If you’re any kind of an audiophile, then your home is the best place to listen to your favorite music.
Why? Well, it’s where you keep all your stuff, and that stuff probably includes some quality audio equipment, even if it’s just a pair of headphones that you really like.
Or, if you’ve committed yourself to the hobby more fully, maybe it includes an expensive receiver and a full set of 5.1 surround sound speakers.
So what’s the best way to listen to music at home? Truth is, it’s about much more than just your equipment. In a time when we can choose from a range of music formats and playback devices, we have more options than ever before.
What’s the best format? What’s the best gear? And where is the best place in your home to enjoy music?
We’re going to try to tackle these highly subjective topics as best we can, with a heavy emphasis on finding what you like the best.
You may also be interested in our article on so-called smart people music and how to listen to it.
Ok, so let’s talk about the music itself. These days we have the choice between physical media and digital media, which itself is split between stored tracks and streaming music.
Are any of these formats inherently better than the others? Yes and no. Let’s talk about it.
For collectors, vinyl is the head honcho when it comes to physical media. It may be an old format, but it can reproduce high-quality audio. And of course it also features some lovely clicks and pops that remind the listener of simpler times.
The downside of vinyl is that it’s expensive, it takes up space, and it can be damaged fairly easily.
Many contemporary artists are still printing albums in the form of CDs, meaning they’re easy to get and relatively affordable.
And lastly, we have cassettes. Cassettes have made a big comeback in recent years, despite the fact that the quality just isn’t there and they tend to wear out.
All in all, when it comes to physical media, the most important thing is to listen to the format you like the best. If cassettes make you feel nostalgic and nice, then who cares if they sound like you’re playing them through a tin can.
Digital music is the way of the future. It has no physical presence in your home (which can be a negative factor for some listeners), and the quality can also be very high.
But when it comes to streaming, you may fall prey to drops in quality or even pauses for buffering, neither of which are very pleasant.
Digital music is a great option for the practical personality type, and if you find lossless files, then it can even please the hard-nosed audiophile.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your home and you don’t care to spend money on equipment for playing physical media, then digital music is going to be the best way to listen to your favorite music at home.
Home audio equipment can be as simple as tinny built-in computer speakers or a Bluetooth speaker, but if you’re reading this article, then you probably want to go the extra mile.
So let’s talk about some audio equipment that can greatly alter your listening experience.
No matter how great your source material is, if it’s coming through cheap speakers, you probably won’t be able to really appreciate it.
And here’s the best part: you can get some nice speakers for less than a hundred bucks. If you want to make your home a great place to listen to music, then we can’t recommend buying a set of external speakers highly enough.
Back in the days of the Hi-Fi, headphones were the only way to listen to your music without disturbing everyone else you lived with.
Today, they can serve the same function for home listening, but they can also be a great way to isolate your music by blocking out other environmental noise.
Headphones are another great option for the practical listener. Instead of buying high-quality speakers, a receiver, and hardwiring the whole set-up, you can just plug your headphones into your sound source and you’re good to go.
Where you listen to music in your home can be just as important as the equipment you’re using or the music you’re listening to.
And it’ll be up to you to decide which environmental factors matter and which don’t.
Where to Listen
First of all, you’ll need to design which room or space in your home is most well-suited to listening.
A room near the entrance probably won’t make for a great listening environment. Basements and upper-level rooms, however, tend to be located further from common street noise and household noise.
For example, a kitchen can be one of the noisiest rooms in the house, and kitchens are almost always located on the entry level.
Whether you want to soundproof your listening space is your decision. Just keep in mind that effective soundproofing can be very expensive and is only worth the effort if you’ll be living in the same place for years at a time.
Who to Listen With
One of the last questions to ask yourself when working toward the best way to listen to music at home is whether you want listening to be a solo or a social experience.
For example, if you have a family, trying to listen to music alone could cause friction. Try to share your love of music with your family. Make it a fun hobby, not a super-serious exercise in artistic appreciation.
Even if you live alone, art can serve as a fantastic conduit for social interaction. When was the last time you went to a party and there was no music whatsoever?
Let your music be a part of your environment, rather than an escape from it.