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Music servers and other computer based digital audio technologies.

Tricky question

"Computer as source" is a term open to broad interpretation. I've used PCs in my workplace for more than 30 years and have been a Mac user at home since the mid-80s. I was on board with iTunes when it first came out in 2001, but the breakthrough for me was when I bought a 1st Gen Airport Express in 2004 and was able to play iTunes through my main listening system using a mini-Toslink to RCA splitter. That's how I would define the beginning of computer as source - the point at which the computer was integrated into my listening system as a source component, like a tuner or a tape deck. Not when I began listening to music using headphones or speakers connected directly through the sound card.

Soon after that point, I added a couple more AEs for a multi-room system - even my wife was impressed, and that don't come easy. Nowadays I'm running Roon Server on a headless MacMini i7 through a USB DAC, streaming Tidal or my own library from a NAS - and loving it. I still use an Airport Express wirelessly as a Roon endpoint in my detached garage with a pair of AudioEngine powered monitors and it sounds pretty damn good. In the (brief) history of computer audio, the Airport Express has been generally underrated (by everyone except Stereophile's John Atkinson, another early adopter) and deserves wider credit. Without the AE, there never would have been a Squeezebox or microRendu. Admittedly it is limited to 16/44100 quality, but when you're working with power tools in your garage that's good enough, and a whole lot better than .mp3.



. . . in theory, practice and theory are the same; in practice, they are different . . .



Edits: 07/13/17 07/13/17

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  • Tricky question - tlea 19:56:14 07/13/17 (1)

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