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trying to idiot-proof my MacMini music server setup

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by RShackleford, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. RShackleford

    RShackleford Active Member

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    Oh well, I got excited and added BitPerfect. Not smart I guess. Maybe I'll remove it and do as you suggest. I don't have the bandwidth to do the OS upgrades, but will soon.

    I haven't tried this, and not really something I care about having working. Do you think I should, as in that it would be instructive in this incremental process ?
     
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  2. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    How are you gonna have simultaneous different data streams coming off the same iTunes library? Or does the "one size fits all" push-only model work for everyone, all the time, and forever? What are you gonna do about taking your show on the road (i.e. lossless CD-quality music, 100+GBs, on iPods for your cars and to take to your friends' places)?

    Does BitPerfect still allow the iTunes architecture and basic functionality to operate? I was under the impression that you gave up pulling from the Library over the network, restricting yourself to push only operation using the replacement engine on the server (pusher?).
     
  3. RShackleford

    RShackleford Active Member

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    I'm not sure what you're getting at. Why would I want simultaneous data streams ? Yes, I'm happy with "push-only" model, controlling the MacMini, in my living room A/V center, using my laptop (Finder sidebar screen sharing) and her iPad (iTunes remote app). I'll occasionally sync my iPod (which stays in my car as its music server) to the MacMini (by plugging into USB and using Finder sidebar screen sharing from my laptop), after I've ripped a number of new CDs or downloaded stuff. I can pull the iPod out of the car for rental cars and vacation houses and such, and plug it into the stereo systems there (I'll live without CD quality on those occasions). The MacMini will be the master copy of all my music, occasionally backed up to a 1TB HDD. I may do the same for photos (have it be the main server, connected by HDMI to my 55" TV as it is.

    That may well be true, and I don't think it bothers me.
     
  4. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

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    Okay. I was being a little provocative, but the fact remains that there are far more independent media management systems available for Windows than there are for Apple. MediaMonkey and MusicBee are far, far better than iTunes.
     
  5. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    OK, but my wife and I like different music at different times in different places using different equipment. For example, I'm not a big fan of those AirPlay (Bluetooth) speakers while my wife loves having one pump out background music, controlled by her iPad pulling from the iTunes library (her playlists, of course) while she's sitting out on the deck reading or catching up with her friends. My kids and their friends can be running their noise from their phones through the ATV via WiFi to the poolside audio system. At the same time, I can be doing some serious listening on my 2-channel in the music room or pulling a podcast from the ones I subscribe to via iTunes.

    No reason not to go full CD-quality on your iPod, just store everything ALAC in the iTunes library. It'll sync at that resolution to the iPod for playback either controlled by your car's audio system (and steering wheel vol/song controls) or manually when connected to someone else's home audio system.
     
  6. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

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    A proper media server allows multiple, independent, simultaneous streams.
     
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  7. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    I'm sure it does. The question is whether, by choices made during the design and configuration of a system comprised of Apple screen-sharing, iTunes, and BitPerfect running on a MacMini under control by laptop/iPad, such flexible operation is possible or not. As RS has laid out his system, do you have an opinion on whether it fulfills the "proper media server" role you describe? And if not, can it be made to so serve, given the components RS has chosen to use in building it?
     
  8. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

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    Any media manager providing a DLNA media server would serve the desired purpose, and provide that service to any number of DLNA-compliant clients.

    Apple and iTunes do not provide a DLNA server function, because it is not an Apple protocol, and competes with Apple's own airplay protocol.

    The Mac Mini can be made to run alternative operating systems, including Windows, which would allow the OP to run one of many media managers that provide a DLNA media server. I gave a link to a site showing how Windows could be installed, but I see that it was deleted, presumably by an over-zealous moderator who failed to see that I was making a constructive point. If my constructive points aren't appreciated here, I'll take them elsewhere; no great loss to me.

