Computer/DAC combo sugestions

Would be interested in hearing suggestions for Digital playback solutions which rival ( to replace) the best CD players. Thanks
after some years of experimentation, i'm currently running the following system and it is the best digtal playback i've yet attained...

late 2009 Mac Mini w/ SSD and 8 gigs of memory
Audiophilleo USB interface
Modified Metrum Octave DAC
Audirvana+ playback software

i will be trying amarra in the next few weeks to see if there are any gains to be had over audirvana+. this system sounds very good indeed to my ears.

The best I have found for the money is:

Mac Mini Oct. 2009 SSD/8Gigs -> USB cable -> Off-Ramp 5 -> I2S cable -> Wired 4 Sound DAC2

Total cost is around $4499.00

This will beat 99.9% of transports, period. Supports up to 192. Killer SQ:

If you want to spend more, you can do even better, but the W4S above is a giant-killer using I2S.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I am sure audioengr is right but in the mean time a Mac mini (mine is real old lol) via toslink to W4S dac2 sounds pretty good. You can set the mini to boot iTunes (or other app) on boot up so if you have an ipad/iPhone you don't even need a tv/monitor and just use the remote app.
CAPS 3 Zuma + Red Wine Audio Black Lightning (dual output) + JPlay + Centrum Hex (or your choice among many good DACs)
Could tell us more about the Zuma and SQ? I'm thinking about purchasing one. What did you have before? What does the Zuma do better?

Steve, there is much more to say about it than is possible in a single post, therefore the best way to get informed about it is to go to the Computer Audiophile link and read, there is a huge amount of information there back to the first CAPS computer. In my opinion, that is the place to go to for computer audio, which is evolving fast. I know this is highly subjective and, for some, ideological too (Mac or Linux against Windows), but there are certain things coming out of the fog: Macs, Amarra and AudioNirvana are no longer the only way to go, Windows and Windows players such as JPlay and XXHighEnd are just as good or better; computers need to have as clean a power supply as possible, and battery power is ideal for that; depending on the DAC, USB-to-S/PDIF converters such as Empirical Audio and Audiophilleo, especially if battery powered, are improvements
Sorry, I pressed the wrong key ... over straight USB, S/PDIF or Firewire connection. You can build your own computer on the cheap (I have done it for years) and have a totally silent, fanless one dedicated exclusively to audio and thus stripped down (i.e. to just eight or nine services working in Windows, no anti-virus, no internet connection, etc), just like an audio component. This I find fascinating in itself.
Steve, have you compaired the w4S with the ps audio perfect wave updated dac, I would be interested in your thoughts
I've been reading about Zuma on the Computer Audiophile Site, but little has been said about SQ and what one could expect from such a system. Thus the question.

Sorry I've never heard Wyred for Sound equipment. From what I've read from other posts, they favor the PWD II. It is a great sounding DAC and with the Bridge a fantastic server.
Sgr, I expect the Zuma to be better sounding than the CAPS 2, the previous CA design because of better isolated USB, cleaner power supply and especially because of battery power. Chris Connaker and others have said that CAPS 2 was better than Mac Mini and even better than the famous and expensive Aurender S10.

Okay get ready...I-Tunes via PC and my DAC WOW. I say WOW!
( DAC WOW (Canadian product) sound slightly better with the new Foobar Beta version, Not worth the album art of I-tunes though...MHO)
Kedoades - have not made a direct comparison of PWD and the W4S when driven from Off-Ramp 5 I2S. They are both world-class. I think you would be happy with either one.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio