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So, having had my desire for a decent music set up squashed by my wife's hatred for anything that looks like a speaker, for many years. I have decided to do something about it.


A friend at work pointed me at a few websites about computer based stuff, and i have had my eyes opened, so thats a good start!


But i now have 101 questions, so sorry if i scatter the forum with lots of easy questions, but I want to try and plan what I am going to do, and get it right.


Anyway... no specific question on this post, just wanted to introduce myself and warn about lots of other questions to come. Unless there is anything really basic that you think i should know?





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Before you hit us with 101 questions, do yourself and us a favor and start with Chris' excellent Computer audio primer here:




It will get you going and give you valuable info that will probably answer at least 99 questions and many you did not even know to ask. Run backwards from page 9 til you feel you have got most of it, then as you hone in on what you want to do, ask away.


cheers and welcome


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I am pretty new to computer based music as well, but I can honestly say that I have been able to surpass the sound quality of my CD transport. This is the way of the future. I learned a lot by just cruising this forum. Seems like a friendly bunch eager to answer any questions or give advise. You will be confused and frustrated by the seemingly endless possibilities and technical jargon until the pieces start to fall into place for your dream system, but that is half the fun of this addiction! Cheers!


My advise for the road: Start with a Mac


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Does your wife really hate intrusive speakers specifically, or did you write that to convey her dislike of bulky hi-fi hardware in general?


Either way, I suspect we're in a similar situation. With a toddler scurrying about our 850 sq/. condo (hey Silicon Valley is very expensive), and the fact that our primary sound system needs to reside in the main living area, SO HATES my big floor-standing towers and the complications of needing multiple components to make music. Therefor I too am interested in the best fidelity possible from high "ease of use" components and perhaps wall- mounted speakers.


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Welcome Matt! There's lots to learn of this site; I've benefited from the many well informed people here.


I do a lot of listening with just my laptop, a usb dac with built in headphone amp, and a pair of headphones. When you're not listening, the whole rig is all but invisible. Just a thought.


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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I think i could end up having the headphone option as a back up... especially when the kids are in bed. But i wouldn't be happy if its all i have


As for my wife... the floorstanders i have where certainly a no no and have been in the garage for years. Atleast i get to listen to decent music while i work on my car!


The wires i had were a problem as well, she hates seeing speaker cable. My amp is also along the "functional" lines when it comes to appearance, rather than being nice shiny boxes that all match.


I am more prepared for a bit of a fight this time, but we shall see. However in the living room it will still be a challenge and also the wall that the speakers would naturally be near is ajoining to the neighbours, so no monster set up allowed. But i have options elsewhere in the house if the set up is small, and i am thinking also possibly relativly mobile. So like the look of a netbook with one the smaller DACs and maybe some decent powered speakers to keep everything to a minimum.


Problem is... i can see myself having things set up all over the place at this rate!! too many options, too many things to try!


My main focus at the moment though is getting the bit before the DAC right. I know nothing about that bit really.


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I am constantly surprised with mens comments about their wives not allowing speakers in their home. To me (and my wife to a lesser extent) love music so much that I can not imagine not having a pair of nice speakers in the home.

There are many terrific speakers out now that have a smaller and more designer friendly foorprint than ever before. My advice is to start looking at every hifi place in your area to see if there isn't a pair of speakers that you and your wife can agree on to grace your home. On walls have also come a long way and frankly so has amplifiers and playback equipment as far as looks and design friendly styling.


Yes you need the front end right but you won't hear much without a decent pair of speakers!



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My much better half decreed that the large PSB Image 45's in the living room were "awfully big and ugly" - and then gave me the "Do something about it!" look. :)


Sold off the T45s, picked up a pair of PSB Image B4's for her to listen to. Tiny little things, looked cute on either side of the television.


About a week later, she got me to move the PSB Imagine B's out of the bedroom and into the living room. Much better sound.


Two weeks later, I ordered a set of Magnepan MMGs for her. Much larger and much more intrusive than any of the PSBs. Wonderful sound.


Not long after, she ordered a set of Magenpan 1.7 hulking monsters.



They arrived at our dealer on Tuesday, and when I got them home yesterday, she not only wanted to help carry them in, but pushed me out of the way an attached the feet herself. :)


Gads they are big....


Moral of the story? Be cautious when wife starts down this path, your wallet and room decor are about to suffer!


(Did I mention that these 1.7s also led to new chairs, the removal of a particularly comfortable couch, and other small changes??? :)


By the way, welcome!





Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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