How do you listen to your music – Show us your set-up!

As everyone knows, just as CDs supplanted vinyl and cassettes, MP3 and other digital-music formats are well on their way to replacing CDs as the most popular way to listen to music.

In our minds that usually means more convenience but worse sound – though that’s a whole other story which we’ve already covered extensively in our ‘Is studio recording killing music’ and ‘Does music sound better today than 30 years ago’ exclusive podcasts.

Streaming music using services like Last FM and Spotify are becoming increasingly popular and physical sales are continuing on their way down but a great many people  still want to have something tangible.

CD sales account for 80% of total album sales, and although still tiny numbers, vinyl LPs purchased in 2008 almost doubled to 1.88 million units up from 0.99 million in 2007.

Sony Walkman

So what we want to know is, how do YOU listen to your music? We know you love music and we know you care how it sounds but we don’t know how you listen.

I’m guessing it’s a combination of the above but let us know, and even better, email us at or send us links to pictures of your set-ups – or indeed your favourite Walkman.

As you can see from our artful photograph , we primarily use Sonos and our Zeppelin though we do have in-wall CCM817s too.  And should you wish to know, as I write we are listening to a 62 track Crosby Stills and Nash marathon.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


  • Robert Phillips says:

    At the moment a mix of Apple lossless and 320 kbps ripped CDs straight from my MacBook Pro via TOSLINK into my Zeppelin. Space and convenience rule at the moment…

    One day I will upgrade, but the Zeppelin does such a good job in my little living room, I couldn’t imagine anything “affordable” that could improve on the sound quality!

  • Steve says:

    Does anyone know how to connect up a Zeppelin to a Macbook using an Airport express, i.e wirelessly? Thanks

  • SusannaGrant says:

    Hi Steve,
    You can find this information in the Zeppelin connectivity guide.
    The airport express out should be connected to Zeppelin AUX input

    Zeppelin has both analogue and optical digital input( combined socket) Zeppelin mini only has analogue aux in.

    I hope this helps,

  • gadav says:

    Anyone know how to hook up your zeppelin to a HDTV? What cables required?
    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  • Shaun says:

    Hi Gadav,
    you should be able to simply hook it up via the analogue outputs on the back of the Zeppelin to the TV.
    You can check the Zeppelin connectivity guide on our site here:


  • Matthew says:

    I have an ipod nano and a Sonos ZP90 zone player connected with ichord which means I can stream Napster through the zeppelin in my Bedroom.

  • Ageve says:

    I rip CDs to my HTPC with EAC (Accuraterip verified), and play them back using Foobar 2000. The signal is transferred bit accurate to the receiver using optical toslink.

  • Maxmac says:

    Studio Zeppelin and Ipod Classic, in the Living room Denon A1 and B&W 7 …nice play

  • altan basaran says:

    I buy vinyl if I can find, otherwise I look for a CD, If still I can not find, I look for flac.

    Vinyls and cds are still the best audiophile sources. IMO digital music is for entry level systems. As much as you invest for your stereo setup, you are looking for better sources.

    My system;

    B&W 803s, Classe Cap-2100 ,Ear Acute cd player, Project Xtension Turn Table(Jubilee Cartridge), Sonos, Benchmark Dac

  • Paal says:

    Mosly listening to music via my hi-fi, and car radio.
    I buy CD and sometimes vinyl as I’m oldscool – like to hold and read on something real.
    The SoS downloads are the first serious e-based mudic I use,(Which have given me great pleasure and broaden my mind). Have downloaded some
    Flac bootlegs in the past.
    My gear is.
    heavily mod. Rega 3
    Dynavector 10x
    Tannoy 613
    MF KW550
    MF A5 DAB
    Pioneer CDP 77
    Senheiser HD120

  • apollo joseph says:

    I Mainly listen through my ipod connected to a Pioneer HT system which has a provision for sound enhancement. Again itunes has the option of sound enhancement to ipod tunes as well. I have a large collection of CD’s and have converted them to AAC format and i continue to buy CD’s as i too like to have the tangible product. The ipod strictly speaking is just for convinience in terms of storage and on the move travelling, other than that i still consider the CD option is

