Novice needs Mac Mini and DAC advice

Stereo Boys, I really really need some advice. In the past 18 months, I've loaded all in on this hobby and in that short time span have gone from birth to a full blown, fairly high end system and now I'm integrating a Mac Mini server into the mix. My mind is blown with too much information and I'm losing it over which DAC will give me the best bang with a budget anywhere from $800 to $4000. I'm told that the Ayre and Wavelength don't really outperform the lower cost DACs by a huge margin. I need a shot of the truth. And I'm looking for plug and play. I'm not that conversant with all the technical science involved in all of this. I just want a clean, high res sound. Please help!!
Moonshot --

Any chance you worked for a large computer vendor in the 80s? I know a guy who got that handle while walking the AT.

I recently went the same route as you have and couldn't be happier over getting away from CDs.

Consider the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC MKII. Well touted, reasonably priced, nice features.

My current setup is the Mac Mini with 16GB and SSD, external FW800 drive, USB out to an Empirical Audio Off Ramp 5 (re-clocker), then I2S-HDMI connection to the PW-DAC. I run the Mac Mini 'headless' using screen sharing from any one of several Macs around the house, though you could also use an iOS app for that.

If you're running the Mini headless, you might consider the Gefen HDMI Detector plus. It's a small, inexpensive device that scams the Mini into thinking that there's a video monitor attached to the HDMI port. Otherwise, I find that screen sharing displays lag quite a bit due to screen-saving on the Mini.

What's a 'Stereo Boy'?
Check out the Empirical Audio website and his section at the Audio Circle forums. Lots of good info there. Also, the Computer Audiophile forums.
You do have a number of great options out there. Do you need multiple digital inputs or will this be USB only?

Take a look at the DAC used in this room

I use the same DAC with great result especially with DSD source files. Since you have a MAC, your have plenty of choices when it comes to software player: Audirvana Plus, PureMusic or Amarra.
If you like more flexibility with lot of digital filters to tailor the sound to your liking plus the ability to convert PCM music files to DSD encoded files on the fly, there's Signalyst's HQPlayer which requires Window Vista or later.
Look into Tranquility . Usb only but a great dac .
Thanks, everybody. I really thank you for the input. Like I said, I'm looking for a simple set up and plan on, I think, primarily using the USB in. Please forgive my candor but I'm a bit of an idiot when it comes to integrating this into my system and I really want to keep things simple. I've love to be able to go out there to the marketplace, purchase a quality asynchronous USB DAC, no preamp, and punch out some good tunes from my Mac mini. There's just so much out there to look at and I've got to believe that 2013 will bring a new generation of cheaper but excellent quality dedicated USB DAC's.
Went through the same thing. As far as dac's I've heard between 500-2000, most of them seem to use the reference saber dac these days, and to me, they all share it's house sound of open, ultra dynamic, slightly laid back and very spacious and energized sound. Most, also, share the dac's weakness of sounding a tad vapor like image body, and having a slightly overhyped treble that can be a bit too mechanical. No one would mistake these for vinyl :)

Of the new breed of 9018 sabers I've heard, the wyred dac2(which I borrowed from a friend for a week), oppo bdp105(which I own) and wadia 121 (which i auditioned at home for a weekend) I liked the wadia the best. Seemed to have the best characteristics of the saber sound with the least attributes of it's common flaws. Also has the volume control you want, it's in the same price range as the other two ($1295), and has multiple inputs as well.

I went a different direction, and took a chance on a jkdac32 dac by John Kenny. It's a simple, battery powered dac with a single USB input that uses his modified hiface USB input stage, and a burr brown PCM 5102 chip. Does up to 32/384 files. Completely different sound. And, to my ears, a favorable one. Doesn't have the same larger than life sound of the saber dac's I mentioned, but it does make music sound complete, and has better depth of image, while giving instruments proper weight and placement. Also, the most 'analogue' sounding dac I've heard so far. I don't mean warm or fuzzy, I mean cohesive with proper space, weight, texture. Lovers of the saber dac's might consider it undynamic and dull. Though, I consider most of the saber dac's I've heard to sound unrealisticly dynamic, and lacking realistic weight and involvement. The wadia was the exception.

I digress...

