What is your front end ?

What is your front end  is it T/T , CD, R to R, Cassette deck, Streaming , Internet Radio , or portable devices such as mp3 players iPod etc, if you have all of those which you enjoy most ?


Turntables. The primary system is analog only with all tube amplification. A second system is turntable based, again with all tubes but with the addition of CD, TV, and subs. I used to have Tidal Hi-Fi but now YouTube with an adblocker and headphones suffice for streaming.

Excellent ! can't  beat analog, I really deliriously enjoyed  my analog years I've had approx 130 thousand LP's during the Perfect sound forever slogan era 1980's picked up thousands of LP's from flea market sales next to nothing due age and physical disability LP playback became troublesome for me it was not easy to handle and play LP's with one arm, replace most my favorite LP 's with CD's I was fairly satisfied with CD Playback with my Marantz CD94 cdp but it was not as enjoyable as with my analog set up. 5 years ago become a member of streaming society, Accessing massive music library of Tidal , Qubuz etc  sound quality depending  on recordings rather enjoyable , while I was trying to tidy my overcrowded music room found my 5th and 6th generation ipods once is fully charged they were fully functional for sake of fun connected them via headphone socket to my tube preamp , naturally sound was dull and lifeless, decided to invest ipod transports such as Wadia 170i docking station as well as Onkyo ND-S-1 Transports re arrange my iTunes library import almost %80 of CD library to my ipods naturally lossless format (approx 3500 cd's, I've also replaced ipods fairly unreliable hard disc to SSD 128gb ,result is IMHO as good as CD If not better frankly prefer to streaming but you need to good Dac, My Dac is Mcintosh D-150 which I'm planning to upgrade it to Denafrips pontus 12th soon I now have 7  of 128gb ipods with SSD Hard drive , from 1 to 7 ipods labelled jazz , blues , rock,contemporary, alternative, world music , as for the ipod transports personally prefer onkyo NDS1 to Wadia 170i as you know both transports are remote controlled. so my new front end is ipod.

I never considered how difficult it would be to play lps with one arm.  Pulling CDs off the shelf and out of the jewel box also doesn’t sound like fun

 Winners never quit , quitters never win ! there people out there with no arms but with their toes they do incredible things even electronic repairs, I feel I'm the lucky one only loosing my left leg and right arm it could have been worst  ! somehow we manage to adapt the way of life.

In my main system my sources are an Aurender N200 with Lab 12 Ref 1 DAC for digital and for analog a Sota Escape with Origin Live Silver Arm and Ortofon Bronze cart .   I also have Magnum Dynalab MD 102 and Fanfare FT1a tuners.  

No question, my favorite and most enjoyable source now overall is my streamer.  It sounds plenty good, and constantly discovering great new music — and much of it in hi res — has me more excited about this hobby than I’ve ever been.  Playing my own familiar stuff, while certainly still enjoyable, has lost a lot of its relative luster when I can be like a kid in a candy shoppe every day with streaming.  Seriously, it’s like going to the record store and buying something new and exciting every day — how can you beat that?  And while I do still spin the occasional disk, I find it’s become increasingly rare yet I’m still very happy and grateful to have both.

Post removed 

Thanks Sabih !    The Aurender with my DAC is a strong argument in favor of an all digital system, but I think if that turntable had a better cartridge I'm sure it would better digital on really great recordings.  I have a number of records that sound really good even with a modestly priced cartridge.   I prefer quite a few over their digital counterpart.    But for most listening sessions,  nothing beats a good streamer and DAC for me.  

I want to go up a few notches with my next cartridge.  It's hard with cartridge choice because it's not something that is easily A/B'd.   I have heard good things about ZYX , Hana , and Dynavector in the $1200 or so range.   It's not that the Bronze doesn't sound great, it does but I think that table deserves a little better.

My daughter is getting married next Sept so I am in a holding pattern for a little while.   At some point I will bump it up a few notches with respect to cartridge 



I enjoy the sound of LPs on my turntable the most, but it's not what I listen to most frequently.

