Headless Mini Remote

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hifibuff

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 21
Headless Mini Remote
« on: 10 Oct 2017, 10:47 pm »
This may have been discussed here before but....

I am setting up my first Mac Mini server. Used only for audio, it's a late 2009, SSD with 8 gigs ram, external drive. I plan on running it headless using an ipad 3 or 4. Read a lot of mixed  feedback elsewhere on what works best, A+ remote, i-remote, built in screen share or third party software. Any recommendations/feedback would help.

I don't think my itunes files are set up correctly on my external drive. This is from scratch, no audio files on the SSD and fresh formatted external. No meta data for info/pictures even if I try to load from the net. Nada. Music plays from it but I may not have set up the folders/files correctly.

Still haven't decided on which on a music player software yet. Just looking for good sound (like everyone else) and ease of operation. Too much work equals going me using vinyl.

Thanks,
Steve

Jonathan

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #1 on: 11 Oct 2017, 08:14 pm »
I use a Mac Mini into a PS Audio Dac II. I alternate between an old iPhone and a newer iPad as controllers. I really liked the sound quality, interface, and extra metadata with Roon, but I could not justify spending $500 on a lifetime membership. I now use Audirvana Plus with their remote app to access my hard drive and stream Tidal. I'm not sure I hear a difference in sound quality. That said, I pretty much hate the A+ remote interface. The Apple Remote app is much more user friendly, but requires using iTunes. I think A+ sounds better without it. I guess it's a trade off.

 Also, FWIW, although I run the system with no monitor turned on about 95% of the time, I have needed it for rare instances when the system crashes or if I lose wifi for some reason. I have tried using remote apps to control the Mac MIni from my iPad, but I have found them them to be finicky and more annoying than just leaving an old monitor, keyboard, and mouse hooked up for the rare occasions I need them.


AllynW

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #2 on: 12 Oct 2017, 02:41 pm »
 I’ve been using a Mac Mini for years in various configurations: Headless with shared screen to MBP but used daily with an iPad with remote app but the set-up needed a monitor for configuration related issues.  This setup worked very nicely.  Later I did something I said I would never do, and that  was to add a Monitor.  The monitor opened up a whole new World of music.  Free Youtube music videos!  I get to listen to all types of music, if I like I buy it.  I am 64 and renting music is just not my thing.  Also the concert videos on Youtube are very cool.  Note, I have used an external and currently use an internal with the only difference being a slight bit of speed accessing files, but has never playback is not affected.

These days I have a 75” monitor on the mini along with a simple Network Assisted Server that is used for whole house back-ups and also ripped DVD movies.  We have 3 TV’s in the house, each has an older Mac attached, some dating back to 2007.  iTunes from the server is shared to all.

For playback software I rip with iTunes but prefer “Swainian”. It is an iTune replacement but does not get in iTunes way. Meta tags and artwork retrieval are much easer and the “Grid Mode” format is also much better than iTunes, it’s missing the clutter and iTune App store garbage.

You appear to be making a great start, your hardware is older but it will still give you many years reliable service. :D

Jonathan

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #3 on: 12 Oct 2017, 04:33 pm »
For playback software I rip with iTunes but prefer “Swainian”. It is an iTune replacement but does not get in iTunes way.

Allyn, I am having no luck when I Google search Swainian. Did you spell it right? Thanks!

Jon

hifibuff

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 21
Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #4 on: 14 Oct 2017, 05:03 pm »
Thank you all. I guess I will have to experiment with different remote options and trial versions of player software. May start with Audirvanna + and PM.

Now just trying to get my external itunes files to give me album covers and other info. After all that is worked out, then it is on to a linear ps.

I heard that dbPower is a good ripper app also. Like Jonathan, I could not google search “Swainian” either. A link would be helpful.

Thanks

Jonathan

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #5 on: 14 Oct 2017, 06:57 pm »

Now just trying to get my external itunes files to give me album covers and other info. After all that is worked out, then it is on to a linear ps.

Am I understanding your issue corrrectly, which is that you're not seeing your libary metadata in iTunes? That's odd. Have you tried re-loading the library?  You can tell iTunes to leave the music on your external storage, but it should still load the CD covers, genres, etc.

hifibuff

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 21
Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #6 on: 14 Oct 2017, 08:21 pm »
Yes you are correct. I am missing the metadata. I ripped directly to the external. I will try ripping onto the SSD and see if the information will show there. I know I am just doing/did do something incorrectly.

AllynW

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #7 on: 14 Oct 2017, 10:18 pm »
Wow it took me a while too.   This is the link http://swinsian.com

Jonathan

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #8 on: 14 Oct 2017, 10:45 pm »
Wow it took me a while too.   This is the link http://swinsian.com

The problem was a small typo in your original post. Your new link worked. Thanks, I'll check it out.

Jonathan

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #9 on: 14 Oct 2017, 10:48 pm »
Yes you are correct. I am missing the metadata. I ripped directly to the external. I will try ripping onto the SSD and see if the information will show there. I know I am just doing/did do something incorrectly.

The only way iTunes will find the metadata is if you go into "file" at the top, and then click on "add library" and point it to whatever drive your music is on. Either that, or your ripping software needs to have an option to automatically copy into iTunes at the time you're ripping. XLD will do that.

Jonathan

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #10 on: 14 Oct 2017, 11:04 pm »
By the way, if you use Audirvana, it, too, will ask you to point it to your library in order to load in the metadata. It will do this independently of iTunes, or you can use integrated iTunes mode.

timind

Re: Headless Mini Remote
« Reply #11 on: 14 Oct 2017, 11:55 pm »
I have a 2010 mac mini and started out using it headless which was ok, but not great. I forget the names of the apps I used to control it as it's been a while. The apps only worked so-so, not great. But the real problem with both of them was they just stopped working. I should say I was using the free versions and support for the free versions was nonexistent after about a year of use.

I now have a monitor attached, but it's pretty much tucked out of sight unless I need it which is not often, and never just for listening. I use the simple itunes remote app on an ipad or iphone; the iphone is preferred.

The music is on my mac mini is all AIFFs ripped to itunes with XLD for accurate rips. The files are stored on a 2tb external hard drive.