Anyone who has hauled milk crates full of old-fashioned vinyl records appreciates the digital age we live in now. While analog music might not be dead, LPs made up around 14% of all musical music purchases in 2017.
However, music streaming services such as Amazon, Tidal, Spotify, and Apple Music boast a wide variety of music catalogs from every genre you can imagine. That said, to gain access to such services, sound quality will usually take a hit because digital music delivery results in increased compression rates, equivalent to cutting holes inside your t-shirt. Sure, it will still be a t-shirt, but it will miss some vital parts.
However, this might change as time goes on. With the increased demand for high-quality, high-fidelity online music, many music streaming services provide you with settings and options to adjust sound quality according to your taste and liking.
Plus, you also have the hardware option. For example, upgrading your music streaming device can drastically improve audio quality and enhance your music-listening experience tenfold. With that in mind, let us look at a few ways to improve your streaming music’s quality on your phone or pc.
Some of these ways are listed down below.
Invest in a high-quality pair of headphones.
The intermediary between your ear and the music you stream is vital to defining your entire listening experience. And one way to improve your music streaming quality is by investing in a pair of high-quality wired or wireless noise cancelling headphones that provide just the right level of bass and treble, whether on your phone or PC.
The latest Bluetooth wireless headphones utilize the newest Bluetooth protocols to eliminate lag to up to 1 or 2 percent, providing you with an excellent listening experience. Typically, these headphones also have built-in controls on the cups themselves and allow you to adjust volume and other functions with the press of a button.
Furthermore, these headphones can range from 100 dollars to 10,000 dollars. However, consider going for one that provides you with the best bang for your buck. For instance, offerings from Sennheiser can range from 50 dollars up to 5000 dollars. So, purchase one that you can afford.
Always use your home broadband for streaming music.
Wireless internet connection, while very convenient, doesn’t have any place in the music streaming world. But it is better to use your home’s broadband service for streaming music rather than mobile internet to ensure a better, lag-free listening experience.
As far as streaming music on your PC goes, it is a no-brainer to use a wired network connection to connect to the internet. It reduces latency and improves sound quality.
Limit traffic when streaming music online.
When you listen to a podcast or music stream online, avoid utilizing excessive network bandwidth, meaning reducing network activity. Sure, surfing the internet will be fine. However, downloading heavy files will eat away at your network bandwidth, and your music streams will start to lag.
Moreover, your music service’s automatic quality adjuster will downgrade to the lowest possible music quality, ruining your listening experience.
Utilize software made for sound quality.
Native Spotify and tidal applications are acceptable. However, you can achieve a better sound quality with software players specifically designed to improve the quality of your music streams. For instance, bubble UPNP on android(as a remote) with JPLAY on windows is the perfect combination of software specifically designed for improved sound quality for offline and online music.
Use audiophile-grade network switch and adapter.
NET Card FEMTO network adapter and the M12 SWITCH GOLD will provide you with the best sound quality the best audiophile-grade network equipment can bring. In addition, it will offer you the same level of sound quality improvements as getting a DAC but at half the price.
While this might not affect the sound quality that much, investing in high-quality network equipment is heaps better than your generic, run-of-the-mill network switch and adapter.
Upgrade your router.
How good is your internet router? Does the quality of your router affect your music streaming sound quality? We recommend trying different brands of routers and going for a wired one rather than a wireless one.
For your smartphones, consider getting a WiFi access point for your wired router. Upgrading your router to a better one will improve its responsiveness and speed, resulting in your music streams playing higher audio quality.
Purchase a DAC for your phone and PC.
A digital to analog converter or DAC is a staple of the audiophile industry. It converts digital single into analog ones, as the name suggests. In addition, you can find DAC in various audio equipment such as CD players, DVD players, Televisions, High-end smartphones, to name a few.
However, to get the best sound quality on your music streams, consider investing in an external, stand-alone DAC that plugs with your PC or phone and allows you to adjust sound quality according to your taste and liking.
Typically, a DAC includes jitter reduction, upsampling, USB inputs, multiple headphone outputs, and much more. But, in the end, the main benefit of a DAC is improved sound quality. DACs can range from tiny portable ones to big tabletop ones.
Moreover, prices range from 460 dollars for the Chord Mojo to 50 dollar generic ones. That said, the one you go for depends on your music listening preferences and budget. But, don’t forget that expensive doesn’t always mean better. So, give DAC a test run before you decide to make a purchase.
Use high-quality audio cables.
Whether you’re using wired headphones or in-ear buds, wire quality plays a significant role in deciding the quality of music played in your ear. So, if you want to enjoy superior sound quality, ensure that all your audio wires on your headphones or other sound equipment are high-quality and made up to high-grade, 99 percent pure copper.
For instance, many audiophile headphones come with balanced cables. So, consider using them instead of generic wires to ensure excellent sound quality and immersion into your favorite music.
In the end, the definition of excellent sound quality is different for everyone. After all, some people prefer heavy bass sound while others prefer mid-heavy music. Plus, sound quality also depends on the bitrate of the music being played through the streaming service of your choice.
For instance, a 192kbps song will be heaps better than a 64kbps one. Not to mention, lossless audio files(FLACs) offer the best sound quality there is. That said, follow the tips mentioned in this article to ensure you improve your music listening experience tenfold without spending too much money on audiophile-grade equipment.