Audio players are able to play recordings that were made before. Hardware players can be either analog or digital but it is even possible to playback music with software. To ensure a good playback, the player needs to be of very high quality! It will probably be the first device in your audio setup and if the audio isn’t played right, it will reduce the pleasure to listen to your music. But first, make sure that the recording you are going to play has the best possible quality. Since we offer only digital high resolution audio files we will mostly stick to the digital domain.
Most audio players are capable of playing different types of files like MP3, WAV and FLAC. Even DSD-files are being increasingly supported. There are several players that are able to play surround audio files. If you are deciding to buy an audio player you have to bear in mind which type file you are willing to play, since not every file type is supported in every audio player. Most players have memory on board to store audio files but it is also possible that a player only streams audio from your server. In that case you have to use an external storage device like an NAS-server. Other players only read CDs and DVDs to playback music.

History of audio players

The well-known inventor Thomas Edison invented the first machine to record sound, called the Phonograph, in 1877. Recordings were made on tinfoil cylinders with a small needle. This needle was connected to a microphone diaphragm. Sound caused the microphone, and the needle, to vibrate as the needle etched a groove into the tinfoil cylinder. In order to play it back, the recording process was simply reversed. Ten years after the invention of the Phonograph, Emile Berliner invented the Gramophone in 1887. The operation of the Gramophone was essentially the same as the Phonograph but the device that held the recorded music was changed into vinyl discs. However, sound quality was lacking and there was a need for a better medium.

In 1898, Valdemar Poulsen invented the Telegraphone, a machine that used electromagnetism instead of mechanical system. The Telegraphone used steel wire to store audio signals. At that time steel wire was pretty expensive and the reels of steel wire were extremely heavy. Fritz Pfleumer took the electromagnetic recording idea to the next level in 1935. Instead of using wire he used paper strips with tiny particles of iron. He called his machine the Magnetophon which would be the predecessor of the tape recorders as we know them.

Digital audio recordings became possible in the 1970s but they gained popularity with the introduction of the CD. The first recordings sounded digital but after a few years, with the AD/DA converters becoming better and better, the quality improved. The CD was followed up by the Blueray, DVD and SACD. In the 1990s the MP3 became popular especially for use on the internet. With the introduction of the iPod in 2001, MP3-players became the most used audio player. However, many people noticed the disappointing quality of the MP3 and preferred the better quality of CDs, SACDs and sometimes DVDs.

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