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

Reader Charlie S. wonders what you use for digital music these days? What is your <I>primary</I> digital front end?

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).