Hi-end PC audio questions

I am thinking about integrating computer audio to my 2 channel home audio system, either directly or preferably via streaming. Currently I have 4000 plus CD/SACDs and a high quality 2 channel audio system. Up to this point I have eschewed the idea of computer based audio files but with cloud and high resolution audio technologies and relatively cheap storage options, I am starting to have an interest. I'm thinking I may download all of my CDs in lossless format to HDD then access it from my network (and via cloud for when I'm not at home).

My question is, what is the best way to get it from an external HDD to my pre-amp? I use Apple computers and plan to buy an external HDD to save my music to, but plan for it to be in a different room. I already use iTunes but am looking at the Pure Music or Amarra applications to handle the file processing for lossless data. I have an Apple TV in the music room and have just purchased a Marantz AV7005 which has streaming audio capabilities for HT application, but use a an analog pre-amp for my 2 channel stereo needs. Currently all HT components, including speakers, are separate from my 2 channel. It would be easy enough to connect the AV7005 to the pre-amp, though if that was the solution.

If you have ideas, or can refer to an online source that would be great. Almost everything I can find is not geared toward high end audio sound preservation, which is why I am asking here, amongst audiophile brethren.
Computer Audiophile is a great resource for all your questions.
I am not an Apple expert, so I will leave specifics to the Apple folk. I would suggest posting this in the PC Audio forum. You will get a better response there. You might also want to look at computeraudiophile.com
Speeddeacon, I chose do deliver data to Benchmark DAC1 wireless, using Airport Express optical output. Data is stored compressed in ALAC - the same format that is being used for transfer. Since data sent compressed in packets contains no timing and is bitperfect programs that sent it (I use Itunes) don't matter. Computer doesn't make difference either - everything starts at AE's optical output. At this point jitter is the only concern. AE has respectable 258ps of jitter on optical output but rather strong jitter effects present on analog outs. Benchmark DAC1 suppresses jitter but is neutral (not warm) sounding.

Wireless eliminates computer and playback program as well as electrical noise (I keep it across the room plugged into different outlet) but you need some form of low jitter wireless to analog converter. Combination of AE and Benchmark works really well for me but it can be done many different ways.

It still doesn't solve problem of your SACDs that cannot be used for that without converting them or using redbook layer - taking away benefits of SACD sound.
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Thanks for the response. I did stumble upon the computer audiophile site which has been a tremendous resource.

Kijanki, I was looking at utilizing an Apple TV connected as my wireless receiver device (like your AE). But, I cannot seem to find out at what bit rate and sampling rate it will output through it's digital or HDMI outputs or how much jitter it produces either.

I'm not overly concerned about SACD at this point as I am not eliminating my stand alone player, but it will be nice to have a completely compatible system at some point.

I'll look/post at the PC Audio forum, thanks for the tip.

Speeddeacon, AFAIK I tunes supports 192kHz while Apple TV 2 supports 24/96. Check out discussion here: http://www.stereophile.com/content/itunes-2496-wireless-apple-tv2-then-outboard-dac

I don't have any equipment or knowledge of the format to verify. All my music (>1500 CDs) is 16/44 while my DAC upsamples improving resolution and data rate. I've read somewhere that high resolution files are often the same redbook CDs upsampled (same thing my DAC does). It doesn't surprise me because I suspect they would not release 24/192 master tapes to public while they cannot stop piracy (mostly Asia) the way it is now. In addition my hearing and room acoustics are less than perfect so I might compromise with 16/44 as well.
Well I've decided to go straight up connecting Mac Mini to the DAC. Now comes the rest of the fun, choosing the equipment.

First, buy a 2.7gHz Mini and swap out for an SSD and do some optimization of OSX myself or buy a 2.5gHz already optimized by Mach2 Music.

Next, what DAC. This is the bigger decision.
Here are a few lists of compatible DACs that won't make it any easier for you to decide since the field is wide open and still growing.



Some might require a driver but I don't think it would apply to you since you're using a MacMini. Others here are more deeply versed in this than I am.

Good luck,