Author Topic: Mac mini parts  (Read 297 times)

Offline Nick B

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Mac mini parts
« on: September 11, 2017, 04:18:57 PM »
I've has the pleasure to speak with both HAL and Eric Hider about computer audio. I'm pretty much in the Mac camp now and would likely use an older Mac mini from 2009 thru 2011 or so at some point. As Eric would replace with various parts including a SSD, at what point does my mini cease to be a mini? I am aware that many, many lines of code were deleted in getting the mini to sound better. Doing a search, I found a little info about the OWC site and Mac parts.
Thanks,
Nick
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
SP Tech 2.1 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
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Offline dBe

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2017, 11:26:56 AM »
I've has the pleasure to speak with both HAL and Eric Hider about computer audio. I'm pretty much in the Mac camp now and would likely use an older Mac mini from 2009 thru 2011 or so at some point. As Eric would replace with various parts including a SSD, at what point does my mini cease to be a mini? I am aware that many, many lines of code were deleted in getting the mini to sound better. Doing a search, I found a little info about the OWC site and Mac parts.
Thanks,
Nick
The mini stops being a mini as soon as you decide to make it a server.  A dedicated music server needs to be just that for maximum performance and, most importantly, reliability.  All it takes is just one of the plethora of automatic updates to sink that little ship.  No internet, no day to day tasks, just great music.

When a half a million lines of code are deleted to turn off all of the unnecessary (noisy and redundant) services all it wants to do is play music in a very convincing manner! 

I'll never own a Windows machine again, but that's just me  8)

Offline Nick B

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 12:31:44 PM »
I've has the pleasure to speak with both HAL and Eric Hider about computer audio. I'm pretty much in the Mac camp now and would likely use an older Mac mini from 2009 thru 2011 or so at some point. As Eric would replace with various parts including a SSD, at what point does my mini cease to be a mini? I am aware that many, many lines of code were deleted in getting the mini to sound better. Doing a search, I found a little info about the OWC site and Mac parts.
Thanks,
Nick
The mini stops being a mini as soon as you decide to make it a server.  A dedicated music server needs to be just that for maximum performance and, most importantly, reliability.  All it takes is just one of the plethora of automatic updates to sink that little ship.  No internet, no day to day tasks, just great music.

When a half a million lines of code are deleted to turn off all of the unnecessary (noisy and redundant) services all it wants to do is play music in a very convincing manner! 

I'll never own a Windows machine again, but that's just me  8)


As Apples stuff is proprietary,  I was wondering if any of the mini parts would be replaceable. Also, was curious why the older minis of 2009 - 2011 or so, are more desirable than he newer models.
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
SP Tech 2.1 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline dB Audio Labs

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 02:29:42 PM »
HI Guys,

In regard to the question "at what point does the Mini stop being a Mini?" -


- The basic amazing ground layering and low voltage layout of the Mini never changes regardless of what you may do to the software or digital delivery pipeline. It's actually a quirky miracle IMHO that Apple decided to male a very small, extremely low powered computer for their markets. That put forth a basic technical requirement to design amazing grounding that is not typical of most computers comparably. The sonic benefit for audiophiles is better overtones aka a "more analog" sounding computer.

As to the question "wonder why the older minis...are more desirable?" -


- At one point, a singular DAC manufacturer declared that the older, 2009 and earlier Minis sounded better than the new ones. This is NOT the findings of ANY of my customers throughout the world in over 22 countries! In actuality, I do know a way to completely make this unfortunate mistake about thinking the older Mini could actually sound better. (I currently have over 10 Macs here both new and old). The older "white plastic" Minis seem to always benefit in their sonics when they are plugged INTO a power conditioner. The newer "aluminum" Minis will actually sound WORSE into a power conditioner! Hence, should anyone compare the "old versus new Mini" plugged into a conditioner, they would think the old Mini is superior! So why you may ask, would the newer Mini sound better not plugged into a conditioner? Because the stock power cord to the latest Mini design is a VERY low inductance design. Most likely, part of a three pole filter starting with the white power cord itself. Very slick Apple design team! And, when you plug the newer Mini into a power conditioner, it completely screws with the inductance not allowing the internal power supply to see the correct first pole of the filter. As to the older designed Minis, they have a very crude external power brick that needs to be parked way away from the Mini and its no wonder why it always sounds best when fed "better cleaned up power" from a conditioner comparably.  :thumb:


Offline Nick B

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 07:39:18 PM »
HI Guys,

In regard to the question "at what point does the Mini stop being a Mini?" -


- The basic amazing ground layering and low voltage layout of the Mini never changes regardless of what you may do to the software or digital delivery pipeline. It's actually a quirky miracle IMHO that Apple decided to male a very small, extremely low powered computer for their markets. That put forth a basic technical requirement to design amazing grounding that is not typical of most computers comparably. The sonic benefit for audiophiles is better overtones aka a "more analog" sounding computer.

As to the question "wonder why the older minis...are more desirable?" -


- At one point, a singular DAC manufacturer declared that the older, 2009 and earlier Minis sounded better than the new ones. This is NOT the findings of ANY of my customers throughout the world in over 22 countries! In actuality, I do know a way to completely make this unfortunate mistake about thinking the older Mini could actually sound better. (I currently have over 10 Macs here both new and old). The older "white plastic" Minis seem to always benefit in their sonics when they are plugged INTO a power conditioner. The newer "aluminum" Minis will actually sound WORSE into a power conditioner! Hence, should anyone compare the "old versus new Mini" plugged into a conditioner, they would think the old Mini is superior! So why you may ask, would the newer Mini sound better not plugged into a conditioner? Because the stock power cord to the latest Mini design is a VERY low inductance design. Most likely, part of a three pole filter starting with the white power cord itself. Very slick Apple design team! And, when you plug the newer Mini into a power conditioner, it completely screws with the inductance not allowing the internal power supply to see the correct first pole of the filter. As to the older designed Minis, they have a very crude external power brick that needs to be parked way away from the Mini and its no wonder why it always sounds best when fed "better cleaned up power" from a conditioner comparably.  :thumb:

Thanks much, Eric. Very concise and easy to understand.
Nick 👍
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
SP Tech 2.1 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline P.I.

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2017, 10:55:54 AM »

[/quote]
As Apples stuff is proprietary,  I was wondering if any of the mini parts would be replaceable. Also, was curious why the older minis of 2009 - 2011 or so, are more desirable than he newer models.
[/quote]
Another reason that the new minis (2014 to date) should be avoided is their inability to be upgraded.  IF one of the newer versions is purchased it must be purchased with 16G of RAM:

[url]https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/Xdi1YLbX3ugbjrMD.medium/url]

Since the RAM is now soldered to the board buy the upgrade.  The upside of the soldered in RAM is the shorter signal path and fewer contacts to oxidize.  I have read that the soldered in RAM is one of the reasons for the new Mini's great video performance.  By extension this may mean less jitter in the audio interface.  The HDD can be accessed and replaced with a SSD if you want. 

One of the cool things about the new ones is the fan redesign.  The fan now runs in a thick silicon oil bearing with no metal to metal contact.  The already quiet fan is now even quieter and vibration free.
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Offline Nick B

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 08:40:35 PM »
A 16 G machine is $900. That’s a bit pricey.  What is the minimum recommended RAM to run the Tranquility dac?
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
SP Tech 2.1 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline P.I.

