Music Servers

default -- Tue, 01/06/2009 - 17:30

I am contemplating putting together a music server system based on the Itune/Imac foundation.  For that, I will need a USB enabled DAC and am being steered towards the Wave Length tube alternative. 
What are other and perhaps equal/better alternative DACs with USB inputs?  Sure appreciate any help...
Gary

Carl Espy (not verified) -- Mon, 01/19/2009 - 10:01

I have recently set up a music server using the Cambridge Audio DacMagic (only $399) with its USB input.  While I have no basis for comparison to other external DACs, I am very pleased with what I'm hearing. 
 
I am now busy comparing iTunes with Apple Lossles files to Media Monkey with FLAC files and enjoying it all.
 
Carl

Steven Stone -- Mon, 01/19/2009 - 15:31

 If you are considering the Wavelength Brick be aware that it is limited to 44/16 data rate. More expensive Wavelength DACs support higher rates.
 
For higher data rates you should consider a DAC that can also accept S/PIDF inputs via coax or Toslink or one that takes higher rate via its USB input. 
 
 

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Dennis Edwards (not verified) -- Sat, 01/24/2009 - 10:08

Gary, you might consider using the Toslink output rather than the USB port - it's superior in quality for data streaming your digital music. Also look at using the Apple MAC-Mini (80G) for your iTunes server, an outboard disk drive for storage like a Drobo (Data Robotics) 4Tb, and for your DAC there are several inexpensive ones on the market. The Stello Signature is quite good and upsamples to 24/192. The key is to rip CDs to the MAC as 48k AIFF files and then output as 96k data streams to the DAC (use the MIDI settings). For somewhere under $1500.00 you've got a killer music server that I've heard on a SOTA stereo system and it was phenomenal.Good luck.

Nawrocka Distri... -- Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:49

Gary,
    One of the dealers I know Mike Kay at Audio Archon is creating a media server system using the apple mini and the Weiss DAC. The Weiss is not the cheapest of DAC's from what I am told but the performance is supposted to be something else. It might be worth your time to take a listen. I believe it is distributed by Precision Audio & Video in CA.
 
 

Nawrocka Distri... -- Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:50

Gary,
    One of the dealers I know Mike Kay at Audio Archon is creating a media server system using the apple mini and the Weiss DAC. The Weiss is not the cheapest of DAC's from what I am told but the performance is supposted to be something else. It might be worth your time to take a listen. I believe it is distributed by Precision Audio & Video in CA.
 
 

Carl Espy (not verified) -- Tue, 02/02/2010 - 14:54

Hi - it's been awhile since I participated here. 
I own a Cambridge Audio DacMagic and I bought it to enable the creation of a "poor man's" music server.  I use Media Monkey to play FLAC files mostly ripped from my CDs.  Then I ventured to download a high resolution offering from one of the internet providers, only to discover that the DacMagic would not support the higher frequenciy via the USB connection.  I believe Steven Stone told me so and then he suggested I add the Juli@ sound card from ESI (about $100) to my PC to provide an SPDIF path to the DacMagic for 96/24 files.  I finally got around to it and am happy to report that I am now able to listen to higher rez music...and it's real nice.  However, I can see the end of days coming for the DacMagic (but not for the Juli@ card) when higher resolution music becomes more readily available and I will be compelled to upgrade.  For now, though, good vibrations are playing at my house.
Thanks, Steven, for good advice regarding the Juli@ card.
Carl Espy

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