Taking the music outside...


This is probably an easy question, but I'm not sure where to start on this setup.

I'm now all-digital, serving up from a Mac Mini on the main stereo system (Mac Mini, Off Ramp 5, PS Audio PWD-II DAC, Spectron Musician III MK2 amp, Magnepan 3.7s, 2x Vandersteen subs.)

We used to play music on the back deck through a pair of Mirage Omni outdoor speakers. I'd disconnect the Maggies and hook up the Mirages. This is no longer feasible.

I'm looking for some unit that can drive the little Mirages, something reasonable portable that can be easily brought in and out of the house.

Optimally, this unit would be able to serve up music from the main library, hopefully wireless. I'd rather not bring out the library disc or have to hook in an iPod.

SQ is not a huge issue... it'll be outside. Just something to bridge the gap between the existing library and outdoors.

Thanks for any ideas!
A really cheap and simple solution would be to pick up a used Airport Express to catch the stream from your Mac Mini and combine it with an inexpensive chip amp like this one.

I don't know about the current generation of Airport Express base stations but all the previous ones had both analog and digital output so you could go analog directly into the amp using a stereo mini to RCA cable or, if you wanted to fancy it up a bit, you could insert a DAC with optical input and use a mini Toslink to Toslink cable.

I have a setup like that in my garage workshop and it sounds just fine for that application. There's an ancient 802.11g Airport Express streaming music from the iMac in my office, then an AudioEngine D1 DAC I bought used for $100, a DIY Tripath chip amp and a pair of Boston Acoustic garage sale speakers. Total cost including the DAC was less than $200.