Loyal reader Gerardo asks,
"If you hadn't made the jump to digital music beyond CDs, how would you go about doing it"?
Let me start by saying that I'm an analog guy. I use a home-made 2 watt vacuum tube amp. I have a record player and hundreds of LPs.
I made the jump to no-CDs by burning all my CDs onto an external hard-drive. Because a lot of music that I like doesn't come in a lossless digital format (i.e. digital downloads are often MP3), I still buy CDs, burn them onto my hard drive and then get rid of them. Until uncompressed downloads are routinely available, I will probably stick to this ritual. If you are OK with MP3s or are willing to limit yourself to music available as either uncompressed CD quality or higher resolution downloads, then you can get away from having any physical items except a hard-drive.
It drives me nuts that LPs are offered for sale with a free MP3 download instead of a FLAC download.
If you are planning to make the jump to computer based audio, the Well-Tempered Computer is an excellent resource and the Computer Audio Asylum is a lively forum. There are places to get hi-rez downloads, like HD Tracks.
You basically have two choices: (A) Put together your own system with storage, computer, playing software and DAC, or (B) buy an all in one music server device, like the SB touch or the J-River
The "audiophiles" seem to prefer putting their own systems together based on a computer. Mac minis are popular; I use a Macbook and prefer Pure Music for playback software. I learned a lot about computer audio from this guy.