Aurender W20SE streamer, Audio Research Ref CD9SE CD player, and near Klimax LP12 / Koetsu Rosewood Signature, Audio Research Ref 3 Phono stage. They all sound virtually identical given the same input recording (vinyl shows more variability in sound quality than there digital counterparts). I listen to Quboz streaming 99% of the time.

Post removed 

I can't even remember the last time I played a vinyl record album.  I waved goodbye to spinning CD's years ago, too.  For the past several years now, I only stream my music via an Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty streaming DAC and an Roon Nucleus Plus music server.  Happy listening.    

You might get even more responses if this was posted under one of the threads concerning gear instead of 'Music'...

@sabih You've lost an arm and a leg. Hopefully it wasn't buying those 130,000 records. just kidding. There's a story in there if you'd like to share.

My primary front end rig is a Jay’s Audio CDT2-MK3 transport and Denafrips Pontus II DAC using an I2S connection. Dumped my vinyl decades ago and have never looked back. Secondary is my Bluesound Node 2i connected to the Pontus II for streaming.

My front end consists of a Technics SL1200G with a Shure V15 Type4 cartridge with a Jico stylus, Sony Music server, Esoteric SACD player and a McIntosh tuner.  I use the McIntosh tuner the most, followed by the Esoteric SACD player.

Main system=
1) Technics SL-Q3

2) VPI HW-40

3) Sony XDR from XDR guy

4) Sonic Frontiers CD Transport to whatever DAC happens to be in the rotation. Now it’s the Van Alstine latest and greatest unit. 

The radio probably gets the most mileage. Cd transport second. 

My new Eversolo DMP-A6 streamer for general listening and my Marantz SA-7S3 when it is time to engage. That player still gives me goosebumps.

I really should do a system page like so many others…

  • Linn LP12 Valhalla with M&K Rabco and Hana 
  • CJ Premier 6 MC pre-preamp
  • California Audio Labs Auria CD player 
  • Bluesound Node2i into Border Patrol DAC
  • ARC SP11 MkII preamp 

All “vintage” except the 2i and DAC but it sounds pretty good!

Happy listening. 

@noromance  I like your humor ! I was a journalist I've got shot in middle east 3 of my colleagues died ,   miraculously I've survived , spend 18 months in the hospitals, psychologically I was  drained but Thanks to close friends and my girl friend Alison I've overcome  challenges , both mentally and physically, life is so precious, we do not appreciate it . somehow we spend %90 of our time to problems and %10 of it to solutions if we reverse the scenario we get better results as long as we maintain POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE getting up every morning it is  like a lottery. Most of you guys have outstanding equipment and primary front end Streamers and T/T Takes second place which is not surprising at all .


@larsman Thanks I  appreciate your suggestion but it is bit late now however I  was just curious how many music lovers /audiophiles first choice of front end.

naturally Due to technology convenience and massive choice of Artist/ albums Streaming is first choice of many audiophiles, during the 1980's many people abandoned their lp's to cd, , That allowed me to buy LP's from Car boot sales / flea markets next to nothing some the lp's I  bought during that time they were unopened even Japanese pressing lp's too. I  bet most of the audiophiles got ipod somewhere in their home perhaps collecting dust , nowadays ipod transports either wadia  or onkyo sells around $ 80  just try it see if it is floats your boat. nothing ventured nothing gain frankly I  prefer to my aurender n100 and mckintosh d-150 dac combination

Sometimes I wonder if I even belong in this forum. I have an all analog front end, a Linn LP-12 and an Avid Acutus Reference. I have an Audio Research CD-9 in its box in the closet which I haven't used in years. (No shelf space or real interest)  No subwoofers, streamers, DAC, or TV. Jazz and Classical.

No R to R or cassette, but I use all others and they all sound equally good. Preference is streaming by a mile. 

I have almost all of the front end types out there; LP-12 (almost to Klimax level), DCS Bartok, Moon CD transport, Revox B77, and a Nakamichi DR-2.  I enjoy them all as there is very little duplicity among my various formats of music.  

I have streamer (ifi zen / Wiim pro plus) and CD player (Pioneer Elite). I listen mostly to the hi-rez music stored in SSD assessed thru ifi zen. I plan to procure Wiim ultra that also features usb port for local music collection.