There are lots of good options out there. And, since most fall below $1500 bucks, there's no need to spend more cash on a good one. The market for these devices has become ultra competitive, which means the consumer is winning. Try a place like music direct that has a 30 day return policy, order a wadia, and give it a listen. I really liked it, and showed me what the dac's in my oppo bdp105 can really do, when more love and care is focused on the input/output stages. If, as you say, you want 'clean, hi res sound', it'll probably get you closer to it than can be purchased near it's price, and get you enjoying your music very quickly and easily.

Hope all this helps.
Check out the Chord Electronics QuteHD .. great bang for the buck at just under $2000. The trickle-down tech from their reference DAC must be heard to be appreciated and does wonders for Redbook. You have to install a driver first on the Mac (which took me all of about 2 minutes including download), otherwise it is plug and play.
Wow. I really want to thank you for that input - a lot of time, thought and valuable experience went into your response. Coincidentially I've been reading about the Wyred Dac2 and yes, I've taken note in my research that the Saber chip seems to be the favored son but you went in a different direction, and that shows me I've got to audition a few of the Dacs you mentioned and choose based on my own personal preferences. And you're dead on - while I'm seeing all these marvelous accolades for high priced product that we see touted out there- it's a new day for the consumer as these things get much cheaper and better and better. You hit the mark. I've felt intimidated by my local Definitive Audio guy who says I have to spend at least $3500 (he really wanted to see me dump $7500 on a Crimson) to get anything decent but I managed to evade his clutches and I think I'll just take my time and evaluate the different product in the more reasonable range you suggested. And it makes sense. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. And not using a avalanche of technical jargon. I've got to say it again. "Wow."
Special thanks to Backgroundblur. And WTF, the Chord... yes... looking at it. You know, in reading reviews there is so much cheerleading going on that you begin to feel like you being spun around inside a tornado of hype and technical intimidation. Hey, I really, really don't get a high from seeing reams of specs - I just want to know that the "thing" does the "deal" real, real well and I want to seamlessly install it and forget it because I just want to enjoy it. And you guys are absolutely talking sense in terms of price range. I mean, come on. How expensive are these things to produce. I've got a Chinese friend who produces speakers and he's telling me that none of these products have more than $100 of electronics in them and more astounding, that the highly touted Saber chips cost about a nickle. Now I don't know if I believe it's that cheap, but it does make one pause, doesn't it? Thanks again.
Hi Moonshot, I am just like you and just went through exactly what you want to go through and learn.

I read everything and did all kinds of research. Steve at Empical Audio has great info and I leaned heavily on his site and posts. Here is what I did and I am amazed at the sound quality and simplicity.

I purchased an April Music Eximus DP 1 dac. It has a killer volume that is much better then the Wyred. The dac is also much better then the Wyred which is very good.

This dac has all you need to go into computer audio with ease and will best the sound of any CD player/transport combo I have heard to date.

I purchased a 2009 Mac Mini as my server. I did this per Steve's advice. My Mini has a large 256mb SSD hard drive per Steve's advice. Paid $500 for the Mini and $2300 for the dac used. I go from the Mini to my Eximus dac with a Cardas Clear USB cable for $150. I use Amarra and the version that Steve suggests on his site and in his posts as it sounds spectacular. This will cost you $140 with 15% off.

Buy a $5 book from the UltraFi website that shows how to optimize your Mini for best sound. Well worth the $5. Use your iPad or iPhone as a remote by downloading the free Splashtop app. This allows you to,use the iPad as the Mini's monitor. You can download Amarra and do all you need with this neat app. I also use my iPad as my remote for playing music in my iTunes files.

Rip non-compressed AIFF for best sound . Use the free xld program to rip.

The Eximus dac will drive your speakers with its internal volume and that is it.

This sounds wonderful. I have 400 cd's on my SSD drive and they sound killer. I play right from the SSD drive on my Mini. My Mini also has a cd drive so I use it to rip cd's. The newer Mini's lost this feature.

I purchased an upgraded linear power supply from Mojo Audio replacing the switching power supply on the Mini. You can do this later on if you want. No rush.
All right, Grannyring! Thanks for the kind consideration and time you spent laying all that out for. It is much appreciated. Now just give me the time to go over that one more time.

I just bought my mini and haven't set it up yet. I sort of inherited a Musical Fidelity M1 Async and haven't even plugged it in yet. My assumption was that it simply wasn't all that good but... like I said, I'm feeling my way. Maybe what I need to do is get the system up and running, play with it and learn my way around in the dark.

Honestly, and I think like a lot more people than would be willing to admit, all this technology is new to me and a bit confusing and it can be a bit intimidating to read the complex configurations and nearly logrythmic details that some people go into.

I just want it to sound good.
Oh, Rhanson 739 (Rob). No. I'm not that Moonshot. I'm Apollo 13.
Hey Moonshot. I feel ya!

My one general piece of advice is to ask yourself every once and awhile: IF I HAD TO STOP NOW, WOULD I BE HAPPY? If the answer is YES or I THINK SO, then, Pencils down. You're done. The level to which you can tweak and optimize computer audio is going to be limitless. Because the rate at which PC technology evolves is limitless. High end audio is becoming more subject to Moore's Law, which has every audio company licking their chops to build DACs and other computer audio devices. Just as computers become redundant after 3 years, the thing to get music off those computers will also become redundant. So just remember to relax and enjoy the music.

Three other things:

* What you get out of your DAC is also dependent on the rest of the chain. If you don't have a system that's capable of picking up what your DAC is putting down, then spending a lot of dough doesn't make sense. I agree with advice you've been given that the higher priced you go the more nuanced/smaller the differences get. But that can be said for a lot of things in high end audio. I have the Ayre DAC, and to my ears, I couldn't do better without tripling the budget. And in that price range, there are many other audio things I'd rather put money into.

* What kind of files you have are important. If you have large number of lossy files, then that's going to play into your choice. Some DACs are not kind to crappy files.

* To that end, I would take a serious look at the Peachtree Audio stuff. For the money I preferred their sound over the Musical Fidelity DAC.
Oh, my pleasure! I hope it helped.

And, being in camera sales, trust me, I understand how daunting and overwhelming it can be going in with little to no knowledge, and being overwhelmed and even intimidated by the atmosphere, the choices, the sales people. I get it from customers a lot. But, customers know more than they think. So, I usually ask them two questions to get started.

1. What is your price point?
2. What features are you looking for?

Number one is most important. That the one where I won't even show a customer a camera unless they give me a slightly specific idea of that. Too many times, a customer has said 'I want a really good camera!', so I'll pull down a 600 dollar Canon Rebel, and tell them the price, and they reply in horror 'I can't afford that!'. Now, they get to leave, feeling that anything I show them from that point on, no matter how good, is a consolation prize.

Number two is almost as important. What features do you want. Obviously 'good sound' is the main one, like 'good photos' would be for anyone buying a camera, but aside from that, you mentioned built in volume control. Do you want balanced outputs? Do you need multiple inputs for other digital sources? How high a sample rate do you want? 24/96 enough, or do you need 24/192? Does DSD playback matter much to you?

Number two should be more a priority list, rather than a check list. You might give up a feature or two that might be 'kinda cool' to have, in the name of more performance, or preferential sound.

Then, just start hitting your local brick and mortars, bring a good mix cd of your own music...he'll, bring a laptop with your music on it, tell them your price point, what features you really need, then listen. Any salesman who actually knows how to sell will keep you within 25% of your budget, be gracious with their time and knowledge, and not make you feel like they're slumming it with you because 1500 or 2000 is your budget. If they do, or spout nonsense like 'well, to get really good, you need to spend (insert much larger number than you want to spend here), just leave. They're idiots, and not representing their moderately priced gear with the enthusiasm it deserves.

Honestly, though, most will be happy to help and keep you within the ballpark of your budget.

Aside from that, have fun, go with what sounds best to your ears with the music you like, and take it home, plug it in, and just start enjoying it.

Let us know what you end up with, and how it turns out for you!

