• How To Remote Control A Mac Music Server (Video)

    There are quite a few options to control music servers today. Apple's Remote application for the iPod Touch and iPhone is one of the most popular. However, this application doesn't do it all. Those of us using Mac OS X without Sonic Studio's Amarra application still need to close iTunes to adjust the sample rate in Audio Midi Setup. While it is possible to use a VNC application on the iPod Touch to control a Mac music server it's quite impractical. Thus, I highly recommend using a MacBook to control a Mac music server. Complete remote control over a music server allows removal of the keyboard, mouse and monitor. Nothing screams tedium, monotony, and spreadsheets like a keyboard, mouse and monitor in the music room. To this end, here two videos showing how easy it is to remote control a Mac music server.




     

     

    How to enable screensharing on Mac OS X.














     

    Higher resolution download (1280x800, 2.5 MB)

     

     

    How to control a Mac using screensharing.














     

    Higher resolution download (1280x800, 16 MB)

     

     
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I agree Darren!<br />
      <br />
      This is one of those things that is so easy to use it almost doesn't warrant a how-to video. But, many people are asking how to do this. So, what the readers want the readers get :~)
    1. Wavelength's Avatar
      Wavelength -
      Chris,<br />
      <br />
      Another option is the Salling Clicker remote. While it does not let you do everything that VNC does. It does give you the abilitiy to run iTunes, sleep the computer and easily wake it up. I don't know if this has been ported to the iTouch/iPhone platform but it does give allot of options that the Apple Remote program does not.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks<br />
      Gordon
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Excellent, thanks Gordon.
    1. Larry_Elliott's Avatar
      Larry_Elliott -
      Chris<br />
      Could you please advise what is the application in the Menu Bar that opens Audio Midi Setup<br />
      <br />
      Thanks<br />
      Larry
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      Hey Larry,<br />
      <br />
      Audio/MIDI Setup is located in the Utilities Folder where the Applications live in the Finder. Do like I do: make an alias ( Control+click ) and drag it to the Dock. That way you always have a quick way to get to it.<br />
      <br />
      markr<br />
      <br />
      Running Good Stuff connected to more Good Stuff while playing and recording GREAT stuff!
    1. Larry_Elliott's Avatar
      Larry_Elliott -
      Mark<br />
      I also have it in the dock thanks. Looking again at the video I see that it is actually an application called SoundSource.<br />
      <br />
      Larry<br />
      <br />
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      ... glad I could help. Keep on Keepin' on Larry!<br />
      <br />
      markr
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Soundsource it is - http://www.computeraudiophile.com/soundsource-switch-audio-outputs-mac-os-x
    1. TimH's Avatar
      TimH -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      <br />
      Been awhile since I've posted, but I still stop by regularly for the invaluable advice.<br />
      <br />
      I'm still very content with my Macbook remote controlling my server, as you recommend, but still ponder an iPhone/Pod just from a size and portability standpoint. I've seen the Remote App in action and am not wild about it. You mention that VNC is not good. In what ways? One thing I've heard is that it's very slow.<br />
      <br />
      TheOtherTim<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Tim - VNC from an iPod Touch is not good. VNC from a desktop is a completely acceptable solution :~)
    1. salman22's Avatar
      salman22 -
      This is a TEST Comment<br />
      Salman Khan<br />
      <a href=http://www.google.com/>Salman Khan</a><br />
      http://www.google.com/
    1. g8k3pr's Avatar
      g8k3pr -
      Ok, I'm there already and was faced with a similar task. Mac Mini music server, how to control, choose music, make on-the-go playlist, Genius playlist, search, etc, etc. I have to disagree with your assessment about needing a Macbook Pro to control your music server. <br />
      <br />
      You may fine that most Mac users either an iPhone or perhaps an iPod touch. They already have the easiest, most complete solution at their finger tips. It's call the Remote app and it works perfectly as a Music Server remote control over WiFi. Of course this assume you use iTunes as your application for playing music through either your analog output or perhas USB connected DAC (like me). You have all the features of an iPod with the exception of Cover Flow (which would be nice, but I can live without that feature until the next update is out). You even have the Genius play list. Who could ask for a more complete solution. It works so exceedingly well that my wife, who also has an iPhone and is not tollerant of complex techie solutions, loves to use it to browse and play music song at a time as she is browsing. I say, get an iPod touch and use Remote app.<br />
      <br />
      Just another point of view.
    1. TimH's Avatar
      TimH -
      Hi g8k3pr,<br />
      <br />
      Great comments, and I'm basically in agreement with what you say, but I chose to go the Macbook route that Chris wrote up here, primarily due to the way I have my system set up. (As a side note, my brother totally raves about using his iPhone as a remote in his upstairs home office controlling his server and an Airport Express hooked into a stereo in his office. Loves it.) <br />
      <br />
      First, I am possibly the last human being on earth that does not own an iPhone or an iPod. Yes, I am a neanderthal in this regard. I just never have a reason to listen to portable music. The iPhone is getting tempting with all its Apps however. So, it would be a buying decision for me, although certainly not as pricey a one as a whole other Macbook, as you mention. Read on.<br />
      <br />
