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Topic: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

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  1. #1

    Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Hi, this is my 1st post and would really appreciate some advice. I am thinking of getting a new intel 1.83ghz Mac-Mini, loaded with 2 gig Ram to run Kontakt loaded with orchestral libraries and samples.
    My main computer is a 1.5ghz PowerBookG4 running cubaseSX3. I want to keep a mobile setup-hence the (cute) mac-mini idea.I use a MOTU ultralite, and have a spare M Audo firewire410 that i can use with the mac-mini. Ideally it would be great to run some other VST i's as well from the mini.

    Any advice on whether the mac mini is powerful enough, and on the best way to connect the 2 computers would be appreciated.

    many thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Try this thread....

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ight=mini+hein

    The mac mini isn't that portable since you'll need a monitor and keyboard. You could probably connect over ethernet and do some sort of KVM over ethernet to control it.

  3. #3

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    I'm using a G4 1.4 ghz mac mini w/ 1gig ram to slave my string ensemble section to my mac pro.

    Personally, if i were you I'd use the mac mini as my main computer because it is more powerful than your powerbook.

    I have mine connected via ethernet cable. Mine does not have gigabyte ethernet, yours does, so you'll probably have even less latency, but surprisingly mine is really low as long as I keep the buffer down its only 3ms. I use a digi 002 with my mac pro, and although it is a bit overkill, my previous interface was a motu 828 and I use that for my mac mini. You could get any interface with stereo in and out. Or heck, even use a Y cable out of your mac minis headphone jack. Not very hifi but it would work. I use the midi over lan thing built into os x.

    Getting it set up was a pain so i just leave it as is and running most of the time. I tried using it as a reverb unit basically but there was to much latency and a pain to fix.

  4. #4

    Question Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Intersting, I had the same idea.

    The power/price rate of the mini is competitive vs. cheap window PC (not so frequent for apple products...;-)) and the software/hardware for sound are first class (integrated midi audio dirvers low latency, full duplex digital optical port).

    Does anybody report about Steinberg VST Link using Mac OSX digital-optical in-out ports (I own V-stack and Cubase...should try connection between my Mac Pro G5 and the Mini...)? It consume audio band, but is maybe faster than ethernet? boh...experts please let's suggest...

    When i'll do it, I'll report you about results...please do the same.

    rgs

    Fabio

  5. #5

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabio
    I own V-stack
    V-Stack does not run on a mac-mini because it does not run on OSX 10.4

    Rax is the alternative plugin host for newer macs:
    http://plasq.com/rax

    I have sync problems with the digital out of my mac mini.
    Maybe a firewire interface with a sync option is better.

    Midi connection via simple USB-Midiinterface works great.
    KVM switch is easy to handle.

    Performance of the mac-mini (compared to its price) is fantastic.
    No noise, very few space needed, I wish I had 10 minis. ;-)


    Chris Hein
    Chris Hein - Horns / Chris Hein - Guitars / Chris Hein - Bass
    http://www.chrishein.net

  6. #6

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Hi guys.

    I've been using 2 Mac Mini's quite happily and have a 3rd on it's way. All are the 1.66 with 2GB RAM, I have tried various ways of integrating them with my main DAW, starting with analogue out into my DAW's RME Fireface 800 - which worked fine.

    I have recently changed this to use Wormhole 2 (from plasq) and this also works fine, although I'm waiting for the 3rd mac mini before I pass any true judgement. I've also found plogue bidule to be slightly more efficient than RAX at least for the VSL VIs that run on the mini's.

    Best

    Tim

  7. #7

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Kiel
    Hi guys.

    I've been using 2 Mac Mini's quite happily and have a 3rd on it's way. All are the 1.66 with 2GB RAM, I have tried various ways of integrating them with my main DAW, starting with analogue out into my DAW's RME Fireface 800 - which worked fine.

    I have recently changed this to use Wormhole 2 (from plasq) and this also works fine, although I'm waiting for the 3rd mac mini before I pass any true judgement. I've also found plogue bidule to be slightly more efficient than RAX at least for the VSL VIs that run on the mini's.

    Best

    Tim
    This sounds like a very interesting setup. Can you give more details of how your multi computer system works, and how do you send midi, and are there any latency or other issues? Thanks

  8. #8

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Hi Bloggs

    Once I get the 3rd Mini up and working I'll post up a tutorial or something more detailed. In the interim, the setup is like this:

    Intel MacPro (Main DAW) running MoL (MidiOverLan) through gigabit switch to mac mini's.

    Each Mini and the DAW then runs Wormhole to stream the audio back. I have used both the internal soundcard (muted) and an Edirol UA1EX as the sound device and get similar results with both. The 3rd Mini will not use a UA1EX as I am confident that the internal audio device on the mini's is sufficientty low in terms of latency I don't need to waste the money on buying a seperate audio interface.

    Each Mini has been modified and holds a 7200 RPM Hitachi 100GB HD and the VI samples are kept on Lacie Mini FW400 drives (250GB).

    Each Mini runs at 256 samples and uses Plogue Bidule as the host. I then use the VST version of the Vienna Instruments (rather than the AU version) as it seems a little more responsive. I did use RAX originally but found it had some bizzare streaming problems (notes cutting out during the sustained portions). I have attributed this to the AU version of the VI but haven't done sufficient tests to prove this.

    The DAW also runs at 256 samples (about 6ms) with the RME Fireface 800 and Wormhole is set to a latency of 600 samples on all devices and is synced.

    Each Mini runs 6 VI VSTs (at least) and I have currently been happy enough to have 3 instances of Wormhole per mini (so 6 on the Host, 9 when the 3rd Mini arrives). This gives me three paris of stereo return channels back to the main DAW. Which I then can then pan independently and set various levels of reverb.

    So far I have not had any noticeable latency and can happily play live if I need to.

    I am using Cubase 4 on the main DAW and when AudioEase release a compatiable version of AltiVerb plan on using that for reverb - at the moment I am using Cubase RoomVerb (not ideal but workable).

    Hope this is of interest.

    Cheers

    Tim

  9. #9

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    My experience with Wormhole between just two G5 Macs is that it works fine - for a few minutes, after which you have to reinsert it to get a clean signal again. I really want it to work, but it's just not working solidly for me.

    Also, it's only for two machines. According to the developer, a third won't sync properly.

    I reported this in a preliminary way in our latest issue (VI mag), and since then have worked with it a lot more. Wormhole is tantalizingly close, but unless you have a lot of patience it doesn't seem to be the cross-platform audio-over-ethernet solution we're all waiting for.

  10. #10

    Re: Mac Mini as 2nd computer?

    Thanks Nick. It seems strange because it's working fine on 3 mac's at the moment (soon to be the 4). Occasionally if something gets out of sync and I get a strange degredation of sound (usually if one machine has been working and the other hasn't and I switch to that one) all I do to remedy is press "play" in Cubase and then "stop" and everything sync's back up again...

    I'll wait and see what happens when I have 3 slaves...

    br

    Tim

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