Friday night topic: How do you listen to music?

Last year, I discovered the wonder that is Spotify. Before I tried it, I thought the service was just a Pandora clone, but I quickly got hooked on Spotify's free access to almost unlimited music. I found myself listening to a wider variety of genres than ever, as I no longer had to commit to buying an album or two at a time. After trying the three-month trial for Spotify Premium, I gave in and subscribed so I could download music and avoid ads.

Google and Apple both introduced their own Spotify competitors last year. Apple Music and its exclusive Beats One radio station are gaining subscribers at a healthy pace, while Google's Play Music service brings a few YouTube-related benefits to the table if you subscribe to YouTube Red. Services like these are just one of the many ways to access music. Other cloud services like Soundcloud are appealing as well. Soundcloud is open to anyone, so wandering that site can lead to the discovery of many great indie artists. I ran across EDM labels Monstercat and NCS on Soundcloud, and I've been hooked since.

There are also services that still let you buy individual tracks and own your music—crazy, right? iTunes and Windows Media Player (or is it Xbox Music, er, Groove Music, erm…) remain the most prominent of these. Some people even run their own little cloud server. With all these possible options, I'm interested to see how you all access your music.

I'm also curious what audio devices the gerbil army is outfitted with. I use a set of mid-tier stereo speakers with a separate subwoofer when listening to music at my desk. I also have a headset that I use as headphones when recording and editing audio. I am aware that many audiophiles swear by a good pair of headphones for listening to music, so maybe I'm doing it wrong. On the go, I simply use a pair of earbuds for portability's sake. Earbuds seem like the most popular option, though I'll occasionally see people sporting full-sized headphones, too. 

How do you listen to your music?

Comments closed
    • cphite
    • 4 years ago

    I generally buy my music online (Amazon mostly) or on CD’s from local record stores which get ripped to MP3. I keep my collection on my iPod Classic and on my NAS; and I copy most stuff to Google Play.

    If I’m out walking or driving I use the iPod. At work I use Google Play on my PC. At home I generally either hook my iPod up to my stereo, or I play over my TV from the NAS via Twonky.

    The main reason I don’t use streaming services is that whenever I’m out driving or walking (my main listening times) I’ve found that coverage isn’t good enough. I find it annoying when songs need to buffer or get choppy, or when the quality drops etc… Also, I have a large enough collection that I am rarely bored by it; and if I need something new I’ll buy it.

    I use earbuds when I’m walking; car stereo when I’m driving. I have a nice set of fullsize headphones that I’ll sometimes use at home.

    • Cyco-Dude
    • 4 years ago

    lately? youtube…

    • burntham77
    • 4 years ago

    I get all of my music from Amazon Music. Prime gives me access to some good free tracks, but more than half of my collection are purchased digital downloads. There are cheaper options out there, but Amazon gives me a bit more control. Plus even if I cancelled Prime, I’d still have my purchased tracks. I listen to my music mostly in the car, with my iPhone connected to my stereo via Bluetooth. I rarely listen to music at home or at work.

    • alloyD
    • 4 years ago

    Here’s my music setup:
    1. Order CD (actual physical disk either online or in a store)
    2. Rip to flac and save on file server
    3. Listen via mpd on a raspberry pi connected to my home theater system. Remote control with smartphones, computers, etc.

    Audio portion of the home theater setup is a NAD amp driving some [url=https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/diy-overnightsensations<]Overnight Sensations[/url<].

      • just brew it!
      • 4 years ago

      What are you using for a DAC? (I have no idea if the RPi’s built-in one is any good.)

        • alloyD
        • 4 years ago

        I’ve heard that the DAC in the Pi is pretty bad (noisy, I’d guess). I’ve been sending the audio over HDMI to my TV which sends analog to the amp.

          • just brew it!
          • 4 years ago

          Ahh, OK. Makes sense. I imagine a USB DAC would be another potential option…

            • alloyD
            • 4 years ago

            I was actually just about to mention that. I’ve heard that there are some decent USB options. I’m going to research that in the near future because I’d like to be able to listen the music without the TV being on. It just sits on a Kodi screen with nothing playing, but if I don’t need it, I’d rather it be off.

    • synthtel2
    • 4 years ago

    mp3s/m4as (320kbit mp3 when I can) -> VLC -> mobo integrated audio -> modded Grado SR80es

    The motherboard’s integrated DAC/amp is clearly the weak link here. I have a HiFiMan HM-101 (cheap USB DAC/amp), and it helps a lot (tho it’s not perfect), but I haven’t been able to get it working with my main computer. I should really do something about this.

    Stock Grados sound like garbage (IMHO), and most mods address the key problem (reflection of sound off the exterior grilles behind the drivers) tangentially at best. It looks a bit odd, but removing the grilles makes a massive difference. I’m not sure there’s anything <$400 I’d take over these now. πŸ˜€

    I like to own my data, but will use streaming services occasionally. Rdio was my favorite, but they shut down. Pandora is pretty good for discovery. Youtube is good enough if I want to hear a thing I don’t own.

    VLC is because I’m old-school that way. I don’t want management, I don’t want organization, I’ll do that myself – I want to point it at some stuff and have it play.

    • Prestige Worldwide
    • 4 years ago

    X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro –> Optical Out –> Denon Receiver –> Paradigm stereo speakers / Sennheisser HD555.

    HTC One M8 & Xiaomi Piston 2.0 using local MP3 / FLAC library on 128gb microSD card.

    Too oldschool to use streaming services.

    • SoundChaos
    • 4 years ago

    $50 DAC hooked up to a pair of KRK Rokit 8’s with a klipsch RW-12D sub. Bitrates from 256kbps-320kbps, flac when possible, foobar as the media player. Not amazing, but great for a grand total of $400

    When necessary, I plug in my ATH-M50’s in. Absolutely cant stand on ear or in ear headphones, kills my ears.

    Tried to go like a normal person and buy a pair of Klipsch Synergy F30’s (also $400 at the time), but I was terribly disappointed. Went back to the studio monitors right away.

    • tritonus
    • 4 years ago

    @ Home: Used to listen to my little collection of CDs, along with some analog classical radio stations. That all changed substantially after I subscribed to Spotify Premium: nowadays I experiment a lot with genres and artists, in a way I could never have imagined some years ago. Occasionally I also listen to concerts from YouTube or check out some internet radios. Still preferring CDs to Spotify 320kbps if given a choice.

    On the go: I don’t usually listen on the move, only rarely via iPhone and Spotify.

    Hardware: My main system consists of a pair of Genelec 8030a’s, supported by a Genelec F2 sub, fed by an Oppo 105D universal player, which takes care of my CDs and Blu-rays. Oppo’s Sabre DACs also convert the Spotify/Youtube/internet radio data coming via USB from a laptop.

    Alternatively, I sometimes use the Oppo’s integrated headamp with Sennheiser HD600 cans. I really like the Senns, but in serious listening I still love the huge frontal soundstage and visceral feelings created by decent speakers like the Genelecs.

    • Concupiscence
    • 4 years ago

    I’m pretty eclectic… My music is a mix of manually ripped MP3 and AAC files from my personal CD collection, supplemented with mp3’s bought from Amazon, Apple Music (tried Spotify, but the kerfuffle over their new privacy terms a while back turned me off of them), SomaFM, and the stuff I have to download through various channels because they’re ancient white label releases that have been out of print for a decade plus. Earbuds are my convenient go-to for the gym, but sometimes when it’s late & my family’s asleep I use my Sennheisers.

    • moose17145
    • 4 years ago

    Lately I have just been listening to Nico Nico.

    Also I hope youtube red dies. I am not a fan at all of how google is just bullying people into agreeing to youtube reds service agreements, and if the person or company cannot for any reason, then youtube just blocks all their videos… but only in the United States. Thus leading me to need to use proxies or VPNs to get my youtube traffic from another country when I suddenly come across content that is blocked in the united states.

    • Dr_Gigolo
    • 4 years ago

    Being an aspiring hi-end enthusiast, I have a lot of different equipment for listening to music in all sorts of situations. I have all my music in Apple Lossless format (ALAC) on my HTPC, where I also have iTunes Match, so I can listen to that exact same music on my mobile devices (albeit at a lossy format). I also use Apple Music now, but I need iTunes Match to get all that music which isn’t on Apple Music (Tool, a lot of Radiohead’s music and a lot of bootlegs).

