I'm interested in this question too. About to purchase a new mac mini. Let me know what you find out. Sorry I have nothing to add to the discussion.
Two things. If you do not utilize a DAC that requires integer mode to sound its best, i dont believe the OS is materially different performance wise. Some have claimed that Lion sounds better....i cant hear a difference but they are in different systems. The older Mac mini though isolates its USB ports whereas the new one does not, they are shared ports. Again, picking nits here. I have both an older mini in my main rig and a new mini running Lion in my office. They both work great with Pure Music, just no integer mode with Lion.
Jkontuly, I'll give you my 2 cents although either choice is a good one. Research the DAC you might want to use to determine if it is integer mode capable. If it is, get the 2010, if it is not, get the 2011. There are those out there who are certain they hear a difference between the 2010 and a 2011 but I believe it is not a material difference. Get Pure Music and enjoy. My DAC utilizes integer mode and I CAN tell the difference.
Whatever you do though, get more ram....4 gig or 8 gig is better. Playing from memory is always an advantage so you can load the songs into ram rather than reading from disk. I also utilize firewire external disk drives. spend some time searching the archives at computer audiophile.com , you will learn a lot. You are on the right track and good luck.
so it turns out some of the dacs i am interested in are interger capable. however, i think that i read that some people were experiencing better or as good sound from 2011 macs despite the fact that the 2011 macs are not integer capable. Ghasley have you A/B your systems as you have both? btw Happy Thanksging to everyone
Between the Lion and the Snow Leopard on the same spec machine which is a macbook PRO, same amarra version, same dac, same cabling, same songs, here is my observation:
The Snow Leopard is more lively, more detailed sounding, sometimes a bit more agressive.
The Lion on the other hand is more refine, fuller sounding and robust sounding. More relax sounding.