Super. You listen with Math, I use my ears instead! Your statement is: This is only about bits and everthing is equal. I wish this would be true, it would make findig a good High End Musicsetup much simpler.
This rabithole is so much deeper and do you like the red or the blue pill?
The inherent stored analog music of Digitalsignals is effected by the Hard and Software. Here a few statements from Top Experts.
Everything always makes a difference. I'm not surprised that getting the hard drive, memory, and main processor to do less work is simply going to create less RFI and less demands on the power supply.
The circuit board layout – how all the parts are laid-out on the board, how the traces are ran… it all affects the sound.Power supply is very important when dealing with high speed digital.Noisy power; get your power cleaned up somehow and you will notice quite a difference. I can't stress how important it is to have clean power for digital front ends, especially a computer running at 3GHz.
Guaranteed bandwidth. This means that properly implemented it has less jitter, less buffer under and overuns, and less stress on the DAC, which preserves the musical signal with better integrity.
We know that differences exist. We can make hand-waving explanations as to why, but as far as I know, nobody has the "real" answer. Most of high end audio is like that. For example, why do cables sound different? I mean really sound different? Nobody knows, they just make up plausible sounding stories.
What do you see as being the most important factor in getting the best sound in computer-based audio? That is what should the consumer address with the greatest concern when setting up a computer-based audio system? Everything should be considered important, why should I look at the clocks or jitter any differently than looking at the output or the power supply. Everything is of the highest concern.
Files that are compressed like FLAC and Apple Lossless never sound as good as .wav or AIFF. But it's best to use AIFF as the Meta data is stored in the file. We have seen the compressed file syndrome on slower computers. The faster they are the harder it is to tell the difference between say an AIFF and Apple Lossless.
Lossless is lossless as far as we can tell. The only change I can imagine is that the CPU has to work a bit to convert the lossless and there may be some buffer memory access patterns that generate more RF (than straight PCM). I was told that Apple lossless is not lossless for 24 bit data—it compresses to 16 bits. This would not be a good thing.
Some of the worst sound I've heard was Toslink from a Mac or Airport Express. Of course, we've had excellent results with our USB Link 24/96 with its high jitter rejection! Perhaps the best sound to be had is using a Lynx AES/EBU PCI card.
The CD/DVD drive used for ripping does make a monumental difference in sound quality and the ability to get a bit perfect rip (Secure). We generally like external USB or Firewire connected drives like Pioneer or Teac for ripping. Getting the drive out of the computer case and using it's own dedicated power supply, does tend to make a difference. Also, the drives used in Mac Books are generally poor for ripping, and does not handle the stress of re-reading sectors that bit perfect ripping requires.
I have a new analogy for the importance of playback software - it's similar to the cartridge in a vinyl playback system. I think we've all been using the equivalent of $40 Grado cartridges for playback—iTunes or Windows Media Player. While audiophiles have been assembling systems with great turntables (PCs) and phono preamps (DACs) we have been hampered by that first interface, the cartridge (software player). Professional software playback systems sound like Koestsu and Lyra cartridges. They are expensive, finicky, but the results are easy to discern. Once you spend some time with them, the $40 Grado sounds broken in comparison.
A DAC is a personal choice, as all of them have their unique sonic signature. Some people even prefer Tube DACs to give it the "analog fuzzy" feeling. Who am I to differ? As long as it knows how to handle the minute jitter and to reproduce the audio the same way it was created then I don't care. Obviously most pro DACS have a less-noisy power supply and are more neutral sounding because that's what they are for.
And finaly Serge Schmidlin Audio Consulting from Switzerland find out that the speed of flash makes a difference. He is a genius and his product are sonic pure SONIC NIRVANA. Dont know yet if anything better exist on this planet.http://www.audio-consulting.ch/
And 4 USB Devices:
Simply by updating the power supply on the USB devices you get 100% increase in performance out of a cheaper product.