If you have a lifelong love affair with music, there’s no greater tragedy than listening to your favorite albums with subpar sound. Whether you find yourself having to adjust the volume with every track, you’re dealing with sound that’s tinny or distorted, or you’re constantly interrupted by ambient noise, there are so many factors that can compromise your listening experience. But there are also plenty of ways to combat detractors and engineer better sound quality and an environment conducive to listening in order to increase your enjoyment of music. Here are a few easy steps that should make for the best possible music listening.
- Learn to Equalize. If you’ve got your devices hooked up to a tuner that feeds into a stellar speaker system, you’re on the right track for a phenomenal listening experience every time you blast Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, or even Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. Of course, you’ll first have to learn how to use your equalizer to create the perfect balance. Some stereo systems have presets, so try them out to see which settings you prefer for different genres of music. But don’t be afraid to play around and create your own settings, as well.
- Get the Right Speakers. An expensive stereo setup just isn’t complete if you cheap out on the speakers. This isn’t to say you can’t find amazing deals on truly great speakers, but you definitely want to do your homework by reading expert reviews and taking the time to comparison shop. This means visiting stores in order to sample the listening experience offered by different brands and products. The end result will be, well, music to your ears.
- Consider Cables. These days you can try a variety of wireless speakers in the home, providing good sound quality and sparing you the eyesore of cables running all over the place (or the difficulty of hiding cables). That said, if you elect to go with a sound system that requires you to run cables to the speakers and other components connected to your tuner, make sure to use high quality speaker wire. This usually means selecting a thicker gauge in order to ensure the best transfer of sound.
- Be Careful where you Download. Pretty much everyone listens to digital music nowadays. Even if you’ve joined the vinyl resurgence and set up a turntable at home, you probably still have the lion’s share of your music collection stored in a digital format for convenience, if nothing else. That said, you should know that not all files are created equally. And when you download from sketchy sources (illegal music sharing sites, in particular), the chances of corruption and quality issues are high. Good sound starts at the source, so be careful what you download if you want superior sound quality.
- Upgrade Your Headphones. There’s not much you can do to quiet noisy neighbors, street sounds, and other ambient distractions when you listen to music. But headphones can pipe tunes directly into your ears. Noise cancelling headphones can address a lot of ambient sounds in order to give you a purer listening experience. When you go to concerts, you might utilize DownBeats ear plugs to reduce the roar and really hear the music. At home, the right headphones can make a huge difference in what you hear. Having the right extras on hand is the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to better music listening, no matter where you are.