Jason and Banhamcopeland, you guys are on the money. Firstoff, I can't believe that you'd have the inclination to take so much time and share your experience to a total stranger. I just came to AudiogoN about a year and a half ago when I first loaded back into music. I used to be a rock jock in Seattle for about 20 years and burned out on the whole thing until my brother bought a pair of Martin Logan Summit's, and although they're not for everyone because of dispersion issues, I loaded in and through a huge growth spurt have got a fairly decent system running CLX's, Descent i subs through MC601's etc. etc. etc. I'm not going to bore you. But this entire system was purchased through AudiogoN contacts. Now the really unbelievable part - I JUST BOUGHT MY FIRST COMPUTER 2 YEARS AGO. I was totally computer illiterate. I just missed the whole revolution. So I went Apple and the learning curve has been fascinating and it was on my own, just thinking the whole process through, that I decided to use a Mac mini as a server. I did not even know that others favored that modality. That's how off the beaten track my experience and social contact was in terms of this technology; so, I was astounted when I started looking at the Forum and learning that an entire civilization of Mac mini music servers were out there. Honestly, I thought it was my idea, if you can believe that. So, at least I was headed down the right road. But this is now where I stand. I'm all loaded up on iTunes and ready to plug in, but I want to make sure I do it right.

Hey, I'm humbly sharing this because in rereading this disclosure, I sound like I could be some kind of idiot (and maybe I am) but I'm not going to take another step forward until I get the next series of decision spot on. For example, thanks to Maplegrovemusic I read with fascination the evolution of the Tranquility series and like the fact that there is a dedicated group of engineers at an apparently small company trying to get it right and evolving and moreso, that there's someone at the other end I can dialogue with. I'm really (excuse my language) beginning to feel like tossing chunks every time I read these inane glossy reviews that "rah-rah" products. The forum through this link has lead me in some fairly interesting directions.

Now, as part of this process, I've got to learn what music player to load, obviously what DAC to purchase, if the cables make a real difference (I hate Voodoo - in fact I find myself laughing at the extreme tweakers) and now I'm a bit confused because I'm seeing all kinds of devices in the chain between the DAC and my preamp (McIntosh C2300). What next do I have to learn. Hey, I'm hoping to plug my mini into my new and be done but... what's next?

Your comments about a good salesman and the proper sales process was written like something that should be emblazoned in every store. I loved it. I wish you were in my town, because I'd buy you dinner, and then I'd buy a camera even though I don't need on.

Thanks you guys. I really think that you guys are dead on.

Excuse the typos. I was writing stream of consciousness and hit "enter" as part of the impulse.....
You have to be willing to do some tweaks and spend some money on the Mac Mini, including SSD, external power supply and Amarra etc..

It is a lot simpler to use a Sonos or Squeezebox or even an iPod and Pure i20 and drive a good reclocker like Synchro-Mesh to a DAC. Then add the DAC of your choice and get great results. Metrum Hex or AMR DP-777 are a good start at your price-point.

The thing to realize here is that the source jitter is actually more important than the DAC. Fix that first and then get the DAC.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve- Thank you. When I mentioned "tweaks" I was talking about super-ultra expensive cables, crystal "room resonators", acoustics improving flying saucers placed on windows, "mystery block" wood component supports etc. I understand the need for a SSD and a player. External power supply as well? Concerning jitter, isn't that the DAC's responsibility to reclock or do you really need the reclocker buffered in between the source and the DAC? I suppose this has been my point... it seems to never end, and therein my frustration. One thing is for sure; I'm going to study all this like a final exam before committing to anything so, I suppose the best receipe is is to cook up this thing over time with a lot of deliberation and investigation. Damn. Here I go 'round again. -Bob
Just go slow, and start from the foundation, and work your way up.

Focus on a good dac for now. Then move into a player solution that sounds good, and suits your convenience. Mac side, I've had good luck with audirvana plus and fidelia.

Then, go to the tweaks.

You have time to take it in stages, but for myself, that order gave me the biggest to smallest gain in improvements.

That way, you can focus on one thing at a time, and the benefit of enjoying it, as you go.
Backgroundblur: Good. I'm there. I think I'm going to quit whining and start winning. Many good DACs mentioned in this thread alone so I'll explore with enthusiasm and look at this challenge as a fun thing.

I really feel a fundamental shift into the comfort zone after the support and great advice offered through all the generous words by all of you. It literally blows my mind that total strangers would take the time to share from their real world experiences... and care.

Thanks you all so much. I feel like you all have done a lot of my due diligence for me and given me the benefit of your learning curve. The rest is up to me...and this bird will fly.

- Bob.
"External power supply as well?"


"Concerning jitter, isn't that the DAC's responsibility to reclock or do you really need the reclocker buffered in between the source and the DAC?"