    In the living room I got Dali Mentor 6 speakers, a Electrocompaniet ECI 6D amplifier with built-in DAC (USB, Toslink and Coax), a HTPC which is connected to my amp through USB. I also use a Apple Airport express with toslink to the amp whenever I want to just listen to music from my phone while making dinner or cleaning or whatnot. The sound I get from this setup is just fantastic. This combo really makes the ground shake, I get a good stereo perspective and lots of detail from the treble. The sound in one word: addictive. Only when listening to music really really loud, do I wish I had a more powerful amp, maybe a 250Watt amp from the same manufacturer. But seeing as I can only listen to music that loud when the family is away, it’s not a priority at all.

    For my desktop PC I got a pair of Beyerdynamic T70 headphones connected to a Asus Xonar STX. I also have a pair of B&W MM-1 active speakers connected to the same computer. I also use the Beyers connected to the TV in my living room for when the family is sleeping and they are fantastic for movies and TV-show’s on account of big range they provide. You get really detailed treble in addition to real deep bass. Dialogs are crystal clear and you get a good impact when there’s action heavy scenes. They also have a 3 meter long cable, so I can sit comfortable in the couch using them.

    On the go I have a pair of Shure SE535 IEM and also a pair of Bose Soundlink Wireless II Around Ear headphones that connects through bluetooth. The Bose I usually only use at work, so I can leave my phone at my station (6 Plus). The Bose are probably the worst sounding gear I got, but it is very convenient to be able to listen to music, radio and podcasts at work without taking my phone with me, so I think I think I will keep them (got them for christmas from my wife).

    • f0d
    • 4 years ago

    oldschool

    CD’s through a component stereo i built in the early 90’s with a rotel amp and homebuilt speakers with seas drivers

    not as fancy as some of the component audio systems people have here but it damn well gets the job done and sounds good enough for me

    • rhema83
    • 4 years ago

    Mine’s an iPhone 6S playing mostly 256kbps AAC and ALAC, driving 6-driver custom-molded IEMs from Unique Melody.

    I accumulated a sizeable collection of MP3 files of varying quality over the past decade, and managed to upgrade 75% of them to 256kbps AAC with iTunes Match – best $12.95 I’ve spent in a while. I also re-ripped my entire CD collection into 16-bit 44.1kHz ALAC. I tried Spotify but didn’t like it enough to subscribe.

    I’ve been using iPhones as my portable music players. They’re good enough on their own, without dedicated DACs and amps. I prefer to invest in good earphones. In my experience, once you have a decent player (any high-end smartphone would suffice) and decent quality media (~256 kbps for me), your listening experience will benefit the most from better earphones. They also give you the most bang for your buck. The improvement you get for every additional $100 you spend on earphones is huge, and the returns don’t diminish until you go well above a grand.

    I’ve had Shure E2C, Sennheiser PX-200-II, Westone 2 and now custom IEMs. Every upgrade has been a revelation. How did I live all those years not knowing what I had missed in the music? I’m especially fond of IEMs since they block out noise and allow me to listen at low volumes, even in noisy environments (like on the subways and in airplanes), without damaging my hearing. If you can afford it, go for custom-molded. You won’t regret it.

    • 123zorn
    • 4 years ago

    My most used setup is an Etymoytic ER-4 with a custom molded set of ear plugs. Does great with blocking out the sound and great fit, no hurting ears even after 12 hours of straight use. Well worth the investment to get a custom molded set. They also work great to block out the sound of mowing the lawn. I have a set of Hifiman HE-400i headphones, that I use very occasionally. For me they were probably not worth the investment. Portable players are a Fiios X3 or my most used player, an old Cowan S-9. Both run FLAC.

    Home setup is fed by my ReadyNAS running a Logitech Squeezebox Touch with a Logitech Duet remote. All FLAC. To my Rotel amp and a pair of Celestion SL600 + Velodyne ULD15II sub. I’ve got a set of Celestion SL700se speakers as well, but I sort of prefer the more tube-like tilt of the SL600 when I am not using tube gear.

    For those looking for a great old school setup, try using any of the Celestion SL series speakers with an Audio Research D-250 servo. That was pure audio nirvana, but I had to sell the amp when I had kids, just a bit too dangerous around rug rats.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      If you’re looking to get rid of the HE-400i cans I’d be interested.

    • travbrad
    • 4 years ago

    At home I listen through either Sennheiser HD280 headphones or M-AUDIO BX5a monitors plugged into Xonar DG in my PC. About half is 256/320kbps mp3, and half is flac. My home office room is pretty much my “music room” too. That’s where I listen to music most of the time and where I play guitar too.

    For mobile listening (in the car or exercising) I have a phone with microSD with my whole library as mp3 (I convert the FLAC files to mp3 for mobile device). I don’t do much streaming, although I do have all of my music uploaded to Google Music for the occasional times when I do. I probably listen to more podcasts than music when I’m “mobile” anyway.

    • Blytz
    • 4 years ago

    On my pc with some avg, moderate logitech speakers…
    In my car at sometimes unacceptably loud volumes (I do enjoy some doof doof, and AC/DC’s Thunderstruck or Dire Straits – Money for Nothin don’t seem to have a it’s too loud point to me)

    Don’t use streaming services, generally, use youtube to locate a track I like the source it for play in winamp 2.81 (I don’t care for any fluff) or off my old ipod (with a click wheel) in my car.

    Not an audiophile, just needs to be clean (and loud at times)

    • digitalnut
    • 4 years ago

    Most of my music is stored in Flac, some in MP3 the odd time (e.g. Google Music has a sale on) Still into ripping some of my older CD collection (I have over 300 cd’s) to Flac. I sometimes get the new stuff from [url<]http://www.hdtracks.com[/url<] or physical CD. To bad HDTracks is now geo-blocking some of the albums now. All of my music is stored on a home built NAS running RAID 1. Equipment: Asus Essence One DAC Denon AVR-X3100W Miss-match of speakers, that I have collected over the years πŸ™‚ (except for the Paradigm, they are new) (front) Paradigm Prestige Bookshelf speakers (sub) Energy 8" Sub (back) Mirage bookshelf speakers (center) Warfedale center Headphones: Beredynamic DT-990 600ohm Headphones. When listening to 2 channel music with just the Paradigm's running, the sound quality is great (5.1 doesn't sound bad either ;-). Family room is running a Rasberry Pi outfitted with IQAudio Pi-DAC+ feed into a Denon Bookshelf stereo system. The Pi-DAC+ is pretty good. [url<]http://www.iqaudio.co.uk/[/url<] I still own a Cowan D2, that I use in the car. Music is stored in Flac here also, this way I don't have to convert.

    • KarVi
    • 4 years ago

    How do I listen to music?

    At home I have a IMHO relatively good setup.

    An Anthem MRX300, playing through Hypex UCD400HG/HxR (self build), on my Dali Mentor 6 speakers. I have a BK XXLS 400 FF sub to suplement those.
    As for playing music, I mostly use my trusty Logitech Squeezebox 3. All my CD’s are ripped to my NAS server (self build), from which I can play them anywhere.
    I also use Spotify a lot also on the Squeezebox.
    I also still use an old fashioned record player, a Beogram 6006, which is a fantastic sound reproducer. It plays through a VSPS RIAA that I build myself.

    When not using this, I play on my laptop, through an Audioquest Dragonfly, with Sennheiser HD558 (modified) headphones.

    I also listen through my desktop PC, which I have an old set of Boston Acoustic BA635 hooked up to. Has a nice sound.

    And on the go / doing exercise. I use my Oneplus One phone, with a pair of Denon in ears (dont remember the model nr.).

      • digitalnut
      • 4 years ago

      I had to google what the Hypex UCD400HG/HxR was, it looks like a class D amp, correct?
      Not enough power in the MXR300 or don’t like the MRX300 amp section?

        • KarVi
        • 4 years ago

        A bit of both actually.

        The MRX’s amp section is actually rather good, and I use it for for my center and rear speakers.

        But the Dali Mentor 6’s do need a lot of power, and I can push the MRX so that it starts to sound “rough”. I especially could before I got the sub.
        The Hypex’s have much more headroom.

        They are also better sounding than the built in amps. More punch to the bass, and more open top end. The difference is easy to hear. To my ears the Hypex’s are fantastic amps (for the money).

