inahandbasket: (Buddha)
[personal profile] inahandbasket
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And now a bit of audio geekery...
Since I spend the better part of 8+ hours a day with my headphones on I figured it was about time I took my audio sources a bit more seriously.
Awhile back I scored a good deal on a set of Grado SR125 headphones. LOVE them. Best sounding audio purchase I've ever made.

I built a headphone amp to drive them (a gainclone) which worked well but ate 9v batteries like candy. Once I realized I was even burning through rechargeable 9v's at an unsustainable rate I decided to just get a desktop headphone amp instead. Enter Fiio E9 amp, which sounds 99.9% as good as my gainclone did, (I think it has a hair less bass oomph but that could be listener bias; hard to A/B them) and doesn't burn batteries. yay!

This config really made it apparent how lossy even Pandora's "high quality" option sounds. The compression they put on it for streaming really became apparent. I still use it for music discovery but I'm moving more and more towards listening to high quality source files. (Thank $DIETY most online services are offering 320kbps mp3 or lossless files these days... bandcamp wins with FLAC.)

The last hardware step would be a standalone DAC to do my digital->analog conversion, but I haven't been able to justify the $100ish it would run for a worthwhile one.

Anyway, on to the point of this ramble.

I just A/Bed a new piece of software against Winamp, my longtime friend. And winamp lost, handily.
JRiver (who I stumbled across randomly this morning) makes a very audiogeek friendly media center which does everything and the kitchen sink. (WAN streaming? sure. DVD archive and playback? Why not.) It's $50. Bleh. BUT! They also make a free product for audio only with all the core functionality for playback. WIN!
Supports direct hardware playback if you don't mind locking up your audio hardware (no system beeps will make it through), but even just through the DirectSound conduit it still sounds better than my old warhorse Winamp.

Thus I can happily recommend JRiver Jukebox ( http://www.jriver.com/mj/ ) for all your audio playback needs.
It really whips the llama's ass.
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