Computer Audio 101: Introduction

Computer Audio can be kinda kludgy, especially for people looking to play digital files on their hi-fi with the ease of playing music on their phone or slipping a disc into a player or slapping an LP onto a turntable. If you read about Computer Audio on the internet in search of a simple solution, you'll burrow deep into the heart of a complex and oftentimes angry beast. The truth of the matter is, you no longer have to.

Thankfully, things change and technology progresses at a blistering pace unless you are talking about Computer Audio and audiophiles where some systems and the people who own them struggle with things like playing back different file formats and getting their album cover art and metadata to show up correctly. These are First World problems brought about by the perfection of digital audio (cough).

What if we want Computer Audio to be easy? What if we want Computer Audio to not suck at doing the things we've been doing for decades? What if, heaven forbid, we want Computer Audio to be...better?

The good news is Computer Audio can be easy and better. The bad news is the easy and better approach is hard to come by within the audiophile community because within the audiophile community many people like harder: Wrestling with stuff makes music sound so much the sweeter after a long day's toil. Or so the story goes.

We're going to unravel Computer Audio audio in a series of articles in order to illustrate how easy and better can and do peacefully coexist.

Road Map (so far)

Computer Audio 101: File Formats

Computer Audio 101: File Sizes and Storage

Computer Audio 101: Fixing Your Metadata

Computer Audio 101: Glossary (coming soon)

Computer Audio 101: Guide to High Resolution Music (coming soon)

Computer Audio 101: Managing A Music Library (coming soon)

Computer Audio 101: Multi-Room Audio (coming soon)

Computer Audio 101: Network Attached Storage

Computer Audio 101: Ripping & File Conversion Software

Computer Audio 101: Streaming

Computer Audio 101: The All-In-One Solution (coming soon)

Computer Audio 101: Turn Your Desktop and iPhone Into a Concert Hall for Under $500

Credits: All images Jana Dagdagan

2_channel_ears's picture

"Resources: The Best Download Sites For New Music" but not directly listed above.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...Computer Audio 101. If you hover over "Resources", you'll see all of the resources including "The Best Download Sites For New Music".
2_channel_ears's picture

Shows up on the "Desktop Theme" site but not on mobile menu.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...will be finished today.
vbaaccess's picture

Excellent resource that covers all aspects of digital audio is "The Well Tempered Computer" website:

DH's picture

Definitely a needed resource.

One of my pet peeves on the various forums is that every time a newbie writes in asking for basic info, all the so-called experts chime in with complicated answers and push their personal audio fetishes.

Simple questions need a simple answer. Anyone who wants to wander down the audiophile nervosa rabbit hole is welcome, but it really isn't necessary to push every newbie down the hole and scare him/her away from digital audiophilia forever.

So thanks for not doing that. Again, great job.

Loved the link about the $500 concert hall.

brucew268's picture

You might want to review the connections/interconnects for the $500 concert hall. While Audioengine has RCA connections, the Tannoy Reveal range do not.

While the first list is indeed simple, it was long enough (x12) to make me think, and this is simplfied! I hope it does encourage many to make the jump.I wonder if software like MusiChi's tagger might simplify all the library management and tagging topics? Certainly when someone tries connecting these various bits together and making them work, they will need a series of 201's.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Thank you for the heads up.
MojoAudio's picture


I'll likely put a link to this article on my website.

Not only did I learn a few things, but referring my newbie computer audio customers to this article will literally save me dozens of hours each month re-explaining the same things over and over again ;-)

jim tavegia's picture

A Steinberg UR-22MK2 usb interface for up to 24/192 playback and a pair of AKG K-271s for all of $350. The sound is excellent and you could even substitute the USB Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen. for the same $150 for the Sternberg and it would sound just as excellent. Both work with Mac or Win systems. A great way to hear any music on the cheap, get music into your computer, and the beginning of what is possible.

Jdjaye's picture

Looking forward to you discussions and recommendations for "all in one solutions" hopefully with prices under a grand...

JeffRogers's picture

Any timeline on publishing the remaining topics ? Finally information on how to convert my CD collection to digital presented in a very straightforward fashion.

Brown Sound's picture

I don't mean to resurrect a long dead thread, but what happened to the rest of these? It is a great series, good for linking to our non-geek friends. Thanks, Michael!