  • Joris says:

    Dear Music lovers,

    This is my current set-up:

    HIFI: Sony LBT-V901 amp (20yrs old) with B&W DM17’s (1984)
    on the amp I’ve connected my PC and Iphone dock. (PC: mainly 320 kbs MP3 & FLAC)

    A/V: Denon AVR-1910 with 2×601 S1; HTM7; 2x LM1 and 2x Solids HCM2 and a BK Gemini II subwoofer

    Currently I have Creative 630i in-ear headphones on my iPhone 2G, but I’m looking forward connecting the all new P5 headphones (in April 2010 on Belgian market)…
    Someone already got a chance listening to the P5 ?

    I have some audio CD’s but I mainly listen to digital music (MP3 & FLAC); once I have a NAS I’ll start ripping the CD’s to FLAC or Apple Lossless.

  • SounDDD says:

    No compromise, @ my own level:
    I play wave files only, from my Apple Mac, from iTunes or (better Quicktime), thru a MOTU 896HD interface going directly in AES EBU to a pair of Dynaudio AIR6, mounted on Dynaudio stands.
    Since day one of having those AIR series, I thought I had magnifying glasses in front of the ears. And 5 years later, I still discover things, in the recording I listen to.
    It’s like whatching the same movie, but still discover things you would have missed so far….
    I love it.
    come and see me @

  • Martin Cope says:

    I listen to music through an active Linn system in the lounge which is fed FLAC files through a Logitech Squeezebox 3 (soon to be replaced by a Linn Akurate DS). I am still very impressed by how good the SB3 is when one considers that it is essentially badly matched cost wise in the above system. It’s a superb bit of kit.

    In the attic, a SB3 feeds a home cinema system consisting of a Musical Fidelity HTP/Power Amplifier and Monitor Audio speakers.

    For those of you that are interested in detail, the systems are:


    Logitech SB3*
    Linn Kairn Pre-amp
    Linn Klouts x3
    Linn Kaber (active) Loundspeakers
    All Linn cabling
    Files stored on a Terastation and fed to SB3 on a wired LAN

    I use the SB3 as the DAC however the system also includes a Linn Numerik I could use as the DAC instead though this is 20bit, not 24 bit


    Logitech SB3*
    Musical Fidelity Home Theatre Processor
    Musical Fidelity HT600 5 Channel Power Amp
    Monitor Audio Gold main (GS60)* and centre (GSLCR)
    Monitor Audio Silver rear (RS1)
    Mordaunt Short Alumni Sub (MS339)
    Files stored on a Terastation and fed to SB3 on a wireless LAN

    * signal conversion (DAC) done by SB3 and only main speakers used for music playback

  • Razvan Bestea says:

    When I want to listen some music I go to the local B&W store and ask for an audition on the 804 with Rotel… That’s why I have nothing at home, I can’t have less than that!
    I use to visit one friend with turntable, SACD player, Rotel and 803… but he moved out…

  • DJ V says:

    the future is invinyl and digital. We need the warmth of analouge and the precision of digital. 24 bit flac is getting close to perfection but still has a harsher sound than the new pressed vinyl. I love both

  • Robin Garms says:

    Old meets new. I have a Rega Planet plugged into the Radio 2 socket to my 1970’s Quad 33/303 driving Quad ELS 57’s. I do also play TV, DVDs, my laptop and my iPhone through the same system.

  • Jens Peter Sørensen says:

    I listen to CD/DVD on
    Meridian 596 DVD player
    Meridian 568 processor
    Meridian DSP 5000 main/center speakers
    Meridian m 2500 sub
    KEF Reference rears
    The signai is digital from CD to speaker

  • G. Brown says:

    I’ve moved all my CD’s over to a PC on an external harddrive (which I should backup on the main hard drive) and play them through a network connection to a Yamaha RSV3900 receiver (powering some new B&W monitor speakers that sound so much better !! :) ). Plus an old Technics directdrive turntable and a DVD with SACD / DVD-A player.

