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  1. #1
    The Mystic 3000 Registered Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Thousand Oaks, CA

    MacBook Pro music serverógot it working great!

    Hi. I have a Rotel/Magneplanar MG-12 2-channel setup at home, and a spare MacBook Pro. I have all my music in iTunes, and many of the tracks are encoded in Apple Lossless, so if I were to use a traditional digital music server like an Olive, I would have to recode over 1,000 tracks to WAVs or MP3s to use it properly. I didn't feel up to it, so I decided I would use the MacBook Pro as a music server and do it right.

    I went to Midi Music in Santa Rosa, CA, (shameless plug), and the proprietor Mike set me up with a USB 2.0-based Tascam US-122mkII DAC meant for live performances that had RCA jacks out. So I picked it up for about $150 and then went straight to the audiophile equipment store and bought set of really good Tara Labs cables for $100 (I never scrimp on cables) so I would get the best sound possible out of the Tascam.

    I connected everything, checked to make sure everything was configured appropriately, had to do a little cable input swapping, and voila! Incredible sound coming right out of my MacBook Pro and the Tascam. To be fair, I am running the latest SRS Labs iWow plug that subtly alters the sound of the tracks, but my wife and I ran a comparo test between having it turned on and then off again and we decided that it sounded richer using the iWow running.

    So the net result is for the already-amortized cost of a MacBook Pro, plus the Tascam and great cables ($250 total), I have a music server that not only sounds as good as my Rotel CD player, I can control tracks, playlists, albums, etc., with my iPhone running the Apple Remote app from anywhere in the house.

    I think I've achieved great results and I've been able to do it inexpensively and preserve my investment in iTunes without having to get an Olive or some other digital music server. I highly recommend this setup for anyone in the same boat as I'm in.

  2. #2
    The quickest way to start a music server is using your computer... my first server was a Mac Mini running direct to my Rotel preamp (no external DAC) and I found it to be quite enjoyable...

    If you enjoy using iWow, then don't let anyone stop you, but remember that the aim for most audiophiles/enthusiasts is to stay as true to the original recording as possible... So iWow is not something they'd recommend...

    Anyway, enjoy the new toys!!!! And feel free to post pics!

  3. #3
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Analog Synagogue
    Welcome to AR. The timing of your post resonates with me, as I have been playing with my digital configuration.

    The Tascam sounds interesting. I am currently running Media Monkey and a Technics SL-Q2 into a Creative Labs Audigy Platinum. Optical output to a Scott Nixon Tube DAC into an HK 930 Twin. A pair of Sound Dynamics 1200 SMT finish the deal.

    I did ALOT of experimenting today, a virtual battlefield of DACs and CDPs. In the end, I think I will get back on the track I deviated from. My main system will be strictly analog.

  4. #4
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    The remote control via iPhone/iPod touch is very cool. I love it.

    I'm now running apple lossless files on a external drive thought a mac mini. I'm outputting via the mini-optical out rather than USB. This allows me to output higher-resolution signals that USB doesn't always support. In addition, I frequently use the Audio MIDI Setup utility to upsample the outputs to higher resolution. I tend to prefer this when using headphones. It seems to smooth out the sound and give it more space. Don't know why this would be so, but I like it better.

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