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New Mac Mini as Source?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I'm currently using an old laptop running Linux as my source, connected via USB to an external DAC and then on to my stereo amp. The laptop is getting old though and I just can't seem to get on with the Ubuntu interface. What I'd really like is a new laptop running Windows 7 and Foobar2000. However, I also own an iPhone 4S and an iPad. If I was to buy one of the new Mac Minis is there any way to control it via my phone or tablet? This would be such an elegant solution if it was possible. To be able to pick tracks via a tablet that could be kept on the coffee table would be awesome. Does anyone know of any way to achieve this? Is there an app for this?

Many thanks in advance.

Gordon.
post #2 of 26
Yes you can use Apples own Remote app on an iPad or iPhone to control iTunes remotely. It is very similar to an iPod interface, works great.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Code:
Quote:
Originally Posted by pablobell View Post

Yes you can use Apples own Remote app on an iPad or iPhone to control iTunes remotely. It is very similar to an iPod interface, works great.

That's excellent news! Whilst iTunes is far from my favourite music player the idea of a remote should more than make up for it. Many thanks for the speedy answer mate, it's appreciated.
post #4 of 26

Your main problem with the new mac mini as a source is how to rip tracks.  Doesn't have a cd slot, but you could always buy a cheapo usb drive and attach it.

 

Fwiw I am running two mac mini based source.  First and main one is in my one and is comprised of the following :-

 

Mac Mini (duh!)

 

Cambridge Audio Dacmagic

 

Marantz 66 Ki Signature amp (getting on for about 10 years now!)

 

Mission 780 Speakers.

 

I use an ipad 1st gen to control album selection and works quite well.  Certainly more reliable than the sb3 that I used in the past.  That said it was more computer probs than the sb3.

 

Second source (more of a hodge podge) in the back room doubling as house computer.

 

Mac Mini

 

Squeezebox Touch

 

Audio Engine A2 Active Speakers.  

 

All cds ripped to alac (two 1xtb usb drives)or m4b for audiobooks.  Use a 64 gig ipod touch for music (picked up cheap) and an Ipod classic for syncing audiobooks only (was getting fed up of having to choose which ones I wanted to listen to at work).

 

Both work well and are stable enough.  I toy with the idea of upgrading to something like naims unitiqute (major £££) but can't really be bothered.

 

Any questions feel free to ask!

 

Cheers

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. Ripping wont be a problem initially. I already have some 700 albums already ripped to FLAC so that's enough to be getting on with. Since the new Mac Mini supports USB3 I'd like to take advantage of that from the off. To this end I'm looking to also buy a 2TB drive with USB3 built-in.
post #6 of 26

You lack of a CD drive on the new minis is a drag; it can be fixed inexpensively, though.  You can connect your digital sources either via usb or via a mini toslink to toslink using the headphone output.  

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsj View Post

You lack of a CD drive on the new minis is a drag; it can be fixed inexpensively, though.  You can connect your digital sources either via usb or via a mini toslink to toslink using the headphone output.  

That's a good point regarding Toslink. I wondered if the headphone out doubled as an optical. Good news. I don't know that optical is any better than USB though.
post #8 of 26

I've connected my macs both ways (usb and digital); they're both fine.  The real advantage of toslink is that it allows you to connect to an av receiver (or a 2 channel rig with digital inputs) which saves you the money of buying a usb dac.  Onkyo has some really good looking new amps with digital inputs: http://www.eu.onkyo.com/en/products/a-9050-85865.html  and  http://www.eu.onkyo.com/en/products/a-9070-58611.html

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post


That's a good point regarding Toslink. I wondered if the headphone out doubled as an optical. Good news. I don't know that optical is any better than USB though.

Nor worse, right. Optical to me is more versatile.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
I only have an analogue stereo amp and since I already own an external DAC the its USB for me.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi, me again. Most of my music is FLAC and I gather iTunes can't (won't?) deal with it. What are my options?

Thanks again.
post #12 of 26
There is a great free program for Mac called XLD that will convert FLAC to Apple lossless (ALAC). It's fast and once you set the conversion codec in the preferences you can convert tracks with a simple right click - open with XLD. You can convert back to FLAC at anytime and the file will be exactly as it was because they are both lossless formats.
post #13 of 26

There are also codecs that let iTunes read FLAC.  Also, there's players like Fidelia that have their own remote apps.

post #14 of 26

...also...when I used mine as a source, I used one of these for those times the simplistic idevice remote didn't cut it:

 

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/itemdetails/57Y6678/460/4C2830F486C64CF7A8A1E619AB6729AA

 

recommended.  (cuts out at long range though)

post #15 of 26

Both Amarra and Pure Music will interface with iTunes and can handle FLAC.  While they will cost you money, they will improve sound quality.

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