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General audio topics that don't fit into specific categories.

Broadly speaking...

There are five different approaches to playing computer based music. The common elements are storage and an intelligent endpoint that actually does the playback. Pretty much all of them allow for smart phone / pad based remote use. I leave an older iPad upstairs for that purpose and use my phone in the garage. Perhaps someone will chime in if I've missed something.

1. Sound card/on board chip in computer sends digital signal to external DAC or uses internal DAC to send line level signal. Playback via Windows or Mac OS X application such as JRiver, Foobar, Roon, iTunes, Tidal, browser based internet radio, etc.

2. Computer is used only for network accessible storage and file serving. It runs software like Logitech Music Server, Roon, etc. to send data stream to streamer device(s) located elsewhere. Playback is via software loaded on streamer.

3. NAS is used as file server to feed streamer(s).

4. All-in-one "network appliance" audio component like an Aurender.

5. Network enabled or local USB fed disk player such as Oppo 103/105, etc.

Takes your pick.

Since I have a powerful desktop in my office that stays up 24/7, I use method #1 to feed the multi-zone in-ceiling speaker based system. Primarily, however, I take #2 approach as server also runs LMS to feed a "headless" (no native UI) microRendu streamer for the main system upstairs via ethernet, the garage based headless Raspberry Pi system via WiFi and my iPhone and iPad using iPeng player app via WiFi for listening in bedroom. I can also use #5 as I have a network connected Oppo 103, but rarely do as the playback software is comparatively crude and limited in functionality.

I prefer to isolate the general purpose file server from the main listening areas. The beauty is you can centrally store your digital library and have access to it from myriad devices located in and around the house. Instantly find any piece of music you have or is available on services like Tidal, Spotify, stc. I have a Tidal HiFi (16/44 lossless) subscription that can be used with any of my players.

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