Setting up a mac mini music server - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 42 Old 03-23-2013, 10:14 AM
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Upon further review it seems people have had this issue for some time.

Poppycock. No one who knows what they're doing has any trouble playing ALAC files with iTunes going back to, oh, say 2001. Even a G3 iBook can play ALAC files perfectly.

You still haven't adequately defined your issue and you're a newbie, so link to whatever Google results you're getting that you think supports your issue. Of course Applecare wouldn't know what you're talking about--you don't really know what you're talking about.

Go back to square one--this ALAC file that supposedly skips...does it skip in exactly the same place all the time, i.e. is it repeatable? If it skips in the same place every time it's a bad disc and bad rip. Try playing it back with VLC, does it skip in the same place or not?

This is connected to your AVR, try playing the suspect files back just with the Mac and headphones and NOT through the AVR--do those suspect files skip? Do they skip when played back via the ATV? If you have an iOS device or another Mac, use iTunes home sharing to play those files back on a different device--do they skip or not?

Do ALL of your ALAC files skip or is it just files from that cd? If multiple files skip, is it repeatable, i.e. do those file skip at exactly the same PLACE IN THE FILE or at various times, i.e. sporadic and random skips or dropouts?

Have you tried swapping a different cable in between your Mac and AVR?

And this is not even getting into where your iTunes media resides, your boot disk, your OS, et al.

Your superdrive is probably fine, but what is it and how is it connected to your Mac?
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post #32 of 42 Old 03-23-2013, 12:34 PM
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Any other Mac people alive? I spent about half hour on the phone with apple care. The guy came to the conclusion that it was running out of memory and causing the drop outs, skips or whatever you want to call them. It's a few hundred to upgrade ram so I will return it. You can upgrade ram to 8gb and processor for 100 bucks each on apples site. Perhaps I will take a peek at pcs... Eeeek !
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post #33 of 42 Old 03-23-2013, 01:02 PM
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Why don't you answer specific questions put to you? Where are your Google links to this widespread problem?
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The guy came to the conclusion that it was running out of memory and causing the drop outs, skips or whatever you want to call them.

Virtually impossible, it takes little CPU resources and practically no memory to play music with iTunes...music isn't intensive...open up Activity Monitor while you're playing something with iTunes and see for yourself. You say you have a brand new quad core Mini, the 2011-2012s came with 4GB of RAM stock if I remember correctly, that's PLENTY for iTunes and running the OS. RAM is not your issue. (And if RAM somehow is your issue, say some other app's processes are way out of control and eating all of your RAM it will show up here in Activity Monitor when you're playing music. Does it?)
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It's a few hundred to upgrade ram so I will return it.

Again, poppycock. 8 GB of RAM for the Mini is $50-60 without even looking hard for a sale. When on sale I got 16GB for my Mini for $65.

I'm now wondering if you're trolling on purpose, for whatever reason, so I'm out of the business trying to help you. As I said, I once had a G3 iBook which could play ALAC files back with a whopping 640 MB of RAM. A G4 Mini circa 2005 or so with 512 MB of RAM easily played ALAC perfectly, it's still in use at a sister's house as a music server (though it has all of 1 GB of RAM now...) Any Mini of recent vintage can play ALAC files perfectly with its stock RAM, however low that may be.

buh bye...I've tried my best...
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post #34 of 42 Old 03-23-2013, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

Why don't you answer specific questions put to you? Where are your Google links to this widespread problem?
Virtually impossible, it takes little CPU resources and practically no memory to play music with iTunes...music isn't intensive...open up Activity Monitor while you're playing something with iTunes and see for yourself. You say you have a brand new quad core Mini, the 2011-2012s came with 4GB of RAM stock if I remember correctly, that's PLENTY for iTunes and running the OS. RAM is not your issue. (And if RAM somehow is your issue, say some other app's processes are way out of control and eating all of your RAM it will show up here in Activity Monitor when you're playing music. Does it?)
Again, poppycock. 8 GB of RAM for the Mini is $50-60 without even looking hard for a sale. When on sale I got 16GB for my Mini for $65.

I'm now wondering if you're trolling on purpose, for whatever reason, so I'm out of the business trying to help you. As I said, I once had a G3 iBook which could play ALAC files back with a whopping 640 MB of RAM. A G4 Mini circa 2005 or so with 512 MB of RAM easily played ALAC perfectly, it's still in use at a sister's house as a music server (though it has all of 1 GB of RAM now...) Any Mini of recent vintage can play ALAC files perfectly with its stock RAM, however low that may be.

buh bye...I've tried my best...

