Aside from plugging in headphones and listening to music, most people don’t really know too much about high fidelity audio. A converter, amp, DAQ, open-ear headphones, hi-fi streaming—most people know very little about this side of music. But even though it sounds really complicated, upgrading your audio set-up isn’t so difficult if you get the right products.
Understanding the basics to creating the perfect audio set-up is the most important rule. If you don’t know the basics, you might as well just settle for your EarPods and pretend it’s studio quality.
First, you have to start with the music. Surprisingly, finding hi-fi music is the simplest step. The best option right now is Tidal, the only subscription service that lets you stream hi-fi music. Next, you need to get yourself a great DAQ. This is a digital to audio converter; it converts digital music files into analog waveform. We recommend the WA7 Fireflies DAQ, it’s a great option that doesn’t break the bank.
With hi-fi music and a DAQ, the next logical step is a great pair of headphones. The Sennheiser HD 650 is one of the best pair of open-back headphones can buy to listen to high-quality music. These don’t come cheap but at under $1,000, you won’t find better headphones than these. A great alternative is the Sennheiser HD 6XX, a cheaper version of the 650 with the same components.
This last step is not a necessity, but probably one you should invest if you’ve come this far. The Astell & Kern AK70 player is one of the best music player with a high-quality amp and DAQ. It even has support for Tidal, which the company added with an update a few months back.
To see Ron’s in-depth breakdown of these products check out the video above.