music server virgin needs answers

OK ... So I see in the new issue of Absolute Sound where some new USB music server gets a VERY high reccomendation. It's only $75 so I think this may be a fun thing to play around with ... but then I stop and think this: My son's Ipod has a LOT of great music on it, but I'm sure it's just stuff downloaded from either redbook CDs or off the internet.
So, since his original sources were not top notch audiophile sources, won't the quality of sound be limited to the atandard of the original source ? Anotherway of putting my question is this ... Would great sound only be obtained if the original downloaded source was of some form of super lossless quality stuff off some specialty website ? Thanks for setting me straight.
I stream all types of files from my pc wirelessly to my 2 channel setup using a Logitech Squeezebox and they sound fine. Of course if you stream uncompressed files the sound will be better especially with high resolution playback equipment.
I love my AppleTV, with the right DAC it's pretty hard to beat the convenience/sound combination.
You are correct Tim - it is the old computer thing, GIGO - garbage in, garbage out.

That said, iTunes has just passed the sold billion mark - that is 1,000,000,000 downloads of their highly compressed stuff.

As Larry says it is a question of your system, your ears as well as a lot to with whether your are critically listening or just enjoying the music.

Ripping in a lossless format from the original CD is the way most of us get our high quality music.
Who makes this $75 USB music server?
So when you rip songs from a cd onto your computer, then download them onto an ipod, how do you know if you have used lossless files in this process ?
Tim - the ripping software usually offers you some choice as to the kind of file you want to create (e.g., .wav, .flac, etc.). Be sure to research ripping software to find the right choice. Also, keep in mind that .wav files are usually not recommended for wireless transmission (by Sonos, for example).
There are websites that offer high quality downloads, but for the money you are better off buying the cd and ripping it yourself. EAC (exact audio copy) is one of the more popular and respected ripping software and it's free.

DB Poweramp is also worth looking into. It will give you the detailed properties of each music file and tell you the quality of the encoding. IT will also do batch encoding should you want to encode lossless files to compressed files for portable use. They offer a free trial.

Now please tell me, who makes the $75 music server? ;)
For $75 you only get a USB DAC, not a full music server.
My apologies if i called it the wrong thing. The product is made by hirestech dot com. It is indeed a usb dac, and i just wish i understood how i could use it to my benefit.
Let me see if I understand this any better: Using the EAC software, I rip my CDs onto my computer, then download them onto my Ipod and play the Ipod through the USB DAC into my system ??? Is this correct ?

Unfortunately, you can't plug an ipod into a USB DAC. It won't work. You can plug your computer into the USB DAC though.

Yes, EAC is for ripping CD's to files on your computer. Search for some tutorials on how to set it up for FLAC. Once you have your CD's backed up on your computer in a lossless format (FLAC), then use DB Poweramp to convert the files to a lossy codec for your ipod (mp3, AAC). Or you can simply rip the CD's using Itunes using Apple Lossless if you want to use lossless files on your ipod. Takes up more space though.