Ok first of all I have been patient with your arrogant irritated comments. I am looking to discuss with people the issues i have been experiencing. I am searching the avenues that I know of. Avs forums, AppleCare, and the good google search bar. I have simply reported the process I am on. All in a "forum". Which is where you discuss things. So have a beer or a pill. Whatever you need to calm down, seriously! And get off your high horse, nobody likes an arrogant attitude it is simply draining...

I spent 35 minutes on the phone with apple care in which they told me the mini was running out of memory. I simply reported this information, that's all. I lay no claim to its reliability as my knowledge is limited on the actual processes of computer operation.

tongue.gif

Also if you would actually read the previous posts you would find that I have specified that the files have not skipped at the same times in the same songs. I deleted and reloaded the same cd 4 times. Every time was different. Once not until song two 1:26 in and then it happened several times. Then the next not until song four at the end of the track then happening several times. But this is the second time I've stated this but since you can't read there ya go kiddo!
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post #35 of 42 Old 03-23-2013, 03:56 PM
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Also it's not during playback. It's something to do with the ripping process as I loaded them on my iPhone 5 and same thing.
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post #36 of 42 Old 03-24-2013, 04:26 PM
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Well I have success. I bought the same mini from the Mac store, ripped a cd in apple lossless, and have completed an entire album with no skips. I spent some time in the apple forums in which the people were very kind to discuss and help me problem solve I add on purpose of course. If somebody doesn't know there terminology or seems inexperienced as I they were still very helpful. smile.gif

It is narrowed to a couple things. Either it was the previous mini which I highly doubt. Also because no other performance issues happened. Or it's the latest version of iTunes. 10.6.3 was installed on the mini and I purposefully left it that way. One of the employees in the Mac store who buys all his music from iTunes. He went on to tell me he as well was having skipping issues during playback. I'm a bit more convinced it was the latest version of iTunes and the ripping process. Either way, same computer no problem. Previous version of iTunes...
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post #37 of 42 Old 03-25-2013, 08:46 PM
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Also further notice is that the older version of iTunes (10.6.3) is ripping the cd slower than iTunes 11 was...
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post #38 of 42 Old 03-31-2013, 11:21 PM
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Successful update. I have been using XLD for encoding apple lossless. Everything works great
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post #39 of 42 Old 07-28-2013, 03:37 PM
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Could someone give me guidance as to were my money will be best spent with regards to SQ.
Im about to order a new MacMini but I'm not sure if the bucks are better spent on more RAM, or a faster processor (i7 instead of i5).
If I use the mini only for music playback, is there an audible difference if I use the internal harddrive or an external NAS? If so maybe thats were the extra cash should go?
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post #40 of 42 Old 07-28-2013, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Audiovector View Post

Could someone give me guidance as to were my money will be best spent with regards to SQ.
Im about to order a new MacMini but I'm not sure if the bucks are better spent on more RAM, or a faster processor (i7 instead of i5).
If I use the mini only for music playback, is there an audible difference if I use the internal harddrive or an external NAS? If so maybe thats were the extra cash should go?

i5 with 4Gb is is sufficient for music playback. I have not found any audible difference between a NAS or the internal drive.
The former is more flexible as the music library can be shared among several devices such as an iPad.
I used a usb disk connected to an Airport Extreme for a few years before building a bigger NAS.

Some of the money could be better spent on a high quality music player, I use Audirvana on my 2011 Mini.
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post #41 of 42 Old 05-09-2014, 10:12 PM
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Hi,

 

I'm new to the world of digital audio and recently got a Mac Mini, mainly for listening to music.

 

It's a 2012 Mac Mini with 8GB memory. The iTunes library is on an external drive (WD My Book).

 

I use Audirvana Plus when listening to music. The Mini is connected to a Schitt Modi DAC via USB. That connects to a Schitt Magni amplifier and I listen on Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohm headphones.

 

I listen mainly to Classical and have a mixture of CDs ripped to iTunes (Apple Lossless, 16/44.1kHz, bitrates typically > 256 kbps) and songs purchased from the iTunes store (AAC, 16/44.1kHz, 256 kbps). 

 

I was pretty happy with the setup. The DT 880 is way better than the Bose or Audio Technica headphones I had been using, I can hear a difference between the DAC and playing straight from the Mac Mini ,and I also think that Audirvana sounds richer than playing straight from iTunes. So I was starting to think this audiophile stuff made some sense. 

