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Winno

So, my music computer has died.

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Winno   

Hi everyone.

Yes, my Dell Windows 10 desk-top PC has died and I'm looking for something to replace it.

I am considering a used Mac Mini because the new one we have in our lounge/media room sounds great through the system there and I like its small form factor.

 

But, are there other options I should consider for my music room streaming?

I have a Tidal Hi-fi subscription and stream only so I don't need any storage at all.

I would like to continue using my 19" monitor for display of content and my mini keyboard for control. 

 

Very open to suggestions and will consider other options I may not even be aware of.

Many thanks

Edited by Winno

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Snoopy8   

Suggest a Sotm SMS-200 which a following on SNA here. Audiowise, it is superb, but you will need a low noise power supply.  I do not use Tidal, but I understand it is easy to set up and use via Squeezlite on the SMS-200.

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mjs   

I have a Mac Mini which is a few years old now, but it works fine. I use Tidal either stand alone or integrated with Audirvana+ (I prefer the latter as I use Audirvana exclusively as a player). Just works. Plus you get a proper computer as well! 

(I realise this is not an "other option")

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Winno   
3 hours ago, mjs said:

I have a Mac Mini which is a few years old now, but it works fine. I use Tidal either stand alone or integrated with Audirvana+ (I prefer the latter as I use Audirvana exclusively as a player). Just works. Plus you get a proper computer as well! 

(I realise this is not an "other option")

but, it does reinforce my original intention regardless so, is appreciated.

Thanks.

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mjs   

NP. Just out of interest, I use Bluetooth trackpad and keyboard with mine, very convenient, although most of the time, I try to run the Mini and Audirvana headless and just use my iPad A+ app to control, again, very convenient.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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SteveC   

Depends what else you use the PC for? Anything can do basic streaming but if you have other uses that may steer you in a certain direction. Also do you use any Windows specific software that may not be available on the Mac or that you need to repurchase? Any Intel NUC will do the streaming job but I would think the Mac Mini would be quieter.

 

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MIne is still available but I am not sure about streaming Tidal with this one ............... I was controlling it with an android tablet

Edited by Ancientflatulence

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SteveC   

Tidal app is OSX10.9x otherwise you can use a browser.

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ophool   

If streaming and media playback are the only requirements, then a Raspberry Pi running OSMC and Kodi with the Tidal plugin will do that.  Fit it with a Hifiberry digi+ SP/DIF out board and you can lose the PUC.

There are Kodi plugins for Youtube and most of the Freeview catchup TV services like iView etc.

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Winno   

Thanks guys.

These little streaming computers like the SoTM or NUC or Raspberry Pi and a quality LPS seem like a viable option. If I could remove the PUC by gaining SPDIF coax out, that would be a bonus perhaps.

 

This will be dedicated to streaming and it wouldn't be used for anything else.

 

Do they connect with wifi from my router?

My router is two rooms away.

 

I've tried Kodi but didn't like the GUI at all. Will stick with the Tidal app for now.

 

Control is via wireless keyboard and touch pad

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ophool   

There are a fair range of USB WiFi adapters available that will allow the Pi to communicate with your router unless you have an unusually RF unfriendly building.  There are various skins for Kodi, there are also other OS than OSMC that can be used; that is just the one with which I have had most experience.

An iFi power pack would probably provide sonic benefits and aside from control by wireless keyboard etc. the more popular Pi operating systems also have remote control apps for Android (and probably iOS) allowing control from a smartphone as well.

Edited by ophool

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Bunno77   
If streaming and media playback are the only requirements, then a Raspberry Pi running OSMC and Kodi with the Tidal plugin will do that.  Fit it with a Hifiberry digi+ SP/DIF out board and you can lose the PUC.
There are Kodi plugins for Youtube and most of the Freeview catchup TV services like iView etc.
There's a tidal plug in for Kodi? Good news thank you

Sent from my JAZZ using Tapatalk

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Snoopy8   

One thing to note for OP is that a Mac mini is easy to use. By contrast, other options may require tweaking, configuration etc and can feel cumbersome. :(

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powerav   
10 hours ago, Winno said:

 

I've tried Kodi but didn't like the GUI at all. Will stick with the Tidal app for now.

 

Wow really, I have used most and Kodi is only second to Roon and Kodi is getting better with a similar level of artist and album info as Roon. The Kodi remote app is great as well.

