Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. (Wikipedia)

There are many, MANY genres and sub-genres, Rock, Pop, Electronic, Hip-hop, Rap, Metal, Classical, Dance, Jazz and countless more! I meet a lot of people every day who “love” music, but haven’t really heard music the way it was meant to be. Not trying to be an audiophile-know-it-all here, but just trying to point out that a lot of people given the chance to hear the music a little differently realize how much they have been missing. And, once hooked to listening it right, they are HOOKED!

Now, music is all about listening to what the artist wanted you to hear, but not listening it right could very well make you dislike a certain kind of music. Or worse, you may have yet to realize how different, even ethereal your favorite song sounds with a different audio settings – it’s all about the source – device and media, the presentation and to some extent your ambiance.  It is true, it could be an expensive hobby, but you can spend a fortune and still not get the perfect sound. What I am saying is that it does not need to be expensive, it is not about getting the perfect sound, but better sound than what you already have till the point that “the better” stops making a difference.

Let me tell you how.

SOURCE – It is what you use to play your music and what is being played. It can be an iPod, your computer, your smartphone, your portable devices (I am not at all getting into the LP players and SACD players and other expensive sources), as far as it is anything with a decent (mind it, I said DECENT) sound chip and most devices these days do, you will be fine. The source defines largely what you will eventually hear. It can be MP3, AAC, FLAC, CDs, MDs. Most people listen to MP3 as this is currently the most widely used media for music and also easily available. As the first step for all of you who have most of your media in 128/192kbps to just try and change your MP3s to a higher bitrate i.e. 320kbps if you already aren’t listening to that. And yes, you just upgraded yourself without wasting a penny. Now if you have the bandwidth and the space in your devices, go and get yourself some FLAC files, for apple users it will be ALAC of your 5 Favorite songs and play those (this however to some extent will depend on the device you are using – I will skip the technicalities) and tell yourself – WOW, I didn’t know there was a harmonica in there, oh there is a violin playing in the background, a lot of similar discoveries will be made and those discoveries will be significant and well worth the effort. Oh, and yes, those things I mentioned before melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre and texture, they will all start making sense.

PRESENTATION – Are you by any chance using the earphones/headphones that you got with your phone /iPod/MP3 player? A word of advice – throw them away. Like NOW! Those 5.1 gaming setup bass boxes, or those boomy 2.1  channel “Made for PC” speakers. They change music, omit a lot of details and present you with just/mostly one overemphasized part of the music, BASS. It’s like having a pizza – no toppings or cheese or sauce, just the base, not appetizing anymore is it? The question is, is it even a pizza anymore?! I am not asking you to go all out and get yourself a Sennheiser HD 650 for starters, but just see where you can get your full money’s worth. Type in your budget on google and search for headphones and earphones and you will be given plenty of reviews, be well read and make an informed decision. Again do not aim for that perfect sound but see that there is better without spending much. Also remember, music unless designed to, is meant to be played on 2 channels only – left and right – cause you have two ears – left and right which then create a 3D sound for you – which gives you the soundstage.

AMBIANCE – Now you can’t do much, and most of the time people put on music to cut out the ambiance, trains, buses, office, PEOPLE. Well, as you can’t mute everyone around you, you can save yourself from becoming deaf by lowering the volume that your music is being played at and get yourself some decent noise isolating headphones/earphones.

Now again the cost pops up. Well there you go:

NICE EARPHONES/HEADPHONES – Many options are available from 1500 (to better most packaged headphones you get with your devices) – as much you want to spend. The cheaper ones will not be very well known brands, but a lot better than what you get from the mainstream brands at the same price. I have used a few myself and I have been staying away from mainstream brands for a while now.

SPEAKERS – Do some research and you will find a few to fit your budget. In this department, I wouldn’t say you can find something as cheap as the horrible iBall/enter/Intex but hey, you do not even want to pay money to punish your ears, do you?

Chander is our resident self-proclaimed music expert. Please feel free to reach out to him on all queries and suggestions needed to get some kickass earphones! Emai: chander.mohan@sourcefuse.com