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2017, 02:30:42 PM »

As Apples stuff is proprietary,  I was wondering if any of the mini parts would be replaceable. Also, was curious why the older minis of 2009 - 2011 or so, are more desirable than he newer models.
[/quote]
Another reason that the new minis (2014 to date) should be avoided is their inability to be upgraded.  IF one of the newer versions is purchased it must be purchased with 16G of RAM:

[url]https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/Xdi1YLbX3ugbjrMD.medium/url]

Since the RAM is now soldered to the board buy the upgrade.  The upside of the soldered in RAM is the shorter signal path and fewer contacts to oxidize.  I have read that the soldered in RAM is one of the reasons for the new Mini's great video performance.  By extension this may mean less jitter in the audio interface.  The HDD can be accessed and replaced with a SSD if you want. 

One of the cool things about the new ones is the fan redesign.  The fan now runs in a thick silicon oil bearing with no metal to metal contact.  The already quiet fan is now even quieter and vibration free.
[/quote]I have had a few emails from people asking me if they should "upgrade" their 2012 minis to the newer versions. 

The answer is a resounding NO!

Think about it.  Are you going to use it for audio?  It is MNSHO that the 2012 is superior in almost every way.  First, quad core I7 processors are not available.  This is the biggie.  Another thing is that we do not know what the soecs for the RAM installed by Apple.  Is it the lowest latency RAM available?  Probably not. 

Here is a quote from EveryMac.com : [url]https://everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/mac-mini-aluminum-unibody-faq/mac-mini-aluminum-late-2014-performance-comparison.html/url]

"Obviously, whether or not the "Late 2014" Mac mini line provides a mediocre speed boost or a significant speed drop depends on whether or not you use apps that can take advantage of the Quad Core processors in the "Late 2012" line -- like high-end video editing applications -- but it is clear that the overall performance of the "Late 2014" line is underwhelming."

That pretty much says in all in a paragraph.  I have an 8G RAM 2014 mini that I use in my office because it is quiet.  Fan noise from PC's make me sleepy.  It does not hold a candle to my I7 Quad Core 2012 in the context of SQ, nor would I expect it to do so.

Think about all of the aftermarket goodies made for the 2012 models.  Uptone makes a great fan controller mpodulke that goes from PCM control to analog.  Makes the fan a non-issue.

As audiophools we all seem to be like Dory, the clown fish.  Something shiny and we begin to question our current systems.  I learned my lesson back in the early 70's when I traded my tube gear in for "new and improved, vanishingly low distortion" SS gear.  Damn you, Julian Hirsch!  :rofl:

AudioNervosa at its best/worst.

"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline Nick B

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2017, 07:57:17 AM »
Thanks for the clarification, Dave.
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
SP Tech 2.1 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline dBe

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2017, 09:06:55 PM »
Thanks for the clarification, Dave.
[/quote[ I thought that beginning with "another reason the new minis (2014 to date) should be avoided" would be obvious enough to warn people away from them for audio would be more than enough.  Obviously the human weaknesses of wondering if we screwed up or there is something better than what we have (the nervosa part) is overpowering. That never fails to amaze me.  We just need to know when to say when.

Offline tmazz

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 07:40:49 PM »
........... We just need to know when to say when.

Not in this hobby.  :rofl:
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Offline dBe

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 08:08:34 PM »
 :thumb:
........... We just need to know when to say when.

Not in this hobby.  :rofl:

Offline rpf

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2017, 07:00:05 AM »
Apple has been questioned a lot over the last year about the future of the Mini as it has been a long time since the last update (now over three years).

Tim Cook just responded to a fan's email to say that the Mini will continue, which likely means an update will arrive over the next few months given the age of the current unit.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/10/19/tim-cook-mac-mini-important-product/
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Offline Nick B

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Re: Mac mini parts
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2017, 09:59:00 AM »
Apple has been questioned a lot over the last year about the future of the Mini as it has been a long time since the last update (now over three years).

Tim Cook just responded to a fan's email to say that the Mini will continue, which likely means an update will arrive over the next few months given the age of the current unit.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/10/19/tim-cook-mac-mini-important-product/

I was wondering about that. It’s such a good product
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
SP Tech 2.1 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A