After LP and CD, a new form of listening to music has established itself: The playback of digital music files using an audio PC and a USB DAC (D/A Converter), also referred to as USB Fidelity.
Offered originally in highly compressed and lossless audio formats, the files are now available in loss-free formats like FLAC, WAV, DSD, AIFF and ALAC, and are delivered in the form of HD Music downloads and high-resolution studio-master files which can outperform and sound worlds better than conventional CDs.
This is called Hi-Res Audio.
The best basis for those who own a high quality high-end audio system and who want bring the best out of their hi-res music files for bit-perfect audio playback would be a perfectly configured USB audio server directly connected via USB to a high-quality D/A converter (DAC).
24bit96 shows you where to download the best high-res music, how to play these HD music downloads without streaming by using a USB connected DAC with a USB audio server seamlessly integrated into the existing high-end stereo system, and how to easily build and configure this USB audio server yourself.
In other words: everything you need to know about high-end USB-Fidelity for bit-accurate playback of hi-res music on a high-end audio computer.
What is digital or USB audio, how is the playback using a computer different from playing a CD, and what more can you tune and optimize? For more information and tips for the optimal audio test please read this:
There are a number of hi-res online shops where you can directly buy and download a wide selection of music of every style in excellent studio master quality. Often these stores offer free HD music download samples, so that you can listen to the music before you buy it, and there are several websites offering free high-res music downloads or radio stations streaming their programs in high quality. You can find an overview of the current high-res shops, high bit radio streaming stations and download sources here:
Building a USB audio server for the bit-accurate playback of high-res audio files yourself and optimally configure is a much cheaper and much more flexible alternative. You only need some patience and some skills, and some off-the-shelf computer hardware - in the course of ecological sustainability older PCs and MACs.
Currently there is no way around Linux as an operating system. This is the basis for a bit-accurate playback with a neutral sound. Windows and Mac OS do have their advantages, though. You can read more about this here:
For all of those who don’t feel confident building their own USB music server for the bitperfect playback of high-res audio, we sometimes offer for sale affordable complete high-end configured music servers from the DIY stock.
In addition to audio and media players there is also a plethora of useful tools and audio software for making optimum copies of CDs, for tagging audio files, etc.:
Besides HiFi and high-end digital audio converters, you can also find some very good and affordable USB audio interfaces with very good sound in the context of professional music and recording studios. Therefore, here are some