Olive 03HD, 04HD or 06HD. I have an 04HD and LOVE it! One of the best purchases that I have ever made in audio.
The Music Vaults are supposed to be very good also. These are available from Sound Science Audio in Colorado. I've seen ads here on AudiogoN.
I think wyred4sound now makes one.
Read my article CD Player? PC Music? Naaa! Flash Memory Music.
You don't need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars (euros).
Just a Small Media Player and a Pen USB.
And if you want HEAVEN, just build my DC/DC Power Suplly for the WD TV Live.
I auditioned the Olive 0H4D and OH6D, at a local dealers in a good Krell and Kef Blade system. Un fortunately, I thought both were poor, flat, lacking dynamics and stage depth. I say unfortunately, because I wanted a one box streaming solution as well. I would say, stick to what you have got.
As a matter of interest, Kclone, have you ever compared your Mach 2 mini, with the basic cooking version, was there a real difference? I have not seen it said explicitly, but I get the impression that the consensus may be to spend more on the DAC, than modifying a computer source, better value for money?
The difficulty with one-box music servers is that the designers sometimes make poor choices for music rippers and playback software. They often exclude the use of individual tracks or certain formats. All of these things can add up to lack of choice and resulting poor performance IME.
IMO, you are better off to stay with something you know sounds good, like iTunes and Pure Music etc.. Rippers like dbpoweramp and XLD. Just put your efforts into making the computer itself sound better, like external DC supply, SSD and USB outboard interfaces.
There are some interesting examples on this month's Absolute Sound, hosted on avguide dot com.
* micromega-400-integrated-amplifier-wireless-dac. It has it's own wifi network (!) and only works with iTunes.
* Electrocompaniet PD-1 USB DAC and ECI 3 Integrated Amplifier.
thanks for the replies.
David, no I have not compared the Mach2Music to the basic Mac Mini.
Markemark, I check out the Micromega 400. Interesting indeed, but the amp may be the weak link and I am not willing to compromise in that important part of the chain.
if you don't have to store the music on the same machine you should look into a Windows Home Server running Squeezebox software and pickup a Touch or Transporter. The Transporter has a very good DAC section stock and there are many folks who have modded the Touch with good results.
what is my budget? I don't know, I'm a crazy audiophile, I will make it happen. :-). Really though. At the moment, I have about 5 grand to spend, but not sure if I want to spend it on a source/server/DAC at the moment. May want to spend it somewhere else in the system. With things changing so fast, I almost wonder if it is better to wait, but still I guess I wanted to know what options were out there.
Modwright Transporter and a NAS for storing your files.
No way I want some appliance in control of my music collection. I want to rip, tag, organize and backup my music files my way, not some set of compromises someone else came up with so they can mash everything into one box. I'm also perfectly happy with the playback control software options available.
I also think that because most of the dollars were invested in hardware quality, not software and storage that you get better sound quality.
I'm looking at the Weiss MAN-301 w/ internal DAC. But looking for alternative high-end server + DAC combinations, doesn't seem like there are a lot of them.
The Boulder 1021. All you need is a NAS, router, and IPAD. It is a very advanced ethernet system with up to 32 bit sampling. Sounds absolutely fantastic. Very expensive though.
Audio research sells one too. There are various streaming devices with
Dac such as linn and ps audio, but in this setup you still need a server and
library management in addition to the server/DAC.
The Boulder 1021 looks like it still needs a music server? There isn't much written in the manual about it acting as a server, only that it can receive streaming music and play it.
Same w/ the Audio Research, looks like you still need an actual computer to stream music.
or am I missing something?
Looks like you are correct, and the audio research does indeed support streaming over Ethernet, but you would still need a server to manage the library.
I have the Boulder 1021. All it needs is a NAS drive (about $100), a wireless router, and an IPAD, Iphone, etc running the PlugPlayer app. The NAS, router, and 1021 are connected by ethernet cables which is a much better method than usb. I ripped my cd's to the NAS using my notebook computer running db poweramp. After ripping the notebook is not involved. If you search for reviews on the 1021, you can learn much more about the computing power inside the 1021. It is prodigious! Hope this helps.
Musica Pristina, Virtuoso Analog Edition has internal Weiss DAC