Inspired by the "Creating an Audiophile Music Server" blog, I set up a user-friendly music server that I can control from my main listening room. Using my Sony PSP as a remote, I can play, pause, skip any song on any album in my iTunes library.
Overjoyed with this new freedom of musical whim and access mixed with hi-fi, the family broke into two spontaneous dance parties over the weekend. Toddler_o_Geek loves the Jaxx.
I never listen to music in my listening room anymore. My CD collection is still upstairs in the bottom two drawers of our TV armoire; when I want an album, it's never at hand. I tried playing my iTunes library through the Xbox. Having to wait for the Xbox to boot, then XBMC, switch on the whole video system (projector, AV Receiver) then wade through my long playlists was too much of a hassle. I needed a better system: access to all my music through the main hi-fi system.
Audiophiles and Stereophile prefer Slim Devices' Squeezebox 3 ($ 299) with Bolder Cable Mods (~ $ 700) run through a nice DAC (Musical Fidelity XDACv3 plus PSU ($ 1400)) for the highest fidelity music server. Add all that equipment up and you're hitting $ 2500.
I did not want to spend any money on this project (as my wife likes to remind me, "We don't have any money."). I needed to repurpose equipment I already owned. The following list illustrates the end-to-end equipment needed for my basic music server to hi-fi system.
1. Remote: Sony PSP firmware v 2.7 with Coverbuddy web UI
2. Music Server Hardware: Mac Mini, 300 GB USB 2.0 external HD, Linksys Wireless G Router
3. Music Server Software: iTunes, Synergy, Coverbuddy
4. Airtunes: Airport Express with Digital Optical Toslink Output (Monster Optical Cable with mini-jack adapter) (Stereophile review recommending digital output)
5. Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC): Onkyo TX-DS989 AV Receiver
6. Preamp: Rogue Audio Magnum 99 Preamp
The system allows access to all my music through my hi-fi system without a noisy computer in the same room.
Check back for future posts with how-tos on Mac setup, hi-fi system rewiring and listening tests and dance parties.