 

I decided that the next logical step was to start looking at high res files and I downloaded a couple of songs in both high res (Apple Lossless, 24/88.2kHz, 2464 kbps) and normal (Apple Lossless, 16/44.1 kHz, 612 kbps) to do a comparison. However, when I listen on headphones, I don't hear any difference. 

 

Have I simply hit the limit of what my setup can achieve (I'm not going to hear the high res without upgrading equipment) or am I missing something in how I've set things up (maybe the Mac Mini downgrades everything to 44.1kHz, should I get the optical Modi as opposed to USB, etc?) or am I one of those people who cannot hear above 256 kbps?

 

Also, when playing to speakers, I use Airplay to wirelessly output to stereo speakers connected to an Airport Express. Am I right in assuming that Airplay runs at lower bit rates so high res files are irrelevant?

 

As I said, I'm new to all this so any advice would be welcome.

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post #42 of 42 Old 05-10-2014, 12:07 PM
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The best advice I could give you is to be willing to be more skeptical of the conclusions that you've already reached, namely that you "can hear a difference between the DAC and playing straight from the Mac Mini" and that "Audirvana sounds richer than playing straight from iTunes." There are a lot of variables you have to account for, both in hardware and software, before you can trust those conclusions. You can't ever trust what you think you hear in sighted evaluations, i.e. you are too easily influenced when you know the source you're listening to, when you are doing the switching back and forth between known sources, or when player outputs aren't level-matched. Music just the slightest bit louder will likely be perceived as richer, better or more spacious. Read up on how double-blind comparisons are done properly in audio and on the placebo effect. It actually isn't easy to level match and limit all the variables that can come into play in order to ensure you're comparing apples to apples, in other words so you're actually comparing what you think you're comparing. Historically this hasn't been discussed very much in this sub-forum and AVS forums here in general tend not to be the place that subjectivists and audiophools making specious claims last very long…read around in the "2 channel audio" sub-forum and the "Audio theory, setup and chat" sub-forum and you'll find audio science tends to be scrutinized pretty closely here. Another good place is Hydrogenaudio.com

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?act=idx

whereas more easily-influenced audiophiles and the audiophools tend to congregate at places like ComputerAudiophile and Audioasylum:

http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/etv.mpl?forum=pcaudio

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/forum/

Here are two good current threads but there have been many many good ones over the years:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1527138/is-high-end-audio-obsolete/0_40

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1529833/is-high-resolution-audio-irrelevant/0_40
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I decided that the next logical step was to start looking at high res files and I downloaded a couple of songs in both high res (Apple Lossless, 24/88.2kHz, 2464 kbps) and normal (Apple Lossless, 16/44.1 kHz, 612 kbps) to do a comparison. However, when I listen on headphones, I don't hear any difference.

Not surprising, but realize what really matters is whether they both came from the same master or remaster. In other words, an ALAC 44.1/16 file from a great master/remaster, even if it's ripped from a CD that's 25 years old might sound better than a modern high res version sourced or up sampled from a crappier master. What you really want to do is take a high res file you like, convert it yourself with something like XLD to ALAC, and then switch back and forth between the original and the ALAC in double blind fashion. Unless you're doing something wrong, you won't be able to tell the difference. You probably won't be able to tell the difference between it and a 256 AAC version either.
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when playing to speakers, I use Airplay to wirelessly output to stereo speakers connected to an Airport Express. Am I right in assuming that Airplay runs at lower bit rates so high res files are irrelevant?

The output of an Airport Express is a combo port, it can be analog or digital optical…when I have used an Express to feed optical into my AVRs I think it's sounded wonderful with iTunes and ALAC. When you Airplay audio to an Express, what used to be called AirTunes, that audio stream is transmitted as ALAC, if you're Airplaying ALAC to begin with there's no conversion or re-sampling needed, what you're hearing is your original ALAC file and if using optical it will be bit-perfect. I think the limit to an Express is still 44.1/16 ALAC, if you have some higher res files, say 24/96, in iTunes that you can play over USB to your DAC, those will be down sampled to 44.1/16 ALAC when sent to the Express and output as 44.1/16.

Convert those high res files to ALAC and if you can't reliably detect any difference between them then yes, your high res files are irrelevant when it comes to playback and streaming. The real relevance of the higher res files is if they've come from better mastered or remastered sources, less so the fact that they are high res in and of themselves.
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