Open Source Audiophile

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About

For everyone who has wished to have an amazing stereo, music piped through your house, or even just the coolest remote control on the block, this site is for you.

Problem:

“The mark of the amateur is to reinvent-the-wheel before finding out if there are perfectly good wheels already available. ” Gynecomastic

CD players have become increasingly better at making great sound. They’ve also become extremely expensive, yet none of them can ever truly fix the problems associated with “being” a CD player in the first place. Apple, Olive, Escient and many others have tried to move us beyond CD’s into the digital world. They have all missed the mark. They’re all hard to use, too expensive, and / or too restrictive!

“The mark of a pro is knowing when you can make a better wheel.” Willm

The ability to go far beyond CD players and in fact reproduce perfect sound to every single device you own has existed for years. What’s worse is that it’s also totally free!

Solution / Goal of this site:

To replace your CD player with a music server that sounds like a million dollars, and has much better features.

CD player:

  • one disc at a time is very inconvenient
  • discs can deteriorate with wear and age
  • remote just has buttons
  • no playlists … just CDR “mix tapes”
  • getting better sound costs more money

Music Server:

  • all of your music at the touch of a button
  • files last forever with proper storage / backup
  • remote can be touchscreen (cover art, track lists, etc.)
  • sync your music to your portable player
  • remote can also be your portable player
  • playlists to suit your every mood
  • getting better sound through better engineering, not more money!
  • In short, better sound and features for less money!

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This site is for computer geeks who are also stereo geeks who share a passion for free-as-in-speech. This site is to help audiophiles transition from the old ways of paying tons of cash to the music industry and hardware manufacturers, and endlessly tweaking their systems for unattainable perfect sound, to the new ways of free music, free hardware, and easier / better usability. Over time I’ve noticed some trends: CD players giving way to music servers, SPDIF giving way to firewire and USB, CD’s giving way to direct downloads, remote controls getting fancier, and the music industry treating its customers as its own worst enemy. When USB DACs started coming out I found it close to impossible to find them, let alone find reviews on them. Then came setting up the computer. Don’t forget to worry about getting sued for your digital collection! Due to my IT background I believed that any computer would have perfect sound, especially when using USB instead of SPDIF. I was dead wrong. It has taken me years to dig up and squeeze out all the information that I could about music servers so I want to start a site that can be a place for all of us to come together to share and discuss anything we find. Other website focus on switching from CD’s to music servers, but to me they’re missing the point. It’s not about convenience … while trying to maintain audiophile quality. It’s about freedom to listen to your music where and when you want on whatever hardware you want at whatever quality you want.

The cost of software has been zero for almost three decades. The cost of hardware is approaching zero. (For our purposes almost any old PC will work so the cost can be zero.) The cost of music is also approaching zero. (legally) The quality in all three categories is increasing daily. While the other websites focus on music / hardware reviews and how to set up your system, this website will focus on the ever changing landscape of what’s out there, what you can do with your system, and how you can do it. (I’d absolutely LOVE to also get into reviewing equipment but I currently have neither the cash nor the clout to do so. So I’ll leave that up to the other sites.) Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with paying for music, hardware, or software. Currently, most music has to be purchased, but I’ll show you how to get legally free music. I don’t know of any open source DAC, preamp, or amp designs, but there are one or two open source software upsamplers. Songbird and VLC both have iphone remote apps that I have been happy to purchase, but MPD and UPNP control clients are free.

With this site we can have one central clearinghouse for all things related to digital music reproduction. My prediction is that one day everything from the music, to hardware, to software all the way to your speakers will be open sourced. During that journey we can keep each other up to date. On that note, I try to write everything to be as readable as possible. I generalize so that the beginner can understand and the expert doesn’t have to re-read things already known. Sometimes I will make mistakes. In any case, just chime in and I’ll correct anything that needs it.

Published on Wednesday, July 11 2012 by System Admin