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Build a Music Server Using the Mac Mini

Build a Music Server Using the Mac Mini

Paul McGowan of PS Audio provides a thorough description of you can turn your Mac Mini into a music server for your DSD, WAV, FLAC and other files.

Here's an excerpt from his article.

With the goal of a small, quiet, affordable, lightweight box without a keyboard, mouse or screen, the choices available to us narrow down quickly. Many of you suggested a laptop. I nixed this choice immediately because of size. Even a small 13″ laptop is huge, relative to what we have in mind for our project, and doubles in size when you open it up exposing the screen and keyboard. Besides, it looks like a computer. I don’t want a computer, I want a dedicated music server.

Next comes the choice of platforms. This one’s obvious to me. Apple. Why? Well, if we ignore my dislike for Windows and Windows based machines and focus back on our design goals that include ease of use and setup, that really narrows the choice down. Say what you will about Apple products, they are dead easy to setup and use. In fact, they are so easy, many Windows users don’t like them because of their simplicity. Tough crowd.

The Mac Mini is an easy choice. Retailing for $599 with a 500Gb storage drive inside, this little baby is all you need. Measuring a mere 1.4″ tall and 7″ wide and deep, this little faceless unit weighs in at 2.7 lbs, is machined from a solid billet of aluminum and is about as elegant a “computer” as you can get. It does have a fan inside but you’d never know it. Here’s a picture of this little jewel. It doesn’t even look like a computer.


To set this product up you will need an old monitor, USB keyboard and mouse (any brand will do). The monitor needs a DVI input (or HDMI) which most in the last 5-years have. If you don’t have a monitor, you can buy one cheap from Amazon: here’s one for $39 used. Apple makes different adapters if yours is ancient enough to not have DVI, check with the guys at the Apple store if you have questions. Remember, you’re only going to need these for setup and perhaps those times when you want to load a big library, but never in use as a music server.

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