Apple Mac Mini as a music server

Looking to see if anyone has used a mac mini as a music server? If so please respond on how and what your set is. Also are you using a external DAC and how you have the mini hooked into your system.

You will find that a number of members use a mini as a server. It works great, and with a SuperDrive attached (it's no longer built in to the latest version) is great for ripping CDs. Some will probably suggest you use add-on software, like Amarra or Pure Music, and there are probably good reasons to do so, but I just use iTunes straight up. I have an Audio Research DAC that I have attached to the Mac both by USB and through an Airport Express via a Toslink optical connection.

Personally, I think the Mini is the biggest bargain on the planet as a music server. If you have an iPod touch, iPhone or IPad, you also get complete remote control for free, if you have the mini connected to a wifi network.
So to get a quality sound I will need a external DAC? I currently have a set of MAC ipod cables that I was going to try but sounds like the DAC is the way to go.
Yes. I am using a mac mini with a Benchmark DAC 1.
>>So to get a quality sound I will need a external DAC?

You'll find lots of Mac Minis if you search the virtual systems.
Good to know. Can anyone recomend a good DAC that wont break the bank. Also should i be looking at USB or toslink?
"I am using a mac mini with a Benchmark DAC 1"

Shadorne, how do you feed it? I use Airport Express.
Also search the archives,,lots of great info .
I feed the DAC1 directly with 24/96 output from the mac mini. This 24/96 output means that my hi-resolution 24/96 files are not downsampled. It also makes no difference to the majority of my lossless collection burned from CD - these are simply upsampled. The DAC1 is asynchronous anyway. The trick is to avoid downsampling which is a lossy process.
Search the archives as this question is asked two or three times a month.
I use a Mac Mini with cds ripped in AIFF to itunes and stored on an external hard drive. The toslink out from the mini feeds a Monarchy Audio DIP which in turn feeds a PS Audio DLIII dac.
FWIW, I think the PS Audio dac is the dac to get at around $500. Also, the sound is noticeably improved with the DIP. Good luck.
The PS Audio is a great dac to get.
@Artez You asked,

>>Can anyone recomend a good DAC that wont break the bank.<<

I recommend that you take a careful listen to the Ultra Fi DAC-41. I and others have made contributions to a thread on Audiogon in regard to this new and what I think is a quite remarkable DAC regardless of its pricepoint (and this one won't break the bank).

I think it's important to ask yourself what is important to you in music reproduction and make your source component selection based upon how satisfied you are with how your preferences are realized. A quality server, such as 2010 or 2011 MacMini, HQ USB cabling, etc. help a lot.

I think that there's a good chance that the Ultra Fi DAC-41 will meet your cravings.

:) listening,

Now to throw a curve ball into this thread. While going through my things I came across a Red Wine audio Imod that i picked up at some point is this essentially the same concept as a music server?
I would highly recommend a Tranquility DAc to go with your Mac Mini. I and many others on audiocircle use this combo and it works very well. The Tranquilityy can be had for a very good price on the used market now and it has fantastic customer support and warranty. The sound is very analog like and sounds better than any CD player I have had.
You need to try a dac and see what you like my favorite was a bryston it is a little on the smooth payed back side. But with the new Aestix coming out I will probably sell that soon. All depends on your price range and what you consider breaking the bank.
MAKE SURE YOU TURN OFF THE "EQUALIZER" IN THE SETTINGS if you use a Mini. I got bad distortion when the EQ was on. Otherwise, I have no problems using a Mini. Pure Music helps as well.
I use a Mac Mini with a Scott Nixon tube dac. Nice setup up for under $1000.