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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Radio Blog: Transforming Web Radio Listening Into A Pleasurable, High Fidelity Experience

Transforming Web Radio Listening Into A Pleasurable, High Fidelity Experience - Loud and Clear - Don't Miss Another Word - The Radio Blog, by James Bean
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Most attempt listening to web radio stations streaming online with itsy-bitsy teeny-tiny not-so-nice flat sounding computer speakers. That can make it difficult to fully enjoy catching your favorite programs or podcasts. Mark Twain said: "Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can read." Time to be merciful and compassionate on your ears, discover what you've been missing, making computer audio into the pleasurable experience it was meant to be! It's time to take internet radio listening to the next level, and it's easier to accomplish than you might think. If you already have a stereo receiver-amplifier and a computer, you may only need to make a trip to your favorite electronics store to get the correct connecting cables and maybe a simple adapter. 
Take a close look at the front and back of your computer to see what it has for audio jacks, also the back of your stereo amp.
Most computers at least have a 1/8" stereo jack so you can plug in headphones. A sound card in the back will have a 1/8" jack as well.
With an adapter that's easy to find, one can connect a stereo system, CD player, etc... to the computer's audio.  
On the back of your computer, plug in the RCA audio connecting cables to the audio "OUT". Connect the other end of those to the audio "IN" on the back of your stereo receiver or whatever you're using for an audio amplifier powering your speakers.
(All images above are in the 
public domain and courtesy 
of Wikipedia.)
For only the cost of a few feet of cable and perhaps an adapter, the much larger speaks of your stereo are now pressed into service, being fed audio from your computer.
If you're shopping for a new computer and want to make the best use of it for web audio - and I certainly hope you do, there are some exciting options these days for connoisseurs of sound. Choose, or have custom-built, a computer that gives you more ways to plug in an external amp. What I described above lets you crank up the volume, making it possible for you to enjoy analog audio from the web, but there are also more advanced digital possibilities for the true audiophile. Sound cards have come a long way in recent years. There are some that provide HD audio, and even 3D. In addition to analog, those sound cards will have a SPDIF coax cable "OUT" jack, and a optical "OUT". That's optical as in fiber optic cable. One can purchase a fairly high end amplifier that has inputs for all three, letting you connect to computers, DVD players or other devices with a standard analog connection, digital coax, or optical. E-mazing!  
"....Sounds caress my ear". "Let the music be your master. Will you heed the master's call..." (Led Zeppelin, lyrics from "Kashmir" and, "Houses of the Holy")