    Just haven’t figured out the FLAC 24 bit thing yet!

  • Chandra says:

    I only use B&W 804 + Onkyo TX876 + Onkyo SP504E + Harman Kardon Sub + XLO cable for speaker and sub. I used it for easy listening, and I like it very much.

  • Paul Zaragoza says:

    I use my Imac connected to a Benchmark DAC 1 – Woo Audio Amp, Beyerdynamic and Denon headphones for non disturbing hearing sessions. I use the same DAC 1 to a yamaha amp and a pair of KEF XQ1 speakers

  • Stephanie Gelder says:

    Hackintosh via USB into a Musical Fidelity A1008, speakers B&W CDM7NT’s.

    Control is through an iphone that controls the library or via my tv that connects to the hackintosh.

  • Rob Rector says:

    I mostly listen to CDs … Jazz, Rock, Classical.

    System: B&W 685 speakers, Adcom GFA-555 II Amplifier, Marantz CD5001 CD Player, Currently Adcom GTP-500 II, being replaced this weekend with a NAD C160 Preamp.

    Here is a picture of my setup….I only started setting this up about 3 weeks ago, and now I have caught the bug.

  • Marcus Gava says:

    I am using Squeeze Box Radio – home office, Boom – bed room, HDX1000 (HD video player) as a FLAC player for 94Khz audio in the HT room with optical audio connection to a Integra Pre-Amp and where I have my B&W speakers powered by a Anthem amp. I have the SB3 also connected to the Integra but supporting up to 48Khz FLAC files. All CDs ripped with FLAC and 320Kbps MP3 for mobility but now testing streaming from a NAS to Iphone 3GS supporting FLAC on the fly conversation with PlugPlayer and where I want to use 3G to access my remote NAS FLAC library. Waiting for Squeeze Box Touch to be available to replace the SB3 and HDX1000 and one additional SB Touch for car use.

  • Robert says:

    Collection of my music is in FLAC on NAS drive with squeezebox server installed.Next to it sits squeezbox reciever, it’s digital output goes into Beresford DAC.Signal from its analog output is splitted in two and is amplified by two fatman itube amplifiers (original 2x13W).They drive pair of shelf speakers, connected as follows: AMP1->L/MF+L/MF, AMP2->HF+HF.All connected with reasonable quality cables/interconnects.Music playback is controlled via ipod touch or PC. I have an AKG-701 headphones and love to use them when cannot listen to my music loud. I connect them to my DAC with headphone amp built-in.I get most of my music from CD’s and B&W. Some of my tracks were purchased online from other sources (FLAC only).
    My quasi bi-amp setup may not make sense to many of you, but I started with only one amp and ipod dock that came with it. Soon realised that ipod is a bootleneck in my system in terms of quality and capacity. I happen to have a chance and listen to AKG headphones with Beresford DAC and found them as of very good price to quality ratio. I purchased DAC and used my old ibook (with NAS) + itunes as a streamer, connected to DAC with USB cable and all controlled with ipod touch. Despite better audio quality, soon I realised, there are limitations or implications to what I can listen as FLAC forma t is not natively supported in itunes.Conversion to other formats or using third party plugins for FLAC support was not working for me either.I also wanted eliminate PC from my chain as I weren’t happy to see it running all the time for no purpose when not using my system. I have considered sonos zp-90 as a streaming option,but found it to expensive and incapable of streaming higher quality content (24bit). I found second hand squeezebox receiver dirty cheap, as its owner wanted to keep original squeezbox controller with upgraded system. I was almost set with the hardware and the last thing was to get squeezebox server running on my NAS and communicating with the receiver.When first track played through my speakers, I was almost in heaven. It may sound unbelieveable, but I’ve noticed huge difference in quality between direct streaming from PC with USB versus streaming through squeezebox receiver. I realised, I could have saved few bucks and use built-in DAC instead of my Beresford, but there is a difference in quality between those two chips,that can be demonstrated with ease. Also having Beresford DAC, means good quality headphone output.
    Second amp joined my setup not so long time ago, when I got fascinated about active speaker systems and multi-amping applications. I did not believe that using second amp without active crossover can make any difference in such entry level system. I didn’t want to make any more expenses as I was finall y happy with my system performance. However, because I wasn’t using my ipod dock with remote anymore, I decided to convert it into few bucks and auction it. Happily, winning bid was higher than I expected and at the same time, I found someone who wanted to get rid of fatman amp, keeping its original ipod dock :)). Adding very few bucks made it new home and great company to my existing setup.What I discovered soon when using two amps, is that sound is much brighter and relaxed, comparing to single amp setup. Second fact is, when playing tracks with very variable dynamic, following sound is much easier and there aren’t any moments that you’d think,I wish I had more powerful amp.
    What I have learned is, that discovering again your well known music through better playback is wonderfull experience. There are plenty “ready to go” great, easy to use products for audio playback on the market. Unless you want sexy, compact and great sounding ZEPPELIN for your Bedroom or Living Room, experiment little bit and have a fun.

