Getting the Most out of your Music Player
Streamlining your Mac to be an Audio Component
Audiophiles can spend countless hours and seemingly countless dollars on traditional audio components such as speakers, pre-amp and cabling; adding expensive additions like EMI/RFI treatment, isolation solutions, power conditioning, and more. As a computer audiophile, you should spend some time streamlining your Mac to make it perform as music server rather than an all-purpose appliance.
We’ve compiled a brief overview on building the ultimate music server from your Apple Mac Computer. We encourage you to use this a a guide on improvements you can make to your system. The field of computer playback is changing each day so we also provide some links to places to keep up to date.
Use a Dedicated Computer for Music Playback
Today’s computers are general-purpose machines designed to do quite a bit, and are extremely 'noisy' environments as a result. We suggest you choose a Mac and dedicate it to just playing music. Avoid using the system for email or printing or other tasks while listening.
Choose an Appropriate Apple Mac Computer
An office computer will 'work' for the purpose of playing music, but is it the optimal setup? Your audio setup is a highly refined system and your computer should be up to the task. Learn what it takes to make your computer the best it can be.
As for choice of computers, Intel based machines are required for Amarra products. Install a minimum of 4GB RAM, 8GB is recmomended. For the computer, in order of preference we can recommend the following:
- Intel Mac Mini- Current or recent model
4GB RAM or more
- Intel Mac Tower
- Intel MacBook, MacBook Pro
- Intel iMac
- Recommended Software
Intel: Mac OS 10.8 and later
iTunes: version 11.x and later
How to Streamline your Apple Mac Computer *
*Optimizing your Mac requires detailed knowledge of the OS and should only be done by those with appropriate experience
Download and run this handy Mac OS X Apple Optimization Script:
Sonic Studio has prepared a special application to make optimizing your Mac for music playback easy. The Mac OSX Optimization Setup application will disable un-necessary processes that affect your music computer's performance.
- Quit all Applications
- Locate and double click on 'MacOSX_Optimization_Setup.zip' to unpack this app.
- Double click on MacOSX_Optimization_Setup.app and this window appears:
* We recommend selecting 'Disable All' for best performance, however you may select only the items you want to disable from the
To re-enable features you have disabled, launch MacOSX_Optimization_Setup.app and select the items you want to enable.
- Disable the Crossfade Songs in Playback Settings
- Disable the Sound Enhancer in Playback Settings
- Disable Sound Check in Playback Settings
- Spell check: How to Disable Spell check
- Time Machine: Disable your media drives
- Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and other unused devices and services
- Airport: How To Disable Airport Base station agent
- Review the Mac Activity Monitor: List and manage processes, monitor memory, disk and network activity
Install a Solid-State Hard Drive (SSHD)
Computers with a Solid State Hard Drive installed can sound significantly smoother than their spinning hard-disk counterparts. Same goes for a Network Attached Storage (NAS): it can sound grainy as compared to a locally-connected SSHD.
Sonic Studio recommends a small Solid State Hard Drive (100 GB or so) be used for the Mac OS and Applications, then a larger FireWire- or Thunderbolt-attached Solid State Hard Drive be used for your iTunes Music Library and other music file storage such as HD Tracks downloads. Generally SLC (single-level cell) drives are considered better, more dependable drives vs the cheaper MLC (Multi-level cell).
Spinning drive or NAS is best used for storage/backup of one’s library.
Here is a link to the fastest SSD drives. Storage Search SSD...
Where to go online for help
DAR - Digital Audio Review
The Well Tempered Computer
Silentway - Audio interface comparisons
Hi-Rez Music Talk
Copyright © 2001 Sonic Studio, LLC. All rights reserved.