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The Mac Mini as a High-Resolution Audio Server

The Mac Mini as a High-Resolution Audio Server

Dr. AIX (Mark Waldrep from AIX Records) recently published an excellent application note titled "My First Server" - a simple step-by-step guide for setting up a High-Resolution Audio (HRA) server. Dr. AIX chose a Mac Mini, a Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and the highly-acclaimed Amarra playback software.

The system components are:

  1. Mac Mini
  2. Video Monitor
  3. Benchmark DAC2
  4. Amarra Playback Software
  5. Headphones (or Speakers and an Amplifier)

The result is a true High-Resolution Audio system that can deliver the finest studio-quality playback available. The Benchmark DAC1 and DAC2 converters have become standard fixtures in many of the world's top recording studios and mastering rooms. They have become the converters of choice for critical listening in these professional environments.

Apple MAC Mini Rear View

"My First Server" describes the server that Mastering and Recording Engineer Mark Waldrep uses in his own living room. With his simple guide, you can enjoy mastering-quality High-Resolution Audio playback.

Also in Audio Application Notes

Closeup of Plasma Tweeter

Making Sound with Plasma - Hill Plasmatronics Tweeter

by John Siau June 06, 2023

At the 2023 AXPONA show in Chicago, I had the opportunity to see and hear the Hill Plasmatronics tweeter. I also had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Alan Hill, the physicist who invented this unique device.

The plasma driver has no moving parts and no diaphragm. Sound is emitted directly from the thermal expansion and contraction of an electrically sustained plasma. The plasma is generated within a stream of helium gas. In the demonstration, there was a large helium tank on the floor with a sufficient supply for several hours of listening.

Hill Plasmatronics Tweeter Demonstration - AXPONA 2023

While a tank of helium, tubing, high voltage power supplies, and the smell of smoke may not be appropriate for every living room, this was absolutely the best thing I experienced at the show!

- John Siau

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Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier

Audio Calculators

by John Siau June 04, 2023

We have added an "Audio Calculators" section to our webpage. Click "Calculators" on the top menu to see more like these:

THD % to dB Converter

Results update on input change.


THD dB to % Converter

Results update on input change.


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Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier

System Performance Calculations

by John Siau June 03, 2023

If an audio system is composed of multiple components, we may have detailed specifications for each component, but we will not know the performance of the combined system without doing some calculations. You may have questions such as these:

  • Will my audio system produce audible noise?
  • Will my audio system produce audible distortion?
  • How will my audio components work together as a system?
  • How loud will my audio system play?

Use Benchmark's online audio calculators to find answers!

For example, if we know the output power of an amplifier, as well as the sensitivity and impedance of our loudspeakers, we can calculate the maximum sound pressure level that our system can produce.

Peak SPL Calculator

Results update on input change.


This application note provides interactive examples that help to answer the questions listed above.

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