    Cheers Rob

  • Klaus Labek says:

    Finally, my audio-life is complete:

    At work: WAV-Files >> optical >> Accuphase E-350 incl. DAC >> 805D (next week 802D coming)
    At home: WAV-Files >> optical >> EAD DAC >> T+A Preamp >> Krell MDA500 Mono >> Matrix 800 (old but still my reference)

    greetings, klaus

  • Malcolm Percival says:

    Mac Mini / external 1TB HDD holding Apple Lossless files – with the exception of one or two downloaded items from the Amazon MP3 store for convenience (hard to find items) which tend to sound slightly ‘rough’ compared to the Lossless stuff; Meridian 506.20 CD player – now only for the occasional spin of discs when they first come in the door; Oppo DV-993H for SACD & DVD (movies, opera, concerts), Sony BDP-S550 (some of the best sound around today comes from Opus Arte operas in surround PCM, DTS-HD MA or Dolby True HD). Sky Digibox for digital radio.

    Ancient but wonderful Denon AVC-A1D surround amplifier, connected digitally to Mac Mini.

    B&W CDM9NT, CDMCNT, CDMSNT. 10 years next year with these speakers and they still astound me. Would love 800 Diamonds with suitable amplifiers and Meridian surround processor :)

  • Norm says:

    Use a Cambridge DAC Magic, Squeezebox, original Rega Mira (clamshell) and Rega R5 loudspeakers with music downloaded from Linn and Society of Sound. Cd’s are copied with EAC in flac. Very good sound and convenient. Very rarley do I use my CD player or DVD player. Had many different setups over the years but my current system always pleases and over all cost is very reasonable.

  • Paul van Boeschoten says:

    very traditional : I use a Michell reference electronic for my vinyl collection and a Sony cd player (wich I have to replace soon)
    accuphase 405 amplifier
    801 and dm17
    on my computer : mm-1
    no compressed music of any sort

  • Aaron Williams says:

    Wow some pressive money spent on equipment. I’m pretty proud of my setup considering I’ve spent a grand total of $300 cnd on it.

    B&W dm330 up front ($50 at a garage sale, best deal yet)
    Bose 301 in the rear (free from a family member)
    Cerwin Vega HST 10 doing the lows ($40 from a friend)
    Sony 6.1 channel reciever (100w per channel) ($200 at a local audio store)
    Playstation 3 handleing streaming and storing music on the hdd.

    It’s kind of mismatched but souds impressive but the B&W’s still rock hard. I’d love a high quality setup someday but I do the best with what I have.