        After I added the sub, I actually dont think I need all the power of the Hypex’s, but I keep them due to the better sound.

        Oh, and yes they are Class D.

        If I were to build today I would use the Hypex nCore instead, as they are even better than the UCD’s.

        • KarVi
        • 4 years ago
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 4 years ago

    “How do you listen to music?”

    With my ears.

      • Meadows
      • 4 years ago

      Your ears only pick up the sounds. You listen [i<]with your brain[/i<].

    • davidbowser
    • 4 years ago

    We’re collectors of media. We have a considerable collection of vinyl, including 45s with a Wurlitzer jukebox. We have a few turntables and even a couple 8-track players (just in case one breaks). I have a DAT player/recorder that I salvaged from a friend’s studio. Mostly Sony speakers, and they are pretty old. Lots of CDs.

    We stream Pandora and Amazon Prime Radio. One GREAT thing about Amazon Music is that you can buy a physical CD and also download the MP3 version at time of purchase.

    Because we have lots of CDs, I also pay for the older iTunes Match service, which I find to be a much better fit for our use case. We can rip a disc and have it immediately available on all our devices via cloud sync. It also plays nicely with Amazon Music mp3 downloads so that even if I buy a CD from Amazon, I can get the mp3 on any device within a few clicks.

    Mobile listening on earbuds. I do like to use my Sennheiser PXC 450s when I fly.

    • ALiLPinkMonster
    • 4 years ago

    I have 32GB of internal storage on my LG G4 plus a 32GB SD card, both full to the brim of music. I listen to a lot of independent or otherwise non-popular artists, so when I can I try to purchase their music directly from them or in the most direct way possible. I do use Pandora every so often if I can’t decide exactly what to listen to or if I’m looking for some new music, but I try not to use the streaming services (especially Spotify) because the artists just don’t get much of a cut from them.

    As far as equipment, if I’m in my car I enjoy the convenience of Bluetooth, and my one-notch-up-from-stock speakers wouldn’t sound all that much better if I use line-in anyway. I also use my LG Bluetooth headphones when I’m on my bike or walking the dogs because having your head attached to your pants by a cord that’s always shorter than it should be isn’t ideal for being physically active. At home, I have my library copied onto my PC which is connected to a Scarlett 2i2 interface which is connected to a pair of Rokit 5 monitors, or my Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs cans if it’s late at night.

    • LostCat
    • 4 years ago

    I had a receiver and some hand me down speakers and I couldn’t decide how much to spend (and on what) so I ended up grabbing an HT-S5800 set.

    It’s been lovely.

    Mostly Pandora and the Groove Music Pass thanks to that huge deal on my birthday atm. If I start buying again I’ll probably consider Beatport.

    • DancinJack
    • 4 years ago

    FWIW: I did a bit of searching and it seems these are approximate bitrates for the most popular streaming services (highest quality option).

    Amazon(streaming): 256kbps
    Apple Music: 256kbps
    Google Play Music: 320kbps
    Spotify: 320kbps
    Tidal: 320kbps or FLAC lossless

    That isn’t so bad for streaming services IMO. 320kbps should be decent enough for anyone to tolerate. Not necessarily love, but tolerate.

      • jessterman21
      • 4 years ago

      Thanks – if it’s a good-quality encode, yeah I’d say that’s plenty for 99% of folks.

      Recently tried converting some CD tracks to 320kbps MP3s and cried a little when I listened to one with a wide range back-to-back. I need my sparkle and thud, man!

      • TopHatKiller
      • 4 years ago

      love you’re use of the word ‘tolerate’. that’s about right.

      • just brew it!
      • 4 years ago

      Unless you have some fairly high-end gear you probably will not notice a meaningful difference between a quality 320 kbps lossy encode and a lossless source.

        • Klyith
        • 4 years ago

        It’s much less about the high end audio gear and much more about youth, good hearing, and training yourself to detect the tiny errors from audio that lossy encoders by listening to a wide range of samples displaying things like pre-echo or quantization effects.

        OTOH if you have none of those things, some high end audio gear, and **look at the display of your music player** it’s very easy to detect the difference. If you do a proper blind ABX the higher VBR settings in LAME are good for 99.9% of music and 99.9% of people, much less 320 CBR.

        • ferdinandh
        • 4 years ago

        And with high end gear you mean thousands of dollars. Even then you need really good ears and training to hear a difference between flac and 320kbps. Even 192kbps with a good encoder is really difficult to distinguish.

        • Ifalna
        • 4 years ago

        Don’t forget that you need a pretty uncomfortable volume for these critical listening sessions and intimate familiarity with the piece.

        At my normal listening volumes (around 10% or less than what my Titanium HD can output) I don’t stand a chance.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      Guarantee you, no mater the cans used, nobody can tell the difference between FLAC and 320kbps in a blind ABX test.

    • Skullzer
    • 4 years ago

    I LOVE quality audio. However I don’t have enough disposable income to justify the cost of audiophile equipment. I’ve used the same Sony headphones for 15 years or so, but over the holiday season I treated myself to some audio technica ath-m50x headphones. I was blown away! By the 20th I should be getting my newly ordered audio engine d1 dac/headphone amp. Can’t wait. So my setup will be decent very soon.

    Desktop pc:
    Audioengine d1
    Audio technica ath m50x headphones
    Krk rokit 5 speakers

    Mobile:
    iPhone

    I’m currently using iTunes to manage my music library, mostly cd rips and other downloads. I know here are better options but that’s what I’m used to. I also have some playlists on Pandora for when I am entertaining or sometimes in the car. I tried Spotify but just didn’t find it intuitive and I stopped using it out of frustration. I am looking at some high quality streaming but just can’t see myself paying for it. Soundcloud is awesome for independent music along with bandcamp, just wish the ui was a little better.

      • jihadjoe
      • 4 years ago

      The great thing about spending money on audio gear is they last much longer than PCs.

    • Jigar
    • 4 years ago

    Nicely timed – I am about to change the way i listen to my music at home –

    This will be my desktop speakers by next month Samsung – MX-HS8500/ZA [url<]http://www.samsung.com/us/video/home-audio/MX-HS8500/ZA[/url<] Neighbors envy, owner's pride. πŸ™‚

      • DancinJack
      • 4 years ago

      What on earth do you need 2500W at home for, Jigar?

      edit: maybe you’re joking. i don’t know.

        • Jigar
        • 4 years ago

        Actually i don’t listen to music very loudly but i love this setup’s effect. I am shifting my system into the hall and my hall can handle such speaker set. Plus did i tell you i love overkill πŸ™‚

    • ozzuneoj
    • 4 years ago

    Most of my listening takes place in my car, with my 10 year old Kenwood KDC-X491 receiver playing 320kbit MP3s from a flash drive, through a Kicker ZX100.2 attached to a pair of Eclipse SC6500 component speakers (silk dome tweeters, and 6.5″ woofers), played full range since disconnecting my subwoofer and amp a year and a half ago.

    At my PC I have a Sure 50Wx2 TDA7492 amp powering two Pioneer BS21-LR bookshelf speakers, running off of my Xonar DX. Sounds pretty good considering I spent $20 on the speakers on Clearance at Wal-Mart and only $35 on the amp.

    On my TV\HTPC I am running a pair of Dayton D8 floor speakers I built (MTM design, 41 inches tall, 2x Dayton Classic 8″ woofers + Dayton DC28F tweeter, per speaker) running on an old JVC 817vtn receiver. Sounds wonderful and doesn’t need a subwoofer. This is running through my Vizio TV’s stereo audio output.

    I get my music mainly from CDs, ripped in FLAC format with CDEX or Foobar. I simply convert them to MP3 for use in my car or to put on my phone. I also use Amazon Music from time to time.

    • Milo Burke
    • 4 years ago

    Couldn’t you have found a better picture of me, Nathan? =\

    For years and years, I bought CDs because that was the only way to legally own music at the highest quality available. Also, I’m a big believer of the album as a whole. It amazes me that some people can totally dig a song but have absolutely zero interest in what other music the same people put together around the same time. So … I’ve got a lot of CDs. I’m very particular about how I rip them and with which software.

