- Tip #1: Download High Definition Files
- Tip #2: Rip Files at a Higher Bitrate
- Tip #3: Invest in a Better Pair of Speakers
- Tip #4: Use Headphones Instead
- Tip #5: Add an Outboard Digital-to-Analog Converter
Tip #3: Invest in a Better Pair of Speakers
Even lossless audio files can sound lifeless when you’re listening through a pair of stock computer speakers. Unfortunately, most speakers that come with desktop PCs are small and sound somewhat tinny; the speakers built into notebook PCs are even worse.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to connect a new pair of better-sounding speakers. Skip over the low-priced replacement units and go directly to those priced $200 and up. I’m talking about speakers by companies such as Audioengine, Bose, Focal, and Bowers & Wilkins. Look for speakers with larger woofers and audiophile-quality specs; in general, bigger speakers will sound better.
You also have the option of going with nearfield monitors – the types of monitor speakers used in recording studios. These speakers might cost a little more than the typical computer speakers, but provide much better sound. (They’re designed for monitoring recordings in the studio, after all.) You can find studio monitors priced from $200 and up from companies such as Alesis, M-Audio, Samson, and Mackie.
Whether you go with a traditional speaker or a studio monitor, remember that you’ll get better sound for music playback with a traditional two-speaker stereo pair than with a 5.1-speaker system for videogame or home theater use. If you find you need a little more oomph on the bottom, you can always add a subwoofer to the mix.