Why do people listen to music? That can be summed up in a single word. It’s for the same reason we compose and play music – emotion. Music is a uniquely human form of artful communication that transmits emotions from one to another and to the many.
There was a time when all music was performed live. Back then, little could be lost in translation. Our modern mass-distribution recording and playback technologies can distort music so much the emotional message is damaged or even lost. To retain what we love most – the emotions that may not find such vivid expression in other art forms – music must be treated tenderly.
Musical philistines think it doesn’t matter what music sounds like as long as it’s roughly recognizable. I see this attitude transformed when I become DJ Sneaky and they hear playback that sounds like the real thing, much like the original performance, for the first time.
I often take a small computer audio setup to a social event and provide music without announcing it. The response is typically amusing. You see heads start bobbing, feet tapping, and big smiles break out. People shake their heads and mutter about how lifelike the music sounds. Some even get up and dance.
Music at social events fosters emotional connections we long to experience even if we aren’t conscious of the process or our inner needs. Something asleep awakens and imparts new life to whatever folks are doing. Across time and great distances music enhances emotional bonds between us.
Depending on your history, computer audio from good recordings may sound far better than any recorded music you’ve ever heard. If you listen with earbuds or headphones plugged into the audio jack of a computer or mobile device, what you hear is only a vestige of what is possible. Anyone who has experienced even one live music performance knows the difference and has a feel for what I’m talking about.
Digital music playback comes much closer to the original than listening through a headphone jack or even a Line Out adapter. When high fidelity, lifelike listening replaces degraded music playback, your experience is more like being there when and where the music was performed and recorded. Even a small cost and effort can help reproduce the original music and resurrect its emotionality. You can experience a virtual concert every time you listen.
You can access more beauty, power, and emotion in recordings, perhaps as never before, with nothing more than your computer or mobile device, an inexpensive DAC, and a set of headphones, (DAC rhymes with “back” and stands for Digital to Analog Converter.) A quality outboard DAC bypasses the inferior internal circuitry in computers, players, mobile devices, etc.
These higher performance DACs convert digital music files more faithfully into the analog format that can be amplified and heard through devices that play music and have input connectors such as stereos or powered speakers. Some DACs have internal headphone amplifiers so they can drive your headphones directly.
Setup is quick, easy, and can be inexpensive. You don’t have to be an audio geek. Just follow a few simple instructions and change a couple settings in your computer or device. Several DACs listed in the Computer Audio Buyers Guide on this website can introduce you to the magical sound of computer audio very affordably in the price range from $149 to $249.
At iHi-Fi.com, no tax is collected, shipping is always free in the Lower 48 States, and you get the manufacturer’s standard warranty. Also, you can audition your new gear in your own home, connected to your own system, for 30 days. If you want to send something back, just do it within 30 days, in new condition, with all the packaging, and iHi-Fi refunds the full purchase price. Just call or email iHi-Fi before any return.