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Can I load piCorePlayer onto an old Mac Mini?

Tom C

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I recently tried piCorePlayer on Raspberry Pi, and so far really like how it’s working. I’d buy a couple more, but everyones sold out right now, due to supply issues. So in the meantime, I’d like to try installing onto an old Mac Mini that I don’t use anyway, because it’s so sluggish and won’t run the latest software.
Can anyone point me in the right direction to do this? Do I have to worry about GUID partition on the USB boot drive?

Edit:
Ended up replacing the hard drive with an SSD, and loading Daphile, which was much easier than restoring macOS
 
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pierre

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That should work. You of course need an Intel version of piCorePlayer not an ARM version.
I do not find an Intel version just by skimming the website.

If you are an IT person: install Linux and add the player you want. That works very well on older Mac, I have done it on a MacBook and an iMac (10+y).

If your Mac mini is old and sluggish, replacing the original SATA disk by an SSD usually help them a great deal. Which model do you have ?
 
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voodooless

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That should work. You of course need an Intel version of piCorePlayer not an ARM version.
There is no x86 version available, so no, it will not work. Sell the mini and buy a pi.
 

somebodyelse

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Tom C

Tom C

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That should work. You of course need an Intel version of piCorePlayer not an ARM version.
I do not find an Intel version just by skimming the website.

If you are an IT person: install Linux and add the player you want. That works very well on older Mac, I have done it on a MacBook and an iMac (10+y).

If your Mac mini is old and sluggish, replacing the original SATA disk by an SSD usually help them a great deal. Which model do you have ?
Thank you everybody. I knew you guys would have an answer
 
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Tom C

Tom C

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That should work. You of course need an Intel version of piCorePlayer not an ARM version.
I do not find an Intel version just by skimming the website.

If you are an IT person: install Linux and add the player you want. That works very well on older Mac, I have done it on a MacBook and an iMac (10+y).

If your Mac mini is old and sluggish, replacing the original SATA disk by an SSD usually help them a great deal. Which model do you have ?
Thanks pierre. I’m not an IT person. It’s a Mac Mini from late 2014. That’s how Apple describes the model on their website. I’ve read about the SSD upgrade, and I think I could do it, but I don’t want to spend any money on that unit. I was hoping piCorePlayer, with its ultra light footprint, would run acceptably well.
 
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Tom C

Tom C

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There is no x86 version available, so no, it will not work. Sell the mini and buy a pi.
I like this idea, but no pi available right now. Can’t imagine the mini is worth more than a few pennies
 
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Tom C

Tom C

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Daphile is probably the closest to piCorePlayer for x86 and x86_64. It comes with LMS enabled, and a squeezelite instance per detected audio output. Either can be disabled if you don't need them. I've seen it said that it will install on old Macs but not trued myself.
https://www.diyaudio.com/community/threads/daphile-audiophile-music-server-player-os.240040/page-219
Sounds like a bigger footprint than piCorePlayer, but might be the only solution. I’ll just have to poke around and see if I can get it to work. Thank you for the link.
 

vco1

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Even if it was possible, installing piCorePlayer on a Mac Mini would be useless. pCP has been designed to run from memory a.o. to get around the issue with corrupted SD cards on a Pi. You don't/won't have that issue on a Mac.
So install either a regular linux distro which works on the Mac hardware or use the latetst version of OS X that's available for you model. And install SqueezeLite and (if needed) LMS on that OS. For LMS I suggest you run it in a Docker container.
 
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Tom C

Tom C

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Even if it was possible, installing piCorePlayer on a Mac Mini would be useless. pCP has been designed to run from memory a.o. to get around the issue with corrupted SD cards on a Pi. You don't/won't have that issue on a Mac.
So install either a regular linux distro which works on the Mac hardware or use the latetst version of OS X that's available for you model. And install SqueezeLite and (if needed) LMS on that OS. For LMS I suggest you run it in a Docker container.
You mean I can just run LMS and Squeezelite on top of a deprecated version of Mac OS? That’s cool, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have some artificial and unnecessary hardware limitations, based on the way Apple designs its operating systems.
At the moment, I’m thinking the best bets are Daphile, vs. Ubuntu plus LMS and Squeezelite. Might be six of one and half dozen of the other.
 
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Tom C

Tom C

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Even if it was possible, installing piCorePlayer on a Mac Mini would be useless. pCP has been designed to run from memory a.o. to get around the issue with corrupted SD cards on a Pi. You don't/won't have that issue on a Mac.
So install either a regular linux distro which works on the Mac hardware or use the latetst version of OS X that's available for you model. And install SqueezeLite and (if needed) LMS on that OS. For LMS I suggest you run it in a Docker container.
Docker container is stretching my brain. I can grasp the basic concept. The devil’s in the details. Maybe I can work up to it in baby steps…
 

mdsimon2

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You mean I can just run LMS and Squeezelite on top of a deprecated version of Mac OS? That’s cool, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have some artificial and unnecessary hardware limitations, based on the way Apple designs its operating systems.
At the moment, I’m thinking the best bets are Daphile, vs. Ubuntu plus LMS and Squeezelite. Might be six of one and half dozen of the other.

