This was an interesting review of the fabled Neil Young high quality audio player.
“You know how every once in a while you buy the $40 bottle of wine instead of the $8 one, thinking you’re gonna have a special dinner or something?” Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson wrote over instant message. “And you get home, and you make the salmon or the pasta or whatever and you light the candles? And you pour the wine, swirl it like they do in Sideways so that it looks like you know what you’re doing… you bring it to your lips and after smelling it—it smells like wine—you have a sip? And it’s like… yeah, I guess this tastes good or something, but really it just tastes like wine?
“The Pono Player is kinda like that, but for music.”
Basically, encode your stuff at a high bit-rate, and if you are serious about listening then invest in some high quality preamps and DACs.