CDs to harddrive to DAC wtihout a PC?

I've been trying to get this all straight. Digital seems very confusing what with all these names like airport express, squesebox, transporter, sonus, Flac, EAC,RAID,SATA, etc. But is it possible to download music from an audiophile transport directly to a harddrive without a cumbersome computer? I've not tried a Mac, but slugging it out with anything made designed for Windows does not sound relaxing at all. (If Microsoft and friends were held as responsible for their products as say the automobile industry is they'd recall every product I've tried!) I don't want the sound distributed all over the house, (at least not now) but the idea of my music library played from a harddrive and memory buffer (which many insist can sound better) through my own DAC does sound appealing. I'd like the chain to be something like this. Output from transport, to a harddrive, then from the harddrive to my DAC with a backup and of course a remote control display like I've seen with the squeezebox by my chair as an interface? What would I need to do this? Or is it possible. I'd rather buy the CDs than download. Can anyone help. Thanks in advance, and maybe I'm wishing here. . .
Quick answer - no way to go from a CD transport with having a computer in the middle.

Easy answer - no need for a CD transport anyway. Get a Mac, insert the CD in the CD drive and import to iTunes - done.

If you don't have a DAC, get a USB DAC. If you already do, you can set it up to work with SPDIF (via USB) or Toslink.

If you are too overwhelmed to deal with any of this, purchase a prebuilt music server from Olive or McIntosh and leave the driving to them...

All the details are here on the site
Ckorody is correct but failed to address part of your post. As you put it- "slugging it out" is what you won't have to do with a mac. I run both platforms for work, and the macs run way easier and with fewer issues than a pc could ever hope to. Couple that with the macs "plug and play (truly, they are)" and you will discover why they have such product loyalty. On the odd chance that you have an issue, you can bring it in to a mac store and they will walk you through anything- even if you haven't bought it from that store. TAS did their readers a disservice by failing to mention the simplicity of getting great sound out of a mac. In the last issue there were pages on how to set up a pc. With a mac there are about seven items to "set" and that is it. Picture this:
You buy an iMac. It comes with a quiet, fanless quality hard drive. Plop it on the top shelf where your transport used to be. Note that there is no tower. Connect it to DSL or a cable modem- it should find/connect it automatically (try that with a pc). Plug in a firewire or USB Dac, preferably one that goes right to I2S, not spdif (Benchmark comes to mind). Follow the instructions at the Benchmark wiki or at the Wavelength site and you are off. The Imac will come with a remote for "Front Row" (a mac media management program) and you will be able to play iTunes from your chair. If you need a better remote, there are many bluetooth (built into the mac) devices (palm pilots, cell phones) that can control itunes or for $140 or so, there are wireless usb remotes with screens.
Personally, I'd stay away from any of the music servers. The mac is so easy, and ultimately more ergonomic than trying to access your music through a little screen. As for importing cd's, as long as the mac is connected to the internet, you can easily set the machine to automatically import the cd upon insertion. It will even spit it out when it is finished importing. Sounds trivial until you attempt to import hundreds of cd's. I did it while I did other things. Every time I walked by the mac I put a new cd into it. Over the course of a week or two it was done. Frankly, my iMac was the best $1000 audio purchase ever- go figure?
The Olive does exactly what you require. Rips cds direct to internal hard drive and has digital out for playback via a dac. The cd 'drive' is actually just that so it will burn cds (compilation for the car the beach or whatever) just like a computer.

It is useful to be able to connect it to the internet via your pc network but not essential. It actually has ethernet ports and wifi built in and can act as a 'hub' for your home network.

If you doubt the sound quality, mods are available - notably from Red Wine Audio.

The cheapest Olive I see is $1100 and only has a 160GB hard drive. You could get a mac mini, a huge external hard drive & a killer audio interface for that price.
Yamaha offers the CDR-HD1500 with CD burner, 200GB Hard Drive, and has digital out for a DAC. I have the 1500 and a Benchmark DAC. Works well for me, and the Yamaha is significantly cheaper than an Olive or Cambridge hard-drive players.
Since im a newbie at this tech talk, let me see if I got this straight; So NO cdp is needed, just get an imac and a DAC and your off and running? What is the advantage to this besides the obvious (continuous shuffle) is there better sound then a cdp? What would be the total cost for an imac and DAC or whatever else is needed? This sounds attractive because I am in the market for a cdp! I like my ipod (docking station, with poor sound!!!) because of the shuffle mode and ease, I listen to music more often and if I can do that with no compressed files and better sound quality that would be awesome!!!
Sound quality will be better then all but the very best CDPs

There are a myriad of ways to access and organize your music

Cost will vary - go to an Apple Store to see the various models and pick the one best suited to everything you want to use it for. Lots of guys are doing Mac Minis. If you have a large CD collection you will need two large external hard drives (one primary and one back up) Lots of choices in DACs - unless you already have one, look for a USB DAC.

Read a bit - plenty of posts here and on Audio Asylum's PC Audio Forum. If you spend an hour you will know the answer to every question you are likely to have and be able to make an informed decision - certainly easier and faster then trying to figure out the right CD player =)