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?

Derek's picture

Sonos—fed by lossless files on an NAS.

Rock's picture

I don't have a digital front-end.

Shanus's picture

Power Mac G5 Dual Processor with RAID setup for massive storage using Apple Lossless codec.

Mike Colvin's picture

Using a Macbook and a DAC.

Chris Kenney's picture

Have to qualify that answer by saying my player is a Sony SACD model, although I play mostly CDs and use it as a transport to my Musical Fidelity DAC for CD play.

Cseledy's picture

Escient DVDM-300

Tigger's picture

It's time to have a music server with hi-fi quality.

LikeSimplicity's picture

Laptop with external USB HDD conected only by composite L/R audio (RCA) Until I can get an inexpensive USB DAC to use from the laptop to the receiver or do the Slingbox via network direct from the laptop...Long sentence.

Roland's picture

I would have to spend quite a bit more money to beat my Squeezebox with a Bel Canto DAC3. BTW, if you run Ethernet instead of wi-fi, it sounds much/ better. That wireless tranceiver must really be producing some problems with RFI/EMI.

AP's picture

A squeezebox, careful jitter management, followed by a tube-buffer stage add up to some pretty sweet sounds—even making Internet radio enjoyable on the highly-revealing Maggies.

Mikael's picture

Managing records has never been this easy since computers stepped in.

Paul's picture

SACD, DVD-A, and then CD are the format of choice in my playback (owing to evolving tastes and buying habits—I have nearly as many SACDs as CDs, most more recently acquired). I have representatives of each format that have excellent sound, but as I favour discrete MCH playback, SACD and DVD-A dominate my current choices (DVD-A is as good, to me, as SACD but there are far fewer titles in that format that I want).

TK's picture

Vinyl to iMac to iTunes to Squeezebox Duet; Vinyl iMac to iTunes to appleTV—It doesn't replace vinyl but for general listening, it's outsstanding.

F.  Chasinovsky, Van Nuys, CA's picture

Digital is more aptly characterized as a rear end.

BILL CRANE's picture

Pioneer DV-563 universal DVD player with MSB XPORT upgrade, connected by CAT5 cable to MSB Power DAC GOLD 4.

Mark G.'s picture

The whole idea of using a server for music just seems so foreign to me. I use either my SACD/CD player or my turntable. I still sometimes listen to my reel-to-reel or cassette.

Marcel's picture

If you want high quality, CD offers by far the widest choice of music. iPod is poor quality, and only a very few labels will be offering music files of higher-rez quality than CD. With high-rez discs being almost dead, the challenge is to get the best possible music out of your valuable Red Book disks!

Bob S.  in Stokesdale's picture

Since I don't currently own a dedicated CD player, I'm listening to a hybrid DVD-A/SACD player. I consider that my primary front end even though my iPod probably gets more actual hours of usage, since I can listen to it at my desk at work. I plan on getting a CD-only player as soon as I can after I spring for record cleaning machine and then maybe that phone preamp with the USB output (so I can get my vinyl-only mucis onto my iPod). I don't know when I would be getting a Blu-Ray since I'm in no hurry to get a HDTV, and if I go server, I'd probably want to roll my own using a computer.

champ's picture

Teac Esoteric X-01D2

xanthia01@gmail.com's picture

SB3 into a DAC is pretty much my primary source—used at least 95% of the time. Fantastic, brilliant, I can't think of any better way to put it. Subconsciously, I've been waiting for this for a long time.

sk6433's picture

Apple TV, lossless files, digital out into DAC.

Jeremiah Flores's picture

I recorded my CDs in WAV and use my computer's hard drive. Sounds better. I can only assume because of less jitter. Yippeee!

Nik from Chicago's picture

I love my CD player. I use that still, even though I also use my PC and MP3 player. But I'm too cheap to buy a nicer soundcard to upgrade the connections from those two from 1/4" jacks.

mriguy's picture

Apogee Mini-Dac with USB

Randy Lert's picture

Logitech Transporter is a full-bore state of the art DAC and wireless transport. It has changed the way I listen to music, though I did have to go through the tedium of ripping hundreds of CDs.

Robert C's picture

Still sticking with a format with a long MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure, a hard drive spec). What I envisioned as the replacement for CD, little plug in fob-like devices with no moving parts on the player has not materialized. Files on iPods or flash memory is very close to this, and a "player" for the former (and hopefully latter) may be in the works out there. SACD and DVD/A, both two and multi-channel sound great to me, but until Music Servers lose the I-am-sure-to-break hard drive, I'm sticking with the old for now. I'm not sure why I hate to back up a hard drive, while making copies of CDs is okay with me. Wish I could "back up" SACDs—or can you?

Cruser's picture

DVD player has more of the capacity I like, but to shuffle you need the HDTV too.

ran's picture

Music server the most convenient option to sit and listen without the hassle of thinking about what you want to hear and change it every so often, it is all about the music in the end. The fun part is that good servers, such as Linn's and the Transporter simply made the transition easier.

Andi W.'s picture

A PC and aftermarket DAC.

Rick Hilton's picture

Apple TV