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What is my missing piece(s)?

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I have a fairly nice analogue set up (Naim CD5, Linn LP12, B&W 802 speakers + Jeff Rowland Integrated Amp) but am ready to leverage the "retirement" of my CD player (it just broke after 10 years) to digital altogether. I have already a Mac Pro for my computer and all my CDs copied to a hard disk using Apple loseless format.


So questions I have:

1) what DAC would work well with this set up?The amp does not have any digital in.

2) what is best way to connect my DAC to my Mac when, as usual, the computer & audio equipment are in different room?My house is already wired with CAT5 so can I connect them using this - which DAC can do this?

3) if I want to use my iTouch as a remote, what software do I need on my Mac?

4) do I need Sonos anywhere in my set up?



Go easy with me as, even after reading many of the threads, opinions seem to vary greatly!!






Mac Mini (iTune) + ALAC on Synology 409 NAS > Transparent USB cable >Benchmark DAC1 >Neutrik XLR >Jeff Rowland Continuum Integrated Amp >B&W 802 speakers

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You ask "What DAC" but you first need to say how much you are prepared to spend.


You could begin with a Cambridge Audio DACMagic or Musical Fidelity V-DAC via USB or Optical, which will cost you £225 / £170.


A step up from that would be look at devices such as Bryston DBA-1; Naim DAC; Metric Halo ULN2 and Ayre QB-9 (to pick a few at random) - with some you may need to add a HiFace or similar. Your speakers and amp would certainly benefit from higher end devices such as these - above these there are devices such as Metric Halo ULN8; Berkerley Alpha DAC; dCS; etc.


In your second question you asked about connecting via Ethernet in which case you may wish to consider devices such as Linn DS (range of price points from £1000 upto £10,000) or PS Audio PWT with Bridge. An alternative to these "integrated" (DAC and streamer) devices would be to connect Sonos, Squeezebox or Apple AirPort Express device to your DAC. These can be controlled by your iPod Touch, or the iPod Touch can be used to control iTunes on your Mac Pro directly.






...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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For a first foray, my budget is more the Ayre QB-9 (around USD2000). I live in Hong Kong and it is very difficult to test any DAC.


I would like to stay away from the integrated solutions for a) costs b) flexibility reasons.


Can a Mac Mini access a NAS over Ethernet?


Mac Mini (iTune) + ALAC on Synology 409 NAS > Transparent USB cable >Benchmark DAC1 >Neutrik XLR >Jeff Rowland Continuum Integrated Amp >B&W 802 speakers

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