What is your primary digital front end?

Charlie S.'s picture
Reader Charlie S. wonders what you use for digital music these days? What is your primary digital front end?
What is your <I>primary</I> digital front end?
CD player
34% (188 votes)
Hi-rez disc player
11% (63 votes)
5% (27 votes)
Music Server (computer-based)
36% (198 votes)
Music Server (dedicated: Sooloos, Sonos, etc.)
10% (55 votes)
3% (18 votes)
Total votes: 549
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Lionel's picture

At work, an iPod. At home, a CD player. Haven't gotten around to getting an SACD/DVD player, but probably will have to this year before they all disappear . . . .

R.  Stewart's picture

I'm currently transitioning over to a computer-based music server.

Geir Ove Rapp's picture

Primary source is my Squeezebox; secondary is my Marantz SACD player.

Roberto Quero Amate's picture

CD audio is the best format. All music in CD audio.

jmsent's picture

Squeezebox 3 digital out feeding my Theta Gen V A. Indistinguishable from my Jade CD transport and far more convenient.

Tomas's picture

Still using dedicated CD player, but thinking about computer-based music server with FLAC/ALC files and external DAC.

Dave's picture

My primary digital source is a CD/SACD player, so I checked Hi-Rez, but I've got more CDs than SACDs.

Mark D's picture

Primary is almost too vague a term. By primary, do you mean the most listened to? Or does it mean the one you turn to for audiophile enjoment? Is it a quality question or a quantity question? For me, the question really is about circumstance. For ultimate digital listening (oxymoron?), I turn to my Sony 555 SACD player. However, for standard CDs, I have my CEC rig running through tubed X-cans to get a little closer to SACD quality. On the go or in the gym, I use my iPod over my discman (Sony D10 . . .sorry, Sam). And for discovering new music or sampling music I, have a computer-based server which runs iTunes, but mainly for Rhapsody ( hell of a site to discover any music for $13 a month!). So Primary? They all are primary. Each is indispensible in its own way. As a result I have purchased and enjoyed more music in 2008 than I ever have since the 1980s. In fact, it is almost music overload! After such a decades long dry spell is that possible?

Craig's picture

I use a Sonos-based system plugged into a Benchmark DAC. Every one of my audiophile friends that I have auditioned it for have purchased a similar system within months. After all, isn't being a music lover all about being able listen to music, and what easier way to listen to your music? And my Sonos/Benchmark front-end sounds every bit as good as my previous high-end physical solution.

Simon Jobson's picture

Squeezebox, with the music served by a Mac Mini.

Ken's picture

DVD player

Rich's picture

My PC connected to an Outlaw RR2150 via USB meets my requirements very well.

JR's picture

1) McIntosh MS300 server, 2) Sonos 6-zone system with 1TB NAS, 3) SACD/DVD-A (how I wish there were more), 4) CD (very rarely).

Jared Gerlach's picture

OPPO HD-980 Universal Player. All the D/A conversion is handled by my Yamaha receiver (except multi-channel music). Makes a great combo!

Bobby's picture

PS3 with an upgraded HDD and linux. Can play FLAC and Blu-Ray.

Bill Eames's picture

Too many CDs to put on a server. It would take a lifetime.

Merlin Emrys's picture

Marantz SA-7S1

Stephen Curling's picture

I use an Apple iPod Shuffle second generation. All song are converted from Apple Lossless or AAC the latter being purchases from the iTunes store. I wish the Shuffle would play Lossless as I cannot afford a larger capacity iPod.

Nick A.'s picture

I use iTunes and rip CDs to Apple Lossless.

John of Arc's picture

Server next, when I can solve the Hi-Rez and mulltichannel problem.

frans's picture

Sonos = perfect

Jim M.'s picture

For casual listening, I use the McIntosh music server with a Tri-Vista DAC. For serious listening, it's my Esoteric unit.

Douglas Bowker's picture

iPod, lossless—not as good as my CDP, but pretty close. For reading or parties or otherwise "non-critical listening," but still a great option.

John Freeman's picture

Oppo DVD player

digital dougy's picture

An Onkyo DX-7555 CD player is my primary digital source. Actually, it's my primary source, period, although my Squeezebox (v.3) sees plenty of action, too. I've also got a universal DVD player in my HT rig, but it is not used for music very much, other than occasional sampling of my small SACD and DVD-A collection (which seems doomed to not getting any bigger). And my Technics turntable mainly functions as a dust collector.

Perry's picture

I will be converting to a (dedicated) server soon.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I have been unable to audition a music server. Now I am using a Levinson 37 transport and 360 DAC. I also use a CAL Icon MkII into the 360. I have not really heard a player which exceeded it. Most of my listening is still My LP12 Ecos Arkiv B

xanthia01@gmail.com's picture

A Squeezebox3 into a fantastic DAC. The front-end (digital or analog) that I've been waiting years for—even before I knew these would exist one day. Fantastic!

Noah Bickart's picture

I use Apple Lossless files, through a bit-perfect firewire device (SPDIF Coax out), and a high-end DAC. Life is good.

S.  Chapman's picture

Slimdevices Squeezebox through an external DAC. Since I got this combo, my hi-rez disc player sits unused most days (as does my turntable).

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