Mac Mini Suggestions/Configuration for Optimal Audio

Ok, trying to make a Roon vs Audirvana decision, so I plan to start a trial next week. This week is learning and setup.

  1. MacMini MID-2011, i5 2.5, 8GB RAM, 500GB HD, Network Attached 1000Mb
    a) Upgrade Memory? 12GB? 16GB?
    b) Upgrade HD - Add an SSD to run OS from, using current HD as Data?
    c) External Storage - Firewire or USB? I have direct attach FW Drobo w/6.7Tb of Storage OR a USB 6Tb Drive. Which would you suggest? My rack is out of the room, so “noise” is not an issue.
  2. Music Library:
    a) iTunes = AIFF Files. I have not used iTunes much, but have a 700Gb directory of all my old music from CD in AIFF format. When putting into iTunes, it creates new/added files. Can I do without them and just point Audirvana at my AIFF Directory? I would love to get rid of any remnants of iTunes if possible.
    b) Tidal Subscription - Plan to integrate Tidal - Good Idea? Suggestions?
  3. Digital output to my PreAmp/DAC (Emotiva XMC-1 takes TOS/Coax/USB/AES digital interface). Mini only puts out TOS via the 3.5mm to TOS cable correct, unless I use USB…
  4. Remote - Suggestions? Best way to run the Mini remotely from my chair?
  5. Any other suggestions about services or other improvements?

Many thanks for this newbie…

These are my thoughts…
1.a) no need for now (but if you plan to upsample to dsd 16GB is the way to go)
1.b) ssd are faster to start an application, once the app is started there is non difference
1.c) FireWire is very old, I should go for and usb 3 hdd, it is way faster…
2.a) Aiff is fine even if it is larger than flac. But if you already have a lot of aiff I don’t see any reason to change. You can point Audirvana to your aiff directory, it is the best choice.
2.b) It’s up to you … if you like it get it.
3) I should go with usb
4) You can download Audirvana Remote app, the best way to control from remote Audirvana
… lifetime Roon license is 7 times the cost of Audirvana …

My exact setup except that my Macmini is 2012. For some reason, mine does not provide for use of USB to DAC??? The only cable it recognizes to the DAC is a Toslink. I’d rather use USB.

Could you try with different cables and or dacs? What dac do you have?
… and can a mouse or keyboard or printer be detected on usb?

Yes other usb devices work on the MacMini (Late 2014). I have a Bel Canto DAC and it shows up wonderfully on the MacBook Pro (early 2015) that I have.

… cannot understand … is your Mac Mini a 2012 or 2014 model?

Sorry, I think I had a typo earlier. It is Late 2014.

It’s strange that all four USB ports have the same issue … but I could find that Bel Canto dacs can be quite fussy with USB ports … can’t help on this, sorry

Thanks for trying. I appreciate it!