• Air Display and Music Server Enhancement Ideas (Update)

    A few days ago I discovered an app called Air Display from Avatron Software. It enables use of an iPad, iPhone, or iPod as an additional display with full touch screen capability. It's possible to mirror a Windows or Mac computer's display onto an iPad or even extend one's desktop by using an iPad as a second display. I've been thinking long and hard about how to incorporate this app into a music server and other cool uses for computer audiophiles. I have a couple ideas but I think the CA readers can collectively come up with some cool uses of this technology. Please post your ideas in the comments. Also the very cool HyperMac batteries are back. This time they are called HyperJuice and require use of a different Mac connector due to legal disagreements with Apple. The batteries are a bit tougher to use now but enabling a MacBook Pro to run 45 hours on battery is worth the minor connection inconvenience.



     

    Air Display

    Avatron's Air Displaylink is one piece of software that I just know has a few good uses in a computer audiophile's audio system. I can't seem to put my finger on more than a couple of these uses. Air Display requires the purchase of a $9.99 iPhone/iPad applink from Apple and installation of a small piece of software on a Mac or Windows computer. Once installed an iPad or iPhone or even another computer can be used as a second display over a wireless network. No cables needed. The most generic idea is to use this on an iPad as a second display right next to one's main computer. While cool this idea pretty ordinary. I've been thinking about placing my iPad somewhere near my audio system as a display of what music is currently playing. When using my MacBook or Mac Pro it's easy to move iTunes over to the iPad as the computer's seconds display. This is similar to how Resolution Audio's Jeff Kalt used a Mimo display connected to a Mac Mini via USB at CES 2010link. Another idea I have is to use an Ipad running Air Display as a touch screen monitor controlling J River Media Center while in Theater view. This is just an idea right now as I'm not sure if the response will be quick enough.

    I'm excited to hear what ideas the Computer Audiophile readers have for using Air Display. The app seems too cool to not have a valid use in our music systems.


     

    HyperJuice

    In July 2010 I wrote a music server enhancement articlelink that mentioned the HyperMac batteries. These batteries can extend the life of a battery power MacBook up to 45 hours. Using a MacBook in combination with a HyperJuice battery as a music server is a great solution to remove the noisy switching computer power supply from one's audio system and any noise the computer may dump back into the power line. There are four models of HyperJuice batterieslink ranging from the $170 60Wh version to the $450 222Wh version.


    Since that original article there has been a legal dispute between Apple and HyperMac's parent company the Sanho Corporation. The main issue was HyperMac's use of the MagSafe connector used on Apple laptops. This is the connector that uses a magnetic connection between the power cable and the laptop. Anyone who has accidentally kicked the power cable of a MacBook with a MagSafe connector knows how valuable this technology is to Apple and its customers.

    There are a couple workarounds HyperJuice has come up with to enable its batteries to work with MacBooks from Apple. The first and easiest in my opinion is compatibility with Apple's $49 MagSafe Airline Adapterlink. The HyperJuice battery cable contains an industry standard non-patented DC power port. This power port connects easily with the Apple MagSafe Airline adapter. Sure this requires an extra $49 purchase from Apple, but it works straight out of the box. The other option according to HyperJuice is to use its own HyperJuice Magic Box MagSafe modification kitlink. The instructions in the $49 Magic Box user manual (PDF 7.6MB)link clearly state this box requires irreversibly modifying a $79 Apple MacBook power adapterlink. The procedure requires cutting the cable and wiring it through the Magic Box. It looks like a lot more work and expense than simply using a MagSafe Airline adapter.

     

