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Dr.Blueberry 07-19-2005 04:19 PM

Mac Mini as dedicated iTunes Server

I am planning on buying a Mac Mini as a dedicated iTunes server.
Ideally I would like to be able to control iTunes on the Mini remotely from any Mac on my local intranet.

Your application seems to be EXACTLY what I am looking for.

I have installed the demo and read questions on this forum.
Before I go and set it all up, please address the following:

* Will I be able to have multiple Macs running the netTunes client simultaneously ?
* If I have iTunes set to launch as part of the startup of the Mini, is there any need for launchTunes?
* In running the demo, I used my primary computer as the netTunes server and my wife's computer to test the netTunes client. When she was controlling iTunes, she "took over" my computer. From reading another post, this is unavoidable, correct ? (note: this will not be an issue if I have a dedicated iTunes server)
* Same setup as last question. Sometimes she saw my entire desktop, sometimes she only got the iTunes window. Why the difference ? Does she have access to any other applications ?
* Have you tested netTunes with Mac OS X server ?

With the release of the Mini, I suspect others will use it as a dedicated iTunes Server (and perhaps shared network hard drive, server, etc...). Not sure how to better spread the word, but it seems to be something that should get out.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer my questions.

Dr. Malcolm Blueberry

dnanian 07-19-2005 04:44 PM

Hi, Dr. Blueberry.

I've also got a Mac mini as a dedicated media server here, so I'm quite familiar with the setup you're proposing, and I do think that netTunes is exactly what you're looking for.

Let's go through the questions, which I'll answer in order to avoid all that nasty quoting:

* Yes, you can have multiple Macs running the client simultaneously. Of course, as you might expect, the more connected the slower the performance, but it works fine. Get the fast mini, with memory!

* launchTunes is typically useful when you're sharing music that isn't necessarily on the machine where you're playing. For example, I have a Mac mini that is my netTunes server, but my music is on my OSX server. I run launchTunes, using my OSX Server as the "server", and the mini as (one of the) clients.

So, when I start up iTunes on any machine on my network, it automatically ensures iTunes is launched on the server.

Similarly, if you just wanted to listen to the music stored on the mini from another machine's iTunes, you could set up the mini's iTunes as the server, and install launchTunes on the other machines. So, you'd start iTunes locally and it'd ensure the mini's iTunes is running, and its library could be used locally.

* That's right, netTunes gives access to iTunes on the computer, and she'd "take over" -- it's not designed for "multitasking" an existing machine between iTunes and other work... really for a (primarily) dedicated machine

* I'm not sure why she'd see the desktop, unless iTunes was taking a while to respond -- but it is possible to get access to other applications if you're persistent

* Yes, I have -- it works great with Server.

Hope that helps! Let me know how it works out for you: I think you'll be quite pleased.

Dr.Blueberry 07-20-2005 12:30 AM

Follow up....
Hi Dave,

Thank for the reply, and thanks for answering all my questions in order.

I am glad I am not the only one who is thinking of a mini as just a iTunes server, but with all my music, it seems to be ideal solution.

To help explain my questions.
The stereo and my computer are at opposite ends of my home office.
My wife and I both use Laptops, we both come and go.
We have some MPEGs on my laptop, some on hers, some on both.
I'd like to centralize all MPEGs and play lists, etc.
AirTunes is great, but doesn't quite get me where I want to be.

* If the Mini is the server, and my computer is running the client. Can I attach my iPod/Shuffle to my computer ? (I am guessing not.)

* I was planning on the 1.4 GHz, upgraded to 512 memory. I will upgrade to 1 GB if you think it makes a difference.

* Do you use the internal audio (mini jack) of the Mini, or do you have a USB external sound device ? If so, which one ?

* Help me understand your configuration. You keep all your music on your X Server ? Does this mean you mount the X Server as a remote/shared hard drive on your mini ? If the mini is a client, do you control iTunes on the mini from your stereo rack or using netTunes. My gut is that it would be very illustrative if you would share you configuration as well as some other sample configurations.

In advance, thanks again.

dnanian 07-20-2005 12:44 AM

OK -- let's see if we can knock off these questions... :)

- Since only the UI is remoted, no -- you can't attach your iPod to your local computer. You can, of course, connect it to the mini (& control the syncing from netTunes).

- 512MB should be OK...

- I've tried some of the USB sound devices, and the one I liked the best, at the time, was the Griffin PowerWave -- mostly because it worked, and allowed mixing of two inputs, too. I've had very bad luck with the M-Audio "Sonica" and "Sonica Theater" -- both of which had buggy, crash-prone drives.

At present, I'm just using the headphone jack -- but the sound quality isn't as good as the PowerWave. Then again, it's AAC. ;)

- My configuration:

- I keep all my music on my server (it's not an XServe, it's a PowerMac), and share it with the mini using the built-in library sharing. Both machines are headless, and I control both with netTunes & launchTunes.

It's hard to know what "sample configurations" to provide here: there aren't that many possibilities! Your set up is very similar to what I've got... and to what most netTunes users have/want, too, so I think you're in good shape.

Dr.Blueberry 07-20-2005 12:57 PM

Hi David,

I spent a few hours surfing and shopping this morning.

Ordered are Mac Mini, Griffin Powerwave, and check out the miniStack ( I am a sucker for esthetics. Oops, of course I ordered the netTunes/launchTunes bundle.

Thanks for all your help, back to the ripping...


dnanian 07-20-2005 02:40 PM

Hey, great! I'm sure you're going to have a happy household, reveling in the music. Let us know how it comes out when it's all put together and broadcasting!

Dr.Blueberry 07-30-2005 12:46 PM

Follow up:

I've been using NetTunes for about a week.

It does exactly what you would expect it to do, and does it well.
I am very pleased with the product and can easily endorse it.

More importantly, my wife is using NetTunes all day long now that we have shared access to our MPG files. She is making playlists, ripping those overlooked albums and in general making great use if NetTunes/iTunes. It is always a struggle to get her to use a computer app for anything other then eMail (she would rather be outside). This is a much stronger endorsement then anything I can offer!!

Thanks for a great app, and thanks for your outstanding service.

dnanian 07-30-2005 02:31 PM

I'm very happy to hear that, Dr. Blueberry! Thanks for following up -- and tell friends about netTunes! :)

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