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Mac mini for hosting music files? - Page 2

post #31 of 41
What is a zp90
post #32 of 41
I hope no one minds that I'm resurrecting this thread, which has been very useful to read as I learn about going digital in my system set-up. I also have just bought an apple tv and am in the process of reripping cd tracks in itunes to ALAC to improve sound quality. The question I have is on using a mac mini and how it actually is controlled to play music through my AVR. Can I hook the mac mini direct into my AVR via hdmi? And if so, then what - how would I control playing ALAC files stored in itunes on a mac mini that is acting as a media server? Finally, is it better, from a sound quality perspective, to stream wirelessly from a mac mini via apple tv or better to plug direct into the AVR? Thanks for any help with this...I realize they are newbie questions and hope they are not too dumb etc.
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEinBigD View Post

What is a zp90

One of these things
http://www.sonos.com/shop/products/connect

Digital music streamer that can read files off a server and play them over analog or spdif.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty100 View Post

I hope no one minds that I'm resurrecting this thread, which has been very useful to read as I learn about going digital in my system set-up. I also have just bought an apple tv and am in the process of reripping cd tracks in itunes to ALAC to improve sound quality. The question I have is on using a mac mini and how it actually is controlled to play music through my AVR. Can I hook the mac mini direct into my AVR via hdmi? And if so, then what - how would I control playing ALAC files stored in itunes on a mac mini that is acting as a media server? Finally, is it better, from a sound quality perspective, to stream wirelessly from a mac mini via apple tv or better to plug direct into the AVR? Thanks for any help with this...I realize they are newbie questions and hope they are not too dumb etc.

Yes, I have a 2011 Mini connected via HDMI to the AVR for multichannel sound.

Wireless streaming is prone to dropouts if your environment has a lot of RF (Radio Frequency) noise

I use iTunes as the interface and Audirvana as the actual player, it integrates into iTunes for the album and artist browsing.
http://audirvana.com/

Remote control via the Apple iTunes remote control on the iPad
https://www.apple.com/apps/remote/

If are using an Android tablet or phone then there is a similar app
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hyperfine.hftunes.release&hl=en
post #35 of 41
Thanks for the reply. One more question - do you think using airplay to stream to the apple tv affects the sound quality of the music file? Do you get better SQ by having the mini connected directly into the receiver rather than going wireless? I have noticed a drop-off in SQ with alac music files since I started using an apple tv.
post #36 of 41
Quote:
do you think using airplay to stream to the apple tv affects the sound quality of the music file? Do you get better SQ by having the mini connected directly into the receiver rather than going wireless?
No. I use an Airport Express rather than an Apple TV, and there are slight differences in how they work, but nothing that should be audible. At no point does the signal lose resolution.
Quote:
I have noticed a drop-off in SQ with alac music files since I started using an apple tv.
What kind of a connection were you using before you got the Apple TV?
post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

No. I use an Airport Express rather than an Apple TV, and there are slight differences in how they work, but nothing that should be audible. At no point does the signal lose resolution.
What kind of a connection were you using before you got the Apple TV?

Before I bought the apple tv I was just listening to my cds. Then I ripped them to ALAC and streamed via apple tv, optical out into my AVR, out to my B&W CM1s. First time I've really experimented with digital music in this way and I am a little disappointed. It's not terrible by any means and I love the convenience but I think I hear a difference in SQ from cd to ALAC streamed via airplay and even more so with music purchased from the itunes store (which I realize are 256kpbs but still it shouldn't be that noticeable, right?). Hence I was wondering if I could improve the sound by getting a mac mini and plugging directly into the AVR. Or indeed purchasing a network streamer and going that route into the AVR? Thanks for any advice!
post #38 of 41
One possibility is that the feed from your old CD player is just a little bit higher in level than what you get when you feed a digital signal to your AVR, and that's what makes your CDs sound better. There's also the simple power of suggestion. People don't like to be told that "it's all in your head," but it often is, and we're all subject to it. (Your brain just can't forget that it's 256 kbps, even if you "know" that shouldn't make much difference.) I don't think a change in hardware is going to make a real difference in your case.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

One possibility is that the feed from your old CD player is just a little bit higher in level than what you get when you feed a digital signal to your AVR, and that's what makes your CDs sound better. There's also the simple power of suggestion. People don't like to be told that "it's all in your head," but it often is, and we're all subject to it. (Your brain just can't forget that it's 256 kbps, even if you "know" that shouldn't make much difference.) I don't think a change in hardware is going to make a real difference in your case.

Yeah, I don't want to overthink decrease in SQ because I "know" it's 256kbps rather than lossless etc. However, I can't get away from what is quite noticeable sibilance when I play streamed ALAC files vs. their cd equivalents. Kinda driving me nuts...! Hence, I was wondering if equipment or source was to blame. No sibilance effect when playing cds...
post #40 of 41
Burn a CD-R from some ALAC files, and see how that compares to the original CD and the streamed files.
post #41 of 41
Good idea, I will do that. thanks
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