HELP needed for

I'm lost in the world of digital music. My goal is to get both 2 channel and a couple of other areas of the house served with internet, subscribed music ie rhapsody, spotify along with downloaded music files. I've looked at Sonos due to the whole house aspect but it seems lacking for 2 channel. I have a Marantz Model 250 amp, Yamaha C50 preamp, Rotel RCD1072 CD, VPI scout with Benz MC and JBL 4312 monitors to give you a reference to my humble 2 channel setup. I happen to have a Mac Mini laying around that's about 10 years old if that helps. My problem is I don't know how important my pc is, what kind of hard drive to get to best serve music files, what to do about dac (looked at dacmagic plus b/c of cost)and interconnects in general. I'm on a limited budget - say 2-3K to invest and don't expect to achieve the high level of sound quality most of you are at. PS - we have plenty of Iphones/Ipads to use as controllers. I beg you guys - please do your best to give me your best practical above average equipment set up suggestions. I appreciate your much needed advice.
I've built my own PC's since 1992 and been fussing with building/optimizing a PC music server for the past year. So heres my suggestion a newer Mac mini with SSD drive for the system OS and a regular hard drive for your media file directories (~$900). That 10 year old mini is too far behind in features and speed. A PC is PITA for the novice to get setup right as a media server, Mac has better off the shelf potential.

2. look at the helpful advice on the Empirical Audio website for setting up a Mac server and software choices (~$200)

3. buy a quality DAC that you can use direct to amp (bypass the Yamaha) as your volume controller with asynch USB (critical for digital PC/Mac audio). Wyred4Sound Dac2 comes to mind ($1400)

that gets you a high quality off the shelf source solution for around $2500 sans cables
Thanks a bunch for your response. Mind if i ask a few questions?
1. What's a SSD?
2. Does it matter how much RAM and hard drive you buy for the Mac if you're buying the external hard drive. I5 or I7 important? Is there any difference in importance if the Mac is set up as wireless vs. wired with the sonos?
3. Anything of value to the sonos modified by Cullen or others that i've read about online/this website? What do they do that improves things??
4. Does the Asynch DAC address the "jitter" or do you need a reclocker to address this?
Thanks a lot!
Old School
1. SSD = solid state drive, basically a memory chip drive instead of a spinning disk drive. No motor electrical interference and much faster so that multitasking has less opportunity for jitter introduction
2. Im a PC person, so can't advise on Mac unique hardware optimization. Networked attached storage (NAS) works ok for ease of access but I get better sounding results with SATA attached.
3. No experience with Sonos but the Wyred4sound boards have to improve what came stock with Sonos
4. Asynch USB works with the OS and server hardware to eliminate jitter before it leaves the machine.A reclocker is what you would use if asynch USB wasn't an option, i'e you take a weak SPDIF clock and retime it... not needed if asynch USB is an option. In order of whats preferred for asynch USB and cost right now for separate USB solutions

John Kenny MkIII
Audiophilleo 1/2
Empirical Audio Offramp

newer DAC's come with asynch USB built in and varying degrees of sophistication. The key is that a good one "fixes" to a high degree the jitter issue with PC/MAC output. However hardware tweaks to improve server electrical stability and CPU dedication to audio tasks all can help better even with an asynch USB solution.
Sonos combined with a reclocker driving a DAC such as a used Metrum Octave is killer and the total outlay is less than $2K, including a good S/PDIF coax cable.

A USB converter like the Off-Ramp 5 will perform better than the system above, but not hugely better. It is a LOT more trouble to optimize the Mac and buy player software and a good USB cable too. If you must have the very best result, this is it however. Combining with a W4S DAC2 using I2S is hard to beat.

You cannot rely on ANY DAC to reduce jitter to inaudible levels. Will not happen.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio