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New member, new Mac Mini 2010 music server - questions


alphonse

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Hi all, I have been lurking for awhile and finally took the plunge and got into this music server stuff. The information I have gathered at this site has most definitely helped with my initial choices of the 2010 Mac Mini, Arcam rDac via USB and external firewire 800 HD for iTunes library.

 

For the most part setup has been plug and play smooth. And I am not a tweako computer guy. Sitting on the couch scrolling through album art with the iPad via the remote app is very cool. I have 235 CDs loaded including some higher bit rate DVD-As. So far I am pleased with the sound quality via iTunes. If anything critical I would say that the sound is a bit too much on the clinical, analytical side.

 

First question. I upgraded to 8Gb of ram right away. Is there anything I need to do in system preferences to make sure I am making the most of it, or does OSX automatically optimize ram utilization?

 

Second question. I am going to do the 15 day trial of Pure Music. Any setup suggestions for PM. I have seen a bunch of posts about using memory mode. Is there an easy way to switch back and forth between iTunes and PM to A/B differences in SQ?

 

I am also open any other SQ improvement suggestions.

 

Thanks to all for the informative posts. This is a great forum.

 

Al

 

 

 

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A few tweaks that are audible on my system include:

 

PM with hog mode- nice change from regular pm. Need to have a mini toslink as well as your usb into the mac and need to set according to directions in readme file.

 

Also after you have experimented a while, be sure to turn off bluetooth and wifi to hear the depth your system can give you. These radio definitely affect sound to the negative. But lots of folks cannot live without the remote, especially mini owners. With my Macbook it is not a problem to run over and use the keyboard and mouse.

 

Also try different usb ports on the mac for the arcam. On some macs the front most port is least used and will sound a bit better, not sure about the mini.

 

Cheers

 

 

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Your comment on the sound being a bit on the clinical side is

about right for the Arcam dac and iTunes. It sounds like you know music and it looks like you certainly know good equipment so the best analogy I can give you is for you to think about when you started in hifi and (if you go back this far) how different cartridges and phono preamps made such a difference in the sound of the system. Although not to the same degree, it is true in computer audio also. Different cables, software, dacs (especially dacs) will have a different

efect on your system. You have started perfectly by getting the tunes onto a good computer and now have control of them...now, it's time to make them sound good.

 

Your trying Pure will go a nice ways toward that and yes, you can (although not easily) switch between iTunes and Pure playing the same track to see which you prefer. It's a fun ride you're now on and if approached with an audiophile sensibilty can be very rewarding. Good luck!

 

PS. To my ears the memory mode is a mixed bag. Try it, it's free to demo!

 

David

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