Mac Mini M1 fan experiences

I guess we’ll see…

I set up a headless Mac Mini almost a year ago. It’s been a tank. It’s got 8 gigs of RAM, 256 gigs of ROM and I ONLY use it for Roon. I’ve NEVER heard the fan. Love it, and it’s on 24/7, 365 days a year.


Yeah, computers have come a long way since the days when Michael Dell was assembling them by hand in his dorm room at UT Austin! A well-engineered sleek piece of mass-produced tech like a modern Mac Mini is an astonishing machine.


I’m happy to say that my experience using an Etherregen has been nothing but very positive. This was after a complete upgrade of my system which included eliminating wifi and going to a hardwired ethernet connection. I was sceptical that on a system which I thought was already very good that using an Etherregen would have any noticeable impact but I was pleasantly surprised. I subsequently installed a 10MHZ clock on the ER which improved things even more. I’m not interested in having a religous debate on the general subject of audio ethernet switches I can only give you my personal experience which has only been good…imagined or not.

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Thanks for sharing that. In the last couple of years I have come to accept that even the scientists among us cannot explain everything. I am very much a “trust the science” guy, but (most) science says that there should be no difference, or at least minimal difference in speaker cables, yet I have heard huge differences in various cables. Headphone cables are even easier to distinguish differences. While I certainly agree that the audio world is rife with charlatans and exaggerations and there are plenty of products that don’t pass the smell test, I have learned to at least try to keep an open mind and rely more on user testimony than manufacturer hype. Yes, I am aware that confirmation bias is real, but you can still see beyond that if you have a large enough sample base. If I don’t hear any improvement from the EtherRegen then my feelings won’t be hurt. I’ll just return or sell it, there’s plenty of people that want them. But the user comments I have read certainly suggest that it’s at least worth trying.

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Science tells us that these two things can be true at the same time. But we all enjoy music without knowing everything behind it, as we can feel love without knowing how the brain works.

Hmm, maybe it’s time to sign out and live.

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Testify, brother, testify! The power of marketing is truly amazing.

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And to clarify, this is a M1 mini. It’s clearly got more than enough horsepower to run Roon, which is why I picked it up. Also, I don’t have the hand dexterity to mess around with NUCs.

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Kind of curious why you would buy a Mac to run Roon rather than a Nucleus. In my experience, the Nucleus sounds better and is easier to deal with than a Mac.

how can it sound any different assuming the mac is not underpowered?


There is no sound going between the Nucleus or a Mac M1 to a streamer/DAC - it is data. They “sound” exactly the same.

In Norway the Nucleus is more than double the price of a Mac Mini M1. The latter is a 1000 times more versatile, and I use it for more than running Roon. For me, it’s a no-brainer.

There is a thread for this:


You have your ears and I have mine. I’ve had both and I found the Nucleus far superior sound wise to my mini.

Sure. Data is data. But the architecture and infrastructure of these two devices are very different and that can have an effect on sound quality. I believe it does and my ears back me up.

There is no conclusion on the thread you linked. Just more objectivist/subjectivist arguments.

Regardless of sound quality, I’ve found the Nucleus to be much easier to deal with. More of a set up and forget appliance.

There are various answers to this. The architecture of the Mac and the Nucleus are very different. The Mac has a lot more going on in order to support the tasks of a desktop computer. This can add noise. Same for the operating system. The Nucleus is fanless. The Nucleus doesn’t have Wi-Fi. The Nucleus has an external power supply that can be replaced with an LPS. Etc.

As others have/will point out: it’s up to what you believe and up to your ears for what you hear. If you could demo a Nucleus that would help with a decision like this.

I also love the Nucleus because it wayyyy easier to deal with. Updates are easy. The only flakiness I ever see are actually in the app and not some weird thing in the OS that is impossible to diagnose. Adding music is easy: just mount the storage on your computer and drag and drop.

The Mac has a lot more going on in order to support the tasks of a desktop computer. This can add noise.

Why would it matter if you aren’t connecting your DAC directly to your core, but use a streaming device (a Raspberry Pie for instance)?

Plus, I am right now playing a 192/24 track + EQ from my mac mini based Roon core and the RoonServer process consumes < 15% CPU. I think even this is because I just added a bunch of albums to my lib. Regularly it’s < 10%. The mac mini is super silent; I can never hear anything.

it’s up to what you believe and up

surely, as a community, we can do better than this relativist, anything-goes kind of attitude? I have never seen a claim from RoonLabs that their Nucleus device (as nice and convenient as it is) sounds better than other properly set up and sufficiently powered roon servers. I think if something is not designed to sound differently, it can only do so due to flaws and faults, and I wouldn’t call that “better”.


You left out the part of what you hear…

As an example of statements from Roon: There are various statements by Roon about how Roon Server takes less resources on the Nucleus vs the Mac. They are smart to not make SQ claims about the Nucleus.

‘Better as a community than relativist…’ - what I do tend to find in these discussions is that posters who are unwilling to budge on their ‘data is data’ ‘computer is computer’ etc beliefs is that they are rude and like to infer that their beliefs are somehow more valid than others. Whatever.

For what’s it’s worth my audio chain is tweaked to the max. What I hear on my system using a Mac might be very different from what you do.

let me tell you that many of such posters are professionals in the computing and electronics industry, and claims such as yours fly against their many years of education and experience designing this kind of stuff – hence the pushback; so yes, their beliefs can absolutely be more valid than yours.


Add noise to what? As @phi4 pointed out, this is largely irrelevant if you’re aren’t connecting your DAC directly to your core but, even if you are, you’d need to have a really shoddy DAC for that noise to make a difference - assuming there is any noise in the first place.


And you have your knowledge and I have mine, I’m OK with that.

From a computer architecture standpoint, the Nucleus and the Mac Mini M1 is very much the same.

That may be true, but I just pointed to it as a place for discussion - while this is a thread about the Mini M1 you and others keep bringing in other hardware. Off topic.


I find my M1 passes the data to my streamer without any issues, my system sounds fine.

Noise ~ That’s a word used by audiophiles , dealers and product developers to justify spending more, does it really impact sound, not sure i’ve never heard it unless i’ve had an earth fault giving a hum. It’s a well used blame and justification word though.


Noise is an objective thing, it can be measured precisely. I have yet to see anyone measure a difference in the noise output of a DAC when it is connected to a Nucleus compared to when it is connected to a MacminiM1 or any other off the shelf computer. Here is are some objective measurements from Stereophile comparing the Nucleus to a MacBook Pro that found no measurable difference in jitter or noise between the two.