    I started using Google Play Music shortly after it debuted in 2013. As such, I’ve got a permanent 20% discount. =] It was a novelty at first that I planned to cancel, but the music discovery service is so useful that I started listening to tons of stuff I never otherwise would have found. It knows my tastes much better than Pandora ever did. And the interface is great. Though I’m a quality snob, I find myself very often content to listen to Google Play Music at its 320kbps over my uncompressed WAV library simply because my CD budget can’t keep up with my tastes. And on anything but my primary system, the quality difference is minimal.

    Tidal offers lossless music streaming. I tried it for a while, but initially the user interface was terrible, $20/m is a lot to pay over my current $8/m, and it kept selling itself on its “exclusives”: horribly written, performed, and engineered rap music other services wouldn’t want! That said, I presume Tidal is improving its interface. Also, there’s hope it might stream higher-than-CD quality. That would be epic. I wish Google would do it, but if not, I may become a Tidal customer then. (I’ve read all the arguments why 44.1/16-bit is the highest quality we’ll ever need, but I’ve done a blind listening test – with the right music on a good system, it’s not even subtle to me which is which.)

    Contrary to what this Friday night topic implies, I prefer good speakers in a good room. I’m listening to music as I write this on my main system. I wish it were more interesting to describe, but the 2-way bookshelf speakers, speaker stands, preamp, power amp, and power conditioner are all DIY built with the Audio Society of Minnesota. The newest members of the system are a pair of Crown power amps to feed my four DIY dipole subs. Dipole subs are funky because all the rules of sub placement don’t apply to them. Also, they provide greater tunefulness than just about anything, though they lack nearly all of the chest-thump you’re used to feeling. You either love them or you hate them.

    I can offer that my speakers are positioned according to the 29% Method: [url<]http://noaudiophile.com/speakercalc/[/url<] But following any method on that site should offer substantially better sound than 99.8% of people have now, regardless of their speaker price. But, of course, you have to sit where you're supposed to for it to work. I listen to a fair amount of music while cooking. My kitchen and living room share a simple 2-channel amp and a pair of Andrew Jones Pioneer floorstanding speakers. I love those towers! They don't even need a sub. For headphones: I use the open-backed AKG k702 for editing and night time listening and gaming, the closed-back Sennheiser HD 280 Pro for tracking instruments and vocals and for podcasting, and the simple MEE M6 in-ear headphones for the gym and traveling.

    • I.S.T.
    • 4 years ago

    I do a mix of buying CDs(though rarely as I often only like a few of the songs on the album. If I like a full album I usually consider it a masterpiece. Only exception to this is Brocas Helm’s Defender of the Crown. It’s okay outside of one or two songs that are amazing ), buying MP3s songs and YARRRRRRRRRing individual songs that come on my local radio stations. I usually buy them later from Amazon.

    I don’t do spotify because as it turns out artists get paid even less than buying MP3s. Might as well YARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR whole albums if you’re gonna go that route. Artists see little to no money.

    I don’t yar whole albums, but I did in my youth. I regret it. I’ve bought all buy one of those albums in the years since.

    • BIF
    • 4 years ago

    Like others have reported, I too still buy CDs and rip them. Whenever I want to learn a song from somebody, I will usually buy the CD. My library has over 9,000 songs right now and it only fills up half of my 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus.

    But even with all those songs at my disposal, I mostly spend more time listening to the free version of Pandora at home and in the car, because I get a good variety of songs for hours on end by just making a station out of a favorite artist or band. This also turns me on to potential new purchases, although I don’t buy them via Pandora’s app; I usually use my Amazon account.

    At work I use the apple iPhone earbuds; these provide a happy balance between sound quality and being able to hear other things happening in the office. If I am listening to a song critically or trying to learn to play parts of it, then I use a pair of AKG closed-back headphones.

    I never listen to music when working out, but health clubs are playing more and more music I don’t like. Hip Hop and heavy metal just knock me right out of the zone, so I’ve been re-examining my stance on earbuds in the freeweight room.

    Aside from music, I am also a big-time podcast consumer. One of my favorites is The Leo Laporte show.

    • jokinin
    • 4 years ago

    I usually get my music from CD rips, radio, spotify, and youtube.
    While away, I play my music, with my mobile phone (LG G4c) and small sony earbuds.
    At home, I use my computer integrated sound (VIA high definition audio codec), hooked up to an old AIWA amplifier/reciever (MX-NH1100), with a pair of speakers (Focal Chorus 706V).

    • just brew it!
    • 4 years ago

    I’ve played around a bit with Spotify, but at this point most of my listening is still stuff I’ve ripped from CDs/vinyl I own, or purchased as digital downloads from Amazon or Bandcamp.

    I rarely just sit and listen to music any more, so how I listen depends on what I’m doing:

    – At the home desktop computer I use [url=https://amarok.kde.org/<]Amarok[/url<], routed through a [url=http://www.jackaudio.org/<]JACK[/url<] EQ plugin (Amarok's EQ is horribly buggy and broken), to an ancient set of Yamaha 2.1 computer speakers. The EQ plugin (with some rather extreme settings) compensates for the more egregious deficiencies of the old speakers; I keep meaning to upgrade the speakers but never get around to it. - In the car it's a [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SanDisk_Sansa#Sansa_Clip.2B<]Sansa Clip+[/url<] modded with [url=http://www.rockbox.org/<]Rockbox[/url<] firmware (to add support for large micro-SD cards), run through a line-to-cassette adapter to the car audio system. A 128GB micro-SD card and [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorbis<]Ogg Vorbis[/url<] compression allows me to cram my entire music collection into the Clip+ at decent (albeit still lossy) fidelity. - If I'm brewing, cooking, cleaning, etc. it's the Clip+ plugged into the nearest stereo system, or into yet another set of crappy computer speakers (Creative 2.1) that aren't currently in use on an actual computer and just float around the house to wherever someone wants something to plug their MP3 player, phone, etc. into. - On the bus/train (I take public transit to/from work now) it's the Clip+ with [url=http://en-us.sennheiser.com/on-ear-headphones-travel-lightweigt-px-200-ii<]Sennheiser PX-200 II[/url<] headphones. The sealed on-ear design of the PX-200 II is better at blocking out noise than the open-air style of headphones I generally prefer, more portable than a full over-ear set of cans, and much more affordable than a decent set of noise cancelling headphones. - At work it's the Clip+ again, with [url=http://en-us.sennheiser.com/on-ear-headphones-travel-lightweigt-px-100-ii<]Sennheiser PX-100 II[/url<] headphones. They have better bass response than the PX-200 II, and since they are an open-air design I can still hear when co-workers are trying to get my attention.

      • sweatshopking
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<] vinyl [/quote<] old man alert <3 (and i know so hipsters still buy vinyl, but that's not jbi. he's just legit old)

        • just brew it!
        • 4 years ago

        Not to mention, no self-respecting hipster would rip their vinyl to digital and listen to it on a PC or portable music player!

          • TopHatKiller
          • 4 years ago

          yes, actually they might. a very good dac/headamp portable, added to any digital device, these days have incredible fidelity. As long as the rip ensured highest quality, and you use high quality ‘phones, I’d be surprised if you weren’t shocked by the quality. you should really check it out.
          Cheers!

            • just brew it!
            • 4 years ago

            I am certainly aware that high-quality DACs exist.

            My point was that many hipsters are more about “image” and being trendy than actual substance.

    • gerbilspy
    • 4 years ago

    At work, CD rips from my smartphone through LG earbuds or Amazon Music or Pandora when the office WiFi isn’t playing yo-yo.

    At home, CD rips from my phone through Roku Juice, or Pandora through a Panasonic 7.1 Blu ray system that also provides sound for my TV.

    At home in the morning when the wife is sleeping in, I listen to Amazon Prime music from my Echo, which actually sounds acceptable up to about volume level 6 or 7.

    • atari030
    • 4 years ago

    I keep most of my music (ripped or purchased MP3s and OGGs) on a local NFS share that I play through the base audio on my main rig via a Logitech 2.1 setup.

    When I want something higher quality (and higher volume) I will fall back to my college days ‘hi fi’ setup which is a Pioneer VSX-3800 paired with some EPI 120 Series speakers. 25+ years old and still going strong….I’m no audiophile, but those EPIs still sound surprisingly good. Just haven’t seen the need to invest in anything else…..

    • sweatshopking
    • 4 years ago

    stream what’s uploaded to my onedrive account on all my windows devices

    • Entroper
    • 4 years ago

    At work, YouTube. I have a bunch of soundtracks and stuff on my favorites.

