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I am sure this has been covered many times before so sorry in advance ,please excuse me.I am putting a system together in my great room for just listening to music.I Will be running manepan 3.7s with rouge m-180 mono blocks with rouges Rp1 pre amp.I will be listening to vinyl but I am looking for information on the best way to listen to our digital music seems like we never listen to CDs anymore .We use our IPads or I pods with a splitter in the back.I am pretty sure this is not the best way to do it, are we losing sound quality like this?I am looking for away to listen to our digital music in the best possible quality,Lot of this music was download from CDs and from I tunes.Is the digital music in different formats? If anyone has any advice I would greatly appreciate it.Of course wanting to keep cost down
"... I am looking for information on the best way to listen to our digital music seems like we never listen to CDs anymore .We use our IPads or I pods with a splitter in the back.I am pretty sure this is not the best way to do it, are we losing sound quality like this?"
I say yes..... I've never heard server or computer based playback that I thought was comparable to CD playback on a dedicated CD player..... The most frustrating part is that ripping CDs to computer seems to yield different sound quality using different drives, ripping software, playback software, etc. .... Not to mention a seeming worsening of sound quality after the hard drive is defragmented or a change in sound quality (sometimes better, sometimes worse) with updates to the operating system or playback software...... Once I came to the reality of all these variables, I've stuck to CD playback, and am not even thinking about other digital playback methods. (The only playback I enjoy on computer is YouTube.)
CDs are digital..... Whether your Albums are stored on a Hard Drive or a Plastic Disk is not that important as far as sound quality.
Disk Storage trumps CDs in terms of convenience.
Todd, that may be your observation but your response doesn't address the OP's questions. He said, "seems like we never listen to CDs anymore"
I still own a very capable Accuphase CDP that sounds nice but it hasn't been my primary source for CD playback in nearly a decade. I rarely listen to it anymore. I might pop a CD in it once or twice a month just to keep it lubricated. ;-)
I'm getting superb performance from my computer audio setup for 'ripped' CDs as well as hi-res downloads. I use the music server direct to DAC as well as via a dedicated network 'streamer' in another room.
Others are also achieving outstanding results with their computer audio systems. Sticking with a CD player is just a personal choice IMHO and not the definitive answer to high quality digital music reproduction.
PAR suggested a good link to help you get started. I'll make a few brief comments about digital music.
Although the playback device is important, it is even more important that the music files be of high quality to begin with. If you rip your music from CD, it should NOT be ripped to MP3, AAC, or other lossy compressed formats. WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC are a few examples of uncompressed or lossless formats which will better retain the original sonic quality from your CD.
If you downloaded (paid for) music from iTunes, it is most likely 256kbps AAC which uses a lossy compression scheme. It may sound OK with earbuds or maybe in the car, but it is less than CD quality.
If playing higher quality music files from an iDevice, you can get better sound by using an outboard DAC via the Lightning connector, rather than the 3.5mm analog output.
A even better approach would be to set up a music server with outboard DAC and use the iDevice as a remote control only.
Taking it a step further, you can use a music server or Network Attached Storage (NAS) to house your music files then 'stream' the music over your home network to a dedicated music streamer.
But the first rule (IMHO) is to start with high quality music files because no level of costly high-end equipment will 'fix' poor audio quality from files produced using lossy compression.
Does anyone have any experience with the Audio quest dragon fly
I do not own one. The current DragonFly models can be used directly on your iDevice whereas the older versions consumed too much power. The Red puts out a higher voltage signal while the Black is a bit lower. I can't say which one is better for driving your preamp.
Assuming your iDevice is fairly recent with the Lightning connector, you'll need the Lightning to USB Adapter. Apple calls it the Camera Connection Kit and I believe it retails for $29.00.
Thanks great advise
Rather than write a long, long response I am going to suggest that you click this link and read "Getting Started" onwards. This really does have loads of useful information and I leave it to you to decide how far into the detail you want to get at this stage.
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