Mac mini first impressions


New member
Jan 8, 2011
I had an unfortunate accident with my notebook computer last week. Replacement needed. After some pain: a new Mac mini hooked up to the hifi via the V-Link. The result was a pleasant surprise!

So here's the story. Previously, I was skeptical that the actual computer can make a significant difference in a budget system, since all my other computers sounded similar. I'd found that in terms of software, Win 7 using WASAPI in a player such as Foobar gave slightly better results. OS X 10.4 on an iBook G4 was just so-so and Win XP was also so-so, with only iTunes on Win XP being notably bad. (I wanted to try Linux but gave up after 2 failed installs on 2 different machines). Upgrading one very old noisy and under-powered Pentium 4 notebook from XP to Win 7 improved the sound to the about the same level as a new Win 7 notebook running the same software. And all of these computers playing lossless files sounded approximately the same as a NAD 521i as a transport into the same DAC. Bits are bits, right folks?

Now...whack the Mac mini in, and straight away it gives a clearer and cleaner sound than any of my older desktop and notebooks! A veil lifted, just more information across the board. Even Spotify seems at least as good on the Mac mini as Foobar with WASAPI playing FLAC on my (now deceased) core i5 Win 7 notebook. Playing FLAC files on the Mini with Audirvana (one of the many "audiophile" players for OS X) is slightly better still.

It's just a first impression, but I trust my ears (mostly!) and I believe the difference was clear. At least as big an improvement as a PSU upgrade or DAC upgrade.

So with the improved sound, I'm feeling a bit less bitter at having carelessly trashed my notebook PC...


New member
Mar 22, 2009
I will be sorely tempted if my Apple TV ever dies to replace it with a Mini, The ATV with ATV flash is an excellent Media Player and is working far too well at the moment to warrant the extra cost, but glad you are enjoying yours.


New member
Dec 24, 2010
VinylRush said:
Pick up Pure Music or Audirvana and take it up another level :)

Absolutely agree.... Pure Music on my Mac Mini is a joy to use and does take the sound up to another level :dance:

Give the free trial a whirl!! :rockout:


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