    In the car, FM radio. No joke. We have a decent classic rock station around here.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    Source: Rip CDs, from friends, and [spoiler<]recording stuff and ripping audio from videos[/spoiler<]. Playback software: WMP or MPC-HC Equipment: Headphones or speakers to the PC, earphones from my phone. Details of equipment: PC On board sound - ALC892 on an Asus Z97-A, i.e. with some sound isolation and stuff. Headphones - SteelSeries Siberia V1 (general purpose), Sennheiser HD280 Pro (dedicated listening) Earphones - Inexpensive stuff from Panasonic. In ear.

    • DarkUltra
    • 4 years ago

    more
    [url<]https://youtu.be/hLfdYZoJ-d8[/url<]

    • DarkUltra
    • 4 years ago

    More game music, super double dragon on snes [url<]https://youtu.be/l8YGk1n6vzw[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    I seldom listen to music anymore but when I do, I just listen to some tracks I ripped off my CD collection years ago on my Asus Zenfone 6. Call me old school but having grown up with Walkmans and Discmans (Walkmen and Discmen? Heh.) I totally appreciate how much sound quality today’s smartphones can offer. And it’s not just music; smartphones have replaced a ton of the things we use.

    When I read about expensive boutique music players like the Pono player (which makes me think Neil Young is trying too hard to stay relevant) I learn to appreciate my smartphone more. I’m sure the Pono player sounds better and there’s a market for it, but it’s like comparing a $200 Sound Blaster ZxR to a cheap Realtek codec. Yes, the ZxR will sound better but the Realtek is practically free yet still sounds very good for something that occupies a tiny area on a motherboard with minimal components. I find that more amazing than a pricey sound card because at $200 and having to use a big PCB, of course a ZxR [u<]is expected[/u<] to be good.

    • DarkUltra
    • 4 years ago

    I rip music from dvds from for instance the end credits and listen to it on my surtound sound receiver and speakers. That way I usually get good dynamic range, surround sound and normalized to movie audio levels.

    Other than that, I buy music from MP3 Million and normalize them. I also listen to game music, like Last Ninja from Commodore 64

    skip forward to 1:30 pretty good
    [url<]https://youtu.be/u-9CkWYzzNw[/url<]

    • Ifalna
    • 4 years ago

    I am oldschool and don’t like streaming services.
    DL or rip CDs to FLAC.

    Equipment:
    At home:
    Titanium HD -> Beyerdynamic DT 880 (250Ξ©) headphones.
    T-HD -> Yamaha RX-377 -> Ancient pair of JBL MX1000s (when I want to annoy the neighbors πŸ˜› )

    Mobile: Rockbox’d Clip+ fed with FLAC (too lazy to recode) -> ATH-M50 (crude, but effective)

    I cannot wear earbuds or in ears, I get major ear pain / headaches when attempting to do so. So Full size over ear is the only way for me. Oh well at least I have warm ears in cold winter weather. πŸ˜€

    As for “what” I listen to: Mostly soundtracks (movies games) general Orchestral music. I prefer classically trained voices over the modern yapping.
    I have been known to headbang to pagan metal or fry a few neurons with pulsar trance now and then, but mostly I prefer the above.

    • Meadows
    • 4 years ago

    I have not yet fallen under the curse of Spotify, but I feel it drawing closer.

    For listening, I use foobar with some plugins: on occasion, I will listen to some songs (especially ones without lyrics) at 87.5% or 112.5% speed, because it makes them sound new again for a while.

    I have a pair of cheap – or what I consider “mid-tier” – stereo 3-way speakers on the desk, connected to a 4.1 surround setup that I also use for films and some games.

    90% of the time, however, you’ll see me with a Sennheiser HD 595 on my head. It’s connected to a Xonar Essence ST, and all the speakers are connected to the same via its daughterboard.

    • localhostrulez
    • 4 years ago

    I use Spotify all the time, and basically nothing else. So much, actually, that I hit the 3333 songs per device offline limit and may need to start storing a bunch of albums (ones that I already own) as mp3’s on my phone instead. Not sure how this works with playlists though (i.e. if I have my own mp3’s, don’t count that toward the 3333 license limit).

    As for my setup, I mostly listen on desktop speakers at home. I only use headphones when out and about.

    Desktop/home: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers (entry level hifi), Acoustic Audio PSW-8 (it looks generic, but it’s surprisingly good, plus 8″ handles smaller rooms well), and Lepai LP-2020A+ amp with upgraded caps (compact, power efficient, clear). I’m very happy with this setup, although it’s a tad annoying to move (could be far, far worse though). I have a Onkyo TX-SR576 as well, but it processes and messes with the signal – usually making it worse and less clear than the Lepai (although in theory, it should handle really loud volumes better – not that I need that).

    On the go: Sennheiser HD202 II’s – not the most comfortable cans I’ve ever used, and audio quality isn’t perfect, but it’s a good budget pair. Nice for throwing in my bag and using on campus between classes.

    I also have a set of Panasonic RPTCM125K’s. I kinda hate earbuds most of the time, but they’re portable and good for the gym. This set is very cheap and surprisingly good considering. Strong bass, decent highs. Only problem is I had a set before, managed to lose them, and had to buy another. Almost lost that one as well.

    • tootercomputer
    • 4 years ago

    Just out of curiosity (I have not been around this site much the past six months), is the author related to Scott who I see has moved on to AMD I guess?

      • pranav0091
      • 4 years ago

      <booming voice>Junior Damage shall finish what his father started </booming voice>

        • tootercomputer
        • 4 years ago

        Okay, thanks. Figured as much, though he’s not listed in the About Us section of TR.

        BTW, to the point of the article, much of the music I listen to is what my son plays, which is mostly country, on his phone through an old stereo system we have with some Bose speakers which still sound pretty damned good. I’ll binge sometimes on You Tube clips of older bands (which I like since I’m older) and wear some older light-weight Koss headphones that still surprisingly kick ass.

        Finally, while I’m at it, and given the topic, what add-in audio cards are people using in their systems? I’ve got a four-year-old ASRock mobo that has a sucky sound system and I’d love to stick a card in there. Thanks.

    • jihadjoe
    • 4 years ago

    Mostly my own CD rips, stored in FLAC for devices on the home network, converted to AAC to put on an iPod Video 5G for the car, or on my phone and tablet on the go. Some Spotify, and then some vinyl.

    Devices:

    PC/gaming: Klipsch Promedia 4.1 connected to the on-board sound
    Main Audio: Marantz NA7004 network player/DAC (used either as a stand-alone streamer, or as an external DAC if played via Foobar/ASIO), NAD C372 amp, PSB Synchrony Two speakers, Rega P1 turntable with Schiit Mani phono stage. Don’t have a dedicated CD player; everything gets ripped first.
    Portable Audio: i-device/player + Polk Audio Ultrafocus 8000 noise cancelling headphones
    Late Night Listening: Sennheiser HD600

    I have a couple more TVs and a secondary stereo in the house, thinking of getting a bunch of Chromecast Audios for them.

    • Voldenuit
    • 4 years ago

    @ Desktop: Swan M10 (Speakers) or Senn HD 555
    @ Tablet: Sony MDRXB950 (Bluetooth) or Senn HD 555 (when gaming; less lag)
    @ Laptop: Sony MDRXB950 (Bluetooth)
    @ Phone: Sony MDRXB950 (Bluetooth)

    EDIT: Suppose it’s worth mentioning that I like to play rhythm games on my tablet, and the bluetooth lag is enough to make them borderline unplayable.

    • TopHatKiller
    • 4 years ago

    LOUD!!!!
    sorry, think a bit more and…
    nah,
    with the best headphones i can afford [need a new pair – worried about their cost] AND
    i think a Chord Mojo. Based on reviews for dac/headamps – it just seems to kill everyone else [even the iFi iDSD one]
    …can’t remember the last time i actually listened to music via speakers of any kind…
    ..also…
    listening now, via sennheiser hd595 headphones to Bowie’s ‘1.outside’. / love to Bowie.
    Missing you / already.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      If you need a new set of cans I’d highly recommend the AKG K7XX on massdrop, going for 199 USD atm.

        • TopHatKiller
        • 4 years ago

        -tar for the advice. something else added to my short-list, but please, whisper when you say ‘new set of ‘cans’ : my sennheisers don’t need to know they are getting replaced! What about their feelings?

