Hey all, this is my first post on this forum after reading through it for several months.
Basically, I am a 22-year old student/part time worker at a BB/Magnolia store and am looking to build a 2.1 system in my bedroom until I graduate and move into a modest sized apartment as I pursue further education. I'm on a budget but I am willing to spend a few more bucks to get it done right rather than compromise.
I have a 13" macbook 2ghz and 1gb of ram. I also have a WD Mybooks 500gb external hard drive that I have a lot of music on, some in high bit rate mp3 and a lot in flac ripped straight from cd's. I have about 100gb taken right now and increasing constantly.
I want to know a couple of things as I start to piece this system together. I want audiophile grade sound, but I want to know what I need to have, and what the best signal path would be. Right now I have the external hard drive connected to my Macbook via USB 2.0.
Would I then connect another USB out to a USB DAC and connect that to my reciever/seperates (haven't decided which way I'll be going)? Or should the external hard drive run to the computer through firewire? Does the quality of the USB and/or firewire cable matter? What would be the best USB DAC for unde $250? I am willing to spend a little more if the improvement is significant.
If USB DAC is not the best choice, how good would an ampless Sonos unit be? I have a wireless network set up in my home. Does this give a better sound than an all USB to a DAC would?
Is there something even better than either of those two options?
Are the questions I am asking dependent on my listening preferences or not?
Further, I'd absolutely LOVE to watch HD movies and/or DVDs off my computer and keep that same sound quality. Is this possible? I have about 10-15 HD-DVDs ripped to that external hard drive and about 30 DVDs, and my Macbook is connected to my TV via VGA. Would I be able to output the sound through the USB and the picture through the VGA at the same time? Or am I just asking for too much now?
I am looking to ideally spend under $300 if possible on making the signal path from my external hard drive to my reciever/seperates as close to audiophile grade as possible. Am I out of my mind in thinking that this can yield the same sound quality as a $1k cd player?
Thanks for all your time and I look forward to your recommendations!