music server setup questions

I am going to get a computer and rip all my CDs lossless and use the computer as the transport. I've no idea how to approach this. My dac is old - Theta ProBasic IIIA. I can get a computer with a digital output that plugs into that, or I could get a USB dac and replace my old Theta. Any thoughts on that? Also, any reason to go PC vs mac, and what software will I need/use (this computer will mainly be for music but I will also do basic web browsing and word processing, nothing fancy)? Haven't been on forums in many years. Rest of system is Simaudio P5 pre, dreadnaught II amp, snell xa90ps speakers. Thanks in advance. -Dave
To keep things simple and effective, Sonos or Bluesound (affiliated with NAD and PSB) network streaming systems are worth a look. They use a standard network data connection (can be wireless) to computer music server and can be used with external DAC of choice.

I have been using similar Logitech Squeezebox system (discontinued) for a number of years with excellent results and old Roku Soundbridge prior to that.

I have started to run PLEX media server in addition to Logitech MEdia Server on my computer music server, and connect to that from an Amazon Fire TV box with TOSLINK out to my DAC in my second system. Nice for high quality streaming of all media types, not just music, and the server and web clients are free. You pay $5 for the app on a mobile device (for mobile access from anywhere with an internet connection, like a smartphone), Ipod or tablet or same price for app on the AMazon Fire TV (Android) device.
I's suggest that you do some research on
You're components are very good, but also very revealing. Because of this, you may want to consider entering at a higher level than an absolute beginner. Otherwise, you run the risk hearing all the shortcomings in your PC front end that your amp, preamp and speakers are capable of revealing.

As far as Mac or PC, people seem to be getting very good results with both, providing you set it up properly. I think the safest way to go, in your case, would be to go from a digital out on your PC to your current DAC. It won't cost anything and you can use it for a reference. Even if you hold off on buying more expensive gear, your system is definitely revealing enough where you can experiment with different file formats and media players. You can get started ripping with a free program called EAC. (Just make sure you download one of the setup guides because EAC has so many features, you'll definitely need the help for best results.) Once you get is set up properly, its easy to use.

Once you have a chance to play around with all the different aspects of computer audio, you'll be in a much better position to pick components that best suit you. Its not plug and play like a CD player. There is a learning curve so it may be a bad idea to start buying expensive items right away.
Thanks for the responses so far. I actually have a logitech squeezebox I got a couple years ago with the intent to set up a system but never did. I got it because the computer with the music stored was going to be far away from the rest of the system. That is no longer the case as I can put the computer in the rack. Should I still be using an intermediary device like the squeezebox and pull the content off the network, or is it better to plug the computer right into the system?
Connect Squeezebox to Wifi Network. Rip to computer using program of choice.. Run Logitech MEdia server on the computer and point it to your music files.

Connect SB to DAC using spdif coax or toslink. Make sure network connection is fairly strong, 80% or better if possible, to avoid delays/rebuffering.

That should be a fairly optimal setup right from the start. Sound quality should be similar to or better than with a CD transport similar digital connection to DAC.
I'm sure I'm being thick here, but Mapman why have the squeezebox and the network in between the computer and the dac when I can just connect the computer directly to the dac? Is there some advantage to doing that? Thanks. -Dave

You can do it either way and compare.

A wireless network cnnoection helps isolate music making streamer and DAC elctronically and physically from often noisy general purpose computer. Its an insurance policy against noise or other computer artifacts degrading the sound. Squeezebox is essentially a computer designed for high quality music streaming. General purpose computers often are not.

Plus I can vouch for the sound quality of the Squeezebox architecture. Cannot do the same for most commercia l computers out there or how well the USB connection to external DAC will perform case by case.
Least expensive to get started:

Your DAC has AES/EBU, RCA and Toslink inputs. The simplest way, depending on the outputs of your computer, is to use the RCA or Toslink directly, or a USB-to-S/PDIF Converter to connect the USB to the RCA.

Playback software: Foobar (free)
Ripping: Exact Audio copy (EAC)(free)

What I use:

I have a Slimdevices Transporter feeding my DAC (Audio-gd Master 7) through the BNC coax. Playback software is Logitech Media Server. I prefer LMS because I can easily setup playlists on the fly, and don't need access to the computer; working through the remote and Transporter's screen.

Ripping: dBpoweramp. I did all my initial rips with EAC, but I do all the new ones with dBpoweramp. This is because it allows me to easily embed album art in FLAC files; not a need I anticipated when I ripped my CD collection many years ago. Many devices and especially DLNA servers have a tough time picking up album art for flac files unless it is embedded.

I don't know much about the Sonos etc. as I have been perfectly satisfied with the Squeezebox stuff, and it is still generally available used.
When it comes to music servers and the like there is no such thing as being "thick" ... computer audio is just another mystery of the cosmos that everyone is trying to figure out :-)
"Your DAC has AES/EBU, RCA and Toslink inputs. The simplest way, depending on the outputs of your computer, is to use the RCA or Toslink directly, or a USB-to-S/PDIF Converter to connect the USB to the RCA."

I haven't seen one of those in a while, but that DAC may have ST instead of TosLink. You'll probably have to use one of the other connections if that's the case.