Starting a computer based system

I have a CD based system (Naim 3.5). Also I have a MacBook and wish to use it as a source. For my remote can I use an iPad? Which software? Which interconnect? Which DAC for under $500? Would DAC Magic be okay?

Many thanks
Hi. Welcome to computer audio. I have been diving into it for about six months now and have learned alot - but have much more to learn.

Go to and read the FAQ. There is a ton of info on the site and the "owner" of the site is very knowledgeable of both Mac and Windows. I followed his recommendations (plus a few others) to dial in my computer-based system: Windows 7 laptop running JRiver MC 17.

Good luck!
I recently began a similar journey. I am using a Squeezebox Touch and a Western Digital "Elements" hard drive as my server (I simply do not want to leave any of my networked computers running 24/7). The hard drive is dedicated - nothing else on it but music, no goofy partitions or bloatware, and it's a powered drive.
I use FreeRip to rip CDs to FLAC (set to level 8 for optimum quality) and dump the files into the hard drive. I also download 96/24 files from HDTracks and other sources.
I run a Blue Jeans Cable (Belden 1694A) digital coax from the SBT to my Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC. I also use the SBT's optical output with a glass TOSLINK cable; sounds pretty much the same as the coax.
I use the D2 DAC's tube pre-outs to my preamp.
Voila, musical excellence.
On two of my 'puters, I have MediaMonkey in case I want to listen to any of these files (I have saved all of the music in multiple drives..."belt & suspenders" approach, you know?).
Keep us posted as you progress.
Am tire-kicking the idea as well. A product called Halide was recommended to me by my dealer. It is in your general $ range, I believe under $600.
3 simple steps:

1: install Remote in the ap store with your ipad (the blue icon with side black rectangle thing-its free!!). Sync the Ipad to itunes on your macbook through remote. Now you can control your Imac Itunes with your Ipad.

2nd get a USB dac and plug a usb cable from your macbook to usb dac.

3rd go rca out of the dac to your preamp.

Colorfulpellets, Explain more about your setup. How can you use your dedicated hard drive without a computer? Don't you need a CPU, operating system and the Logitech software to communicate between the Squeezebox and the hard drive?
If you are committed to the Apple platform, go here:, as well as the Computeraudiophile web site I recommended earlier.

In short, use Amarra in lieu of iTunes, rip to lossless AIFF codec and use a high quality USB cable or SPDIF on RCA if you Mac accomodates it. The iPad info above is spot on. The DAC Magic is a very high value DAC at the price point. It only does 16/48 on USB, though, if that matters to you.

Full disclosure: I have a DAC Magic for sale on Audiogon with the outboard Pangea PS. I am selling only due to stepping up in the DAC world - see my related post in the digital forum. No issues or complaints with the DAC Magic for what it is.
i've had a different experience than colorfulpellets--i was unable to get my squeezebox to work properly with just an external hardrive (no computer), as i originally envisioned. (it did work fine with a flash drive or sd card, which contain much fewer files). i spoke to logitech and read their forums and was advised that the sb isn't optimized for use as a server with a big external hd without a computer, although it'll handle a small capacity hard drive.
77jovian, the Squeezebox Touch has an internal server (I think it is called TinySB) that works very well with a powered external hard drive (can't use a USB-powered drive; the bus on the Touch does not output sufficient voltage to drive a big ol' 3.5" disc). Some folks have had issues with this configuration, but not I. The key is to ensure that your hard drive has no partitions or bloatware on it; format it (i.e. strip it down) and then put one folder with music files on it. When connected, the Touch will install it's own driver, scan the folder, and you're off the the races.
Thank you to everyone for the information. Will stick with the MacBook and use the Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC.

It may take some time but I will post a review when finished.