Which DAC for computer based system?

I have recently gone to a digital music server using a G4 laptop, a 500 GB hard drive and a Waveterminal U24. I have ripped all of my cd's to the hard drive and I just figured out that I can get lots of great radio through my computer as well. I can now sell my changer and tuner if I want. I am thinking about putting my money towards a really good DAC since my computer is turning out to be the heart of my system. I can't believe I didn't do this sooner! I am rediscovering my music collection and listening to stuff I haven't listened to for years. It would not surpise me if we begin to see a lot of USB DAC's on the market very soon. What DAC's would you recommend I audition or seek out (I can probably spend upwards of 2K)? Thank you
I am very happy with my TwiDac Plus. When I bought it, the price was over your limit, but it is now available with the battery supply as an option, so maybe the price is under 2,000. With the dollar against the Euro, I don't know. You can always add the battery supply later.

I would also look at the Brick from Wavelength Audio. And maybe the Apogee Mini.

Did I mention I love my twindac?

I would recommend the Apogee USB Mini-Dac. I am ecstatic with mine. Your G-4 laptop will recognize it without having to install extra drivers and you won't believe the sound. Detailed, natural, musical, black background, wonderful soundstage, air -- and non-digital. Your G-4 plus Apogee will sound as good as digital front ends costing twice the price.
FWIW I use a similar system, though still have my music in compressed (AAC 192kHz) format, but I stream the audio wirelessly with Apple Airport Expresses and use the DAC's in my processors for conversion. Though not as good as your system, in my trials with uncompressed files, I had no signal drop outs, and will likely use this format for when I get the new HD and re-copy all my music in native format. As an added benefit, I can stream to any stereo in the house..
Backup of a collection like that is essential. Hard drives can and do fail. My friend just had his Lacie with 100gb of music fail on him in the first two weeks of owning it. To recover the data would cost more than the drive did. It was a Lacie 250gb drive (one of the Extreme models). On the other hand I've used Lacie drives for years without even a hiccup, so go figure. His dad is a Mac guy and recommended a drive I'd never heard of called a Mercury Elite Pro. Given his experience with the Lacie I think he'll try one of these next. I still wouldn't hesitate to use Lacie. Those kinds of things can happen to any drive. They all have very fast moving parts. I think his reader arm slammed into the wall. I'm in the process of backing up 200+gb of music onto about 40 DVD's, which is another alternative to an extra drive, and arguably a bit safer, but much more labor intensive. Still, it'll be reassuring to have a hard copy, as it were.

I haven't actually listened to the DAC in my Waveterminal, but i don't imagine it would be difficult to improve upon given the price. I use the digital SPDIF to run to a Muse DAC and couldn't be more happy. As you know from the other thread, USB DAC's could also be a great solution.

basically any dac with digital in is OK, a benchmark or an apogee should serve you well.
I use a G4 laptop with a U24 Waveterminal. I have connected an Apogee Mini DAC which is a very high quality source. I would highly recommend it.
how about just putting a headroom product (total bithead?) between your computer and the amplifier?
I am feeding my Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista using the SPDIF out of a Roku Soundbridge and couldn't be happier.
I am using an Electrocompaniet ECD-1 with my computer audio and with a separate transport for more reference listening with great results. My good friend is also using a Bel Canto DAC-1 with great results too.

I would warn you about the Benchmark. It is a very nice DAC but can come across as analytical and fatiguing with computer music and sometimes just in general. But then again, everyone has their own preference.

Good Luck!

Apologize for off-topic...

What topology did you implement?

In simple words - assuming your laptop is somewhere close to your listening position:
- you either put DAC close to you and run long interconnects to the amp;
- or you run long SPDIF to the DAC located atop your amps;
- or you run long USB to U24 sitting atop of the DAC and amp?
Computer sits atop my stereo rack. No interconnects are longer than 1M. I currently have no remote capabilities with this configuration but could if I wanted, without too much difficulty.
I have a Roku Soundbridge M1000 w/SPDIF going to a Musical Fidelity A3.24 DAC and A3 integrated amp. The Roku Soundbridge is connected to my PC via wired Ethernet, but you can go Wi-Fi. My speakers are Magnepan MMGs. Happy with the setup. In addition, I am also streaming WMAs and mp3s with Yahoo! Music Unlimited. The DAC doesn't do much for mp3s, but the WMAs sound just as good as CDs. Y!MU lets you stream or download the file onto your PC.
It looks like our computers will be soon as good as all of our audiophile preamps and DACs.
Add Grace M902 in your list, it has USB input. Review can be found on Stereophile website
If I were you, I would use the U24 for now as your DAC and then wait until the new Bel Canto DAC 3 comes out. I currently use a U24 and the Bel Canto DAC 2 with great results and am waiting for the DAC 3 to be released. The DAC 3 will be within your budget and will allow you to bypass the U24 entirely, sending your USB signal directly to the DAC 3's DAC. If you get this combination, then wait until July when Belkin releases their wireless USB hub, you can have your laptop pretty far away from your DAC and amp setup in the same room and just send the signal wirelessly. This is what I'm going to do, at least.
Hi Pardales,

I own a PowerMac G5 and it's connected through my Musical Fidelity X-DAC into my McIntosh system. It is an excellent DAC for the money (~$800 used) and I have absolutely no complaints after owning it for 6 months.