Check to make sure the HD on your ibook is not almost full. Also, make sure that there are no extra programs/processes running that you don't usually have.
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There are two parts to your question: troubleshooting your current setup and suggestions for something new.
About suggestions for new: directional la, you want to have a computer dedicated only to audio, so no unnecessary programs are running (and if you can make it headless, the better), and an a synch USB DAC. What in particular will be mostly driven by your budget and if you want to stay with Mac.
thanks for the replies. the problem is resolved but still want to consider a new system. (the music worked straight from the external hard disc; the pauses only happened once itunes was used. i have changed the hard disc and itunes now appears to work with it.)
for the new: i am not tied to mac and there is no fixed budget. of primary importance is good audio quality and good flexibility in playlist selection (e.g. to shuffle within a user defined genre). currently the dac is that within the primare p30 sound processor; i thought that was pretty good?
Have you tried using programs that interface with iTunes like Audirvana and Pure Music. These programs have trial periods so there is no risk in trying them. You might find they offer some benefit. While I have a lot of respect for Jim Hagerman I do not think his USB interface was one of his better designs. A better quality USB interface may be more beneficial.
I can certainly understand you perspective given everything else that goes on in our industry. Personally I preferred Audirvana, seemed the simpler approach. I hear Bit Perfect for Mac is another good option and maybe the simplest of them all. For me the idea was to get away from the reliance on iTunes as the player.
thanks. i might try pure music etc., but initially they seem to me like snake oil, like most things that purport to act before the DAC."
Its good to be cautious, but you still have to learn. If you make a division yourself, based on your own experience, then you know for sure. If not, its really a guess.
"for the new: i am not tied to mac and there is no fixed budget. of primary importance is good audio quality and good flexibility in playlist selection (e.g. to shuffle within a user defined genre). currently the dac is that within the primare p30 sound processor; i thought that was pretty good?"
Are you listening to classical music, or other genres?
Metadatics has been useful to me for taggings. Others out there too. Have to say FLAC is best for tags versus WAV and AIFF. Prefer to use AIFF though so I use Metadatics to fix or customize my tags for use with Minimserver. If you are using iTunes use AIFF if possible unless you want to save some space.