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Look's like it is a MAC Mini based Server, with a SB3 transport

24.16.145.156

I spent a fair amount of time researching the pros and cons, and got lots of great advice. I will provide a quick review of the feedback, so others can make their own opinions.

It came down to the MAC Mini for several reasons of convenience. I have never owned a MAC, but the simplicity and integration out of the box is pretty incredible. With an XP or Linux system, there is much customization required. I can do it, but I have so little time to spare (kids, work, life). If there is no sonic differences of any magnitude, the easiest solution wins. Linux was really interesting, and I thank John Swenson for providing great info. I wonder why a high end company has not put out an integrated product based on the components John recommends. For me, too tweaky to DIY unless you already know Linux or have the time to learn it.

The MAC mini is also compact, and easily configurable to work with my existing XP and WiFi setup. Several hard drive makers also make external and reasonbly quiet drives that cosmetically match the Mini's cool look. (When you have a VAC Avatar and a Pioneer Elite reference transport, looks can be worth something).

Second, while file formats may sound different (and I will experiment with WAV vs. Apple Lossless prior to embarking on a massive ripping process), there seemed to be NO sonic differences anyone could attribute to the OS and "server/storage" components. The only thing sonically different would be the method of getting the files to my VAC (SB3 vs. an external SPDIF DAC vs. a USB DAC).

When the 2 Squeezebox 3's I ordered come in next week, I plan on doing a few comparisons that I will write about. First, the stock SB3 vs. one with a Bolder Cable Power Supply. Next, the stock SB3 vs. the Bolder modified SB3 (easy to do since I am only modding one). Third, I will try listening via both XP Itunes playing apple losseless and WAV, and the MAC Mini doing the same.

Should be fun. My beloved Pioneer Elite PD-S95 CD transport, a true brick if there ever was, is for sale on Audiogon.


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