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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,


I've been starting to think about getting a Mac Mini to be dedicated to my AV System.


Here is the article that got me started thinking in this direction:

http://www.avguide.com/blog/building...1?src=Playback


I've been using Apple computers since my Apple //e in the mid 1980's & Macs since 1992, so I am familiar with Mac OS X ("I don't do Windoze", even though I have built 3 WinTel machines for my Dad over the years)


I would want to use the Mac Mini primarily as a Music Server, loading my collection of CD's into it (my 301 disc Pioneer Changer is full & I've got plenty more of CD's). I would also want put to the home movies that I've burned to DVD's on it.


As for my current system, here it is:


Pioneer Elite VSX36TX Receiver

Pioneer Elite PD-F27 Compact Disc Player

Sharp 37" LCD Flat Panel Monitor LC-37D90U

OPPO BDP-83 Blu-Ray Player

DirecTV HR20 Receiver/DVR


As the VSX36TX Receiver does not have HDMI Switching, I am running HDMI cables directly from the BDP-83 and the HR20 to the Sharp Monitor. I still have a DVI input available on the Monitor, so I guess that I could run DVI from the Mac Mini to the Monitor. However, I believe that an adapter is required to hook up a standard DVI cable to the Mini, correct?


I still have an Optical input available on the Pioneer Elite VSX36TX Receiver, so I believe that I can hook up the Mac Mini to that, but once again, the optical output on the Mini is not a standard AV connection & I would need an adapter to hook up a standard Toslink Optical cable, right?


One thing about my set up, I am running analog Left & Right channel audio out cables from the VSX36TX to a second receiver located in the Living Room & also to my bedroom, playing over my computer's speakers up there. I have found out the hard way (don't ask!) that the VSX36TX will not send a digital signal in (either via Coax or Optical) to the analog Left & Right channel outputs, so I believe that I would also need an analog Left & Right signal in addition to the Digital Optical signal going to the VSX36TX from the Mac Mini.


I've heard of the need for a DAC. Would that be required in my case?
 

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A mac mini is a great choice for a music server. I was screwing around for the past month with an old computer trying to make it run smoothly, and finally gave up and bought a mini. Based on what you've said already, I only have one question: the movies you want to put on it, any consideration of HD or high bit rate movies? If so, you'd want to consider buying a newer (2009 model) mini with the Nvidia chip in it. Otherwise, an older C2D model can be had on ebay.


Keep checking the refurb site on Apple.com if you want to save some money.


As far as your connections go:


You are correct about the display. Included in the box of the new minis is a mini-dvi to dvi adapter. From here you can just buy a dvi cable and have at it.


The mac mini's headphone jack is also the digital out. You would need a mini-toslink adapter like this one here if you want to go the digital route.


You will not be able to output both digital and analog with the mini (since they share the same port).


Not sure if a DAC will work in your case. If you want to be able to listen to your mini in the bedroom with those speakers, you are going to have to send an analog signal from the mini the whole time. It will send a 2 channel signal, which wouldn't be terrible for your music, but you wouldn't get DD or DTS from movies played.


Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenliles /forum/post/18147334


I'm not quite picturing your second receiver issue for some reason

ken

I've got the outputs to the remote locations hooked up to "Record Out" outputs for a VCR & a Tape Deck on the back of the Pioneer Receiver, which were not being used otherwise.


Not long after I bought the Sharp Monitor, I decided to get rid of the TV cabinet that the old 1980's 19" Sony Trinitron CRT Television was sitting in (at the time, I had the Sharp sitting on top of the cabinet) & my early 1980's vintage O'Sullivan Audio Rack, & replace it with a new Audio/LCD Monitor cabinet.


When I went to rewire the components of my system, instead of using both the analog left & right audio cables and the digital Coax & Optical cables, I figured that it would make for a "neater" installation (i.e. less wires) by just using the single digital cables for the CD Changer, SAT Receiver, DVD Player, etc.


After performing this operation, I lost the signal the signal going to the remote locations (the living room & my bedroom). It took a while (running up & down stairs in the mean time) to figure what was going on, but I came to the conclusion that the Pioneer AV Receiver was not converting the digital inputs to analog left & right outputs.
 

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gotcha-

well the airport express would work for any audio media running under iTunes on the mini; But not for other sources you may be switching with the VSX36TX;


If you are also interested in streaming video to those remote locations, you can use an AppleTV in those locals instead of the the airport express and watch any video media running under iTunes on the mini... (including any audio sources using the analogues outs at your remote location)


ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenliles /forum/post/18148723


gotcha-

well the airport express would work for any audio media running under iTunes on the mini; But not for other sources you may be switching with the VSX36TX;

ken

Ken,


Sorry for the long delay in responding, but I've been working on other items in the mean time.


The Airport Express sounds interesting. I guess that I could use that in the Living Room. My desktop in my bedroom is a 3 yr old 2 x 3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon running Mac OSX 10.6.2 with an airport installed when I had it built, but haven't used as this computer is hard wired to my network. I guess that a Mac Mini should be able to transmit to both an Airport Express in the Living Room & my desktop at the same time, correct?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbushnell /forum/post/18145542



I've heard of the need for a DAC. Would that be required in my case?


The analog output from a mini isn't very good. Either use the toslink connector or buy an outboard DAC.


I built an outboard DAC for my music system and use toslink for the HT setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the help guys.


I'm still a bit confused about the options & software to consider as far a setting up a Mac Mini (or any other Mac) as a Media Server.


Is there some sort of Primer out there so that I could get further educated?


Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbushnell /forum/post/18708318


Thanks for all of the help guys.


I'm still a bit confused about the options & software to consider as far a setting up a Mac Mini (or any other Mac) as a Media Server.


Is there some sort of Primer out there so that I could get further educated?


Mark

I just went through the process, and I have mine up and running. I am really liking it so far. It plays full blu ray without a hitch. I don't have too much software on it. I use Plex almost exclusively and I use Rowmote Pro from my iPad for control. I'm getting the iRule program (see thread in remote forum if interested) to control my entire system soon. I picked up a 2TB external Seagate FireWire drive. The only hitch that I have had was with the Mini Display port->HDMI cable that I got from MonoPrice. I haven't been able to get it to work, so I've been using the supplied Mini DVI->DVI adapter into the HDMI/DVI port on the TV. Overall, I'm having a lot of fun with it.


Here is some stuff that I read. Also, check out 123macmini.com.
http://blog.9minutesnooze.com/mac-mi...er-htpc-boxee/

http://www.avguide.com/blog/building...mentary-part-1

http://wonko.com/post/htpc-bliss-with-mac-mini-and-plex

http://www.maclife.com/article/featu...ainment_center
 

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I used the official Applie mini-display port to DVI, and then a DVI to HDMI adapter, and no problems with connecting the mini to a Vizio HDMI input or HDFury3 HDMI input.


I had read there were sometimes issues with using a third party adapter in the mini.
 
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