That would be nice in an ideal world. You need some kind of reclocker or external USB converter. No DAC does a complete job of reducing jitter. The ones that come close don't have great clocks in them anyway, so you are stuck with that SQ. I have auditioned and modded dozens of DACs for customers in the last 10 years.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I'm loving my Metrum Octave. At around $1,150 it's an absolute steal IMO. Beat my Weiss Minerva at 1/5th the cost.
I'll second the Metrum Octave. Drive it with a low-jitter source though.

the Metrum Hex iseven better BTW

The W4S DAC2 is also fabulous,but driven with I2S input.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
So Moonshot, which Bob from Seattle radio are you? I grew up here listening to all the Rock stations and not too many of the Jocks are still around. Hope your doing well in whatever you're doing now, radio seems like a hard core business to me.

Oh, and you are going in the right direction with a macmini and good dac. I'm currently using a M2tech Hiface Evo for conversion into my Havana Dac. It's a wonderful sounding dac that has gotten rave reviews over the last few years. I just ordered the Metrum Octave which has also gotten tons of good press. They are selling them from the factory right now for several hundred dollars under the going rate of $1100.00 dollars until they are gone because the new model just came out. Check out the reviews on this site and others. You have gotten some really good advice on this thread, but the main thing is to enjoy the music and keep rockin.

Take Care,


Don't be surprised that people here give a lot of good advice to total strangers - that is what this is all about! Later, also remember to come back and share your knowledge with total strangers :-)

I've been using this forum to learn a bunch as I slowly get into computer audio. is also a great source.

My first step was getting a Squeezebox Touch, since it was just $300 and I had no dedicated computer. It allowed me to delve into computer audio, and learned how tweaking the Touch improved sonics.The DAC inside the Touch isn't great, though, so eventually was the time for a DAC.

Four months ago I got the Metrum Octave, which I really enjoy. My "strategy" is to work my way upstream: next get a USB to S/PDIF converter, then a computer and playback software, tweaks, etc. but if I stopped now it would still be the best sound I ever had at home. The USB to S/PDIF converter will likely be an Audiophilleo, as it's very highly regarded, runs on Linux (important with the Touch), and also runs in integer mode (important if going down the mini route later on).

BTW, you might want to consider just getting a USB>SPDIF converter and using it with your mini and Musical Fidelity M1 you inherited. Steve continuously says reducing jitter is more important than the DAC you use, and that converter is the one to reduce jitter. An Audiophilleo 2 with PurePower will cost you about $1k, is said to be up there with the best converters, and might be all you need for now. From what I read, getting "bit perfect" data stream out of your computer might be as important, so choosing the right software for your mini might be the second-most important thing to do. And maybe choosing a DAC is third, considering you have one already.

Sorry for the long-winded post. I hope it helps!

I forgot to mention, if you still live in the Seattle area you are welcome to listen to my mac mini going into my M2Tech Hiface USB/SPDIF converter and then into my Dac. I don't have the Metrum Octave yet but it should be here any day.

Take Care,


Congrats on purchasing the Octave. It's probably the greatest value product I've owned through the years. I tried the M2Tech but ultimately returned it. I'm currently using the Audiophilleo 2 with the Metrum.
Gregfisk (Greg)
Thanks for the response. I'm taking off on my kid's Spring Break but certainly might take you up on the offer after returning to the area on the 14th. I'm actually in Sammamish -

Devilboy, thank's for the positive input, I'm really looking forward to trying it in my system. I really like the magic tonal qualities of the Havana but it lacks some detail on involved music. I like the Evo but will get the stack with the outboard clock and power supply as that is what I understand makes the Evo a first class product.

Bob, you are welcome to come by and I will have the Octave by then. I wouldn't wait if you want the deal on the Octave as my understanding a couple of weeks ago is that they only had 20 left. You have to order direct from the Netherlands to get the low price.

Enjoy your spring break trip.

Hi Devilboy.

I noticed you run a Mac Mini into an Audiophilleo, into a Metrum Octave. Are you using Audionirvana+ in Integer Mode? I have an Octave and plan on getting an Audiophilleo, and have been reading about Integer Mode in A+. It is my understanding in such setup the AP is the one that needs to be able to run in Integer Mode (which the AP does), but the Octave doesn't need to be. Am I right?

