Music Source : I mostly get my music from the cloud nowadays. I use to download mp3’s at 192kbps and store them, catalog them etc. I still have them but i never use this way to navigate into the music i listen to nowadays.
Youtube – The ultimate source for any kind of music. Though as a service its designed around video and can be hard to find music you want if you don’t know what you want.
Spotify – I’m love with this service and i have started having a premium membership. The quality is crisp and the latency is noν-existent. I can find alomst anywthing i usually listen to, control the player from my android phone and even store it since i started the priemium membership which has no pesky adverts
Last.fm – A very old service i use. It use to have a similar artist radio feature though nowdays it player everything through spotify and youtube. I mostly use it for artists info and to catalog and index the music ive come across in the past 10 years
Soundcloud – For unknown artists and dj mixes. Nice and clean cut service overall
Tunein Radio – The best service for fm stations localy and worldwide. Has a wonderfull android app and syncs your saved stations
Local Downloader Music – I dont play and store any new music anymore as i used to though
Hardware / DSP:
I recently tried using a DSP app for macsox called Digital Power Station by Bongiovi Software. It enriches the sound dramaticaly using the right tweaks ($20)
Macbook pro 13″ 2010 which is a decent laptop even for today. I dont use the internal soundcard to output rather an external soundcard mentioned below
Prodigy Cube by Audiotrak (100$) – This little cute piece of hardware is very useful when you use an amplifier with a digital optical or spdif input. When the distance of your laptop in some meters from your sound system then using a digital signal is vital for zero noise and interference. It can also be used combined with your onboard soundcard as a 4ch aggregate output device as shown in the picture below. An other useful aspect when using 2 soundcards is the ability to drive sound to different outputs using the SoundSource app described above. For instance i may listen to music from my speakers and output Skype from my laptop.
The Sony STR-DB840 amplifier does the job pretty well, using the optical connection and the auto format decode (AFD) profile
Quintas 6000 Speakers (300$ aprox) – The last and maybe most important part of your speaker setup is your output speakers. For those of you which regard as a highly import priority their music habits may consider purchasing a set of speakers which will probably get your through many years, overliving all your other electronic and computer equipment. I never regretted purchasing the speaker set below which i found to be an excellent value to performance ratio