Five ways to improve how your music sounds

If you’re a music fan and you’ve never tried a pair of Best Buy headphones or experimented with an equaliser, you’re missing out. Upgrading your listening experience doesn’t have to be tricky, and you needn’t break the bank to get more from your music either.

We’ve rounded up five tips to help make your music sound that little bit sweeter.

Best Buy wireless and Bluetooth speakers – for the living room or your backpack

Top tips for a better sound

1. Treat yourself to premium headphones

Do you listen to music on your smartphone? You should know that the headphones that arrived in the box are unlikely to offer the same great experience as a premium alternative.

Weak headphones don’t provide a detailed sound, and bass is non-existent. They might leak sound, too, which will annoy fellow passengers on the train. Our Best Buy headphones are comfy to wear even during those longer listening sessions, and they can deal with a variety of genres. For every pair we test, we pay close attention to comfort and durability, also testing the effectiveness of noise-cancelling features.

To see which models impressed our listening panel, see our headphone reviews. If you’re on a budget, our guide to the best headphones under £50 can help.

2. Listen to hi-res audio

If you want to hear every note of your favourite song in crystal-clear detail, try listening to it in hi-res. Compared with a ‘regular’ audio file, the difference is very clear.

As mentioned in our guide to hi-res audio, sound quality is measured in bits and frequency range. The higher the bitrate, the better the sound. Not every device can support the format, however. Sony’s NW-A25HN (right) can play hi-res audio, as can the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Sony Xperia Z5. Products that can play hi-res tunes usually show off that fact on the packaging. Look for the gold logo.

If you stream your music through Spotify, you can change music-quality settings under Your Library. Doing so lets you set streaming quality to high, equal to ~160 kbps. Premium users can try ‘extreme’ quality, which is ~320 kbps. You’ll get a far richer sound in high quality, but note that it will eat up more data if you’re on a 3G or 4G connection.

3. Use an equaliser

Users running on iOS can try tapping Settings, then Music. Scroll down to EQ and you’ll spot a range of audio presets including Bass Booster, Jazz, Pop and Lounge. Flick through them while you have a song playing and you’ll notice the difference.

Tweaking music on Android via Play Music is also straightforward. From any page inside the app, tap the upper-left corner to bring up settings. Tap Settings then hit Equaliser, which is listed under Playback. From here, you can adjust bass and treble levels depending on what genre you’re listening to. If you don’t have Play Music, you can try downloading an equaliser app from the Play Store.

As one of the most popular music apps around, you won’t be surprised to hear that Spotify also has an equaliser. To find it on iOS and Android, open the app and tap on Your Library. You’ll find the equaliser underneath the Music Quality heading.

4. Play your music through a speaker

A well-made speaker can really complement your music. The best-performing speakers we’ve tried out have a nice amount of bass that’s not too overpowering, so songs have a nice ‘boom’ to them. If you like your music loud you can really crank up the volume, too. While some speakers sit comfortably in your living room, others are designed to be carried around in a backpack or set up outside.

We’ve reviewed speakers from the likes of Bose, JBL, LG and Sony. To see which models breezed through our tests, see our Best Buy wireless speakers. Alternatively, head over to our wireless speaker reviews.

5. Try vinyl

Many dedicated music fans will tell you that you can’t beat the sound of vinyl. If you’re looking for a truly unique sound, consider investing in a record player. The best record players to pass through our test lab sound fantastic, and they’re easy to use right out of the box. Our testing also proves that you don’t need to spend big to get the best model. Best Buy record players cope well when it comes to digitisation, which means you can copy your collection to a PC or Mac without scratching your records.

To see every record player we’ve scored, read our record player reviews. If you’re preparing to buy your first record, see our guide to how to buy the best record player.

Which MP3 player is right for you?

You might like the idea of listening to music on a dedicated MP3 player. If that’s the case, you may find yourself choosing between an Apple iPod and a Sony Walkman. Both brands have their pros and cons, and there are many models to consider regardless of your budget.

Apple’s iPod range consists of the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano and iPod Touch. The Shuffle is ideal if you’re looking for a device to clip to your clothes, while the iPod Touch is essentially an iPhone without calling capability. Meanwhile, a number of Sony’s MP3 players are waterproof, and several of its Walkman devices support hi-res audio. See our Apple iPod vs Sony Walkman guide for the details.

For more on picking a new home for your music, head over to our guide to how to buy the best MP3 player.

More on this

Best Buy MP3 players – these gadgets impressed our audio experts
The best headphone brands – our latest survey reveals all
Which Sony Walkman should I buy? – we’ll help you choose wisely

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