Mac Mini 2018 - sound is atrocious and no more IR remote control. Now what?

MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 8, 2008
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Zurich, Switzerland
Hi,

I bought a 2018 Mini this week and an Eizo 3285 4K display.

It turns out that the sound in the 2018 is even worse than the 2012 Mini. Admittedly, that was not the focus of the purchase.

So, I need external speakers - and because there's no IR receiver anymore, I need speakers with a remote.

Or, I need some sort of remote control for the Mac Mini (really only to turn down or up the volume).

I do not want to use my iPhone for this.

Any suggestions?
 

MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 8, 2008
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Zurich, Switzerland
On closer inspection, the sound comes out of the tiny speakers of the EV3285.
The sound of the Mini itself is a bit better. But I'm still thinking of adding external speakers.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,552
6,281
I would never consider the Mini's internal speaker adequate for good sound.
Buy a set of self-powered speakers, either with or without a subwoofer. I'm fine without the subwoofer.

For volume control, go to the sound preference pane and put in a check in the box to show the volume control in the menu bar.

Personal experience:
I use a Logitech performance mouse that has extra "buttons" on the left side.
I use two of the buttons for "volume up" and "volume down", and a third for "mute". Works great. I use "Steermouse" to set these up -- easy.
 
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MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Original poster
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Zurich, Switzerland
Thanks.

It's really sad that Apple did not want to include the IR receiver anymore in Macs.

I want to sit in bed or on the sofa to control the volume without needing to get up.
 

getrealbro

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2015
402
146
2018 Mini Design Team Meeting…

Engineer
: Are we designing a cool looking IR Remote Control?

Manager: WHAT??? IR remotes are passe! Besides we’d miss the opportunity to up sell them a voice controlled HomePod.
 

Erehy Dobon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
770
628
How about the iTunes Remote app on an iDevice? Not only should it provide volume control, it will provide transport control (play/pause, next track, previous track) and even media library navigation.

Another option is to output your Mac mini's audio to a small A/V receiver. I'm using the discontinued Teac AI-101DA (they still market the AI-301DA). Both have small remotes and both are around the same size as the Mac mini itself (they are 2.1 channels). Naturally, the remote provides volume control as well as a muting option but no transport controls.

The Teac receiver has its own DAC and accepts 192kHz/24-bit USB audio. Even with small speakers and a small subwoofer, you can get pretty decent audio on the desktop. The Mac mini's built-in DAC is adequate but does not compare those used in better A/V components.

There's a Teac player application for macOS that supports FLAC, DSF, DFF. It sends the raw stream through USB to the receiver's DAC. You don't have to use it though for AAC, ALAC, WAV, MP3, or other audio file formats natively supported by macOS.

On my Mac mini 2018, I have audio configured in System Preferences to output system sounds on my monitor's speakers, but to use the Teac for other audio (music, video, etc.). That way when I get some sort of notification (like incoming e-mail), it doesn't blast through the main audio.

I'm using moldy old Polk Audio speakers, a size that might be used as a satellite surround sound speaker today. The subwoofer is a crappy old Cambridge Soundworks model from the early 2000s.
 
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MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 8, 2008
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Zurich, Switzerland
I found that Satechi sells a BT remote that looks like it does work similar to the old BT remote.

Likely, not a lot of people used the IR remote, so Apple ditched it to save a few pennies. And of course, people could no longer use the Minis as home-theater controllers.
Honi soit qui mal y pence.


I don't want to use my iPhone (I have no other iDevices) because I want to be able to watch movies in bed. And I never take my iPhone to bed, I'm a bit of a germaphobe in this aspect.

Also, thanks to people's preference with large screens, it's way too bulky to be used as a remote.

The IR remote was perfect.
 
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Erehy Dobon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
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628
Now that you finally described your usage case, I see the iTunes Remote app won't work. I wish you had mentioned this before. That would have saved me the effort in responding.

I don't use an iPhone in my bedroom either but then again I don't watch TV in bed.

Anyhow, best of luck.

I hereby bow out of this discussion.
 
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MRrainer

macrumors 65816
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Aug 8, 2008
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Zurich, Switzerland
Now that the remote is here (which seems to be a bit fidgety, unfortunately - the only reason this thing can command 50 bucks is because there's few alternatives out there and they are often even more expensive, like Logitech's Spotlight), I'm thinking of getting a used Bose Companion 50. Or actually, Companion 20 would be better because I don't really need or want the big subwoofer of the 50...
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
9,851
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Vilano Beach, FL
I thought I posted this already (must've been a similar thread), but there's a number of very good sounding, self powered speakers with remotes, talking in the sub $150 range - and the built-in speakers/audio is going to be pretty craptacular anyway, so I couldn't imagine using that for the audio for a movie anyway.

These Edifier 1280T are terrific for the price, $99, have a remote, dual inputs, 4.6/5 with over 4400 reviews.

I mean, if your primary goals are: 1) better SQ and 2) remote control for volume, that's a pretty nice solution :)
 

MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 8, 2008
1,242
685
Zurich, Switzerland
Finally got everything together. The speakers are nice. But nobody said they don't come with a cable to connect to a Mac. so had to order one.
I'm not an audiophile, but I think with these speakers I can now hear when the sound (or rather the voice) recording of a YouTuber isn't up to par....

Remember when you got your first pair of glasses as a kid (maybe you waited a bit too long to get them...) and you put them on and...BOARH EVERYTHING IS SHARP!
;-)
 
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