Mac mini as music server?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Soundhound, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #1
    I use my main iMac to serve up my large (600gigs+) library. Since I use the Imac for Logic and want to maximize its speed, cpu etc, I was thinking of getting a mac mini to serve up the library, using my wifi at home (airport extreme, several airport expresses.) And through icloud if I can create a small enough library to use with icloud.

    Will that work? Is a Mac Mini a good choice for that purpose? What cpu/speed requirements would I need to get? I'm thinking of getting a used one, to save some $

    thanks!
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    #2
    Excuse my french but that's a stupid solution (you're spending a lot more money than you need to).

    Just get a Network Drive and point your Library to it.

    But if you need an excuse to buy a Mini then I guess it passes to the undiscerning ear.

    What devices on your network are going to be the clients exactly? What machines are going to be needing access to the 'Server'
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #3
    That's not french, that's just plain rude.

    I guess I should have posed the question differently, so as to not offend any sensitive types around here.

    That question would be: I have my large music library on an external drive, served up by my imac. I'd like to take that load off the imac, since I use it for Logic, and want it to be as fast and clean as possible.

    The iMac serves up music through my wifi network, an airport extreme, several expresses with stereos/speakers hooked up to them. As well as another imac, a few laptops, two ipads, two iphones, whatever else shows up at the house!

    What's a good solution for that? A Mac Mini?

    And what's a network drive? Would using one be any different from the setup I've got now?



     
  4. Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southampton, UK
    #4
    A network drive is just like any USB external drive, like the one you have your music on at the moment. However normally they are attached to a wireless router via an Ethernet cable.

    By being attached to a router many computers can access the same drive over the WiFi network.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #5
    This may work for other computers, but if Soundhound is using iTunes Home Sharing to serve up the media to the AirPort Expresses via AirPlay, a standalone network-attached drive won't work. iTunes Home Sharing requires a computer actively running iTunes, and Soundhound specifically wants to dedicate his iMac to running Logic. Being a hobbyist electronic musician, I know what can happen to audio latency if something else is competing with the music software for computer resources: glitches or dropouts in the audio, which is **not** good, especially with software-based synths and effects in the mix.

    @Soundhound: Yes, a used Mac mini will do, with a cheap external drive to hold the library directly attached to the mini. If the mini's still too expensive, you can also repurpose an old Windows desktop or laptop (or get a used netbook for cheap) as an iTunes host.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #6
    Thanks! I was hoping against hope that a network drive could do it (as Im hoping not to spend too much). But if I could get a cheap mac mini, that would be great. Do you know what specs I'd need the mac mini to meet (if say I were getting a used one etc.) And if I eventually want it to connect with iCloud?



     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #7
    Yes it will work fine.

    I do this to serve music, photos and movies to my various and sundry computers and TV's.

    I use a C2D - don't need the latest and greatest.

    Look on the Refurb Apple store - good prices on good systems.
     
  8. stridemat, Feb 3, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012

    Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southampton, UK
    #8
    A quick Google shows that you can get NAS boxes that also have the ability to act as iTunes media servers So would work as the OP requires.

    http://wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=280
     
  9. macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #9
  10. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #10
    But you still need to run the iTunes app somewhere.

    I would recommend at least an Intel Mini for this. G4 might be too old. I used to do this with a 1.66CD Mini just fine. And SL still works for iTunes Match if you use that, although a Lion install will be more future proof, so that would require at least a C2D.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #11
    I did a quick look at used mac minis, and CD2 looks like the cutoff point, because I think I'd want to run Lion at some point...

     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Mini's are ideal for this sort of thing. I picked up a quad Mini before Christmas; it serves all my media ( 2xATV, iPad / Macs via StreamToMe ), and acts as a file server. TBH, I only went with the quad to use StreamToMe, as it performs on the fly encoding of virtually any format, and there's always at least 2 devices streaming from it. Normal iTunes streaming doesn't need much grunt. With the exception of running StreamToMe, I used to do all the above on an G4 iBook running Leopard Server....
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #13
    Sounds good! Here's a weird thought. Can I use my iMac monitor for the mini?or will it need it's own monitor? I there such a thing as 'monitor sharing' Didnt hear that term anywhere, just made it up....

