Audio Server Newbie...Does This Make Sense?

I am looking at setting up a decent sounding audio server-based system. My existing equipment is as follows: Music Hall CD25.2, Rotel 1068 pre-amp, Rotel 1075 amp, Paradigm Studio 60 Version 3. Please note that I am not a computer expert by any means and I am trying to keep things as simple as possible while doing justice to my system.

I am going to purchase a MacBook and Airport Express "router", which I will connect to a DAC and then to my Rotel pre-amp. I will also purchase an external hard drive for back up purposes.

1. Is there anything that I am missing from my set up?
2. If I use Apple Lossless, approximately how many songs can I store per 10G of hard drive space.
3. Is there a special kind of DAC that I need?
4. Other comments.
Fishbone - good job, you pretty much have it figured out. Don't forget the interconnects and when you get it, conside upgrading the power cable for the DAC - they are quite sensitive to this tweak.

Figure the average album stored Apple Lossless will be about 300Mb. Put another way I have 13,029 songs in 281.39 gigs. Hard drive space is very inexpensive and you will find it cost effective to buy more storage then you need. At the end of the day its a lot less expensive to support one big drive/case etc then 2 smaller drives/cases/cables.

Don't forget an equal sized back-up hard drive - plenty of tales of woe to be found here and on Asylum from people who couldn't be bothered and lost hours of ripping... Take a look at an Apple program called ChronoSync to manage your backups.

As far as the DAC - better is better - this is after all your source. An option you might explore is a USBTD or CHIBI DAC (connects via USB) from Scott Nixon. Eliminates SPDIF and uses I2S instead. Great sound, low cost. Also hearing amazing things about a new Chinese DAC, ther Lite Audio DAC-60.
Yes, you're on the right track. The setup you're considering is essentially the same as mine and it works great.

There are a couple of things to think about. If you want to use the Music Hall as a one-box CD player you don't need to worry about the number of inputs on the DAC, you'll just plug the Airport Express' Toslink output into the DAC. If you're spending the money on a DAC that will be better than the internal DAC's of the Music Hall you may want to get a DAC that has multiple inputs so that you can use the Music Hall as a transport only and switch between it and the Express.

Some people claim the quality of the Toslink cable between the Express and the DAC is important. I haven't done any critical comparison but I did buy a glass cable rather than the more common plastic one.

One of the issues that is usually raised about the Airport Express is that jitter in the output from it is a problem. If that concerns you you'll want to investigate whether the DAC you're considering deals well with jitter. I've got a Benchmark DAC-1 that is claimed to be almost immune from jitter problems but other can probably give you information about other options.
Thanks for the input...

One other question...if I am purchasing music from iTunes, can I download files that are equivalent in sound quality to CDs?

Fishbone, no, the stuff you buy from iTunes is compressed. That's what most people want for portable players because the storage space on them is limited and it takes less time to download them.

That's not to say you won't enjoy the music from those songs or from the mp3's you can download at other sites. Good music that's well recorded still sounds really good. You probably would hear a difference if you're playing the files on a high-quality system but that shouldn't stop you from listening if that's a convenient way to get the music you want to hear.