Since 2011, I have used a Mac Mini as my primary music source. Until late 2013, I happily used iTunes/Pure Music, with a Tact 2.2 Room Correction preamp for DSP, running digital out into a separate DAC. Last October, I installed Amarra Symphony with IRC to take advantage of integrated room correction and EQ, eliminating the need for the Tact unit and its attendant wires/power cord. My Mac Mini is a 2.4Ghz dual core with 8GB of ram. I am still using Snow Leopard, the OS that came with the Mac Mini when I bought it. I run my music off of a Fire wire external drive, and I connect the Mac to a Berkeley USB adapter to a Berkeley Alpha Dac 2. I run no other programs when playing music.
Things work well so long as I stay at 16/44.1, but if I try to switch to an 88.2 or 96K hi-rez source, the “pinwheel” turns, and the tracks will eventually load. If I try to switch from a 44.1 to play a 176 or 192 source, I usually have to force quit Amarra and restart it. And if I pause during a track on a hi-rez track, it will not resume – I have to force quit again. This happens whether I use the Amarra Playlist or iTunes. I usually use the cache mode, since I want to take advantage memory play. I have tried disengaging IRC and Cache mode, but I still have the problem.
I never had these issues when I used Pure Music, but of course it does not have room correction.
As I see it, I have several options: 1) a newer Mac with a higher speed processor, 2) updating from Snow Leopard to the current Apple OS, and 3) installing a solid state drive for the operating system and apps.
What I is to make these improvements and wind up with only a minor, incremental improvement in performance. A final option I might consider is investing in a standalone Correction software such as Dirac (since I have the right microphone already), and if it can run it with Pure Music.
I am very interested in anyone’s thoughts and suggestions.
MacMini-Berkeley USB Adapter-Berkeley Alpha 2 DAC-Mark Levinson 431-Magnepan 3.7’s. Audioquest USB, Analysis Plus Digital Crystal Balanced Digital, MIT interconnects and speaker cables.