    I use a NAS to provide a DLNA media server, and access that by DLNA clients around my home, and by devices that access the NAS as a file server (Kodi, MediaMonkey, MusicBee).
     
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  9. RTally

    RTally Speaker addict Subscriber

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    You only need one, good system. There are many independent media management / server systems available for Macs that are far, far better than iTunes. I find iTunes to be very limiting in its capabilities for managing my media, none of which was purchased from Apple. I am currently using Plex, others prefer iRiver, and there are many other Mac apps to choose from, both free and paid.
     
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  10. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    I value your comments and appreciate your knowledge of the DLNA music server and NAS file serving architectures and access utilities. That said, your post is unresponsive to the questions I posed. Turning a Mac into a PC is NOT, at least at this point, an option under active consideration. I'm left to assume your knowledge of the Apple systems in place for acquiring, cataloging, storing, accessing, and controlling music is less than complete.
     
  11. elcoholic

    elcoholic Jet Fuel Genius Subscriber

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    I’m fairly certain that if the iTunes library is shared on the OP’s WiFi network that other macs can access the library and play the music independently and simultaneously running iTunes. I don’t know if that’s possible with iOS devices, but it may be using AirPlay. That’s not something I’ve tried yet.
     
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  12. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    Yeah, that works no problem in my setup (plain Jane home-shared iTunes library, all CDs ripped to ALAC, hosted on networked PC running iTunes on Windows XP). I routinely AirPlay it using the PC's iTunes program over WiFi (push) to an AEX I use to supply music to receivers/amps I'm repairing while simultaneously sending it via a networked ATV (also push) to my whole house audio system so I have tunes to listen to while I work. At the same time, my wife can pick and choose from her own music playlists using her iPad sourced (pulled) from the iTunes library over the network to the closest WAP then WiFi'd to her then AirPlayed to her little speakers or she can fire up the big system in the family room and either AirPlay to it from her iPad or use the TV to pull directly from the iTunes library through a networked ATV to the receiver and out to the floorstanders. She also has an ATV in her bedroom, but uses that primarily for video (Netflix) and only occasionally for music through the TV's speakers. I haven't really pushed everything going at once, but I don't see why iTunes shouldn't be able to serve all its "customers" simultaneously without any difficulty.

    I do wonder whether replacing chunks of iTunes with 3rd-party software like BitPerfect or Pure Music which have "hog modes" could affect the server's ability to deal in a timely fashion (i.e. without dropouts) with requests from others besides just the BitPerfect/Pure Music listener.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  13. RShackleford

    RShackleford Active Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys, but I am not interested in multiple streams of music, nor am I really interested in putting Windows on my MM, nor (less assertively) am I interested in messing with another player besides iTunes. If the setup I am trying to get running now - MM running some version of OSX (preferably the latest) running some version of iTunes (preferably the latest), plus BitPerfect, controlled from an iPad running iTunes or a Macbook running Finder-sidebar screen-sharing (as the mood strikes) - would just run as cleanly as the many articles describing such a system imply it should, I would be perfectly happy.

    Having wiped the disc of the mid-2010 MM I picked up on eBay and installed ElCapitan, and then added BitPerfect, things are working just that well. I'm not sure why things were so screwy when I made my OP, other than the fact it was a newer version of OSX (HighSierra instead of ElCapitan) and a newer version of iTunes (12.7 instead of 12.2), or more likely just that something was screwy. Maybe I should just let well enough be, but I'd feel better if I could get back to the latest versions of iTunes and OSX (for reasons articulated in post #28) and still have things working correctly.

    There is the niggling issue of the HDMI output going dark when screen-sharing is not active, but I don't care so much about that, as I'm not relying on it for audio output.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  14. elcoholic

    elcoholic Jet Fuel Genius Subscriber

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    I understand your motivation to keep the OS and iTunes up to date and keep it simple, as long as it works. I recently retired our 1st year black back iMac because it got so slow with the last few OSX updates. Part of your rationale lies in having the MM be your master library location. If it were not for that there would be no need to update the OS and iTunes. You could stick with what works and be done.

