STEREO Survey

What is your primary source of music?

The nowadays available variety of different hi-fi sources is huge. From traditional ones like radios, turntables or tape recorders over somewhat modern ones like CD Players to cutting edge streamers and music servers.

In this abundance of possibilities it is hard to keep track of everything and even harder to feature all of these sources in a single chain – for many that is simply impossible due to space issues. Thus, most of us focus our investment of hard earned time and money on just a few sources instead. In our survey of the week the subscribers of our fortnightly STEREO Magazine newsletter told us which hi-fi sources they primarily use. Here, we have published the results as well as as a selection of comments – of course completely anonymously.

  • Records are a second source, not played as often. The turntable set up is more expensive and sounds great, but it is more fuss.
  • Listening to records on a good turntable beats all other ways of hearing music!
  • CD 1ST, TURNTABLE 2ND
  • CD in car or on the system for novelty in classical music but every day I listen to vinyl.
  • 60% vinyl, 20% tidal and 20% CD/computer
  • Turntable is a close second (second only for convenience/time reasons; turntable is choice no.1 for quality listening sessions)
  • Melco into Devialet. Simple and wonderful.
  • I'm all vinyl!
  • I like the tactile effect, the meta data and the quality. Records don’t have all. I find it weird that people try to argue the opposite. However I do like okay LP’s from time to time. It’s fun!
  • My primary source is a NAS with all my CDs ripped to it, run through a Roon Server, with the addition of Tidal and Qobuz service.
  • Would be better to be able to distinguish a local streamer (e.g. NAS) from a streaming service such as Qobuz. Or maybe you count a NAS as a Music Server.
  • The abive choice "Radio (FM, DAB+ Internet AND (you forgot) Satelite !!) is in ADDITION to a huge, but deep sleeping archive of music.
  • Turntable is second; CD's are 3rd; streaming 4th; OTA radio (as defined above) 5th
  • Cd and fm radio classical broadcasts
  • I have a Transrotor dark star statment with a Micro Benz wood cartidge and a trigon vanguard III prephone amplifier and I'm very happy with it. I don't like digital source very much because there are many digital formats and the source obsolecense is so high (DAC and format compatibility). In addition the lasser unit are not very reliable and they are cheap products independent of the quality and price of the source. Maybe I will buy a music server in the future just because they are very comfortable to manage and hear your cd library, but I like the vinyl sound more.
  • Tidal, Amazon Music
  • I subscribe to the highest quality streaming service available in my country. The music then passes through a very good DAC/preamp to active speakers.
  • Have 5 sources but CD's and DAC get the most use.
  • Tidal
  • Sony HAP Ze1
  • I use a turntable as my main source for serious listening. I use CDs and a jump drive through my Oppo 205 for secondary listening.
  • Not sure if "streamer" or music server" but using Tidal app on Oppo BluRay into DAC for majority of listening. Find most of the music I have on CD is there and so convenient!
  • Turntable and LPs I use whenever wish to hear the true HiFi. There is an audible difference, but turntable needs more care and such listening sessions are consuming much more time.
  • Reel to reel tape machine is my best source
  • To my opinion, CD and on top SACD, remains the best and easiest way for listening your favourite music. I grew up with vinyl (born in 1951), but experienced the limitations (clicks, scratches, dust, dirt, hole out of center, warped records, bad pressings, low dynamic range, etc) of the system. Nowadays, with the vinyl revival, also a lot of crap is sold, suffering one or more of the above mentioned problems. CD, and certainly SACD, eliminate almost all of these problems. With streaming, you never know what you get...
  • I prefer my turntable but Spotify and other streaming make it very easy to get acces to loads of music so i use that as well
  • Innuos Zenith CD ripper/ Streamer (Spotify subscription) / server
  • Roon Nucleus is excellent
  • THORENS TD160
  • Using a dedicated Roon Nucleus as the source
  • I use a Turntable and a CD/SACD player equally as sources but obtain the best sound quality from vinyl.
  • As a n old scotsman of 71 I recently upgraded my cd and amp, i chose the Gato cdd-1 and dia 250 amp with streaming as i wanted to see what the fuss about streaming, its good but cd better
  • Big fan of Classical Music - Primary source is Linn Audio - Purchase & Download Studio Master FLAC -- Also utilize a collection of Classical SACD's & listen to Classical HD Radio
  • Innuos Zenith SE, have recently sold my VPI turntable
  • I am old school. Like music in physical format and they sound better than CAS to me.
  • There’s life in the old disc yet!
  • HP Microserver configured as a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device streams music files to an Oppo UDP-205 over Ethernet.
  • Stationary pc wth Roon, music files on external usb disc, out signal as usb.
  • Mainly radio as I can listen in car as well as at home. At home Both CD and radio 50% each. Looking at update to my system incl new turntable and streamer.
  • Primary source is a dedicated PC. It is used for reproduction of local files (ripped CDs / Hi-Res PCM and DSD Files) and for TIDAL master streaming.
  • Actualy there are two. TT and PC
  • iPod
  • Alternately, I do enjoy my Marantz CD/SACD player very much. However, in general my turntable is more listenable.
  • Mac Mini running Dirac room correction
  • 90% LPs
  • It totally depends on the mastering/recordings. For the best recordings, SACD is trumps, followed by CD or Streamer equal second. Turntable enjoys great vocals and drums and good sound stage. I freely switch between all three, and for background use FM/DAB+. Music digital library has 90,000 tracks.
  • I do use my turntable but mostly cd
  • More and more I am relying on streamer
  • Vinyl for ever
  • With over 9000 CDs, it's very difficult to move away from a physical player. However, it is also a challenge to find the music when needed. So all discs have been ripped and favourites are then "playlisted" for playback via Mac-Amarra.
  • SACD player most important source.
  • Mostly FLAC files on a PC through a DAC to the amp. I do sometimes listen to CD/SACD but it has gotten to be very infrequently due to the convenience without loss of quality that FLAC files provide.
  • I can usually pick up flea market CD for 4 or 5 dollars
  • I use streaming & spin lp's too
  • Vinyl is still my #1 source of music, increasingly challenged by high-res streaming from my music server as well as from Qobuz.
  • Audirvana and Qobuz as provider
  • Joint with Turntable
  • Qobuz Tidal Radio
  • My favourite America music streaming with Tidal makes me very happy.
  • I also use vinyl and CD but my primary listening is streaming.
  • Vinyl are one of the best music storages for long
  • I use turntable and CD player. I can stream but only a bit.
  • Very quick and convenient and the sound quality is very decent. It is Bluesound Powernode 2 for me.
  • Roon
  • Antipodes DX, Roon, Tidal
  • Actually Streamer and Music server almost equally. SACD and Turntable next.
  • First vinyl, than Radio and..... Reel to reel tape!
  • Second would be turntable and streaming devices are third....
  • For critical music listening the turntable, but for background music, distraction, non critical listening: Streamer. Thanks.
  • iTunes through a Mac, Hooked up to a good DAC, through a moderate HiFi system produces excellent music without all the hassle of Lps and CDs.

A huge thank you to everyone who left an answer and/or comment! If you also want to participate in upcoming surveys, simply subscribe to our STEREO Magazine newsletter and never miss out on the latest reviews and news from the beautiful world of hi-fi.

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