Newbie G4 laptop to NAD 320 BEE setup

I am trying to figure out my options for the optimum laptop setup. I have a G4 17" 1.3 Ghz running Itunes with Apple Lossless audio files. I am going to connect the laptop to an NAD320 BEE integraded amp driving a pair of Klipsch Forte speakers. I am currently trying to figure out the connection to the amp. Do I really need a DAC with 24/192khz sampling, or can I use something simpler like a Behringer UCA202 U-Control Audio Interface, or Behringer FCA202 - FireWire Audio Interface. I evetually want to add a tube pre-amp to the setup. I have looked through the forum and there seems to be issues of jitter etc with the laptop setup, but technically with lossless files, shouldn't I be able to get CD quality audio? Any suggestions on the setup will be greatly appreciated.
You don't need a DAC per se, but it will improve sound quality. It will basically squeeze a little bit of extra definition out of that lossless file. You can pick up a good used one for 200-300 here, sometime even less. In the meantime just hook your laptop up to your NAD using a 1/8" to rca cable and enjoy!
Find out if the G4 has an "optical" output. It's the same plug as the headphone jack, it serves dual purpose.

If it isn't an intel chipped Mac, you may be out of luck. Then it is only an analog output. In this case, it's a moot point with the 24/192, because it won't output that stream or any digital output.

You could try USB, or converting to spdif/co-axial, but I have no experience with that, and figure the less in the chain the better. And cabling is an expensive bitch of an endeavor. Maybe someone else can pipe in.

If you do have an "optical" out. Then look at a Vandenhul Optocoupler II optical cable ($100). It's well regarded, glass and as far as I can tell probably one of the best you can get for optical. It also comes terminated on one end with a "mini-toslink" (all Macs) plug and toslink on the other. This way no need for an adapter.

If no optical, then you can start with a simple 3mm jack from laptop to RCA "Y" cable into your NAD.

However, I'd recommend this whether you have a digital output or not. Just to experiment.

Go to any store and get yourself an Apple Airport Express (it's a small brick shaped router). There is a DAC in it. It can stream music wirelessly, their "airtunes", from itunes. It can both output an analog signal (use Y cable) or "optical" digital signal.

I actually found this to sound much better than plugging it straight into the laptop with an RCA "Cable" on the NAD. I had the same amp. It sounded better whether I used the analog or digital out (VDH cable).

You may have to contend with dropouts etc (I didn't, just try changing the channels on your primary router), but the sound was decent. The convenience was awesome though, being able to stream music wirelessly. And go ahead using the itunes volume (like a preamp). I didn't find a difference.

It's not the be all and end all, but it is cheap and acceptable sonically. It's not a Michell Orbe w/Koetsu cartridge or anything.

If you don't like it, just return the Airport Express. You could probably find them on Craigslist as well.

The AEx only outputs 14/44.1khz... which most redbook is at. There is a source of contention regarding oversampling DACs. Some think the NOS (non-oversampling is better), staying native at 14/44.1 is better... some don't. Some argue about jitter etc., but just decide what you think sounds good. Let the DIY and manufacturers worry about specs.

One thing you may look at is the Monarchy M24 (I have one). It's a tube DAC and one input linestage (preamp) using 4 6dj8 tubes. I had it using the NAD as the poweramp and the M24 as the preamp. It sounded pretty good.

I don't have the same set-up, use the M24 and Valab as DACs into an integrated tube amp, but looking back I'm not sure if my spending more money really improved things that much. It was my first..ish.. set-up.

You can find the M24 and earlier pre-amps by Monarchy on the used market. Under $800..

Good luck, hope I helped and baby steps..
If your ;aptop has a Toslink output, go to and check out their "fancy" Toslink cable. This is a *seriously* nice cable and the price is incredibly cheap, a 6 ft. cable is only $5.49 + shipping. That is NOT a typo, I have one of these and it is a great cable, very well-constructed - looks like a $100 cable, no kidding...
Thanks for the suggestions. So, I actually got this to work with ITunes Home Sharing. I have the laptop connected to the amp with an RCA Y cable, and the music is streamed from another Mac (intel quad with 24 bit output capability). It sounds pretty good, but I do wonder if there is any loss with the streaming. I guess another option is running the optical cable over to the amp from the Tower as suggested. Maybe I will give that a shot as the laptop fan has begun to annoy me already. Or, I will try the airport express. Still tinkering.
An airport express is definitely the best investment you will have, you can also control your itunes from an iphone if you have one. I go from the express to my DAC using a mini toslink cable, the express has an 1/8 jack that is also a optical out. I have been using the airtunes for years and can say there is no loss of quality, Stereophile did a whole write up on it if you want to reivew their archives online.
I guess if it was just for me, I'd connect the AE and forget about it. But, I also have other people in the house who can not quite go to the computer in another room, turn itunes on and then head to the amp in the living room and play. Due to that issue I invested in a Azur 640H Music Server. It is kind of an old hat, but I'll try it out. I guess an appletv with a screen could have done the same thing.