If you were setting up a music server today ...

I started, some years back, with iTunes, streaming to an Airport Express attached with optical cable to a DAC. I then moved on over to a Squeezebox, employing the Logitech Media Server on my Mac, with a Squeezebox Touch hooked up via coax to a number of DACs.

My question: I've been thinking of setting up a whole new server, starting from scratch, hoping to get it right from the first, ripping the CDs anew (yuck!) with better software than iTunes. I still want to be wireless.

Knowing what you know today, what would you recommend for a Mac-based server. Ripping software. Music playing software. The thing it would stream to to get it to the DAC. Anything else I'd want or need.

I haven't yet gotten into high res music, so I'm talking here about a server for my CDs, but I'd welcome a system that might allow me to progress into the high res stuff down the line, though that is not at all a priority.

What matters is good sound from a Mac-based wireless system -- and something I can live with for the long haul, as I really don't want to rip that whole damn collection a third time!

Thanks for any help you might give a boy on this complex front.

-- Howard
You did great up until you used the word "wireless". Just as necessary as having dedicated AC lines, I would recommend running high quality cat 6e or even cat7 cable and connect to your various systems using wire. Controlling the mac wireless is not an issue however. No point in spending big bucks and lots of time of you go wireless, IMO.
I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure Elescher is right. I would never go wireless. Why don't you experiment. Move your equipment closer together and connect everything with cables. See how much of a difference it makes.
Early on I used an Apple TV>DAC>integrated Amp. The Apple TV was wireless using an AirPort Extreme. It is my understanding though that ATV is not now bit perfect and converts everything to 16/48 and then of course doesn't support high res (24/88.2/96/176.4/192).

If you are going to do it right tou may as well prepare now for high res

Currently I have a Mac Mini on my AVR stand connected to a USB DAC and to my Audiogon there. I have an HDMI connection to my HDTV and can use that as monitor for the Mac. I use an iPad with Apple Remote app to control the iTunes library for playback. I have wireless keyboard and trackpad for when I am managing my library. I also have a VNC app so I can control virtually anything on the .Mac without monitor on.

iTunes is my library database manage. I use XLD to rip or transcode music and I have both Audivrana + and Pure Music as playback softwares feeling both are better that iTunes as playback softwares.