Enjoy TT, CD and streaming (newly acquired), like them all but the only one that reaches the subline is the TT. 

IMO the most efficient way to realize that peaceful musical zone is the way to go. LP’s, CD’s waste of time and effort, seldom did I find a recording that I enjoyed from beginning to end. Spent a couple of years making flack CD’s then boredom set in. If the hobby is playing with equipment buying, selling, trading, jigging around all day perhaps I’d feel different. Streaming with a large room / system, comfortable seating, and a couple of remotes is my way to go. 


VPI Classic 2 turntable with Rogue Ares phono amp, PS Audio PerfectWave SACD transport, Naim Uniti Core server.  I regularly use them all, but the server gets the most use since I can call up tracks using its app on my iPad.  It's called laziness.

My front end is an MSB Premier dac using the renderer input module. This is fed from my M1 mac mini running roon. The signal goes through a Gigafoil before entering the rendered. This converts the ethernet to fibre and then back to isolate any electrical noise. 

Aurender or CDT.

 Haven’t played vinyl since my table started to go south. Now I using the streamer most of the time.  I am putting together another system in an extra bedroom.  Right now it has a BS Node 130 as its source, but all my records are in the same room, so maybe….

Currently 100% TT. Artisan Fidelity Lenco, TriPlanar arm and Grado Epoch 3 cart.

Going into the phono stage of a Dartzeel CTH 8550 integrated. Just bought an Aurender W20SE to feed my dCS Lina DAC with Lina Clock. I only use the Lina now only for TV and do not enjoy it for music. It is stressful. I hope that the new Aurender relieves the stress.

Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm, Nakamichi 682ZX cassette deck, Panasonic AG-7350 SVHS deck. No digital source in my main system, though I have digital recordings on tape.

@jemmer01  Indeed. You can never trust those sources not to conspire against you!

very little duplicity among my various formats of music.  

I still love playing CD’s. Just old habits I guess and it forces me off my ass periodically 😆.  Streaming is great and I will utilize this more once I get a quality streamer.

Sold all my Vinyl back in 1997. Was a late adopter to digital. All

my CDs now ripped and stored on my MacBook. However my front end is

Aurender N20

MSB Discrete DAC

Store most of my ripped CDs on a 1TB drive I put in the Aurender. 
However mostly stream via Qobuz. Fantastic library of music. I can find almost everything I want and many in HiRes. It’s wonderful. Would never go back to vinyl. 

Turntable, streaming, vintage FM tuner. Tie between turntable excellent sonics and streaming convenience including discovering new music via Roon.

Voice-activated Play-Fi streaming with Amazon Music HD. Dumped all my LPs and most of my CDs.

@vitussl101 ,never thought about it. approx 130 thousand of lp's long gone, storage was a big problem in sincerity I  may be listened around 1500 of LP's out of 130K LP's during that time , streaming is great but I'm having real fun with Ipod front end,cd quality playback , no lp storage problems no digital harshness, do not have depend on internet related challenges and yet very little investment, either wadia or Onkyo transports available out there , I Prefer Onkyo NDS-1 over wadia 170i which I've got both .

LPs’, CDs’, mostly, especially if hop soup is served, we all know with each cup of soup, the vol. know gets a notch after every one, and morning comes, and the,smell of capacitor is in the air, followed by a blown mid, or tweeter.

been there, only cd when,vol is pushed. Speakers only rated I think 250w peak. 
amps push 650 @8 ohm, 1000@ 4 oh,. I’m always cautious and keep the metal for myself, friends o,ver, mellower stuff, or acoustic,  

Odyssey kismet monos, Rotel cd, elite dv-59 or 58,  elite dv-79avi , B&K pro10mc-mid 96-97 ore appealing version,   Sunfire 600 signature.  Few other pieces, I loan to rent to only trusted people I know respect good stuff!

most is loaned to friends and family for summer  



most of the fellow audiophiles owns a really excellent equipment but really surprised no one has try ipod and good Dac Combination as a front end.

I started with iPods and iPhones and then MACs into good quality DACs… can sound pretty good considering… until you hear a good purpose built streamer… then they don’t sound so good.