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The best way to connect a Mac to a B&O MasterLink set-up

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RobN
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RobN posted on Thu, Oct 10 2019 9:56 AM

Dear All,

I'd like to start a discussion on how best to connect a modern Mac set-up to an established MasterLink set-up. It would be great if we could harvest the great knowledge and experience of Beoworld.

This question is prompted by the release of MacOS Catalina, which has split the previous function of iTunes into three distinct applications: Music, TV and Podcasts. Two decades of iTunes comes to an end and so does my well established set-up of playing music from my Mac-Mini (via a DACMagic D2A) to a BeoLink PC2 then onwards via MasterLink to many rooms in my house, that contain a Beosound 9000, BeoCenter 6-26, Beovision 7-32 etc. All reliant on BM-Link running on the Mac.

BM-Link will not be upgraded, I've been in direct contact with Anders Odlund who wrote it and quite reasonably his life has moved on and he no longer even has the B&O kit to develop and test the software, let alone the desire to do so.

So, apologies for the long intro, that raises the question: "If you have a significant investment in the generation of B&O that uses MasterLink how best to connect a Mac stacked with thousands of music albums to be able to control the source in each room and listen to your chosen track?

Any/all thoughts would be most welcome?

Best,

Rob

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trackbeo
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Of course the unhelpful answer -- but possibly the best answer -- is simply not to upgrade your Mac OS.  My MacMini3,1 still works just fine, running iTunes 10.7 on OSX 10.6.8 -- including new purchases from Apple's store. [Edit: But it no longer does song previews; opens stream but will not play.]

If you *must* upgrade for some reason, buy a brand-new Mini to run Catalina and keep your old one for music, household control, and running the old version of QuickBooks!  (Run it headless, screen-shared in an always-open window on the new Mac: your "entertainment" window).  Echoing your significant investment in an old generation of B&O gear by maintaining your old Apple gear in stasis seems like a no-brainer.  A new Mac Mini is the easiest purchase you could make to maintain that status quo.

RobN
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RobN replied on Thu, Oct 10 2019 5:33 PM

Hi Trackbeo,

Yes, thanks, not upgrading the iTunes music server is one option, it's just I use the Mac for other work related functions and having the latest apps keeps me compatible with others. This can be solved, as you say, by buying another MacMini. Quite a pricey solution and also one that might give security concerns in months to come when Mojave doesn't get updated, so the iTunes music server might become vulnerable.

Thanks for the suggestion, which is my fall-back if I can't find a technical way around BM-Link not talking to Music.

Best,

Rob

TWG
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TWG replied on Fri, Oct 11 2019 9:25 AM

trackbeo:

Of course the unhelpful answer -- but possibly the best answer -- is simply not to upgrade your Mac OS. 




Currently it's indeed the most helpful answer to those upgrades!
For example professional audio equipment copmanies (like AKAI professional, Native Instruments, Pioneer DJ, Denon professional etc. ) are WARNING Mac Os users not to upgrade their computers as the updates means trouble. 
The companies suggest not to update until drivers etc. are updated, too and the equipment can work as usual.

 

tb59427
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Hi all,

 

assuming BM-Link uses standard API access to iTunes what to do, I would assume (wrongly, maybe) that Music offers these or similar APIs access as well. If Anders released the source code of BM Link to the public, we could look into this and see whether we can get BM Link to talk to Music.

 

any chance?

regards

Torsten

tugster
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The only other suggestion I would have is to emulate an older Mac OS through Parallels Desktop after you upgrade to Catalilna.  That would require a $30-$50 software purchase depending on the deals available.  As tb59427, maybe if Anders were willing to pass the torch on the BM-Link code to someone else here, then any incompatibilities with Catalina could be addressed.

RobN
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RobN replied on Mon, Oct 28 2019 11:42 AM

Thanks Torsten,

I'll email Anders and ask him if he'd be okay with this.

Best, Rob

RobN
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RobN replied on Mon, Oct 28 2019 11:43 AM

Thanks Tugster,

A valid approach, much appreciated. I'll investigate and report back if I go the parallels route.

Best, Rob

RobN
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RobN replied on Mon, Oct 28 2019 11:44 AM

Thanks Tugster,

That's an interesting idea. I will investigate further and come back and report if I try the Parallels approach.

Best, Rob

madskp
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madskp replied on Mon, Oct 28 2019 1:54 PM
A free alternative to Parrallels is Virtualbox if you want to try it out without to many expenses

Edit: OSX as a guest operating system is an experimental feature of Virtualbox so your milage may vary
tb59427
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Hi all,

experimented all weekend. I ended up liking HifiBerry on a raspberry pi as my future solution. Hooked the raspberry to the AV3 audio port of my BV10 and set this to DTV2. Hifiberry shows up as an airplay target in my network and I can stream music either from my iPhone or from iTunes (aka Music) to the HifiBerry. Switching to V.AUX on my Beo 4 connects starts the music streaming into ML. Works from all connected B&O gear (BeoVision 10-32, Beolab 3500, Beolab 2000, Belolink Passive, Beolink Active and BC 1). The whole setup costs about €120,-. A far cry from the €750,- my B&O dealer wanted to charge me for a BeoSound Core. While the Core may be a great device I don't see it's additional value in a pure ML setup.

I now only need to find out what V.AUX is on an old Beo 4 (that does not have V.AUX in its configuration). Any idea anyone?

Also, despite HifiBerry volume being turned up significantly I still have to beef up the volume on the BeoVision. Does anyone know is there a setting somewhere to set default volume levels PER source?

regards

Torsten 

lawrencejmcook
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For V.AUX try SHIFT then TV.

Lawrence
L Spad
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Suggested by L Spad

Hi all,

I’ve tried many things over the years. The best solution I’ve found is to use an mcl to masterlink converter (1611) connected to a Lintronic box. Michael from Lintronic has all the details of how to do this on his website. The advantage is that it is controllable from any masterlink node, and the audio is distributed across the whole system.

I’ve used this setup in two ways:

1) Easy: taking N.Music commands from the masterlink and converting those to Apple IR commands. That works great if you have an old iMac or Mac mini with the it receiver built in. 

2) Advanced: my current setup is to send the masterlink codes from the lintronic box to the Mac via an rs232 to usb converter. I can then use those codes using custom scripts on the Mac to control music (and anything else I want to). I run an Indigo home automation server on the Mac, so all the python scripts are launched from Indigo. It requires the use of the SimpleSerial plugin to work. I’m sure it would be possible in other software like Domiticz (which forum member Frog has experience with)

in both cases the audio out of the Mac is connected to the aux input of the audio master (in my case a Beomaster 7000)

 

 

RobN
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RobN replied on Wed, Feb 19 2020 1:37 PM

Hi Luke,

Many thanks. I will investigate the Lintronic solution.

Best,

Rob

RobN
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RobN replied on Wed, Feb 19 2020 1:38 PM

Hi Torsten,

Many thanks, I look into the Raspberry Pi solution which is pretty appealing due to its low cost.

Best,

Rob

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