  • Henry Wotton says:

    I listen with me ears…. basically.
    I do understand the struggle of some with hi-end systems, but after a few years of trials, nothing sounds more pleasing than me father’s 1960 Garrard intermix 210, especially when 3-4 45rs have dropped and the belt drive slightly misses some turns here and there. I am at the process of hooking it up with an A/D (analogue to digital converter) and experiment on how i can enhance the sound quality coming out of the time-worn woofer (its a built in system) but without imprisoning its soul in a digital cell. (suggestions are welcome)

    The simplicity and conformity of the Zeppelin -ipod combination is memorial: and its usability/sound quality ratio unsurpassed. I listen to it most of the time now; from moments of peaceful hearing to noisy children’s parties, the Zeppelin is there. I do hope my kids will discover it some 30 years from now, under a layer of dust, in the basement, and be amazed by the ingenuity and fun that is bestowed into it by its creators. Like the old Garrard.

  • jpb1 says:

    A humble but more than able system:

    McIntosh Integrated MA-6500;
    McIntosh MVP-861 (CD; SACD; and DVD) player;
    Wadia 170i Transport w/ a 160 GB iPod;
    Benchmark DAC w/ USB;
    MIT interconnects;
    MIT Shotgun 3.3 Speaker Cables
    Bowers & Wilkins 805-Diamond Series
    Rega P1 Turntable

  • Peter says:


    I compress CDs to iTunes AAC 256 VBR on my MacBook, stream the digital signal to a Cambridge DACMagic which is connected to my NAD C 315BEE Amp, probably the weakest link in the chain. But my CM9 sound just right in this setup.

    What concerns compression: With AAC 256 and VBR my ears don’t hear the difference as compared to uncompressed formats anymore, not in my setup, at least.

    My experience with different DACs: The DAC does matter. My expreiences are reduced to the following devices: Cambridge DACMagic: HiFi. 3rd gen. iPod: MiFi. 5th gen. iPod, MacBook and iPhone: LoFi. The difference is subtle, as you won’t hear any dramatic change (as when you for example compare different loudspeakers). The detail of the music you hear is also just the same for different DAC. But if you close your eyes and ask the question: “Am I in concert?” With a HiFi DAC your answer much more probably will be yes, almost.

    But what makes the biggest difference, I think, is the recording itself. My impression is, that recently there are more and more recordings adjusted such that they sound really good on an iPod with some cheap earphones. These recordings then, however, are difficult to listen to on an advanced setup. Anyone else with the same experience?

    Cheers, Peter

  • Mahesh Rengaswamy says:

    I like the Zep. Replaced my Bose with this awesome speakers for my iPod and iTouch and am absolutely digging it. Since we got it, it is pretty much on the whole time we are home. Even my wife likes it, which is saying a lot.

  • Bob says:

    I listen to my music using a Project x pack t/table with Ortofon Rondo Red m/c cartridge into a Graham Slee phono stage , through an old Naim NAC 62 / Flatcap x Naim NAP 90 with Dynaudio Focus 140 speakers , my cd player is a Myryad MXC 6000 all with various expensive assorted cables that my Hi-Fi retailer said I could not live wthout. Bob the gullible

  • Fezz says:

    In my living room I listen to either CD’s, or music files streamed through a Logitech Transporter from a central storage PC. Either way the music goes through a Roksan Kandy K2 amp and then to a pair of B&W CM9s. Mostly I listen to the Transporter due to how convenient it is-LOVE HOW IT PLAYS raw 24bit FLAC files. No conversion/transcoding!!!. In my bedroom I have a Squeezebox Boom with a subwoofer.

  • Luis Mendes says:

    All my music is ripped from CD’s to AAC and record into the NAS system, iPhone and a portable disk.
    From NAS I listen with iTunes over my computer system;
    From portable drive I use the Winamp (portable version) in any computer system;
    From iPhone at home or in travel.

    The iPhone is connetc to a distribution box for the in-wall sound system and are controled room by room.
    The system above is linked too to:
    Sys1: Rotel Michi/Carver M1 Amplifier/JBL L150/B&W subwoofer;
    Sys2: Rotel Michi/Wharfedale diamond with amplifiers/B & W subwoofer.
    When I want list music with quality sound I list directly from CD.

  • JayJay says:

    Another hello from South Africa!

