Mac mini (late 2012): storage options for the best Sound Quality?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by BigMa, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. BigMa macrumors member

    May 31, 2012
    Hello everybody! :)

    I am about to order my first Mac and am wondering...

    Are there any advantages with the Mac mini using the stock
    • 1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    • 1TB Fusion Drive
    • 256GB Solid State Drive + external HDD via USB3

    Which should sound better? :confused:
  2. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    Are you asking which one is the noisiest? Surely that depends on the USB enclosure chosen. Obviously SSDs are going to be quieter than moving drives. If your asking about audio quality out of the line out port, then storage type can't effect that. 1s and 0s are 1s and 0s in all scenarios. There is also the possibility of drives creating EMC issues and getting on the audio output but that is more an individual drive issue rather than a technology issue.
    If this is your concern, then you are probably better off forgetting about drives and getting a different D-A converter that is optimised for quality (not that I have any particular knowledge of these or the Mini's D-A).
  3. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Your music should be on an external for convenience and flexibility. Audiophools say that SSDs sound better. I'm not convinced. I use 5400 RPM externals and I'm more than satisfied with them. The Seagate Backup Plus drives are pretty quiet. Lacie Rugged Drives are good too. For the cost of one SSD, you can buy two or more 1 TB 5400 RPM external drives.
  4. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    If you use external USB HDD for music, make sure you have oxygen-free copper USB cables otherwise it attenuates the highs

  5. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    It shouldn't make any difference at all. It's not like the platters of your drives are vinyl with needles, it's completely digital. All the signals going into the sound hardware look something like this:


    Regardless of where they come from, wether it be hard drive, ssd or even the internet
  6. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Can't resist some humor here...

    Spinning drive for a more analog (think vinyl) sound
    SSD for the more hard edge ultra clean digital sound
    Fusion drive for more Larry Carlton smooth....
  7. tablatom macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2009
    I think R2D2 might hear the difference, but not ears with fleshy membranes;)
  8. Hessel macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2011
    for recording audio SSDs are better... but I assume you're not running a Protools HD setup recording 20 + audio channels at the same time ;)

    talking about the actual loudness of a Mac Mini. you won't hear the HDD spinning in most cases because the fans are about as loud.
    for normal use get a Fusion Drive. This will be fast but not as loud as an external HDD. (also cheaper then a 256 SSD)
  9. flatfoot99 Guest

    Aug 4, 2010
    good one!

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