    • Mikael33
    • 4 years ago

    Foobar thru a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 output to a pair of M Audio bx8 budget studio monitors, the originals, got them years ago used for 300 usd, one of my best purchases, before upgrading to anything I would need to treat the room I use them in, room is not the best, have to put my desk almost in front of the window or I get huge bass cancellation issues, I used to run fooobar with room eq when I got dissatisfied with the sound before I was able to figure out how to set the eq on my speakers.
    When I’m at work I use my Sennheiser hd 485s, which are also a bit old, I’ve replaced the cord a few times, I use a ipod shuffle tho as I don’t have a smart phone atm since my sister broke my iphone 4s I loaned her.
    I use flac for cds I rip but I can listen to well encoded mp3s just fine, I’m not a lossless snob, I mainly use flac for storing purposes since you can convert it to anything without quality loss and it saves space compared to wav files naturally.

    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    i like listen to my music through my ears. LoL

    i’ve amassed probably about 100+GB of music on 128GB microsd that’s in my phone. i’d never waste money on data to stream, also because there’s no internets in the subway, so its pointless. i’d say almost half of the time that i Iisten to music is from my phone that’s shooting out tunskies via wifi to my onkyo receiver/B&W 5.1 speaker setup. the other half is listening to DTS/DD surround sound music from bluray/dvd/cd audio. the music on my phone is mostly 192kbps CBR Stereo mp3, with about 30% of the albums in FLAC. Eventually when I upgrade to maybe a 512gb microSD, then I might spend the time an convert everything to FLAC.

    • drunkrx
    • 4 years ago

    At work. Spotify + Aftershockz BlueZ S2
    At home Kodi, Spotify, moc to Kanto Yumi on Toslink or Bluetooth depending what I’m doing.
    On the go, Spotify + Shure SE215

    Mostly Spotify Premium, gotten lazy curating a personal collection mostly Flac.

    • Laykun
    • 4 years ago

    Either YouTube or file through foobar/poweramp, haven’t really gotten into these fancy Spotify services yet. I find sometimes they don’t have the music I want to listen to or they might have a weird version/edit of the song. Like for 75% of my music it’d be absolutely fine but that isn’t good enough. When it comes to hardware I generally use headphones as they are the least disruptive and I tend to derive the most enjoyment from them.

    If you at all care about the hardware specifics then at home on my desktop I run through a Sabre USB dac -> Millet hybrid MiniMAX (amp) with a selection of either a Denon D7000 headphones or Sennheiser HD650. On my laptop at home I go from a Fulla Schiit DAC/AMP -> M600 AMP and then a set of AKG Massdrop K7XX, amazing value, and currently on massdrop right now and I’d highly recommend picking up a pair if you haven’t. On my TV I go from my Server over SPDIF -> Sony AMP -> Handmade speaker columns, a handmade center and an old Logitech Z5500 subwoofer. On my walks to and from work I run my Note 5 into a pair of Shure SE535LTD in-ears, still getting used to them and trying to find the best tips to use. At work I use Schiit Magni/Modi stack into a set of Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohms, lovely set of cans.

    • TwoEars
    • 4 years ago

    I’m pretty serious when it comes to audio as some of you might have guessed from my username… But I try my best not to be a “snob” about it. I have a big collection of flac which is continuously increasing in size. But I can enjoy music from the kitchen radio, from mp3’s in the car, from spotify (non-premium) and the television too.

    I have a set of earbuds which I use with my phone when I’m out around town but they’re nothing too fancy. $50 Shure sound isolating earbuds (not canceling, isolating, like earplug with a speaker inside). To be honest I mostly listen to audiobooks when I’m out anyway.

    It’s my stationary computer desk headphone rig that’s slightly above mid-market.. Sabre dac, tube amp and Sennheiser HD800’s. If you can afford it it’s very nice. But you can get very far with just a pair of HD650’s and a good sound card like the asus essence stx.

    • bthylafh
    • 4 years ago

    I’ll stream new stuff through Youtube, then buy through either Amazon or iTunes. Once I’ve got a local copy it’s played through Foobar2000 if I’m at home; if not, I stream music to myself with Subsonic:

    [url<]http://www.subsonic.org/[/url<] No fancy speakers or headphones, just Dell soundbars.

    • confusedpenguin
    • 4 years ago

    If I want to listen to something in particular, YouTube. If I want to listen to music as I fall asleep at night, I use iTunes to listen to streaming radio, usually classical or baroque. I’m very picky about music. Rap sounds awful. Techno causes confusion. Country causes brain decay. If I feel the need to purchase a particular album, I use 7Digital.

      • Meadows
      • 4 years ago

      How quaint.

      Actually, “techno” (which is a rather narrow subgenre) is monotonous enough that it can in fact help concentration on certain tasks.

        • Ifalna
        • 4 years ago

        I read (somewhere, many years ago ._.) that the repetitiveness of techno actually shuts down the brain and makes it difficult to learn while listening to it.

          • Meadows
          • 4 years ago

          I said “certain tasks”. Semi-automatic tasks for example, like driving a car, playing online games, or working out, are likely to benefit instead.

            • Ifalna
            • 4 years ago

            Definitely. I always listen to trance when I farm mobs in MMOs. πŸ˜€

    • Geonerd
    • 4 years ago

    Desktop with onboard Via sound chip that I really can’t complain about.
    Audigy2ZS and Win 7 not entirely happy together. πŸ™

    Generic Pioneer umpteen channel / ~300w AV amp.

    Just two speakers – old school Ohm Walsh 1.
    (Great ‘clean, open’ sound, but anemic bass. These guys could use a subwoofer.)

    Sen HD 280 cans on occasion.

    I usually have something playing for 2~3 hours a day.
    (Beats the hell out of the TeeVee drone!)

    Music is mostly Flac / Ape and high bitrate MP3.
    My half-century ears top out at ~13.5k. I can fairly easily hear problems with < ~128KB MP3 files., but do have a few of rare music.

    Used CDs from Fleabay are cheap enough, so not too much Pirateware. But but I feel zero compunction against downloading a better sounding recording of an album I already own. (Loudness war and all that….)

    Car has a CD and radio that I never seem to listen to very often.
    Have protable MP3 player, but never seen to use it either.
    Silence is not at all a bad thing!

    • cygnus1
    • 4 years ago

    Generally… From my phone, cached Spotify playlists via bluetooth in the car. Or if I’m at a PC, then just streaming those same Spotify playlists.

    • paulWTAMU
    • 4 years ago

    on the PC I have an all right set of 2.1 logitechs that are several years old. I can stream through my blu ray player though, and that’s hooked up to a harmon receiver and a nice set of 2.1 sony’s. Forget the model number–I bought them on clearance when we bought the house back in 07 or 08, but they’re pretty fair

    • Noinoi
    • 4 years ago

    Music bought from online music stores. I rarely stream – I prefer to keep my collection on-disk.

    As for what I listen with, Sennheiser HD 439 – still going strong after three years or so! Somehow I didn’t break them in half a year, and they still sound as good as they did when new.

    Desktop also has Logitech Z313 for when I don’t want to use headphones.

    Relatively low-end hardware? Yeah. On the other hand, though, if it sounds good to me, I guess that’s good enough.

    • Philldoe
    • 4 years ago

    I buy all of my music on CD then rip it to FLAC with EAC. Play it through VLC on my computer or phone using some Sony MDR-10 RBT’s. I don’t use streaming services.

    • Heiwashin
    • 4 years ago

    I listen to music using youtube red on my phone to save data. I tried the youtube music or whatever it’s called but since it’s the same as pandora i’d rather just use pandora if i was going to do that. And the music plays through the truck speakers via bluetooth.

    • NovusBogus
    • 4 years ago

    I have serious problems with the music industry but don’t like piracy either, so I mostly hide behind the first-sale doctrine and buy used CDs which then get converted to 320k mp3. Used to use Pandora to find new stuff, but got bored with it plus I don’t listen to a whole lot of music at home anymore (streaming is not allowed at work).

    Hardware wise, I’ve got Audioengine A2+ speakers most of the time, and Sony MDR-V6 cans when I need headphones. Gets the job done.