    I have had a soft spot for B&W since first drooling over the sound of the Model 70 way back in the early 1970’s at Norman Foglar’s hi-fi retailer in Cape Town. The electrostatic mids and highs were sublime. So now you know my approximate vintage….and so the adventure of sound started.

    Zooming back to the present, I have both a stereo system and an AV system in my 8m by 7m (about 26′ by 23′) room, and another AV in kids lounge. A hotch potch of equipment, some goodish, some mediocre and some obsolete. But the music still brings smiles to our faces, or is the glass of 10 year old Cape Shiraz that does it?

    We have already ripped most of our CD’s onto one of the desktops and so have almost 7000 sings on iPod Classic 160gB, and have now started converting 1000 LP’s into the digital domain- it is a tedious process what with cleaning each one using a VPI Model HW16.5.

    Have just started with FLAC downloads via Society of Sound and look forward to even more great music to have in our earlobes, sorry – at our fingertips!

    Currently still 60% CD, 35% LP and only 5% virtual – but I am pretty sure these proportions will change in the next year!

    Main stereo:

    tapes (7″ reels at 7 1/2 ips half track stereo): Uher Variocord 263
    cassettes (once in a blue moon) NAD 6340
    vinyl Linn LP12 (Valhalla, Trampolin and Sirkus) with Ittok arm and AT OC9 cartridge
    CD: Theta Data II
    DAC: Theta DS Pro Prime
    CD/SACD/DVD-A: Pioneer DV 757 Ai
    Pre-amp: Audiolab 8000C
    Power amps: a pair of Steinhart valve monoblocks 200W
    Speakers: Apogee Caliper Signature
    Cabling: mainly van den Hul, with some Cardas and Monster.

    Main AV:

    DVD: Pioneer DV 757 Ai as above
    Receiver: Yamaha RX-V640RDS
    Fronts: a pair of B&W 604 S3
    Centre: B&W LCR600 S3
    Rears: a trio of B&W 602 S3
    Sub: Boston PV1000

    Kids lounge AV:

    CD and laserdisks (for once I tried to be :an early adopter and it backfired): Pioneer CLD 1850
    DVD: Samsung el cheapo
    AV Processor: Adcom GTP600
    Amps: pair of Rotel RB850 bridged mono
    Mains: B&W 602 S3
    Rears: Boston Bravo

  • Colin says:

    Music is such a big part of my life I have to have it in every room.
    I mostly buy CDs for the quality.
    Rip to AIFF or Download 24 bit FLAC from SOS and convert to 24 bit AIFF using XRECODE (really excellent software).
    Play through iTunes streaming over SPDIF & Wi-Fi to Living Room, Kitchen and most of all Bedroom/Music Room.

    Bedroom has Arcam A32 & P35 – Airport Express – Beresford Caiman – B&W 683’s – Chord; Odyssey2, Chameleon, Prodac & Opti-Chord –

    Very proud to have an All British setup that Sounds so Beautiful, especially those Exquisite 24 bit tracks you keep us furnished with.

    Thank You Bowers & Wilkins, for opening My Ears.

    Colin Waterworth

  • Karl says:

    Liste to the music with the B&W N801 on the naim supernait + hicap from a naim cd or my pro-ject for vinyl or most of the music comes from the big mac / apple losless. need nothing further…

Older comments

Add a comment

We welcome debate within Society of Sound, but please keep it friendly, respectful and relevant. We have a few house rules which we ask you to abide by to keep the debate intelligent. Read more.
Product enquiry or support issue? Please click here.

Related posts

Bowers & Wilkins Speakers thumbnail

How Many Speakers?

After listening to the podcast discussion about surround sound in the Lab it got us wondering just how many speakers is enough for … Read more

Bowers & Wilkins Speakers thumbnail

Computer Games: The Future of Surround Sound?

Computer games were once just for kids; many of those kids are in their 30s and 40s now, and many of them are still playing games. … Read more

Bowers & Wilkins Speakers thumbnail

Apple Lossless Confusion

There’s a lot of confusion about audio encoding, and how to get the best out of your digital music. Obviously we at B&W are … Read more