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Music servers and other computer based digital audio technologies.


The bottom line is that an Ethernet based audio system can be extremely flexible and powerful. The disadvantage is that each physically separate component requires its own microprocessor in order to communicate to the other components in your personal LAN. In contrast, USB-based audio systems are typically simpler and possibly more well suited to a compact system.

If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer and want to listen to music, it is trivially easy to connect a USB DAC and either headphones or powered speakers. At the other end of the spectrum, wiring a whole house for music with computers and storage out of sight is much more readily accomplished via Ethernet.

The current de facto standard for Ethernet audio systems is UPnP. Roon's architecture improves on UPnP's in three ways for audio - all else being equal it will have better sound quality (being optimized for audio), it should be simpler to install and configure, and it will provide better metadata and system integration (such as categorizing your music collection and seamlessly integrating it with some streaming services).

As always, strictly my own opinions and not necessarily those of my employer or landlady.

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  • Addendum - Charles Hansen 19:21:04 06/08/17 (1)


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