    I am taking a different path. My late 2009 MM is meant to be a dedicated headless server. I don't want to have to grab my MBP to access the MM to change outputs between the AVR or the MF V90 DAC/amp driving my Stax or the Bifrost/Lyr for my other headphones so iTunes is out. I can do this with the A+ Audirvana Remote app on my iPad or iPhone. I switched to FLAC to be free from proprietary music formats once and for all. My master FLAC library is on my MBP so that’s where the master library(s) is maintained. The only thing I now use iTunes for is for managing content on my iPods. I keep a duplicate ALAC library on just for them. When my iPods croak and since Apple abandoned the dedicated DAP format I'll be going elsewhere and with something that handles a 1/2 tB min, probably a FiiO X5.
     
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  15. hatrack71

    hatrack71 distracted by everything

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    Can't you just sign in to the App Store and go to your purchased apps? I'm pretty sure once you've bought an app it's always paid for.....right?
     
  16. hatrack71

    hatrack71 distracted by everything

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    Newer OSX versions seem to use more hardware resources. Your MM being a dual core is probably working harder in Sierra/ High Sierra. Have you checked your temps in iStat and compared between El Cap and High Sierra? Heat can cause some weirdness. I've definitely experienced glitches with iMacs from heat.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018

     

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  17. RShackleford

    RShackleford Active Member

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    The advice of @awillia6 in post #28 made sense to me.
    I wasn't sure how it worked. But I believe you're right. In fact, one of my other Macs asked me if I wanted to install this app I'd purchased (BitPerfect) last time I logged into it.
    Maybe a good reason to stop at El Capitan. I'll check into iStat. Thinking I'll try updating iTunes to latest though, before I import my music.

    Speaking of which, what's the best way to import stuff (AIFF and MP3 files) into the new library on the Mini ? Just copy the files over to the Music/ITunes directory ? Or open iTunes on the Mini and use "Add to Library" or "Import" ? Doesn't really matter ?
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  18. hatrack71

    hatrack71 distracted by everything

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    Should be able to drag and drop files into iTunes media folder. There is a folder labeled inside to automatically add files to iTunes library. Also, if you hadn't thought of this, you can also convert FLAC (lossless) files to ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) using Media Human Converter (free). It creates it's own converted files folder which you drag into iTunes media- music to be added automatically folder. I like to have both FLAC and ALAC on my iMac. I use both Clementine and iTunes. The reason for me is I can just copy FLAC files from my Windows rig (which handles bit perfect playback at home through Foobar2000) via usb or external HDD and add them to my Music folder on my Mac to directly play in Clementine- natively plays FLAC. I can then convert the files with Media Human (preserves original folder files by creating it's own folder of files converted to ALAC) and add to iTunes so I can sync my iPods and iPads to add or subtract music. I know you can use iCloud but I don't use my Macs that way. I keep iCloud turned off with nothing shared or stored on it. So to answer your question on import, I've actually just copied and pasted to keep the process idiot proof for me. One thing I will say...I find myself using Clementine more than iTunes even though it isn't bit perfect playback. I like the interface better once you learn how to use it. I'd like to find a bit perfect alternative that's free and plays FLAC files on the Apple. Like Foobar2000 for Apple- dreaming here :^). But there isn't really anything out there that is free. I believe iTunes has lossless bit perfect playback with ALAC files when you have the iTunes volume output set at 100%. I just never enjoyed the user interface or the fact it will not support FLAC files. But for Apple mobile devices it is necessary. And I am very fond of Apple mobile devices.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
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  19. RShackleford

    RShackleford Active Member

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  20. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Just remember, only the latest OS from Apple is kept up to date with security fixes. Once a new OS is put out by Apple, they dump the old ones. So, using any older OS, of Apple, for a media server is just plain unsafe.
     

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