Advice on best upgrade path for a Mac Mini setup

Hi all,

My beloved PWT transport was shipped out for service last week, so in the mean time I decided to experiment with the Mac Mini which usually resides in my 2nd system. It was no surprise that it doesn't even come close to the PWT, but it sounds OK, and now i'm curious as of what I can achieve with it without spending another $2K.

It's a stock Mac Mini about 2 years old with an SSD drive.
I'm using it to stream TIDAL Hi-Fi.
I have it hooked up to a Schiit Wyrd USB re-generator via a Pangea silver USB 2 cable, which in turn is feeding my DSD via a WireWorld Starlight 7 USB 2 cable.
My thinking was that the Mac-to-Schiit path will be less critical in terms of cables, as it gets regenerated anyway, but I'm open to listen and learn...
That "Wyrd Schiit" re-generator did make quite a noticeable positive impact when I hooked it up in my 2nd system.

My question is - what will be the best bang-for-the-buck upgrades? 

I guess the switching power supply is a weak link so I looked at Mojo Audio stuff and those prices seem unreasonable - they want more for their power supply than what I paid for my PWT (including its superb power supply).
Any other recommended power supply upgrade kits?
I'm good with DIY and can probably do the upgrade myself.

Perhaps go with much better cables? Better isolation? Better re-generator?
What did you guys try that proved to really do the "magic" for similar setups?
Perhaps it is a 'losing battle' and it will never sound nearly as good as my PWT without spending $2K in upgrades?

Thanks for your advice!


rbstehno is correct, ideally you want your NAS drive or music server elsewhere, my NAS drive is in my office and I listen in my listening room. And that's interesting info on the Lumin app I may have to check that out. One thing about the Lightning DS app for me at least I thought it sounded better on Ipad then Iphone.  I didn't have an Ipad when I got the Aries originally but I was able to pick up an Ipad Mini for around $200 very cost effective and I just use it as a remote control.
Thanks for your thoughts everybody.

Other than replacing the Mac with some dedicated streamer, what in your opinion would be the best value upgrade if I want to keep using it?

I have a Mac Mini with iTunes and Audiovana. How do you get rid of iTunes and just use the Audivana. Do I just buy the app from the iTunes Store. Thanks for any info or help. I'm using an iPad 2 to play music from its itune app.
Wow look away for a day and now I feel obligated to reply to  many posts in this thread! 

First, thanks to @rbstehno for a couple of well informed great posts.

Let me say that from my firsthand experience is based on using MacMini, Audirvana+, (as well as Amarra & Pure Music) Apple Remote for years. I had shootouts in my system with Aurelic Aries (not Aries Mini) including its linear power supply, other servers. I upgraded to Sonore microRendu & a linear power supply as streamer/renderer with my files stored on a Synology NAS in the next room. I run ethernet CAT6A cable to the Sonore(although you don't have to). I use Lumin app on iPad (or Android phone) for controlling the music. The improvement is TREMENDOUS!

IMHO, the advice to run a headless MacMini with internal or external harddrives, use iTunes (or Audirvana+) & Apple remote is good advice FIVE YEARS AGO, but not any longer. Sorry, but the disadvantages mentioned in a few posts are significant. Get the full purpose computer running a big mac O/S or Windows O/S out. Get the big noisy switching psu for the bigger computer out. Get any spinning discs out. Get optical isolation in. Use a single purpose computing solution( e.g microRendu, Aurelic, Aurender,  all running O/S with fewer processes. The mR also has optimized audio board with improved USB output which helps keep noise from getting to your DAC. This stuff is discussed in gory detail daily on a computer audiophile related forum that you should all read before recommending ten year old computing solutions. This stuff has changed too fast! 

Audirvana+ whether running atop iTunes or in its own mode(which sounds better, but introduces many painful database management issues) is not as user friendly as Lumin, Linn Kazoo or Aurelic's DS Lightning app. Library files get corrupted for many users and the fixes are painful; I've been there. 

The Aries Mini is a good product but needs a better power supply to perform at a high level. It's built in DAC is inferior to most audiophile DACS, but good for a starter system on a tight budget. The Aries at $1600 including a good LPS sounds excellent and is closer to the microRendu in sound quality IMHE. The Aurenders also sound good if you don't mind their cost.

As I posted last week, the  microRendu is incredible and only $650 + choice of power supple; it can stream Tidal, but you will want a NAS to store your own library. You won't need the mac at all unless you choose to use it for running HQ Player or similar to do DSD upsampling and/or EQ. Read the online reviews, especially Connaker's. It's a real Swiss Army knife! Cheers,

@ryriken66  To switch to A+ without iTunes, you don't need to download anything else. There is a mention option to toggle. The mode using iTunes is called INTEGRATED. You just need to toggle that off. If you don't like their database, you can just as easily toggle back.
Word of caution, many switch then complain about loss of artwork. That's because music ripped/dowloaded via iTunes doesn't imbed art in each track, it keeps it in a separate file. This format is different than A+ and most other software, so you have to add artwork to each song's file if it's missing. Search archives for Dougscripts and/or Yate tag editor for help fixing missing art. Cheers,