     
    Comments 65 Comments
    1. taggart's Avatar
      taggart -
      I don't think that remote control is a good idea for a audiophile music server. This means that an additional program has to be installed on the server or at least that the processing of the functionality displayed on iPad is running on the server.<br />
      <br />
      Serveral tests convinced me that it is a good idea to reduce OS and program installation on the music server as far as possible. Particulary it is important to pass on software with graphical user interfaces with the intention to reduce message loops which can cause serveral annoying noises.<br />
      <br />
      So my solution is the separation of remote and renderer. All GUI and database action is done on the remote (notebook, mobile device) and the renderer (server) has only a small, tiny windows embedded standard 7 installed with one additional GUI-less application to communicate with the remote and playing sound.<br />
      <br />
      Regards,<br />
      Christoph
    1. MikeJazz's Avatar
      MikeJazz -
      Hi Chris...<br />
      great finding, if the performance is good, of course.<br />
      I would love to use Jriver Theater View, not only because of the interface itself, but because JRMC allows me to play wav files, while ChorusDS is only playing FLAC at the moment.<br />
      <br />
      Cheers
    1. findog3103's Avatar
      findog3103 -
      Chris, sounds like an interesting app. I am thinking about using a Mac Mini with the iPad2 for music and as my main monitor, but the staff at the Apple and other computer stores discourage me from doing that as they indicated there is a very noticeable delay and the apps are not so precise manipulating the screen. I was wondering if you experienced a delay and lack of precision from what you did on your iPad or iPhone as you stated: <br />
      *****"Another idea I have is to use an Ipad running Air Display as a touch screen monitor controlling J River Media Center while in Theater view. This is just an idea right now as I'm not sure if the response will be quick enough." <br />
      <br />
      Thanks.
    1. jayjallears's Avatar
      jayjallears -
      Chris<br />
      <br />
      This is my first post on your great site. I think I may be being a bit slow but just to be sure are you saying that the app can be used to control the computer or just as a remote display?<br />
      <br />
      Thanks Jason
    1. Paul R's Avatar
      Paul R -
      Wow- you may have just found a way to make J.River usable with a remote! <br />
      This I have got to try. <br />
      <br />
      -Paul<br />
    1. PierreDLC's Avatar
      PierreDLC -
      My audio system (MacMini + Amarra Software, DAC, Amplifier) is located nearby my TV set. To monitor the MacMini, it is connected to the TV set. <br />
      <br />
      You can configure the MacMini so that when it is turned on, iTunes and Amarra are launched automatically (the start of Amarra can be linked to those of iTunes). As a result, no need to turn the TV set on. Then, I remote iTunes with Apple Remote app on iPad. Music goes on.<br />
      <br />
      Problem : to turn the MacMini off and quite applications, I need to turn on the TV set i.e. move my a** from the couch, turn on the TV set, select HDMI output etc.<br />
      <br />
      Following Chris' advice, I downloaded Air Display. It is a nice app to centralized the control of iTunes and MM from your iPad (or iPhone) and to avoid painful and useless physical exercises.<br />
      <br />
      The + : Impressive reactivity (the best I have experienced from all the VLC-alike apps).<br />
      <br />
      The - : Need some time to be configured. As always, not easy to control your Computer desk with finger (solution : mouse or track Pad)<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. gerhardp's Avatar
      gerhardp -
      I think TeamViewer does a simular job as AirDisplay (which I have not tried yet). It works for me for remote control of JRMC. And it is free (for private use).<br />
      <br />
      http://itunes.apple.com/dk/app/teamviewer-hd/id379424610?mt=8<br />
      <br />
      regards<br />
      Gerhard
    1. philwright's Avatar
      philwright -
      Can someone please explain the difference between what Air Display is doing and what a VNC (VLC?) programme does. I've got an iPad2 arriving within the week and want to use it to control my Mac Mini. I currently use a wireless keyboard & mouse, with my TV screen as the monitor. <br />
      <br />
      Main applications are iTunes / Pure Music and Spotify<br />
      <br />
      (the latter being the trade off for no HD Tracks in the UK)<br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi philwright - No worries. If you have the question the chances are high that others do as well.<br />
      <br />
      VNC - A VNC program allows remote control of a computer from another computer or device like the iPad. The screen on both host and remote control device are identical (for purposes of this discussion).<br />
      <br />
      Air Display - This program can display an identical mirrored version of the computer's screen or it can be used as a second display. Using Air Display and an iPad allows you to display something completely different on the iPad than what's on the main computer screen. It's like having two monitors but one doesn't need a physical connection and can take advantage of a touch screen. <br />
      <br />
      &nbsp;<br />
      <br />
      Here's a video from YouTube http://youtu.be/xkl4h5W4Bjc?hd=1<br />
      <br />
      <iframe width="699" height="398" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/xkl4h5W4Bjc?rel=0&amp;hd=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br />
      <br />
    1. darascal's Avatar
      darascal -
      Thanks, Chris.<br />
      <br />
