Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 06 Apr 2017 14:40:27 GMT  <== Hifi ==> 

I'm an amateur musician. I've played the trombone since fifth grade (1966). I've sung in choirs since Junior High School. I leave my trombone out on a stand, to encourage picking it up and playing along with the music.

My musicianship mostly shows, however, in that there's always recorded music playing while I work, and, since that became easy with my Apple Airpods, while walking and bicycling around town.

I had very good stereo equipment before the computer age, initially a Bryston Amp with B&W DM7 speakers, then, some smaller, but still really good components, including a top-of-the-line Sony CD player.

When I got a computer on my desk, I initially used cheap computer speakers and compressed music. Then I discovered that adding an external DAC (Digital-to-Analog converter), powered near-field monitor speakers, and CD-quality digitized music, got me back to the old component quality, but cheaper, smaller, and without the need to handle vinyl or CDs.

I played for a while with HD music, 96Khz/24-bit, but decided that I can't hear the difference between that and standard CD quality (44Khz/16-bit), so I save the money and disk space. Nowadays, I'm not convinced that 256K compressed music sounds any different to my aging ears than CD quality, so I'm buying a lot of new music from iTunes, instead of ripping Amazon CDs. I CAN hear the difference between the older 128K compression and CDs.

My setup today is ripped bits on my 27" iMac, driving a Geek Pulse DAC, going through a Schiit SYS switch (so that I can easily turn off the speakers when I want to listen through headphones), and a splitter cable to Swan M200MkIII powered monitors and a bottom-of-the-line Klipsch KW-100 sub-woofer.

Below is a photo of the wiring. The yellow cable is a fancy USB cable from Geek Pulse. I find it hard to believe that a fancy digital cable has an effect on sound quality, but they sent it to me for free with my DAC, so I use it. The black box to which the yellow cable connects is the DAC. The silver box on top of that is the Schiit switch. The fat red cables connect the DAC to the switch. The thin red cables connect the switch to the splitter, the RCA connectors for which are in the left foreground. The fat black cables out of the splitter go to the powered Swan speaker, and to the sub-woofer, which is under a table to the left of the white desk lamp. The black cable with the circular connector goes from the speaker in the photo to the other one, not pictured.

The little white plastic box is an Omron BP652 wrist blood pressure monitor.

The desk chair is a Herman Miller Aeron chair. I can sit in it for 10 hours straight, and never get even slightly uncomfortable because of the chair (though I badly need to move every couple of hours). Worth every dollar.

Click on the photo for a high-resolution version (3023x4031 pixels, 1.7 megabytes).


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