Very easy to run squeezelite -> https://sourceforge.net/projects/lmsclients/files/squeezelite/osx/intel/ and LMS on Mac OS -> http://downloads.slimdevices.com/nightly/index.php?ver=8.3. A late 2014 mac mini is not that old and will run Monterey.

From an audio perspective Mac OS is one of the easiest to deal with IMO.

Michael
 
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Tom C

Tom C

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Very easy to run squeezelite -> https://sourceforge.net/projects/lmsclients/files/squeezelite/osx/intel/ and LMS on Mac OS -> http://downloads.slimdevices.com/nightly/index.php?ver=8.3. A late 2014 mac mini is not that old and will run Monterey.

From an audio perspective Mac OS is one of the easiest to deal with IMO.

Michael
I agree, the unit’s not that old, but the manufacturer no longer supports it with the latest OS. Kinda chaps my hide. I’ve got Monterrey loaded now, which won’t deliver Apple Music lossless. For this reason, I decided to drop Apple Music and go with Qobuz, which is a more than satisfactory replacement, and will deliver lossless on browser app and has a dedicated LMS app. But, for example, when I try to use Safari and Qobuz web app, the app won’t let me select the hi-res sample rates when using a capable USB DAC. I assume this is due to Apple OS or firmware limitations, and I’m afraid if I don’t replace the OS, I won’t be able to work around the problem.
Your Camilla DSP tutorial was smooooth like butter, which encourages me to go with Ubuntu server with LMS and SqueezeLite on top. Daphile also has many happy customers, might try that first since it’s purpose built, instead of my trying to piece it together on my own.
 

mdsimon2

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Hmm, odd on the Qobuz web app. Probably something you've already looked at but I would check Audio MIDI settings and see what your sample rate is set at, it could be set to something lower like 44.1 kHz. That is one area that Mac is not that great in that unless the app has the ability to change Audio MIDI settings it will just resample to whatever is selected in Audio MIDI settings, fortunately the Mac resampler is pretty good (not as good as SOX resampler used by squeezelite but still transparent to 16 bits).

I've never installed Ubuntu on a Mac so it would be interesting to see how it goes, imagine the CamillaDSP setup would not be much different but some of the dependencies may be different.

I also recently setup CamillaDSP on mac mini 2012 running mojave for use with older firewire DACs that do not have 64 bit drivers and it works very well. It is super stable and I have not needed to have a service to auto-restart it because it runs for days without issue.

Either way good luck!

Michael
 
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Tom C

Tom C

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Brief update.
The hardware I have is actually a Mac Mini 2012. I think I had 2014 on the brain when I originally reported the model number, because that's the oldest model that actually will run the latest macOS, as of this writing.
I had forgotten about a bunch of SSD's I had sitting around unused. I got them back when SSD for PC was relatively new and expensive, and not expected to be as reliable as mechanical HDD. They are small, 128GB. The original plan was to use 4 of them in a RAID 10. One drive did fail (good thing it was a RAID). The speed gain from RAID wasn't huge, so for the rebuild, I decided to just use a single larger SSD for the system hard drive, and keep the actual data files on a mechnical disk. So, just used one of the leftover SSD drives reformatted for attempted Mac Mini upgrade.
Tried using Time Machine to perform a system backup prior to hardware upgrade. Never used it before, but had another Mac Mini on the LAN, so used it for the storage device.
Replacing the old HDD wasn't especially difficult. Found a YT video to guide. The parts aren't machined that well, though, so the unit didn't want to go back together just right. After trying for a couple hours, just patched it back together with chewing gum and bailing wire, and called it good.
The attempt to restore from Time Machine was an epic fail. There were no problems at all booting into recovery mode and having the new SSD recognized. But the recovery software couldn't recognize the backup file on the second Mac Mini (which is only about six-months olds, so has M1 processor and latest macOS). Resorted to reinstall of macOS from internet, which for that units was Mavericks. Was able to install and boot to desktop. Installed some updates to Mavericks. Then tried to update to Mojave, but I wasn't allowed to select it. Tried Catalina, same deal. Then El Capitain was selectable, but hung during attempted installation and couldn't recover. Tried everything I could think of, perform disk partition, erase disk, but nothing would get rid of the corrupted installation file. It kept trying to install, but couldn't.
Briefly looked into installing Ubuntu, which I think is a great option, and something I'd like to try, but realized that would require some additional learning, and may require more time, So I decided to try and load Daphile.
What a smooth and easy install that was. I think it may have helped to already be familiar with LMS and Squeezelite, but really, everything just worked. Used Balena Etcher on Win 10 PC to create an install USB stick, and I was off. What a relief!
I think once Raspberry Pi's are available again, I'll get one to use as a player with piCorePlayer, and try loading Ubuntu on to this old Mac Mini, but for now I can use this easily.
Thanks again everybody.
 

vco1

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That's a pretty long story for a brief update. ;-)

Don't think you took the easy way out. But it seems you're happy with it.
 
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