AIFF format vs. CD

Decisions decisions....
Have a good deal on the McIntosh MCD 201 for my McIntosh ma6300. However, will I lose quality if I simply play AIFF formats with an analog connection to my amp? I like the idea of having all my music in my laptop. How does it compare to a traditional CD source?
I am sure that someone will chime in on low level info but AIFF is basically uncompressed digital audio from the CD source and I'd the default format on Mac computers. In theory they should be identical quality because you are playing the actual digital file. The issue would hong on the equipment in the chain

I am sure that good quality DACs will yield a superior sound; however if you are on a mac and have a newer model you can use the built-in digital out and use a toslink connection and feed of to your audio system. If you have an escient fireball or an apple tv or airport express you can likewise stream or feed your pre amp or receiver.

So if you can feed things digitally try that and compare to an existing higher end system. Though I have NAD and Denon cd players (yes not super high end) I prefer keeping all my music in apple lossless and serving it from my home network server via my apple TVs toslink connection to my Anthem preamp. I love the sound and the flexibility. If I use a cd once every 8 months that is a lot.
That makes sense. I will simply compare my Mac/Apple (AIFF) and the mcd201 McIntosh(CD)thru my ma6300 McIntosh amp. Should be easy enough. I could save a lot of cash and dump it into speakers; and music would be organized.

Not sure a DAC is necesary, if I understand correctly. Can the DAC actually increase the quality of AIFF sound going through my 6300? What are the advantages of over the arrangement above.

Between apple lossless and apple TV / Airport you must be losing quality. Sounds like you are mostly a casual listner though.

With Apple lossless as a the compression codec, you are not losing quality at all as it's a lossless codec. AAC, MP3, etc. are lossy codecs and introduce compression artifacts given their nature unless you are encoding at extremely high bitrates, which lead to bloated files and would then give you no advantage over the raw AIFF.

Again, if you have a newer Mac computer, try the digital audio out and see how it compares.

My only point with the DAC aside was simply that some have said that there is a bandwidth limit on Toslink connections as opposed to digital RCA. Thus, (and I haven't tested this) there MAY be a difference in a top-quality analog feed vs. a Toslink connection.

I do everything digitally and haven't dealt with anything analog in years. Indeed, my Anthem has all it's audio connections to all sources digitally. So, given the fact that you are using some good McIntosh gear, you may find that your biggest bang for the buck is indeed going the speaker route... so a blind test may work best.