Mac Mini


I am using the Mac Mini as a music server and was wondering what others are useing as an isolation platform.

Does it even matter what it is sitting on?
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Cable stands, anyone? :-)
A lot of talk about the D/A process is jitter. Does excessive vibration contribute at all to jitter? I don't know a lot of the subject, but there are a lot of guys on Agon who are obsessed with isolation and vibration. I have my DirecTV receiver, my Mac Mini and hard drive all on the same rack as my other components including my turntable. I wanted less vibration to the turntable. The noise and vibration from the lousy DirecTV receiver was reduced when I put gum erasers under the feet. It's a $4 tip I read on another thread. I liked its result so I did the same with my mini and drive. I think getting them more airflow underneath is good too.

I don't know much about the tech regarding DACs, but the zeros and ones in a computer system that has two way communication is different than a digital audio signal which is one way. If there are problems or errors in the signal the DAC doesn't send a messages back saying 'hey, give me that packet again. there was an error in that last one.'
I was also in the 'it's all zeroes and ones' camp too; it just seems to make crystal clear sense, yes? But, unfortunately, my experience has just as clearly illustrated the opposite. A Mac G5 tower clearly sounds much better than a Mini or MBP in my system, and RollerBlocks under the Tower and external drives have been clearly beneficial as well. I really wish it wasn't so, but it is:-)
In actual fact, the RollerBlocks made more of a difference than switching out an M Audio 24/192 card for the vaunted Lynx AES 16 card.
I would agree with Cutterfilm (above). It looks like there are two camps: those who believe that a DAC puts out varying information depending on whether it is vibrating and those who believe its information rate remains the same until the point of data failure (so much vibration that the buffer cannot put anything out and it skips or stops).

On the issue of "jitter":

Jitter, from my understanding, has to do with the master clock reading those 1s and 0s. I think master clocks come in varying degrees of quality and, therefore, accuracy. The better your clock, the better your DAC, and the better your sound should be to you.

However, the master clock's performance should not be predicated on whether it is vibrating or not. Perhaps massive amounts of vibration would cause a master clock to not function properly, but that should equate to a data error not differences in sound quality.

Again, you close your eyes and listen while a friend blows on your stylus or taps your turntable in the right way--you'll hear it. Close your eyes and have a friend shake your hard drive. Do a double blind test. Repeat. It's not going to matter until the point of data error (where the DAC cannot send out data at all or it cannot buffer enough data during the non-shaking times to give you an audible sound--ie skipping).

In short, I really believe that you'd be better off spending more money on better digital components than trying to isolate the ones you have if your goal is to improve your sound. My rule of thumb would be: computer digital source is not going to sound any better by doing anything to it.

I've never seen any white paper reports indicating that vibration leads to a computer reading less binary information off of a hardrive. That is the real issue.

A third point of view: Where you stand depends on where you sit--I suppose. Those who've invested a lot of money into vibration control for a computer hard drive need to hear it as sounding better. Those of us who didn't spend the money have to say it doesn't.
Oh, here's a picture of a clock: http://www.tentlabs.com/Products/cdupgrade/xo2xo3/index.html

Reducing the vibration of this clock is going to result in less jitter? It's a circuit board.