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Interesting that he has not set his DAC2 for USB v.2. It would then accept
192K transfers. With what he's talking about, I'd call the Mini a source
rather than a server. A server is something that hooks across a network,
unless you're talking about a daemon, as in a unix X server or something
like that. But IT lingo is infinitely "extensible" and instantly confused.

An example of a media server is a thing I set up to access my
computer-stored tunes on my garage hifi. It was prompted by the purchase of
an Internet radio, a Grace Digital Mondo. It looks like a radio, has a
built-in speaker, but the only signal it receives is that from a wireless
hotspot, like from a home wireless Internet router. Works very nicely for
streaming radio stations, which can be stored in one of 10 presets for
instant connection. Well, as instant as the speed of your wireless, network,
broadband, etc, etc. allows. But even with my old Linksys G, it works fine
within range with a strong signal. In addition to streams, it will also
access files on the local network, audio up to 24/96. This is where a server
comes in.

The Mondo keeps an ear out for a network service called DLNA (via UPnP).
Conveniently, Windows 7 computers run this by default, though you wouldn't
know it until you run something that speaks DLNA - like Windows Media
Player. It's not a routed protocol, so your neighbors won't see it unless
they're using your network.  This can be fun if you have a multi-computer
household. Micky came out the other day and heard a belly dance tune
playing. "I didn't know you had that," she said. "I don't," I replied. "It's
on your computer." Mondo found it there. Mondo like belly.

Where this gets a little complicated (it has to - because, computers) is
when you expect a good, navigable index of the library to show up on your
device. That comes from the meta-data of the music files, and if they are
incomplete, inconsistent, wrong, or cryptic, so will be the list displayed
by Mondo. I've been using a computer as a source for years, so I've kept up
with the tagging chore. Whenever I rip, download, or create files, I correct
their stats: Genre, Title, Artist, etc. There are free-ware tools for this,
but I bought a program that Windows (or MAC or linux) users should consider.
JRiver Media Center. One of the best $50 I've spent. It's a full-service
media player app, video and audio, which also has excellent tag editing and
library display features. It rips like a champ - fewer errors than EAC or
dbpoweramp in my tests.

But wait there's more. Media Center has its own DLNA server, one which
supports all that meta-data. Not all implementations do, such as the useless
one on my NAS box. I have MC running on my office machine - always on. I
point it to the music library, which can be stored on that, or another
machine via a shared folder. Mondo sees it complete, as does other media
apps in the house. MC also picks up all the other DLNA libraries on the home
network (we have several) and can serve them up, too. So, while Mondo sees
all the computers that are advertising their wares, the MC server gathers
them all in one connection and library function. So, Micky's belly music was
transferring from her computer but was identified by the server running on
my computer. A distributed services environment.

Mondo's display is adequate, but no more than that, and navigation is clunky
as you have only a spin-and-push selector and a back button to move around
with. Tragically, you can't use the presets to remember servers. But with a
little practice and a few oaths, I've got used to it. Sound quality? Grainy
out of the box, it has smoothed out after a few weeks and actually supports
a decent soundstage. If you use the headphone output to drive an amp, you
have the use of the remote volume control. It's perfect for my ST-35 clone.
The RCA outputs are better for the Lepai amp I'm playing with (20 W/ch, $22
from Parts Express).

I've probably managed to make this sound more complicated than it is. None
of it is technical, really, and if you like to tinker, this stuff rewards
you. Not as easy as an Apple/Airport system, but a lot less costly. Mondo
isn't the only option; Grace Digital makes others. If you find a Logitech
Squeezebox Touch at a decent price, grab it. Wish I had before it was
discontinued.

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2014 1:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Mac Mini as a HD digital music server

There was some discussion here a week or two ago about building a HD music
server ...

http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=2893

-- Tom Fine