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I have a Mac mini and I have two options for a dac. The first is a Scott Nixon tube dac using the Mac's USB connection. The second choice would be to use a Audio Alchemy DTI Pro 32 into a Parasound D/AC 1100 using the dac's toslink connection. These are all components I have available to me. I'm currently using the Nixon dac to stream jazz24 to my system but I want to improve the sound if that's possible.
Edits: 03/02/17Follow Ups:
Without compression. Use them as an alternate source for your trials so you can experience both DACs on the stream and a potentially better quality source material. I had a Nixon USB DAC and enjoyed it.
Hands down the Nixon dac was better playing cd's ripped as wav files.I'm not into hi-resolution digital files so I find the sound from an nos dac more immediate but also more natural for the music I enjoy. This was more an experiment to see if toslink or usb would be better since I had all the equipment and I was bored. I'm sticking with the Nixon until I hit the lottery : ))
Only you can tell which setup sounds better but unless I'm misunderstanding something, I don't think you need the Monarchy DIP to interface the Mac Mini over TOSLINK Optical to your Parasound DAC.
The Mac Mini will have a 3.5mm (1/8") audio output jack in back. It's actually a combo jack that will also do digital TOSLINK Optical out.
You can plugin a mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK optical cable into that 3.5mm jack, then use the standard TOSLINK end to connect into your DAC.
The Toslink to Mini-Toslink cable will look something like the photo below:
There are several available on Amazon, and there are a variety of higher priced "audiophile approved" brands available elsewhere. But I would first try an inexpensive cable just to make sure you get it working before possibly investing in a 'high-end' cable.
I'm about to try the comparison, the only reason I thought of adding the DTI was for any jitter reduction if that would be helpful. If not it's one less cable and that would be fine by me. This is a low budget run what you brung operation.
When I first started with a Mac Mini music server many years ago, I used a mini-Toslink to Toslink optical cable. I connected it to my 1990's era CD player which has a Toslink input to its DAC section. It wasn't bad for a first attempt at computer based audio. The DAC section in that CDP was pretty decent for it's day and I enjoyed the setup quite a bit before experimenting with Firewire and USB DACs. Good luck!
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