I have Itunes into MacMini into Outlaw RR2150 integrated usb input....sounds decent and injecting a separate Dac would probably improve the sound, but it's pretty decent as is.
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I have the Mac Mini going out via an M2Tech Hiface to my Eastern Electric Minimax Tube DAC along with the Touch going to the DAC and then feeding into my Levinson 326S preamp. IMHO, it sounds fantastic and all equipment before it hits the preamp costs $2250. If you go to your local library, then you can rip cd's for free. The most simple and best sounding flac player I've found is:http://sbooth.org/AyreWave/ I've also tried downloading high resolution tunes on HDTracks. You can also get a separate harddrive for about $125 which holds 2 terabytes of music. Of course, this doesn't include cables, but they can be inexpensive to whatever price you think makes sense for you. I use a toslink cable going from the Touch to the DAC along with a BNC cable going from the M2Tech to the DAC along with a pair of RCA cables going to the preamp. There you have it, A high end source system for less than $2500!
I have never done an A/B test between the Mac Mini to Hiface vs. the Touch. My only reason to purchase the M2Tech is that I believe the USB out is limited to 16/44 resolution and with the M2Tech, it allows 24/192 with greater resolution. It comes with either RCA or BNC connections. I use BNC as I've heard it is superior. I'm not sure if it is or is not.
11-28-10: AaronmadlerAre you suggesting that one can go to a local public library, check out a CD, take it home and rip it?
That's a federal crime.
It's incredible to think some people have no conscience about doing something like this, but it's commonplace.
Composers and recording artists make their living through music royalties. If they no longer have a viable way to make a living, how do you expect them to continue to create the music we enjoy?