Music Server vs. PC vs. Transport vs. ?

I don;t really want to add another rack in my living room. If I do, I may end up sleeping on one of the couches. Ideally, I would like to do the following:

1. Either use a pc or a server to store discs and have them accessable.
2. Have a way for the kids/wife to hook up their ipods
3. Have a way to get digital radio (xm, sirius or even computer streaming, doesn;t matter)
4. Do all of this WITHOUT degrading the sound quality ( i know, the ipod, by definition will do this)

My understanding of most high end DACs is that they do not have USB ports, but that is the ideal port to use to negate jitter. As I was researching this, I got the latest issue of the absolute sound, and they address some of this a bit. My feeling seems to be that one pays a HUGE premium for a server, that both their DACs and PCs DACs suck, and one has to get a USB to AES or other adapter, and still use an external DAC. It also seems that if one is willing to use a lossless system, that the universal opinion is that a hard drive rivals or beats any transports.

So my initial thought would be to get a pc with an ipod dock, run lossless, get an additional adapter say from Wavelength, and use the current dac. That adds at least two pieces, maybe three.



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This has been very informative and helpful for deciding how to start down the music-server path. I have a related, but different question.

In addition to serving the music up to a Squeezbox and external DAC, I want to run a digital cable from the same PC to and adjacent HT receiver. I could go toslink or digital coax. What's the better method?

If I'm only going to use a digital out, is it worth spending more $$ for a high-end soundcard or will any soundcard that provides a digital out do?
Practically speaking you can go a lot further for less money using Toslink. In my experience the premium Wireworld Super Nova was every bit as good as a SPDIF - difference being I got 5 meters for less then the price of one meter of good (not great) SPDIF.

As for the soundcard, more is probably more but why not start with what you got and if it makes you nuts buy up.
you should check out qsonix version 2.41
Marcmen: You should state that you are a dealer/distributor of the Qsonix product since you have them refurbished/show demos for sale/auction right now.
I am considering going this route as well. I am wondering if there is anyone on this thread from Chicago who might be able to help me. I am really a newbie at this who just read the 6 moons article about the modified teleporter. Bob