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JSmith   
On ‎8‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 8:10 AM, Winno said:

Dell Windows 10 desk-top PC has died

Have you considered just repairing the PC? It's likely just the power supply... Dell PC's usually have a series of error codes represented by a sequence of flashing lights that will tell you what has failed. There is often a small button on the power supply too which will attempt to start the PC, so will tell you straight away if it's the PS. There are heaps of reconditioned PS's on eBay for Dell machines.

 

JSmith :ninja:

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mjs   

Last year I thought I'd have a go at a Raspberry Pi, so got a Zero, case, leads, etc, loaded it up and got the OS going, was going to try the music server thing, had thoughts of getting a Pi 3 with a HiFi dac, but sort of lost interest. Just too easy using the Mini


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Winno   
5 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

One thing to note for OP is that a Mac mini is easy to use. By contrast, other options may require tweaking, configuration etc and can feel cumbersome. :(

I agree and this is why I had thought a second mini would be fine. I don't like complexity. Stuff should just be easy to use.

3 hours ago, JSmith said:

Have you considered just repairing the PC? It's likely just the power supply... Dell PC's usually have a series of error codes represented by a sequence of flashing lights that will tell you what has failed. There is often a small button on the power supply too which will attempt to start the PC, so will tell you straight away if it's the PS. There are heaps of reconditioned PS's on eBay for Dell machines.

 

JSmith :ninja:

The PC boots up ok. It just has no video output. It might be cheap to fix but it's 10 years old and I have a feeling newer products may be superior. I saw it as an opportunity to "upgrade" perhaps.

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Snoopy8   
7 minutes ago, Winno said:

I agree and this is why I had thought a second mini would be fine. I don't like complexity. Stuff should just be easy to use.

The PC boots up ok. It just has no video output. It might be cheap to fix but it's 10 years old and I have a feeling newer products may be superior. I saw it as an opportunity to "upgrade" perhaps.

Goes back to what your focus is, ease of use or chasing audio quality (the reason for my suggestion of a SMS-200).  

 

Have you tried using another video cable and another monitor?  If so, then something wrong with integrated video processor, not worth repairing. A new PC unlikely to be superior for audio c.f. old box because PC has too much noise. You can get dedicated low noise audio PC but cheaper to go down one of the alternatives suggested by various posters here.

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Winno   

Yes, I did the whole process of elimination with multiple cables and computers and it's definitely the pc at fault.

While another mini is an option, I definitely have not dismissed the other's suggestions.

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I know I'm late to the party and my advice is going to sound weird, but bear with me..

 

No video output is sometimes due to poor RAM seating. As a stop gap until you buy something new, try pulling out the RAM module(s) and cleaning the contacts along the bottom (it's more common than you think to simply lick them) . Then re-seat the RAM as they were before and boot the PC.

 

If this doesn't work you're much more likely to have a larger problem, and if you break it with static or otherwise you're no worse off than you were before. 

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Winno   

It seems that all solutions so far involve having a computer which works.

 

I'm after something to completely replace any pc or mac that will stream Tidal hi-if from my router via wifi. I don't mind using my iPhone to control it via matching app but the trouble is, most affordable options don't appear to do Tidal.

 

So far, a used mac or, a NUC connected to my router and my monitor seems the simplest option while still performing well.

 

Am I missing something?

 

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Snoopy8   

If you want to take a different direction, how about Sonos?  Easy to use and very good support.

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An Intel NUC or Asus ViviMini are your two best bets. They both have inbuilt wifi and will easily run everything you're wanting.

 

I'm bias toward Windows though, so your choice is down to:

Windows man: NUC or VivoMini (based on performance per buck since they have the same features more or less)

OSX guy: Mac Mini

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Winno   

Orrrrrr, I could use a Bluesound Node 2. Yep, been reading tonight and learning.

This connects directly to my wifi router and is controlled by an iOS app on my phone.

It has coaxial out so I can flick my Yellowtec PUC2 converter to simplify the signal path into my Theta DAC/Pre.

 

Then, I think if I want to really make a go of it, there are other units from Naim, etc that are even better than any PC or Mac could ever hope to be.

 

Hotdiggitty, there's a whole bunch of products that will render/stream from Tidal wirelessly that use an iOS app for control - Moon, Auralic, Naim, Linn, and so on and so on.

I'm also thinking of having an additional phone line put into the house and using an ethernet connection to whatever new streamer I choose.

 

Penny has dropped! 

Edited by Winno

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