    • chΒ΅ck
    • 4 years ago

    I uh… acquire my music through the internet.
    plays through a gamma 2 DAC -> custom headphone amp -> HD650 at home.
    creative labs x-fi USB sound card -> Ultrasone hfi-780 at work.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    Digital optical TOSLINK from my Xonar fed directly into a Yamaha RX-V467.
    From there it drives a Klipsch 5.1 surround setup with a nice sub.

    • BlackDove
    • 4 years ago

    I listen to CDs on my 13 speaker Lexus Pioneer stereo with a 6 disc CD changer pretty much all the time when i drive. I also own Grado SR80i headphones that i use with my PC.

    I refuse to use MP3s or other nonsense like that. I like to own my music.

      • DancinJack
      • 4 years ago

      You know you can purchase MP3s right?

      • just brew it!
      • 4 years ago

      I call bulls**t.

      MP3s are inherently DRM-free; there’s no provision for DRM in the file format. If you buy an MP3 download from Amazon they can’t “take it back”, ever. There’s no “phone home” behavior, and you can copy the downloaded files to any PC or device you want.

      The fact that Amazon uses lossy compression is a separate matter; I really wish they’d offer a FLAC option. This is what I like about Bandcamp… they offer multiple formats, including lossless ones; unfortunately the selection of available music is limited.

      Even for music originally purchased on CD, they are a horribly inefficient way to transport the bits around. You do realize that you could store over 300 full-length CDs on a 128GB micro-SD card, with [u<]lossless[/u<] compression, right? With lossy compression that goes up by like another factor of 3, and that's still at a high enough bitrate that you're probably not going to be able to tell the difference between lossy and lossless, especially in a moving car.

        • sweatshopking
        • 4 years ago

        plus you wouldn’t be making all the plastic that ends up in a landfill in a few years.

          • just brew it!
          • 4 years ago

          Amazon’s demand-based pricing model has resulted in the physical CDs costing less (including delivery!) than the digital-only download in many cases. This is completely brain-dead IMO.

          If they would offer lossless downloads and provide a high resolution digital version of the artwork from the physical packaging, I would be willing to go completely over to digital downloads.

    • SDLeary
    • 4 years ago

    Um… with my ears. πŸ˜€

    Seriously though, these days I listen to music with…. Radio, or a streaming version thereof. A local radio station either thru my car radio, or streaming thru iHeartRadio. I do listen a bit to Apple Radio and my own CD backups, but tend to prefer the traditional radio format.

    SDLeary

    • credible
    • 4 years ago

    Music freak and my favorite times are either with a good set of cans, or in my car, like both equally.

    • kerwin
    • 4 years ago

    I have a pair of PSB M4U2’s. But, for almost 13 years, I used a Cambridge Soundworks 5.1 surround sound system. I think I might get some small 2.1 system down the road…

    • crabjokeman
    • 4 years ago

    Home: I have an old Sony receiver/speakers hooked to an M-Audio Revolution, along with some Sony MDR-V6 headphones. I have a ton of CD’s ripped to FLAC, or for some stuff I don’t listen to as much, I’ll use ogg/vorbis to save space. The Revo isn’t supported in modern versions of Windows, but I spend most of my time in Linux where the card is well-supported.

    On the go: I use an old Sansa Clip player I got for free and I generally convert my FLAC’s to musepack because it delivers good lossy quality with excellent battery life. I’ll use the aforementioned cans, or smaller/lighter designs (down to earbuds) depending on what I’m doing.

    • Wonders
    • 4 years ago

    I have a pair of Grado GS1000’s that I have enjoyed a lot over the past 7 years. Funny thing is, once I listen to a favorite album enough times to memorize the sound, I just imagine it and I prefer that to listening. Have had music playback going in in my head nearly 24/7 since I was a kid. I have known a few other musicians who don’t listen to recorded music super frequently (relative to the breadth of music they consume), I have assumed it was for the same reason.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 4 years ago

      Nice. I have a pair of Grado SR225s and they’re great. I purchased a Senn HD598 and quickly returned it when compared to the Grado. I’ve only had mine for about 3 years, tho.

      • cegras
      • 4 years ago

      My roommate also has that 24/7 music playing thing. I believe he found a paper online about a psychologist who studied himself. I’ll try to find it.

    • the
    • 4 years ago

    At home, I’m far more mundane. I still buy CD’s as I like the owning my media. I rip them to high bit rate MP3 and store them on my NAS for everyone at home to use. Most of the time though I’ve been just playing music from my iPhone with a pair of JVC earbuds for privacy.

    At work I get to play around with professional gear. There I have a BiAmp processor for mixing various audio streams that feed an array of Crown amps. I can’t recall who makes the speakers. We have a CD player there in the rack with XLR outputs to the audio processor. It sounds [i<]nice[/i<].

    • Captain Ned
    • 4 years ago

    Home: The post-college era stereo rig complete with vinyl spinner. Components date from roughly 1980 to roughly 2005. Doesn’t get used much, mainly only when I’m the only one home.

    Computer: The one place I need to upgrade. Logitech Z640 5.1 driven by a Xonar D1.

    Office: Oppo PM-3 cans driven by an iFi micro iCan. Source is either the Zune HD (320kbps/44.1 MP3 rips) or the laptop (same source files) through an Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2 in front of the iCan.

    Car: SiriusXM through the stock HarmanKardon rig in the Forester. Occasionally the Zune through the Aux input.

    Travel: Shure SE500 IEMs driven by a Headroom Total BitHead, with the Zune for source. Haven’t yet tested this rig through the laptop/Dragonfly combo. The DAC is the weakest part of the Total BitHead.

    No worries about losing music purchased online, as I’ve never done so. Everything is “backed up” on physical source media.

    And yes, even at almost 52 (next week) I can still hear the 15 KHz “dog whistle” in the Sgt. Pepper lead-out groove.

    • Firestarter
    • 4 years ago

    I have a library that I listen to with a small USB amp and Sennheiser HD 595’s and HD 25-1’s. I used to use those HD 25-1’s with a dedicated MP3 player while commuting, almost every day, but that’s in the past. I can only recommend to anyone commuting by train or bus to buy good headphones that isolate isolate ISOLATE to help you cling to your sanity, the durability of these Sennheisers was also very appreciated. What is less appreciated is that although they sell replacement parts for them, the replacement cable is so expensive that many would balk at even buying a completely new pair of headphones for that kind of money. I just bought the cable though and got some fresh new pads as well, worth every cent. I don’t know how old this pair is (at least 10 years now) but it looks and sounds like new

    • Visigoth
    • 4 years ago

    With my ears.

      • Gyromancer
      • 4 years ago

      This whole time I thought we listened to music with our noses, thank you sir.

    • TwistedKestrel
    • 4 years ago

    Ever since I lost my last iTunes collection from a corrupted drive, and the resulting irritation of being unable to restore the perfectly good music from my iPhone, it’s mostly just been Youtube. I have a folder of releases from small artists but it’s only got 70ish files in it.

    • NeelyCam
    • 4 years ago

    I’m old skool. I buy my music, mostly from Amazon, [i<]on CDs[/i<] and rip them (MP3s, downsampled to 32kHz). After that, the MP3s are moved manually to my USB stick in the car or to my Fiio X1 music player. They also stay on the PC for playing through Logitech Squeezeboxes (one of which feeds the sauna room). Music on Fiio is played through Audio-Technica M50 headphones

      • chuckula
      • 4 years ago

      Vinyl recorded lossless with lasers or GTFO!
      [url<]http://elpj.com/[/url<]

        • the
        • 4 years ago

        Ooooooo….. they have new models.

        I have a buddy who is a bit of an audiophile with a nice vinyl collection. This is one of those things I’d love to get him as a gift. His face just lit up when talking about this technology in normal chitchat. Unfortunately I didn’t win the lottery this past week to spoil him.

        • NeelyCam
        • 4 years ago

        Oh damn, I didn’t know something like that even existed…

        Pretty sweet.

        • just brew it!
        • 4 years ago

        Oh, these are still around? I figured laser turntables were a gimmick back when the tech debuted over a decade ago. I guess there are enough audiophiles with more money than sense to keep these laser turntable producers in business!

      • Klyith
      • 4 years ago

      > MP3s, downsampled to 32kHz

      Not sure if you have some good reason for doing this, but if you’re downsapmling from 44khz to 32 for quality or filesize reasons you really needn’t bother. It doesn’t really do anything.

