Late 2009 Mac Mini as music server

Discussion in 'PCs & Music Servers' started by njvaldes, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. njvaldes

    njvaldes New Member

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    I've had a late 2009 Mac Mini (2.26GHz w/ 2GB RAM) since I bought it new coming up on a decade ago. I haven't used the computer for years and decided to unpack it and fire it up today. I have a ton of music saved on it and I'm interested the most cost effective way of using it as a music server feeding into my existing solid state setup.

    It is the model with an optical drive that I'd ideally like to use as a cd player occasionally but mainly play the existing lossless files saved on the drive and backed up on a separate drive. Is there a cost effective way to set this up headless with an external control? I'd like to keep investment minimal for the time being and upgrade over time if I like playability. I won't ever use this setup with video. Thanks.
     
  2. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

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    I would try Daphile and start with the optical digital audio output if your receiver is compatible. If not use the headphone output if possible. Chances are the mini may have the same excellent DAC and audio board as my 2009 MBP. It sounds amazingly good.
     
  3. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

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    I should note that Daphile is an OS not just a app. I’m itching to try it when I can dedicate a computer as a headless server.
     
  4. cnolanh

    cnolanh Ad astra Subscriber

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    If you can stick a little more RAM in it (8GB would be great, 4GB is sluggish but workable) you could install a relatively recent version of MacOS and use the built-in Screen Sharing feature to control the Mini from another Mac. If you don't have another computer available, you could use one of the iTunes remote apps on a phone or tablet.

    Good luck! I like putting old but viable technology to work.
     
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  5. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    4 GB for Daphile is plenty :D

    I even run it on this mini PC :D PC is a little bigger than my camera or an iFi Nano DAC.

    upload_2018-1-3_14-12-25.png

    upload_2018-1-3_14-13-22.png

    The mini-PC is a Dual core 64-bit AMD low wattage (15 Watt) with 4 GB RAM and a 30 GB SSD.

    What the control app looks like in an Android pad :D
     
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  6. ben_

    ben_ Active Member

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    Audirvana player can control an usb dac perfectly, and has a remote control app for iphones/ipad that could allow you to use the mac as an headless renderer.
     
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  7. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

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    More on your mini pc please.
     
  8. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    it is a Z3Pro from Xi3 corp - they make little industrial PC's :D I bought it off of ebay for 50 bucks.

    I think the company is now defunct.
     
  9. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

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    Bummer. Sounds cool.
     
  10. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    You can still buy them new.
     
  11. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

  12. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I would recommend using Splashtop Personal to control it with a tablet. If you have iTunes compatible music, you can use their Remote app on iOS devices for music. J River and other music servers have apps, as well.

    You can use USB or Optical out to feed the DAC.
     
  13. ldatlof

    ldatlof We are all steak Subscriber

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    4GB truly is overkill. I run squeezelite (the player part of Daphile) on a Pogoplug that has only 128MB of RAM. While playing it only uses 10% of the memory.
     
  14. njvaldes

    njvaldes New Member

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    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Thanks for all the tips. Daphile sounds like an excellent choice. I'll have to decide how I'll control it but I've got a pretty old iPad that could work otherwise just using my phone or spare desktop is an option. I'll look into it. I read through the install instructions and it seems fairly simple.

    As far as the receiver goes, I don't have a digital audio in. I'm running an older 70's panasonic at the moment and will only have the option of running out the headphone jack into the the tape RCA inputs. I've done it this way in the past and didn't notice anything terrible quality wise. Perhaps my mini does have a decent DAC on board. If not, I guess investing in an external DAC will be the next step.
     
  15. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    The big thing is you can reboot your computer with it and just try it as it loads into memory and you don't have to install it at all.

    Let us know. If you have an Android - Squeezer or Orange Squeeze work well (one is free the other is like 5 bucks). iPeng is for iOS.

    http://www.modelpromo.nl/Audio-Dandy_streamer_Daphile.htm

    A good review of what Daphile does.
     
  16. njvaldes

    njvaldes New Member

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    Location:
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    Cool. I don't have any android devices. I have an older 2011 MBP that is my main computer currently. I plan to get a new desktop sometime this year but for now I'd like to just re-purpose the mini to something useable. It sounds to me like the mini running Daphile will be fine with my setup. One question:

    For those of you running a similar setup, do you find it best to add a second drive for music storage, use an external drive, or just have music and OS on the same drive?
     
  17. awillia6

    awillia6 Active Member

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    You should be able to set up Time Machine to backup your system and data to a suitable device (disk drive, Time Capsule, NAS, etc.) all on its own with no ongoing user intervention required. I've found TM to be bulletproof at backup/restore chores over the last 10 years. If you depend on a manual system to ensure the integrity of your data, you'll end up with neither.
     
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  18. cnolanh

    cnolanh Ad astra Subscriber

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    For where to store your music:
    - Whatever drive it's on, make sure that it's being backed up.
    - If you've got (or plan to have) more audio files than can comfortably fit on the Mini's boot drive, that's your nudge to add a second internal or external drive.
    - Unfortunately that 2011 Mini doesn't have USB3. USB2 or FW800 is fast enough for music storage and playback, but if you want to add an SSD as the boot and/or storage drive, it will need to be in a Thunderbolt enclosure. Or mounted inside the Mini in a fairly complex installation: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+Mac+Mini+Mid+2011+Dual+Hard+Drive+Kit/6634
    - For something as simple as a music server, I'd say that a USB2 external drive will work just fine.

    On my 2014 Mac Mini I use an external SSD (USB3) as the boot drive, and I store my audio files on the internal hard drive. Works great.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
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  19. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

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    If the OP (& I) want to use a Mac mini as DEDICATED headless music server running Daphile then the OS isn’t Apple anything it’s ONLY Daphile. Therefore there is no time machine for backups. So the question remains does one store the library on the macmini’s internal HD or use an external USB drive? In keeping with the KISS principle I would prefer to use the internal HD.
     
  20. awillia6

    awillia6 Active Member

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    In that case, it makes no difference at all where you store the data, only where you keep your CDs.
     

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