Gains from dedicated streamer/server vs. Mac mini



I’m wondering the general magnitude of gains in SQ there may be from going from a Mac Mini (Audirvana 2 and playing files from SD card in reader) to a dedicated streamer or a server? I see the logic in the Aries and the DX being custom-made for audio, but since they’re quite an investment, I would like to ask others here about the sort of differences I can expect to help me choose whether or not to go in this direction and may be how I should go about doing so.

A lot that I like about the Mac mini is obviously the convenience and flexibility it offers but it’s pretty clear it’s not a device designed for audio playback. I like the concept of on-board storage of the Antipodes DX but a little worried about its storage capacity - a problem the Aries doesn’t have for obvious reasons. The Aries, on the other hand has to rely on contributions of the storage device (IF that has a role in the final SQ). But every time I think about this, the whole “it’s all one’s and zero’s” concept keep rearing its head to haunt me and I start to wonder if I’ll be spending the money for virtually unnoticeable gains…?

As always, your thoughts are much appreciated. Thank you :)


I went from an early 2009 Mac Mini with an internal SD for OS and software and external Firewire 800 HD (AIFF files), running JRiver Media Center to the Aires (mostly using a USB drive plugged into the Aries). The improvement was immediately noticeable and, in my case, quite substantial. I immediately got a greater sense of being in the music rather than listening to a projection, if that makes any sense to you. YMMV, of course, but my reaction seems pretty typical. If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at the new Computer Audiophile review at


I have also added the Aries into my system and it was an immediate improvement. It was unexpected how much of an improvment it has made. Everyone who has heard it has agreed.



To obtain the best that can be had from any dac especially if using usb a server if sme kind is needed. Inown an offramp 5 also a ap1/pp. but a real server for the purpose bests the. Hands down. I cannot comment on Aries but I can say I am buying a sanore rendu signature . It has great reviews and uses the hdmi I 2s I lit of the DS. From what I indserstand it is as good as a good server setup . It uses outside nas storage so strange size is not an issue . Once I have it I’ll,do some posting of its sound .



I have an Antipodes DS Reference and my friend has the the DX, I went from a 2008 IMac with JRiver, he went from a Mac Mini with off ramp and Audirvana and the upgrade was very noticeable, beside my speaker upgrade it was one of the most significant changes I have experienced in hifi especially into my DSD. I personally feel it exploits the greatness of the DSD. I listen to a lot of live music, I know I’m not a computer guy nor engineer but I know music and I’m loving what I am hearing. I want to upgrade already to the DX, I’m still listening to mostly flac files my friend has all DSD stuff in his, I prefer listening to certain types of music as oppose to music because of the format, I also clean and polish my CDs with Ultra Diamond Plus before I burn a CD or use my PWT, if you have the opportunity to try one of the Antipodes especially if you have the PS DSD I believe you’ll be astounded by what you hear.

two good test CDs that I use because of the variety of instruments and dynamics:

Kip Hanrahan All Roads Are Made of Flesh, “The First and Last To Love Me”

Maceo Parker Roots Revisited, “Children’s World”