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Amazon (advertisement link)
I personally buy all my products from Amazon – that includes Hifi audio products such as music, electronic gear, cables, accessories as well as household items. My wife even bought our vacuum cleaner there. I haven’t tested food delivery yet but I certainly will :) Amazon not only saves me time but it’s kind of a one-stop shop for everything I need.
This is my current favorite music streaming service (I previously used Qobuz but Tidal works better because of the Roon integration. Qobuz is still my favorite when it comes to purchasing high-resolution 24 bit tracks). Tidal offers true CD quality FLAC streaming. It’s a bit pricey at almost $20 per month for unlimited FLAC streaming but well worth it in my opinion. It comes with a great mobile app for iOS and Android. I just love having all my music with me all the time wherever I go without having to spend extra time on archiving / storing and managing my music collection offline. Why spend hours configuring your NAS, making backups when you can enjoy everything with absolutely no loss of quality from the cloud? Tidal already sounds so good that I haven’t turned on iTunes / Audirvana for a couple of weeks. Trust me, my STAX headphones would reveal even the smallest details if there were a difference but I simply cannot detect any for now. Just make sure you configure Tidal (desktop application) correctly on your computer so the sound output will not get messed up. I am going to write a separate article on how to get this right.
If you happen to live in Europe, this is the best place to shop for brand name pre-owned audiophile gear. I bought some of my STAX headphones there at pretty reasonable prices. You can also get fancy stuff from Accuphase, Burmester up to Pass Labs amplifiers and even cables.
Great store for anything audiophile around the Raspberry PI, offers tons of accessories and finished products.
Excellent starting point for high-end audiophile products from China that are reasonably priced. Mr. Wang Shuzheng the owner is very helpful and shipping from his store takes (almost) less time than ordering a Pizza :)
Hifimediy (China) (advertisement link)
Low-budget audiophile products for portable and home use. They specialize in SABRE DACs that seem well-implemented. If you ask me, they’re an excellent alternative to FIIO products but at much lower price points.
UPDATE as of August 2019: The Hiface is no longer needed since most DACs come with USB anyway. But if you have an older DAC, it’s still an easy way to retrofit USB inputs.
M2Tech Hiface (advertisement link)
You should definitely get a M2Tech Hiface (model One or Two) if you are serious about transmitting the best digital audio quality from your computer to an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter). In my opinion, the Hiface is the only reliable and perfect sounding solution to get real 24-bit 192kHz audio signals off your laptop (or whatever you might be using). M2Tech has drivers for virtually any operating system and that includes LINUX as well as the latest Mac OS X releases. Each Hiface is plug and play. Internally, it has separate low jitter clocks for data recovery. Although I’ve been using and recommending dozens of Hiface dongles for years, I simply don’t see a better alternative yet – especially at the asking price. Most applications support the Hiface drivers out of the box. You can even send Qobuz digital data streams to your Hiface.