How to choose your dematerialized equipment?

How to choose your dematerialized equipment

Dematerialized music has become an essential way to listen and enjoy your music easily. Today, more and more Hi-Fi manufacturers are even looking into the subject to create products offering an ever more optimal listening quality. In this shopping guide, gives you some advices to make the good choice for your dematerialized equipment, among the various products available on the market.

1. The different solution to listen to dematerialized music

To listen to your dematerialized music, several products are possible. According to the desired Hi-Fi system, some Hi-Fi devices will be more suitable than others.

1.1. I am looking for a special solution to listen to my dematerialized music

If you want to create a quality system and fully dedicated to dematerialized, a network player, an external DAC (digital/analogue converter) or a Bluetooth receiver are necessary. And all these connected to an amplifier and speakers!

     - Network player / DAC

A network player (also called streamer) aims at retrieve the digital file stored on a computer, a hard drive... or the stream via an application (Qobuz, Spotify...). Then, the DAC (internal or external) takes the reins. Indeed, the DAC role is to convert the received digital signal to an analogical signal, i.e. audible for the human. The DAC plays a major role in the dematerialized music listening!

Most audio sources are equipped with an integrated DAC in series. This is notably the case for network players of the brands Cambridge Audio or Atoll Electronique. However, own an external DAC in your system allows you to have a better and more precise restitution, and then upgrade your system.

Cambridge Audio CX N V2 network player

     - Bluetooth receiver

The Bluetooth receiver is a small box that allows the listening of dematerialized audio files, thanks to a simple Bluetooth connection. It is the link between the amplifier of your Hi-Fi system, and your smartphone or computer. Like this, you can fully enjoy your dematerialized music on your Hi-Fi speakers!

However, you have to consider that the Bluetooth signal limits the restitution quality. In this context, if you are looking for high-resolution audiophile listening, the Bluetooth receiver will not be the best solution. The Bluetooth receiver is more considered as an occasional solution for listen to dematerialized music.

Soundcast VGtx Bluetooth transmitter

1.2. I am looking for an integrated solution to listen to my dematerialized music

You want to build a complete Hi-Fi system, including different audio sources to listen to vinyl records, CDs or even dematerialized music? There are several solutions that allow it, without multiply the devices.

With the democratization of dematerialized music, the manufacturers have developed “all-in-one” amplifiers. These have all the necessary inputs to listen to different music formats. So you can connect a turntable, a CD player or even a network player, to only one amplifier.

Several manufacturers offer this kind of product, following different budgets. If you have a limited budget, we advise you the Pro-Ject Maia S2 all-in-one integrated amplifier or the Rotel A11. For a bigger budget, the Cyrus One HD amplifier or the Cambridge Audio CXA81 are known for their important audiophile quality.

Cyrus ONE HD integrated amplifier

Furthermore, know that an integrated DAC allows you to have more digital sources and connect your TV to your amplifier. Then, you have a very complete audio/video Hi-Fi system!

1.3. I am looking for a portable solution to listen to my dematerialized music

You want to enjoy your dematerialized music in audiophile quality, even during your trips? This is possible thanks to a portable DAC. The principle of this small product is to add an external DAC, which will improve the restitution.

A portable DAC is placed between your Hi-Fi headphones and your smartphone or computer. These portable DACs take the form of a small key, so they are very easy to take with you! 

Audioquest DragonFly Black USB DAC

2. The different dematerialized music sources

To playback your dematerialized music, different sources are at your disposal. Following the kind of dematerialized listening your are looking for, this will include various products.

2.1. To listen to streaming music

The listening of streaming music is more common today. On the market, we find various streaming platforms offering HD files for a better quality of listening. It is the case for online music platforms such as Qobuz or Deezer.

We find these streaming platforms via mobile applications, which allow the listening of streaming music from your computer or smartphone. If you want to enjoy it via your Hi-Fi system, you can add a Bluetooth receiver (such as the InAkustik Bluetooth Audio Receiver).

InAkustik Bluetooth Audio Receiver

You can also listen to your streaming music via a network player. Regarding to the increasing interest in audiophile quality dematerialized music, Hi-Fi manufacturers have made compatible their products with several online music services. For example, the Bluesound Node network player allows you to access to Qobuz, Tidal, Deezer, Spotify and many others. Some products go even further, by directly integrating these streaming music platforms to their interface! It is the case of the Atoll ST200 Signature network player, which is one of your must-have products!

Atoll ST200 Signature newtork player

2.2. For listening to MP3 ripped CDs

If you have a big CDs collection, know that you can rip and store them in digital format such as MP3, WAV... This allows you to dematerialize your favorite CDs and gather your whole library to the same place.

For that, the first step consists in rip your CDs thanks to a device such as the VAULT 2i network player/audio server from Bluesound. This one is very complete because it is also a network player and an integrated DAC. And as we said before, these two functions are essential for listen to dematerialized audio files!

Bluesound Vault 2i network player

2.3. To listen to internet radios

Among dematerialized music, we also find Internet radios. Indeed, thanks to a tuner, it is possible to listen to your favorite radio stations with an optimal listening quality.

In our selection, you can find the Pro-Ject Tuner Box S2 tuner: easy to use and not bulky! The Rotel brand is also known for its quality audiophile tuners, with the DAB/FM T11 tuner among others, or the T14 streaming tuner.

Rotel T11 DAB/FM tuner

2.4. To listen to your digital library via tablet or smartphone

Currently, storage capacities for smartphone, tablets and computers are much more important than ever. So, it is pretty easy to store several audio files on these devices and have a nice digital library on iTunes or Google Play for example.

To have it in audiophile quality on your Hi-Fi system, a streamer with a DAC or a Bluetooth receiver will be needed.

And, if you want to have your music library during the trips, you can choose a portable DAC (such as: Audioquest Dragonfly Black USB DAC or Cyrus Soundkey). As we said above, this allows you to have a quality dematerialized listening, wherever you are!

Cyrus Soundkey DAC

To conclude, if you would like to know more about dematerialized music, do not hesitate to read our different buying and practical guides dedicated to this subject:

>> Digital music

Digital music

>> Playing your digital music – Part 1

Playing your digital music - Section 1

>> Playing your digital music – Part 2

Playing your digital music - Section 2

>> Building up your digital music library

Building up your digital music library


We hope that these elements helped you to make a choice of equipment to listen to your dematerialized music in audiophile conditions. If you would like any further information, do not hesitate to contact our technicians by phone (0 810 810 121) or our contact form.