PC Audio Basics

I think this question is so basic it is difficult to find the answer.

I am looking to set up a home theater pc with an emphasis on being a music server with very good quality sound. I intend to hook it up to pair of good quality speakers like the Rega r3's. The PC is likely going to be a mac mini running vista.

My question is what do I need between my PC an the speakers?

Do I only need a DAC and can use foobar at the pre-amp?

Do I need a separate amp? If so, can an amp serve as a DAC as well?

Thanks for the help.

Yes, you will need an amp. I have a friend who is a manufacturer of high-end SET tube amps, DACs and speakers. His system consist of:

USB DAC (his design)
SET power amplifier (his design)
single driver speakers (his design)

In his system, he uses iTunes as the digital music source and he uses the built-in volume control. It's a very simple, very elegant, very good sounding system.....


Think of it as your Mac Mini replacing the transport part of your CD player.

mac mini>external dac>pre amp>amp>speakers

or mac mini>external dac>integrated amp>speakers

You could use the DAC inside the Mac Mini, but that would be ugly in my opinion because you would probably have to use a mini>rca cable into your pre amp etc... yuck.

- Chris
Computer Audiophile | Turn Down The Silence

Chris - Interesting web site. Someone needed to do it. Nice to get in on the ground floor. Good luck.