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Does an external power supply and great power cord help much with Mac Mini 2010?


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Hi, I have a Mac Mini 2010 with SSD connected to a firewire 4tb drive with AIFF files. Mac Mini sits on a Symposium Svelte Shelf. Mac Mini feeds to a John Kenny Mk2 Hiface mod -> BNC cable with attenuators -> DAC -> pre-amp The Mac Mini and AC adapter for the John Kenny are on a regular house circuit. The stereo is on an exclusive 20 amp circuit with 10 gauge THHN wire, hospital/commercial grade outlet with hospital grounds (that outperforms in A and B blind test a Synergistic Tesla Plex outlet). An audio buddy thinks I'll get better results sonically if I buy, as he did, a Bolder power supply for the Mac Mini and power the Bolder with an expensive power cord (he uses a JPS Aluminata and another buddy uses a Synergistic Research Hologram D). Does any one know why I would benefit sonically by having an external power supply and expensive power cord for the Mac Mini with this setup?

 

MG555

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We've got to hear the Mac Mini on an external power supply and on battery power. Both are noticeably better than a Mac using the stock power supply. I currently run one of our Mach2 Servers on battery.

 

The noise floor is lowered greatly. There is better separation between instruments, the attack/slam is greater, less harshness, wider/deep soundstage, etc.

 

 

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Mike,

 

If you put the Mac Mini on a linear power supply or battery, you are doing two things that help the sound.

 

1) DC power is cleaner than AC power.

2) You are removing the noisy switching power supply that is built in to the Mac.

 

The net result is that you are going to lower the noise floor. The separation between instruments will be better, bass tighter, more detail in the music will be apparent, and the soundstage will be wider/deeper.

 

 

 

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The earlier models with the power brick were easy to swap for a better supply. The 2010 model will require surgery to swap out.

But there may be enough benefits to make it worth it. Someone had looked at what is required to replace the internal supply with a linear external. But do not remember seeing where anyone had actually done it.

I have not tried the upgrade power cables for switching supplies. But others swear by the results. We all have opinions on power cables.

 

George

 

 

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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Here is something to consider if you think you might opt for a linear regulated power supply. First , like others have said "it's a good thing" as Martha Stewart would say. Second, maximize your investment. Though Bolder undoubtedly makes a good PS I think you should consider going outside of the audiophile manufacturer community when you opt for a power supply. There are many good manufacturers that make them for high accuracy instrumentation that I'm sure would meet your needs, and would do it for a good price.

 

The Bolder specifies 3.5 amps output. At 12 volts that equates to 42 watts for around $600. I recently ordered a 12 volt power supply from Acopian that puts out a minimum of 14amps and it costs $500. That power rises to 21 amps if you have a fan or air circulation that keeps it's temp below 40C. It has a maximum rated output ripple voltage of .00025 volts. Because it puts out so much power I I'm maximizing its use. Besides powering my 12volt motherboard it will also power outboard hard drives, and a streaming video device (WD live hub) that now use 12volt wall warts. The benefit of

this is that all the switching power supplies feeding your music system can be eliminated and you can plug the new ps directly into the line feeding your main music system. I haven't wired the plugs and cords from those wall warts into the new power supply but that is the next part of the project. Just some more options.

 

If you go this route just make sure all those other devices also use the same voltage

and make sure you wire the plugs with the correct polarity to the new ps.

 

Edit: I also have an audio video switcher that acts like the control function in a preamplifier. I use it for everything with video except for jrmc. It also has digital/analog audio format converters in it for these secondary sources so it deserves a good power supply. In fact, often the difference between a mid-fi device in this category and a hi-fi device is mainly the power supply. I selected one that also uses a 12volt wall wart. It will be wired into the ps also.

 

 

 

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One thing to keep in mind when changing a computer's main power supply is that you can never swap the little switching power supplies that are on the motherboard.

 

Getting rid of the main switching noise making PSU may be a good thing so I don't want to discount anyone's experience with such a modification. But I also think people should realize they are feeding switching supplies with a linear supply.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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"But I also think people should realize they are feeding switching supplies with a linear supply."

 

Good point, Chris, I think that the benefit of a linear PS feeding a computer is from the elimination of the noise that the SMPS puts back into the AC circuit.

 

I prefer to simply isolate my computer from the AC circuit with dedicated conditioners (by dedicated, I mean no other devices on that conditioner). I use an Audience Adept AR1P which I picked up used on ebay. PS Audio makes similar devices. Also, one can use a device made for the ham radio market. I use both, but with no fancy power cord, or linear PS.

 

 

 

 

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"Good point, Chris, I think that the benefit of a linear PS feeding a computer is from the elimination of the noise that the SMPS puts back into the AC circuit."

 

Yeah, that is the main point. Even though there is switching done right on the MB, as Chris said, the linear power supply pretty much eliminates that from feeding back into other boxes.

 

 

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Yeah, you are right. But a good one one like a Shunyata power snake can set you back $600 for just one. I know because i own two of them. They work. But I would argue that there are many ways to solve power supply problems. And I think you can argue that a fairly high power low voltage supply can provide huge bang for the buck that largely overlooked. It can hugely improve even mediocre products, and not just one at a time. A low voltage linear power supply is the counterpart to the ac power conditioner or regenerator. If one cares enough to own one of them then you should get the other.

 

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