      The way that perceptually-based lossy codecs like MP3 work, they’re already throwing away most high-frequency content unless the perceptual model judges that those signals are important to what you can hear. In 99% of real world audio the vast majority of frequencies above 14-16khz are trimmed out by the encoder. So you are in effect forcefully throwing away data that would have gotten reduced to zero anyways, but might have been of use to the encoder’s modeling if it had been present, and introducing resampling steps on each side of the mp3.

      If you were encoding everything to a lossless format you might have some benefit from this idea (though probably not as much as a naive guess would think), but for MP3 it’s pointless. The people who wrote it know more than we do about audio encoding.

        • NeelyCam
        • 4 years ago

        Interesting.. I was using 320kbps CBR earlier, and the file sizes were a lot bigger than 192kbps VBR 32kHz. Of course, that’s apples/oranges, but that was the comparison I was doing at the time. I can’t hear anything above 16kHz, so I figured I would try filtering and downsampling

          • just brew it!
          • 4 years ago

          I suppose if you are the only person who will ever listen to your rips, that’s not completely unreasonable. But disk/flash space is stupid cheap these days, and downsampling can introduce artifacts beyond just the loss of higher frequencies. Depending on the device, it may also get upsampled back to 44.1 or 48 KHz for playback, with yet another opportunity for introduction of artifacts.

          So why bother?

    • superjawes
    • 4 years ago

    My headphones: Sennheiser HD600
    Software: Spotify Premium

    I really like Spotify premium because it lets me save music to my phone when I am at work and not able to stream. And yes, a really nice pair of headphones is nice. Just be careful where you end up, as your wallet may hate you…

    • CampinCarl
    • 4 years ago

    Software:
    Desktop: Winamp + Collection, or Amazon Prime, or Pandora if at work
    Mobile: Google Play Music/Amazon Music to play my collection stored on my cell phone. Up until recently, I used my Zune.

    Devices:
    Fluance SX-6 Bookshelf speakers, powered by an SMSL SA-50 Amp coming from my Xonar DX sound card.
    Headphones are usually nothing special, $15 sony cheapies at the gym and what not.
    When I have to use headphones I home, I usually just listen through my headset (Logitech G35)

    • Zenith
    • 4 years ago

    From my desktop, mix of Pandora, Spotify, and my hundreds of GBs collection in FLAC, Ogg, and Mp3.

    My speaker set and cans have withstood the test of time; Logitech z-680 from 2005, Sony MDR-V6s from 2003. I’m sure both have lost some fidelity over time and constant use, but I’m tempted to replace the Sony’s with an identical pair.

      • morphine
      • 4 years ago

      Apart from some possible electrical problem on the Z-680s’ amp, there’s absolutely no reason why any audio equipment would lose fidelity. Speakers don’t wear out with usage, just sometimes with humidity, etc.

      • NovusBogus
      • 4 years ago

      Unfortunately for you (and me also), Sony has in their infinite wisdom discontinued the MDR-V6. Get em while they last, Amazon had a sale the other day.

    • Ryszard
    • 4 years ago

    It’s a combination of Apple Music, Soundcloud, Mixcloud and YouTube for me, both on my desktop (iMac) and phone (iPhone). YouTube’s a surprising proportion of the source of what I listen to, which I wouldn’t have expected if you’d asked me even just a few years ago. Seems to have just crept up on me.

    Hardware wise, I have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and a pair of Sennheiser Momentum over ears (first generation, might get the 2nd gen with the bigger cups). For the kinds of music I like to listen to, the Momentums are really nice, but audiophiles tend to turn their noses (ears?) up at them. They’re my bag, though.

    I’d love to try more high-end listening hardware, especially the headphones, but it’s one of those things where as soon as you step outside the regular consumer stuff, it’s just impossible to try before you buy. The Momentums I bought because I found a really nice Sennheiser demo setup room thing in a BestBuy when I was travelling to California once, and could listen to a wide range of their products back-to-back. That really helped.

    Hard to do that though in general, which really sucks.

    At least here in the UK you see so many people wearing large over-ear headphones that the social stigma is gone, so I wear the Momentums outside no problems. I guess we have Beats to thank for that. Thanks, ‘Dre!

    • anotherengineer
    • 4 years ago

    Don’t really (edit – have some good quiet time to listen/enjoy music.)

    Co-work told me about [url<]http://songza.com/[/url<] if I ever wanted some variety though. Have a set of old medusa headphones plugged into my HT Omega Claro + soundcard though.

      • crabjokeman
      • 4 years ago

      “Without music, life would be a mistake.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

      Don’t listen to music and you have an Omega Claro?? What a waste…

        • anotherengineer
        • 4 years ago

        It’s not that I don’t like it, I used to play piano years ago, and still enjoy classical and most types of music. It’s just with 2 little ones, and stuff it’s hard to find time to find anything new or the time to actually enjoy it. Get them to bed then chores then bed.

        I was looking at some Audio Engine A5+ monitors, but then the CND dollar took a kicking, and other things popped up.

        One of these days…………

        Edit – And it’s a Claro Plus! πŸ™‚

      • bill94el
      • 4 years ago

      Very nice. Thanks anotherengineer. The workout/classic rock works as designed.

      • albundy
      • 4 years ago

      thanks for the linky. me likey!

    • morphine
    • 4 years ago

    My music collection is stored in FLAC, because I can convert it to whatever format is necessary for portability. Also, disk space is cheap nowadays. I don’t care much for streaming (yet), as some of the stuff I listen to is not all that well-known (no, I’m not a hipster or anything).

    On my main PC/workplace I have a set of bookshelf Tannoy F1 Custom speakers supported by a brutal REL Quake sub. Both are fed by an old but still good Sony STR-DE698 receiver. Although this setup is pretty darn nice, I’m looking to simplify things with a set of KRK RP6s when I can afford them. At night time, a pair of Sennheiser HD212 Pros do the job pretty well. Best set for the money IMO.

    On the living room with the big TV, I’m using a pair of excellent Mission Cyrus 780 bookshelf speakers which punch far above their weight. I recently added a B&W ASW500 sub for low-end reinforcement. Those are fed by a recently-bought Onkyo TX-SR444 receiver. This set is pending an upgrade, too. I intend to add front tower and central speakers, and relegate the 780’s for surround channel duties.

      • bronek
      • 4 years ago

      I do just about the same – all CDs I like are ripped to FLAC (files stored in ZFS to protect against bitrot) and served by local minidlnad. Sound played either by Samson BT4 hooked up to my computer via Epiphany Acoustic (RIP) DAC; or larger setup in my living room where I have a pair of KEF Q100 hooked up to Onkyo NR646. There is also oppo player “up the chain” for special occasion when I want to play SACD (I have a few) and also for streaming DTS in .wav container from DLNA (which Onkyo does not handle when fed directly from DLNA). For headphones, I do have Sony MDR7520 which I occasionally use, but I prefer sound of my speakers. I do not use Spotify much but I do have premium, because that allows me to use large setup when I occasionally use it (using Onkyo).

    • LauRoman
    • 4 years ago

    I have tried a few streaming music services and can’t really seem to get into them that much so i mostly listen to my own music also with a pair of HD 380 pro in the house, or HD 201 if i’m in the shop fixing stuff or Jabra Sport Wireless+ if i’m running.

      • biffzinker
      • 4 years ago

      I’m currently subscribed to Google Play Music, the app is at times buggy for me but when it works it’s perfect expect you don’t have access to all available music. If I switch to the Play Store however I see music for sale that isn’t offered through the subscription service.

      For listening to music, and gaming I’m currently blown away with [url=https://steelseries.com/gaming-headsets/siberia-200<]SteelSeries Siberia 200[/url<]. The One Plus One with SteelSeries Headset makes for an interesting pairing. Whatever One Plus stuck in for a DAC/Amp pushs the headset. Tried with a old Apple iPad 2 sound coming out of the headset was terrible.

    • Stickem
    • 4 years ago

    I don’t bother trying to find new music as I have “many” albums of old music that I haven’t yet listened to.

    Cowan J3 mp3 player and Sennheiser PX100 mobile headphones.
    The sound is fabulous to these old ears.

      • Firestarter
      • 4 years ago

      the PX100’s are really awesome headphones, very fun sounding

    • tanker27
    • 4 years ago

    Apple Music, for cans I switch between Sennheiser HD 380 pro and Audiotechnica ATH 50s.

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