Many of us have first-hand experience with different playback engines sounding superior to iTunes – PureMusic and Amarra are solid examples. It’s their low CPU load that (possibly) makes all the difference, rendering the transport “electrically quieter” and thus improving its digital output. If we can turn off unnecessary processes on the computer, we can improve the quality of the digital audio feed that goes into the DAC.
A similar approach can be taken with the Squeezebox Touch:
1) get the server to do the heavy-lifting of decoding the source files
2) turn off the screen
3) use a wired connection (and turn off the wifi)
This reduces the demand put on the Touch’s CPU, diminishing the pollutants in the digital output path.
How does one do this? (I’m glad you asked).
Soundcheck’s Squeezebox Touch modifications are now back online, new and improved for version 2. His page features a downloadable toolkit which can be copied to the Touch over an SSH connection, unzipped and then kicked into action using some simple commands. He believes it’s a sure fire way to make the Squeezebox Touch “sound really good”.
A note to the nervous: all of Soundcheck’s mods can be undone easily with a factory reset of the device. It will not “brick” your device if you make a mistake.