I am an old git at heart.
50 but have used power tools etc.
I thoroughly recommend trying FLAC quality.
You could just test one cd, I reckon you will notice the difference even if you can’t quite put your finger on the difference.
I am quite new to this whole digital malarky myself.
So take all that I say with a pinch of salt, I am very much learning.
It can be quite complicated, but that is mainly because there are so many different options and ways to do it.
You can do all sorts of budgets.
Indoors I am slowly trying to make a decent source using a pi.
In the garage I am just mucking about and cost and size is important.
In the garage I got a Pi zero (W) £10.
Plus a cheap aliexpress dac hat. (Not a lot about £10-15 I think)
I run volumio on that and can control that via my phone.
It connects to my wifi automatically and starts playing through an old amp out there.
I have been enjoying Radio Paradise which plays in FLAC.
Another thing I played with was a Khadas Tone Board.
Which is a separate DAC which I think is pretty good value for money.
About £80 I think it was.
That can be powered and fed data to via a single usb lead and feeds via rca to the amp.
PCs are pretty noisy (electronically).
Anyway, I noticed a huge difference with that from my pc.
(It can also have coax in)
(Just one of absolutely loads of DAC options out there. It is WAY better than my pc DAC and my 20 year old amp DAC)
Thus encouraged that my ears could tell the difference between flac and mp3 and so on, I am slowly playing with a Pi3B+. I will gradually imporve that as I go.
I got a Linear power supply, a reclocker and then a dac on top.
Next i will think about speakers, then amp.
Eventually i would love a valve amp. But I have a lot of learning to do before that. I am a complete noob at electronics.
I also will probably set up an old Hard Drive as a nas.