      It's hard to tell from the video just how close this gets to actual screen-sharing w/ a laptop. Would I be able to do most iTunes control & management w/ it? Are you able to type into text fields w/ the virtual keyboard?<br />
      <br />
      I can mostly get away w/ using Remote for controlling my headless Mini, but sometimes have to revert to my laptop. I'm wondering if an iPad (don't own one now) + this app could replace the need for my laptop in my listening space.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks,<br />
      Rascal
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Rascal - In my experience nothing is better than a laptop with Screen Sharing as far as being able to do anything easily. I'll try to mess with the app a bit more and hopefully some of the CA readers can as well.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Jason - Thanks for the kind words about the site. Check out the video I posted below. This should answer your questions.
    1. stevebythebay's Avatar
      stevebythebay -
      Take a look at this one. It was recommended to me by some techs at Amarra. Has worked reasonably well, so far.
    1. PierreDLC's Avatar
      PierreDLC -
      ... another VNC app. If so, it makes you control your distant computer via the iPad iOs i.e. with no other option than touching screen of the iPad (use of fingers only). Its not the greatest solution : big fingers are not compatible with smaller informations of your desktop, lower definition, poor reactivity. <br />
      <br />
      As far as Air Display, the iPad screen is simply mirroring what you will see on your regular monitor. You still control your Mac with the usual keyboard, mouse, track pad connected to it. I experienced it : with Apple's bluetooth keyboard and trackpad, its really cool.
    1. stevebythebay's Avatar
      stevebythebay -
      Although I agree that it's not like using the real Mac or PC, Splashtop does do the job and is reasonably quick about it. Using two fingers to expand the area you want to work on allows for big finger work, in the absence of a pointing device.<br />
      <br />
      And there's a version that's free for testing purposes. It gives you an unimpeded 5 minutes access to any systems you've added to the application for testing.
    1. dummy's Avatar
      dummy -
      Thanks a LOT Steve for the Splashot recommendation. Works very well so far.<br />
      <br />
      True, It is a VNC app but that's pretty much what I was looking for to control JRMC16 from my Vista desktop with my iPad. <br />
      <br />
      I've tried so far to no success UltraVNC, RealVNC (couldn't get those to work let alone configure properly on the pc end), LogMeIn (easy to configure but way too small for the iPad) and just tried TeamViewer as someone else recommend earlier in this thread. TeamViewer works well but is a bit cumbersome with the integrated mouse/keyboard. Easy configuration though.<br />
      <br />
      Now, I've just been playing with Splashtop for the past hour and I am almost tempted to say WOW. 30 seconds installation, just need a password (that you choose) and voilà, up and working. The best image I see on the iPad from a VNC app. Resolution is super clear and clean, mouse and keyboard works very well. A bit of lag indeed but NOTHING like the other programs. <br />
      <br />
      JRMC16 is playing, I browsed to the net easily, can even watch videos without much lag. I am quite impressed and happy so far. <br />
      <br />
      True, It is still a tad small with the finger/mouse situation but at least It works. But If I sit on the couch with my real wireless mouse and the iPad then It's almost like playing with the desktop. <br />
      <br />
      For 2.99$ I am more than happy to finally have found a working solution to control JRMC16 from my iPad. <br />
      <br />
      It's not perfect, It is not completely smooth or seamless but It is the best I've tried so far and thus this semi-rave here.<br />
      <br />
      Perhaps AirDisplay works just as well (even though It is not really a VNC) but I was about to buy It when I've read display mirroring doesn't work (yet) with Windows. If anyone tries It with Windows and JRMC, please report on the quality of It. Might be worth a try after all.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks.<br />
      <br />
    1. stevebythebay's Avatar
      stevebythebay -
      I've yet to use untethered mouse or keyboard with my headless Mac Mini and Splashtop. I'll need to see if this adversely affects the sound quality of the system. I'm super sensitive on that score. But will need to try it out simply for its better level of control.
    1. rogerdn's Avatar
      rogerdn -
      app (free I believe) with Pure Music and see and select all your iTunes library ,response is within a few seconds, it's quite nice I believe, have used for abt a month now with very few problems. Install is simple. It helped me decide to switch from Decibel to P Music.<br />
      <br />
      "I've got an iPad2 arriving within the week and want to use it to control my Mac Mini. I currently use a wireless keyboard & mouse, with my TV screen as the monitor.<br />
      <br />
      Main applications are iTunes / Pure Music and Spotify"
    1. HiFiGuy528's Avatar
      HiFiGuy528 -
      I wonder how Air Display reacts with iTunes in CoverFlow with touch?
    1. chrisj's Avatar
      chrisj -
      I have a mac mini server using Channel D Pure Music into a Dac, have also been looking for a good solution for using iPad as a remote. Sadly this isn't that solution.<br />
      <br />
      The display is slow, buggy and almost impossible to use as a remote- for instance it has no keyboard function so you can't search music. <br />
      <br />
      A much better solution is iTeleport- it works on iPad and iPhone and logs straight into the computer so you can control it completely from the iPad. It is reasonably fast and not too buggy- a much better solution.