I am well into phase 2 of my planned conversion into computer audio. I seriously doubt if I could have done it without this site. Course I doubt that I would have even tried without CA. Really an invaluable asset.
I have been off line for months now for a very simple reason. Until about 3 weeks ago I used my MacBook Air as a server and to rip new cps into iTunes. I had a choice of blogging or listening. That was a no brainer! I just enjoyed the heck out of my new system. But it also was a little inconvenient. I couldn't work when the Airbook was used as a server.
Now I have a 2011 MacMini with 8G of ram, running headless with screen sharing on my MacBook Air and Apple Remote off my iPad. Players are Audirvana+ and Pure Music with several hundred CDs ripped to my external HD. I've been downloading files from eClassical and B&W Society of Sound and have discovered a few other sites like Ariama and Channel classics that are very promising. I still need to buy physical CDs which frosts me off, but what can you do? New releases just aren't available on line or they are at price that is 20% higher than a CD.
I was very surprised at how painless the process of moving to the Mac Mini was. I borrowed a display from my daughters old PC and a keyboard from work. I was able to set up the system in about an hour. Getting the Apple Remote and VNC remotes to work took a little more time largely due to my ineptitude, but all told only few hours. The only issue that I've had is that I get some skips in Apple Remote. I think that this is due to not tagging some albums as gapless correctly.
Chris said he wanted to follow the process of CA users from newbie to veterans. I can't say I'm a vet, but by golly I have a computer audio system up, and I am extremely happy with the results. I'm currently using a Peachtree Audio Dac iT, based on the CA recommendation. It was easily the equal of my 4-5 year old CD player and often sounded better. Haven't used the CD player (Esoteric SA-10) since January. It will be on sale on Audiogon soon.
The next stage is to look for a dec upgrade. This may be a long process because I am really happy with the sound of the little Peachtree dac. I'm wondering how much I would have to spend to significantly upgrade the sound. I had budgeted 3K for dac upgrade, but Gillian Welch is singing Paper Wings now and she is so seductive!!
What I may look at is a new power conditioner. The one I'm running now is about 15 years old, and I think that some line noise is leaking in from somewhere because there is slight loss of transparency compared to when I ran using the Mac Air on battery. I want to make sure that I'm not getting any noise from the Mac Mini.
I also need to turn off some of the Spotlight functions, but I'm not exactly sure how to do this and I'm afraid that I am going to turn off something necessary and create a train wreck. Any tips on this would be great fully accepted.
So all in all I'm a happy camper. Improved sound and hundreds of albums at my fingertips! Can't beat it with at stick! Next is investigating more high res downloads. I have tried a couple an been very impressed, but I also have experienced sticker shock at what most places charge for 24/96 disks. Might also try out DSD since I think Audirvana+ lets you play these files. I would attach my current system, but I'm not sure how you guys do it yet. So for now I'm back to listening. Gillian Welch is singing "Only One and Only" and it's hard to concentrate.