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For the purpose of listening to lossless files (i.e., FLAC), is it simply a high quality sound card + high quality speaker?

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closed as not constructive by tombull89, random Jul 16 '12 at 16:07

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What is the purpose of your audiophile PC? Listening station? Recording? Media Server? For a general question, your answers will be pretty general. If you can get more specific about your intentions, it may help with more tuned answers. – JoshP Jul 16 '12 at 15:55
@Josh For the purpose of listening to lossless files – IMB Jul 16 '12 at 16:04
@Josh the question starts with "For the purpose of listening".. Though I do agree some more detail would be feasible – stijn Jul 16 '12 at 16:04
D'oh! /facepalm :) – JoshP Jul 16 '12 at 17:19
Not sure why this was closed. AFAIK, there's really a basic setup of an audiophile level PC, I just want to know what those components are. Any ideas how can I make this question "constructive"? – IMB Jul 16 '12 at 17:35
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Although this is quite a broad question, and opinions might differ, most of the time you'd see:

  • an external high quality soundcard (or just D/A converter if input is not required). External is pretty much mandatory in order to not affect the analog signal with the pc's noise.
  • a high quality amplifier
  • high quality speakers

You can combine two and three into one, but that is less common.

If you're going headphones only, you can get very high Q external usb headphone preamps, combine with high Q headphones and off you go.

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OK, if you're asking how to get the best quality, then cable also matters - everything in the chain is vital from source to output (even the room in which you're listening to speaker placement).

If you're asking about playback, then most audio cards these day (including built in on board) will support it as it's probably the codec which reads it any way.

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