Bob Hovanes KZOK - KISW - Then I moved from raising hell to raising 9 year old twins - Payback time.

Don't forget the April Music Eximus DP1. It has all you need in one package. No kidding. Read the Six Moons very detailed review and see why it was their top choice among many of the DAC's mention here.
I stream lossless FLAC files from my iMac through a Scott Nixon TD2.2 tube DAC with the 4Xac power supply upgrade and it sounds amazing. For a quality DAC well under $1000, I haven't found a better sounding one than Scott's. I like the fact that each one is hand built by him, the designer.
Lewinskih01: So sorry. I haven't read this post in a while. I'm running Pure Music. A friend just told me he likes Audirvana over PM hands down. I went to Audirvana's website and they list Mac 10.6 or later. I have a 10.5. I don't think I will be able to get Audirvana to work on my computer. I'm not knowledgeable in computers at all so I guessing no???
Devilboy, I have been listening to the Octave for several weeks now and I am really impressed! Two weeks ago I bought the clock for my Evo and all I can say is WOW! I did not think it would make much difference, but man was I wrong. My system has never sounded better and I'm really glad I have forums like this to get info. from my fellow fanatics.

Bob, if your out there, what did you end up getting?
Gregfisk: I'm glad the you're finding the Metrum Octave so enjoyable. I think you will see the Octave gets even better over time. I had a very good friend over today who has much better ear than I and we took the Metrum Octave amp-direct straight to his amplifier he brought over. I controlled volume via the volume bar in PureMusic. HOLY FRIGGIN CRAP. Transparency, transparency, transparency. Holographic, deep soundstaging. We heard the Octave and his amp. That's it. I love this dac. Have fun! Big thanks to Bhobba who gave me the idea.
I can't recommend Ben at Mojo Audio enough. He has spent so much
time helping me with my system that it's embarrassing. I have a new mac mini
that he upgraded and his power supply.

Customer service cannot be bettered.
I just bought a Mac Mini and an Ipad, because of this and numerous other threads. My Mini only has usb, but I have 12 gig of memory. I tried the Splashtop app to try and go headless, but when I play something off itunes, the music comes through the Ipad instead of through the stereo. I am currently using the hdmi out to an Anthem AVM-50 until I get a usb dac(still searching)
I have 3 questions
Should I be using something different than Itunes to manage my music?(ripping and playback)
Should I be getting external memory to store all the music on to start with?(I have approx. 1,000 cd's)
What's the best app to operate headless? I'm in the same room and the same network, just don't want to continue using my plasma for a monitor.
I'm Mac and Computer Audio stupid, so be easy on me.
Should I be using something different than Itunes to manage my music?(ripping and playback)

Absolutely. Amarra for playback and XLD for ripping - see my site for links.

Should I be getting external memory to store all the music on to start with?(I have approx. 1,000 cd's)

I would recommend an external 1-2TB drive with firewire connection to the Mac. RAID1 is best with 2 drives.

Also, put a SSD from in the Mini.

What's the best app to operate headless?


Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thank you Steve, I was able to install Remote and it works exactly like I was wanting. Baby steps, now I have to work on the memory, dac and media player. Something's wrong with the Amarra site right now, I will check again tomorrow.
Thank you Steve, I was able to install Remote and it works exactly like I was wanting. Baby steps, now I have to work on the memory, dac and media player. Something's wrong with the Amarra site right now, I will check again tomorrow.
Remote is fine if you don't want to use Amarra's playlist
I think playlist is worth the extra work, something like Pocket Cloud or Splashtop work well
I must be doing something wrong with Splashtop. I can pull up my Mini desktop on my Ipad, but when I play music it streams to the Ipad and doesn't play from the Mini to my processor.
You need to go into your settings, when I get home I'lll walk you through it
I've made a lot of progress, Splashtop is fixed.
I have a Wyred4Sound dac2 on it's way to me, I set up a Buffalo 2 drive RAID and I installed XLD for ripping. I've been ripping a few discs today, but on playback I have some skipping and I don't know why. Is it the external drive, the ripping software or did I mess something up? I am ripping AIFF, I tried FLAC, but that won't go into ITunes, should I be using another format? I'm so close to being there, I just need to clean up some things and it would be nice to be able to talk to someone with more experience.