Hardware

Speakers

Speakers - or loudspeakers - are the final link in your audio chain. By means of vibrating membranes, the electronic sound is converted into audible sound. Speakers should be of a very high quality since they have to perform a difficult task. Most loudspeakers contain multiple speakers to ensure that every frequency of the spectrum is perfectly audible. An amplifier is needed to deliver the right amount of power. Sometimes loudspeakers are equipped with built-in amplifiers to match exact specifications.

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Headphones

Headphones have a similar function as speakers. They translate an electronic signal into a audible sound. There is, however, a large difference: headphones are worn on the head so that the sound is only audible to the listener. The advantage of this is the isolation of the background noise, so people around you don’t have to suffer from your musical taste. Just like with speakers, high quality is important with headphones, being the last the last step in the audio chain.

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Amplifier

An amplifier is a crucial component in every audio setup. Your choice of amplifier can either make or break the sound, which of course heavily depends on the loudspeakers that they are hooked up to. In short: an amplifier creates enough power, using the music input coming from a playback device, to drive the speakers.

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Players

To play music files, you have to use a media player. Usually this will be a computer or a dedicated media player such as a DSD player. These days it’s even possible to play music with a smartphone via a wireless connection, streaming the music from your phone or server.

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DAC

To convert digital audio to a normal audio signal a D/A converter (in short: DAC) is needed. It creates a analog signal from the bits and bytes which are used in digital audio components. A high quality DAC minimizes the destructive effects of jitter and aliasing and has an outstanding sound quality.

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Storage devices

A storage device is needed to hold your carefully bought music files. This can be a server, computer or USB-stick. These devices use a digital format to hold a broad variety of data. Because high quality audio takes up more space than normal audio it is important to have enough space. Hard drives can contain up to 6 TB (terabyte) these days!

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Audio Cables

Cables are the most underestimated part of your setup, yet they are very important! The basic purpose of a cable is to move an electric signal from one device to another but since there are many types of cables it is important to know which one to use.

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