RudeBoy - Member
TJ; my Mac has a dijical optical output, and I understand you can connect a DAC to this, for the best sound quality from a dijical file. Obviously, AIFF is going to sound a bit better than squashed MP3. You can get a soundcard with optical outputs that will slot into your PC.
Personally would connect up a good quality USB external "soundcard" with the required line ins and outs rather than rely on the connection through a 3.5mm jack socket (even if it is a digital one). That's what I do for music production and recording on my Mac anyway!
I'd say it's worth concentrating more on speakers as they affect the total sound much more than the source does. In this day and age, with digital reproduction of course.
Couldn't agree more. The "average" person is quite happy listening to MP3's compressed at 128kbps for crying out loud, but for those who can "tell" the difference, audio compression makes the world of difference. Even between a 128kbps MP3 and a 320kbps MP3 there's a massive difference, beyond what the "average" person can tell, so for most the law of diminishing returns has already come into play and so they won't need or want to play their music in any better format than a low quality MP3.
Now, as the true Hifi buffs will know, and sorry to shatter the illusion for the rest of you, CD's are NOT true "High Fidelity" audio sources. They are VERY heavily compressed still. They are recorded at 44.1KHz sampling rate, at in 16 bit stereo. What does this mean? Well when compared to the likes of DVD Audio, or SACD's, or any audio source recorded on a computer at the highest quality possible (any advances on 192KHz and 24 bit?), or even good old vinyl, the CD does not provide a fully "High Fidelity" experience.
The problem with all the other sources (apart from vinyl which of course wears out!) is simply storage! The CD was launched as a format as at the time about 700Mb was about the best they could fit onto a single disc. It just so happened that this was enough to get up to 80 minutes of audio onto that disc at the specified quality. A few years later DVD's come along, with 4.7GB of storage, but for 99.99999% of the population, the quality of the audio experience from a CD is good enough (as a 128kbps MP3 is for probably 95% of the population, and a 320kbps for 99% say). They did mess about with DVD audio and SACD, but just about nobody bought it!
In summary, yes by all means blow your wad on an expensive CD player, but as stated before, you will notice far more bang for your buck spending the money on the speakers, and the amp, than on the player, as it's the source material (the CD) that's limiting the quality of the "Hifi" experience more than anything.
To say that there's no point in spending more than £200 on any one component is silly. It may be the case in a particular system or where set up is comproimised - but with everything this is a sliding scale.
Again, couldn't agree more. If you have an enormous listening room, and loads of cash to burn, blow £30k on a Hifi by all means, it will be amazing! But I think the point that was being made by others was that any more than about £200 is probably where the diminishing returns really start to get noticed by most people.
Anyway... All Hifi equipment does is "colour" the sound in one way or another. You need true reference level monitors and equipment to join the ranks of the real geeks!