5 free things to make your music sound better

If you’re reading this site then we can probably assume you have more than a passing interest in music so here are a few things that you can do right now (and for little or no cash) to make your music sound better!

1. Start with some quiet (or listen at night)

No matter what the spec of your music system the sounds coming from it have to compete with any background noise where you’re listening. If you’re in a nice quiet listening room at home then great! If you’re on an underground train using ear buds then things won’t sound quite so rosy!  Anything you can do to lower the background (or ambient) noise will help achieve a better sound as your music has fewer things to compete with. Even shutting the listening room door may help, and if you’re on that noisy public transport, investigate a set of noise cancelling headphones.

2. Check your setup

Our lives are often busy and it’s easy to forget that system setup will degrade a little over time. So, take a few minutes once in a while to disconnect and reconnect your plugs and sockets (it allows them to clean themselves), reset your speaker spikes to remove any wobble and clean records etc. You system will thank you for the attention.

3. Compress a bit less

If your music is being ripped from a CD to a library system like iTunes there are often settings in the host program that will let you choose a format and date rate (file size) to compress at. WAV is the highest quality (it’s basically the same data as on the original CD). MP3, AAC and the like all throw data away but choosing a higher data rate (like 256 or 320kb/s) will keep more of the detail and sound better as a result.

In iTunes go to Preferences -> General -> Import Settings to experiment with different choices.

4. Relax (if it was good enough for Frankie…?)

Music is well known as a relaxation aid but, you’re unlikely to get the most detail from your music if your mind is racing with other thoughts. So, sit down, grab a glass of your favorite tipple and enjoy the music.

5. Don’t relax too much!

If you’re choosing a system you’ll need to be alert so that you can hear changes between components and make the right buying decisions. You and your ears are the perfect measurement tools to use when deciding if a system or component is right for you. If you’re a bit tired or a bit too relaxed your attention will be blunted and a quick cup of coffee might be just the thing to prick up your senses!

So there you are. All easy to do and all will help make your music sound better.