats what I tell myself when I am waiting rather than rushing out and doing it (whatever it may be) at that moment.


No electron left behind...

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Thanks for starting this post.  Audio Doctor, my music library is on my Mac Mini,  I use my Apple TV to select my iTunes music to play on my receiver.  Sounds like you are doing  it directly to the receiver.  How do you see/select files ?

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Roon server is on the mini and I control it with either Roon remote on iPhone or iPad or my MacBook Pro with the Roon software as well. 


No electron left behind...

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I will have to explore this Roon server.  Using my Apple TV, I can display album art work and song information.  I am able to select among my playlist.  Does Roon do similar things?

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Yes. Roon is pretty neat. There is a free trial to give it a whirl. I don’t know of a way to display album artwork on your tv though. But you can control the Roon server with an iDevice or a laptop running either windows or Mac OS. 


No electron left behind...

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6 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

Yes. Roon is pretty neat. There is a free trial to give it a whirl. I don’t know of a way to display album artwork on your tv though. But you can control the Roon server with an iDevice or a laptop running either windows or Mac OS. 

Thanks, that is one of the benefits with using the Apple TV and mini on my receiver, I guess. I enjoy seeing album artwork, especially when listening to a playlist.  I can turn off the tv when not needed.

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On 10/2/2019 at 6:59 AM, cambridgehank said:

Thanks, that is one of the benefits with using the Apple TV and mini on my receiver, I guess. I enjoy seeing album artwork, especially when listening to a playlist.  I can turn off the tv when not needed.

 

I enjoy this too. 

 

Roon has a number of different ways to do it:

 

https://kb.roonlabs.com/Displays

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We are setting up a winter home.  One of our children works for Sonos and convinced me that receivers are old school.  I will see.  I will also look to see if Roon works in this new century lol?

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15 hours ago, cambridgehank said:

We are setting up a winter home.  One of our children works for Sonos and convinced me that receivers are old school.  I will see.  I will also look to see if Roon works in this new century lol?

I have a Sonos Amp in my office; I love it. It's minimal, and works with AirPlay. I don't need anything fancy, and this suits my needs perfectly. 

 

Sonos speakers are fine, but with the Sonos Amp, you can use any speakers you want. (As you would with any amplifier.) 


I write about Macs, iTunes, music, and more at Kirkville.

Author of Take Control of iTunes 12

Co-host of The Next Track podcast.

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15 hours ago, cambridgehank said:

On Saturday, I begin my 75th year.  So Yes I am old school.  But family knows I like my jazz in the evening, so I am hoping for Sonos speakers Saturday.

All the best to you in your 75th! Hoping it brings you good health (and good speakers).

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