Moving Mac Mini off Wifi to direct connect ethernet?

Just a warning: I’m about to demonstrate my fairly complete ignorance in networking matters. These will seem like very simple questions for most people here.

For years, my music server has been a headless Mac Mini. After initial setup with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, I put it on the rack, and now communicate with it over WiFi via Screen Sharing. But, I’ve heard that running WiFi on the Mini can generate a good bit of noise in the system.

I’m thinking of moving my modem and router over toward the stereo stack. My intent is to use the ethernet port on the router (Apple Time Capsule) to direct-connect to the Mac Mini, whereupon I should be able to turn off WiFi on the Mini. (Right?)

Before I attempt to do this, I need to make sure that I don’t lose the Mini when I turn off WiFi via Screen Sharing. Losing comms with the Mini would be problematic, as hooking it back up to screen, key, and mouse would be an absolute drag.

My questions are:

  1. Would this move even be worth the effort in terms of sonic improvements, or is it just a little tweak that might not matter very much?

  2. Since I’d have to move the router within very close range of the Mini, would the proximity of the WiFi router transmission “cancel out” any benefit? Similarly, since the modem and router would have to be plugged into the same mains circuit (actually, into the back of a Shunyata Hydra Triton), would doing so only introduce more noise into the stereo system?

  3. If I go ahead, once I have a hard-wire ethernet connection to the Mini, am I safe to use Screen Sharing to turn off WiFi on the Mini, without losing connection? (I certainly would think so.)

My biggest concern, as mentioned, is losing comms with the Mini during this exercise.

Thanks all!

I’ve done it with no issues. Typically run a headless Mac-mini with direct ethernet, WiFi is turned off.

The only way to know is to try it. I’m not 100% sure how Screen Share works but I suspect when the Mac gets a new IP address for the Ethernet connection it will ‘announce’ itself and you’ll be able to communicate with it as you do now.

Some report Wifi is ‘quieter’ vs wired in their systems. Wired has the advantage of stability and capacity though neither of which may be a problem on wifi.

The power supply in the Mac and the proximity of the wifi transmitter may have more effect (negatively) than wired vs. wireless…

This signals to me not to bother.

For one thing, I had the Mac’s SMPS ripped out and replaced with an external LPS from Mojo Audio. That, I think, largely takes care of power supply noise in the Mac.

And if I move the wifi transmitter closer, then that might not be so good for the sound.


Given the LPS in the Mac, I would encourage to give it a shot when you’re in the right frame of mind to ‘deal’ with the change. Like moving speakers around, it might be a noticeable difference and worse case simply put everything back

First, plug in the Ethernet and check System Prefs/Network to verify that the connection is working.
Next, while in Network, Disable WiFi.
Should be good to go, but it can’t hurt to backup the Mini first.

I have a 2019 Mac Mini in my home office for computing purposes only and am amazed at how hot it gets. It uses about 5 to 10 times as much power as a bespoke audio server (not one running on OSX or Windows). I had a Time Capsule and that runs equally hot.

None of the Apple devices are optimised for audio. I have enough of them at home and in my office, and a QNAP server at home, and have never used them for audio. Thumbs up for the Shunyata Triton, I have a Venom and it’s very effective, but I doubt it’s having much impact on your apple stuff. I think having wifi on or off is hardly going to make much difference.

If you do switch the wifi off, if you reboot the Mac mini it should come on again. There are also some VNC apps that you can download on a phone or tablet that act as virtual screens for headless Macs.

I’ve always found apple routing devices a complete pain. I just use Asus. They are easy to set up and stress-free.

Wow. That has not been my experience at all.

I’ve optimized the Mini as much as possible, and run it off a Mojo LPS. It’s barely warm running 24x7. Same with my Time Capsule router. And all of it was very simple to set up, and has run for years with no major issues at all.

Go figure. :man_shrugging:

I’ve decided not to move things around, at least for now. I’ve got enough stuff going on at the moment.

Thanks to all for your advice. I love this place!

@RobH - If going headless, I recommend grabbing an HDMI emulator. It will make screen share more responsive.

CompuLab Display Emulator (fit-Headless)

For anyone who has run both headless and via monitor, is it merely a matter of interface preference or have you noticed any difference in SQ?

I thought that the Wifi would introduce a greater possibly of noise than an HDMI cable out to a monitor, or in my case TV. I’m not a great fan of tablet controlled systems.

Same line of reasoning applies to Ethernet vs WiFi, especially if you take an extra step to galvanically isolate the cable from the rest of your network (GigaFOIL or media converters). A well made cable would have fewer ways to inject noise than WiFi. I haven’t yet taken the time to experiment.