      I have my music server (another Macbook) attached via toslink to my hi-fi system for audio, and I also have video going out of that Macbook into my AVR/television. Hence, coverflow is a big deal for me. For parties or even just me and my wife, it's very cool to have that on the big TV. As you mentioned, the Remote App can't accomplish that, probably from bandwidth issues and the graphics it would have to move. The other thing that's kind of cool is that, for example, while listening to music, I can easily open a browser on the big TV using the screen sharing between the two machines and look for Wiki entries or images of the artist we're listening to, check email, etc.. Admittedly more style than substance, but still pretty entertaining. <br />
      <br />
      Finally, I can't verify this with personal experience, but I've seen some mention about difficulty building, changing, or playing playlists with the Remote App. Again, someone would need to clarify that point.<br />
      <br />
      So, in my setup I'm pretty happy with the Macbook choice. I was sort of fortunate in that I already had the Macbook Pro as my regular carry-around-with-me 'work' machine (now my "remote") and I added the Macbook black as the server. <br />
      <br />
      However, I think there are a lot of folks who have a "music only" server system and don't pipe the video out to their TV, where the iPhone/Pod Remote App solution would be excellent indeed. So, I think we can both agree that we both like what we have. Both are completely valid solutions.<br />
      <br />
      Regards,<br />
      TheOtherTim<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi g8k3pr - Thanks for the comments. I think you may have misunderstood the article. I never mentioned the need for a MacBook Pro to control your music. If all one needs to do is control music you are absolutely correct that the Remote app is fabulous. It has been mentioned around here more times than I can count. Tons of the CA readers already use this app. This specific article was about how to control the complete Mac music server not just the music. The need for this type of control arises from the lack of auto sample rate recognition within iTunes. As far as I know there is no possible way to close iTunes - change audio midi - reopen iTunes without full control of the complete server. Sure, there are VNC apps for the iPhone, of which I have on my iPhone, but these apps just don't work well for this task. In addition is is nice to site back in your listening chair and clean up your library. This is much more practical using a MacBook of some sort as it allow complete access of iTunes. adding cover art, renaming albums, etc... is all easy with a MacBook and not possible with an iPod Touch or iPhone.<br />
      <br />
      Anyway, thanks for your comments and I agree the Remote app is fabulous and works wonders for those not very technical (i.e. wife).<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. g8k3pr's Avatar
      g8k3pr -
      Tim,<br />
      <br />
      Thanks. That does make sense. And I too have my Mac Mini hooked up to my 50" plasma display using a DVI -> HDMI cable and it works great. So, I too can use Frontrow as a controller should I choose too. In that case I use my Harmony One remote to browse through the catalog. However, if I want to control the Mac with say a remote touch pad/keyboard, I do so with a very cool iPod Touch/iPhone all called iTap. It works amazingly well as a remote touch pad and keyboard and allows me to control the mac without the use of wireless/external keyboard or mouse. I highly recommend it as an alternate solution. BTW, I also have the digital-out from the mini connected to my Sony Suround Sound Bar so when I view DivX movies I just switch the audio out to the Digital Out from the USB attached DAC.<br />
      <br />
      Stuart
    1. catastrofe's Avatar
      catastrofe -
      Just for grins, I wanted to see if it was possible to control my Mac Mini from my Dell laptop. I did a Google search, and the first link I found was here: http://dailycupoftech.com/?page_id=200<br />
      <br />
      I downloaded the 2 recommended apps:<br />
      For the Mac (server): eMac VNC Server - OSXvnc <br />
      For the laptop (viewer): Windows VNC Viewer - Ultr@VNC Standalone Viewer<br />
      <br />
      The whole process took about a minute. Once the apps are downloaded, all you do is enter the Mac's IP address into the viewer on the laptop. Works like a charm. Now I have to explain to my wife why I desperately needed an iPod Touch when I've had the laptop for 2 years. . .;-)<br />
      <br />
    1. emw's Avatar
      emw -
      I too have a Dell Notebook (D820) and want to remote control my MacBookPro music server.<br />
      Have enabled on the MBP the sharing function and downloaded the VNC Viewer.<br />
      All works fine,.....but the refreshing of the screen on my Dell is much too slow.<br />
      I have a weak WLAN connectivity im my house (all brick and concrete slab floors) which slows down to approx. 18 Mbps.<br />
      But even with good and fast connectivity of 54 Mbps it is much too slow.<br />
      Do I something wrong or how can I improve remote control ?<br />
      <br />
      Thx.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I use an all 802.11n 5GHz network and it works perfect. I believe it runs at 240 Mbps.
    1. emw's Avatar
      emw -
      Chris, I wonder if the slow refreshing of my Dell remote screen is really only depending on the speed of the WLAN only.<br />
      How would an iTouch communicate to the MBPro ? via Bluetooth or WLAN ?<br />
      <br />
      I have not installed a VNC on the MBPro, only enabled the sreen sharing.<br />
      May I have to install the above recommanded VNC for MAC ?<br />
      <br />
      Thx for any advice.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi emw - The speed of the wireless LAN has a lot to do with this. The iTouch communicates via your wireless LAN as well. You could try any of the free VNC software as a test, but I personally have had better luck with Apple's screensharing app. Can you connect via Ethernet as a test to see if it works better than wireless?