     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    If your iMac is recent enough ( I can't remember which revision brought it in ), you should be able to use it as the monitor for the Mini. I connected up a monitor for the initial install, now I just use Screen Sharing ( CMD+K and type vnc://IPAddress ). TBH, it's very rare that I connect, only if I need to alter a playlist or add something into iTunes ( the server is used to sync all iOS devices, too... ).
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #15
    Very cool, thanks! I have a 2.97ghz i7 27" iMac, pre thunderbolt. Do you know what version yours is?

     
  16. macrumors 65816

    kappaknight

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #16
    You can also use a HDTV as your monitor if you don't have any other options. Get your wires from monoprice.com.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #17
    The issue is room really. I'm trying to keep things as organized and spare as possible in my work space.

     
  18. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #18
    I think he meant if it is near a tv, use that on the rare occasion you need a monitor. Not buy another tv.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #19
    I don't have exact specs in front of me, but a mini with at least a Core 2 Duo processor running Leopard, or any ol' processor running Windows XP, will run the current version of iTunes, which is necessary for Airplay. I've successfully served 720p video files to an :apple:tv 2 from a PC with an older Athlon 64 tower (built circa 2005) running XP. You don't need something beefy enough to decode the videos it houses-- just something that'll run the iTunes application and serve the files to the receiving device.

    iCloud functionality apparently requires OS X Lion or Windows Vista or Windows 7. I'm not sure whether a C2D mini could run Lion. (I could be wrong on this point; anyone with information to the contrary, please feel free to correct me.)
     
  20. Dunkrag, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012

    macrumors member

    Dunkrag

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    #20
    The OP is doing what I am about to set up in my AV system.

    I've annoyingly fragmented into two iTunes libraries - 1 on my macbook, and one on my iMac. Currently stream through Apple TV to my home cinema system. The iMac is very out of date though I'm happy to keep the macbook as a portable / iPhone friendly version, but I'd like to finally ditch my CD's and have something a bit more permenant and higher quality at home.

    So I'm going to invest in a Mac Mini to sit under the TV with a 4TB drive connected. I'll start the long process of re-ripping my 38,000 tracks into Apple Lossless and then use the Mini as my main music source for home. Be nice to surf and browse on the 50'' plasma as well.

    Is there an App to use the iPad as a remote keyboard/mouse for the Mac?
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    #21
    Or you could just attach that external drive to the iMac ... Or get a network drive. Bam! All problems solved with a $200 purchase!

    If you want the Mini then buy it, you don't need to justify your purchase with this silly logic.

    Buying another computer only to attach it to an external drive doesn't make sense when you already have one computer to attach the external drive to, or better yet a router.

    Lol, this is a trend on this forum. OP did the same thing ... He went from ...

    "Do I need the Mini?" to ..
    "Well I didn't know I could use a HDD, why so rude?" to ..
    "Well I'll buy the Mini anyway"

    Lol ... Most people who start these threads have already made up their minds to buy a Mini, I don't know why they need the approval of other people before they spend their own money.
     
  22. macrumors member

    Dunkrag

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    #22
    :D

    I guess that's true - but my iMac is 4 years old and showing signs of not lasting much longer (already had to do a full restore and start from scratch again with it).

    It's buried in my office and I don't fancy being stuck in there for how ever long it's going to take me to re-rip around 4000 albums in lossless - and I don't want it stuck on my coffee table for however long that is going to be.

    I love the added advantage of being able to use my 50'' plasma as a big monitor in my living room to browse and surf.
     
  23. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #23
    Many home NAS devices are set up to share iTunes Content. I have my content sitting on a WD My Live device and the iTunes library on it shows up perfectly in iTunes as a shared device from any computer in the house and my AppleTV's. It replaced a Netgear Stora device that had identical functionality.
     
  24. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #24
    Just a heads up. Home NAS's running Linux run music sharing via Firefly, it's a very, very basic type of share. Little more than just a long list of your music, no cover-flow, no Genius, no videos.

    I use a NAS to store all my media and simply fire up a computer running iTunes whenever I want to playback my library. An AppleTV will show shared computers whenever it sees one. An iPad (running Remote) works as an excellent way to control an AppleTV in this setup.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    #25
    I think you need some kind of counseling. Or a hobby. Or maybe you're 13 years old? One of those facts is true.

    I hadn't made my mind up about anything, and still haven't. If I could solve this issue with just buying an external drive, a network drive, that would be great! But everyone else in the thread says it won't work. Do me a favor and go away! You're clouding the issue here and I'm trying to find out what to do.

    I repeat. Go away! Find some other people to annoy!

     

Share This Page