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What "sounds" best: PC, MAC Mini, or Linux based transport?

Apologies for multiple post on the Audio Circle.

Ok, bought the Squeezebox 3, will likely do the Bolder mods and upgrade the PS. I will be using the SB3 with a Tri-Vista DAC (yeah, I have heard all about USB DACS...I am using what I have).

Since I am starting ground up, I have ultimate flexibility on which PC and software to use with the Squeezebox. I will dedicate this PC to music only, nothing else. All of the solutions below will be linked to external USB or FireWire drives. I really want the best combination of ease of use plus sound quality. Feedback?

Apple MAC Mini.
PRO: Complete, compact, reasonably quiet, good value, very user friendly, can use Itunes playing .WAV or AIFF files, easy to burn to external drives.
CON: Accessories add to price, people claim Foobar playing .WAC or FLAC is better, can't use EAC to rip. Can't use my IPAQ as a remote. A bit of a pain to integrate with my current XP computers.

Windows XP on a fanless or quiet Mini-Itx System
PRO: I already have an XP system to network to, the opposite of the Apple CON's. Plus, I have a Wifi IPAQ I could use as a remote control, plus I can use Foobar and FLAC or WAV files and EAC.
CON: Have to find and assemble (or have vendor assemble) the necessary hardware. Gordon Rankin claims PC's are inferior to MAC. XP is a huge OS, so I need a hard drive. Probably more than a MAC MINI

Damn Small Linux on a fanless Mini-Itx, booting off CF card.
PRO: No hard drive, small and very dedicated, can use FLAC files.
CON: Not user or newbie friendly, still have to figure out how to burn to the external hard drives. Can't use my IPAQ

I am leaning toward the MAC MINI, primarily due to convenience. Thoughts? Anyone actually do their own A/B comparisons?

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Topic - What "sounds" best: PC, MAC Mini, or Linux based transport? - davehg 13:02:18 11/02/05 (28)

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