I am in the process of putting together my system based on a set of NX-Otica speakers and dual OB subs. Picked up a Tranquility DAC and now need the "server". I am planning to use a Mac Mini. It will be used for streaming as well as access to my music collection. I am also planning to use it for volume control. There are lots of versions available, what is the minimum specification I should consider in terms of processor speed, ram, operating system, etc.? Is a "late 2012" Mac Mini sufficient or is it worth it to go with a "late 2018" version?
JB. I chased digital audio for years that sounded acceptable in comparison to analog. I tried for a couple of years to get a PC Windows based system to sound good. Try as I might - they fell way short. My search ended in 2012 when I was steered to the Mac mini i5 and i7 quad cores that were heads and shoulders above the rest. Maxed out to 16G of fast RAM with low latency sounded great. Or so I thought. I got what turned out to be a beta version of Eric Hider’s proprietary software and that was what proved to be a game changer for me. Danny is right. It sounds amazingly smooth with space, soundstage and realism yet to be duplicated in my room.
I am a guy that loves how music can communicate with my soul. I’m a lifelong musician and recording engineer that grew up in the era of stellar analog, with the aural memory of 1” tape masters running at 30ips. That is just about as close to “real” (whatever that is) as it gets.
But, I digress.
I, too, am a Tranquility owner. Mine has Eric’s latest developments onboard. If you don’t have them, get them. Not a subtle change. I am completely onboard with optimization of NOS architecture. Brutal detail? Nope. Frequency response from DC to light? Nope. Incredibly limited musical selections? Hell no! Last time I checked there were about 97,000,000 Red Book recordings out there. I have 3G of Red Book on my drives and that all sound like music with the exception of shitty recordings that sound like they were recorded. Dung is dung. Dump it in the garden.
I’ve had almost every “New”, “Latest, greatest” streamers and ‘high tech’ digital solutions in my listening room in the last few years. Some sound stunning, some detailed and some really hi-fi. Over the course of a few days I find myself not particularly interested in just sitting down with a glass of wine or brandy and listening for extended periods while they were in the room.
I love me some great, musical and (oh, my) sensual renditions of great recordings. Sounds like music...not gear.
YMMV, of course.