It seems Apple have stopped making network and storage products, have resorted to selling third party (Linksys and Netgear) products in shiny white casings. That doesn’t surprise me.

Whatever works for you !!!


Already done, thanks. I used to have a clunky HDMI Detective unit, but later found one about the size of a large Chiclet, not unlike the one you pointed to. Before either of those, I found Screen Sharing response to be completely unacceptable.

Wow, I was pretty happy with my WiFi setup… until today, apparently. :smile:

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I use ethernet for my MacBook Pro. One thing to consider is a good network switch for the Ethernet cable. There are many price ranges to choose from. To my understanding, the switch further isolates noise.

I use iTunes with bit perfect on my iMac, run a 5m Atlas Element SC USB cable to my Stellar Gain Cell DAC. No noise, no hiss no sharp highs due to jitter, advantage of the SGCD digital lense, which does away with jitter caused by the interface, no listening fatigue, just good sound, ALAC, Apple lossless, DSD DoP, no issues.

Also all my WiFi access points are Apple devices, but the Ethernet is by dedicated different devices. The nice thin of living in our highly populated Netherlands is that we do enjoy blistering fast Internet, 100 MBit/s download, up to 40 MBit/s upload.

First set up the Ethernet and set up the Apple remote access software via Ethernet. If that runs properly you can safely utilize the remote access software via ethernet to switch off the WiFi and Bluetooth.

But I have all of that stuff enabled on my iMac and like I said I have no noise issues or anything that indicates that the sound quality suffers. Differences between lossy and lossless music I can hear, when I am not working and concentrate on the music only. DSD sounds very good, but then the recordings at Blue Coast Records are amazingly good, so not sure if it’s the file format or the recording that makes thatmusic sound amazingly good.

Maybe I am lucky with my iMac, but with my 2009 MacMini I had no issues ether, albeit I used that computer for ripping, syncing and storage only, so that should not really count.

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I sometimes used to use Devialet AIR from a MacBook Pro up to 24/192. I now basically just have ethernet from modem to Roon server (Innuos) and then an ethernet cable direct from the server to the Devialet streaming card, then no wires inside the Devialet until the speaker terminals. So whilst there are only three cables from the modem to the speaker inputs, one reason why I admire the Dutch & Dutch 8c is that with Roon onboard you literally only need one ethernet connection from modem to the ethernet input of the 8c speaker. There is of course another cable linking the two speakers.

The single objective in my system up to the speakers is rejection of mains or external noise. From the modem to speakers is a total of 3m of ethernet, 25m of fibre optic and 3m of Townshend Isolda speaker cable, the latter being a design focused on noise rejection (they’ve been making it for 40 years). It also has ultra-low inductance. The Roon server has a medical grade mains filter and runs at a peak of 15w, compared to 85w peak for MacBook pro and Mac mini. It is probably overkill, but it is fed by a Shunyata Delta NR cable from a Shunyata Venom mains filter.

For all the money people spend on amplifiers, DACs, etc., I have no idea why they don’t use audio-optimised servers. They’ve been around as long as streaming. In 10 years of streaming I’ve never used a computer. Even if you want to use something like Dirac, there are optimised devices that host it.

That’s really interesting. What does it do for you? I run Screens as remote desktop and then access the screen on my iPad. If the Mini believe it’s connected to an HDMI monitor with this clever device, what’s that going to provide that I don’t already have?


Using Screen Sharing to access my headless Mac Mini from a Mac OS machine, I’d experience significant latency in screen response. If I typed a character or clicked something within the Screen Sharing window, it would take (what seemed to be) a second between the entry and a response. This made the interface almost impossible to deal with.

These devices make the Mini think there is a monitor directly attached to the HDMI port. I can’t explain how it works, but it completely solves the latency issue.

It has been years since I installed this, so I don’t know if the latency problem still exists without it. I just leave it plugged into the port, and all is well. I also don’t know if your Screens gets around the issue.

It has to do with resource allocation. If nothing is connected to the HDMI port (or any other video output port), Mac OSX will not assign the same level of hardware resources as it would it it had a monitor, or TV attached to the Mini. So, while accessing it remotely and headless, you are asking the OS to do everything it normally does but in this video resource conservation state. Plugging in the HDMI gadget tricks the Mac Mini so proper video processing resources are offered up. The latency issue is solved.

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Yeah… like he said. :point_right: @JeffofArabica Thanks! It’s nice to know what it’s doing.