Introduction

That's right. A HI-FI setup for cheap.

HI-FI audio is underrated, listening to your songs in high quality changes your perspective in lots of things, it can also help to make you enjoy the music more. This article will go over the: quality of the audio files, equipment and other ways to improve audio.

What is High Quality

Hi-fi is often mistaken as more bass or making it "sound better". True Hi-Fi is the soundscape of the song and the ability to hear all the instruments in different locations. Meaning say if you closed your eyes and listened to the song, you'd be able to pinpoint and tell apart from the drums to the hi-hat and to the voice. They shouldn't sound like "one thing" and you should be able to hear the 3D'ness of the song.

Genre of Music

The genre of song does effect the quality of quality in a way. Soundcloud rappers or small scale artists may not even know what a FLAC file is. However most older artists especially those from the 50's-60's with remastered content and the majority of 70's-80's will have high quality tracks. Classical music will also sound wonderful if you listen to that in any way. But don't expect to rip out an XXXTENTACION and expect more from it (God bless him).

Equipment

Apart from collecting high quality tracks (i've spoken about this in another article), you'll need to also have the correct equipment to get the most out of it.

Headphones

You'll have 2 headphones, why 2 you may ask? This is because one will be used for travel and the other for indoors due to the fact you need open backed headphones.

Difference between closed and open back headphones.

Closed back headphones are designed to isolate you from the envrionment and thus are enclosed. These are probably the headphones you usually see or used before day to day. These will be good for travel and on the go listening however for audio quality or even gaming they won't be as good. Because the fact that they're closed back, soundwaves from the speaker will hit your ear, but then reflect from your face back to the earcup. This reflection loop doesn't end and will cause details to be flooded out or to make songs sound like "one thing". This is prevelent in metal music. However they're good when you're on the go.

My reccomendation are the Boze Quietcomfort II's. They have noise cancelling and bluetooth so are great for travel. Especially drowning out long static noises such as engines and such. However these are expensive and a hassle to use sometimes if you're just going out for a bit. So you can save money if you'd just rather listen to quality music indoors by just buying the open backs I'll mention below.

Only problem with them is the earcups will break after a year of use, however just buy replacement ones on Amazon, they are easy to replace.

Open back headphones are designed for surround sound. They are the opposites from closed back headphones where they have an open back, this prevents the "reflection loop" mentioned earlier and helps to have higher clarity music. However the drawbacks of these are the fact that since these aren't enclosed. The sound does escape the headphones so maybe people nearby will be able to hear you. You will also need a quiet envrionment such as your own room to listen to this properly as these things can even allow the sound of a mechanical keyboard in. But they're wonderful for a soundscape experience and make metal sounds amazing.

My pick for these are the Samson SR850's as it the cheapest choice for quality music and has the soundscape effect I mentioned earlier. It has long cables and are durable and will work forever. Good purchase.

These sound better than the Boze's as they're open back. However these don't go up to 32bit unlike the Boze's. So take that as you will.

Earphones

These do the trick honestly. Since Hi-Fi earphones are expensive. Best bet is just going with these, you'll never get the best quality out of earphones anyway.

However Apple's Earphones do break easily, so if you want to prevent that. Go for the AKG's that come with Samsung phones. They sound on par with these.

Music Players

It has bad battery life so do remember that. However the Sony A-105 pumps out the best audio quality for the price. It gives high quality music and android. It also has a high quality DAC allowing to even max the volume at 120%

Software

foobar2000 is the best for playing audio. Plenty of visualizers and uncompressed audio. Pure raw quality.

Here's the download link


Lollypop is an free and open source music player made by GNOME. It can be downloaded from any Linux Software Manager. It does have the same quality to foobar but less audiophile features. Also running Foobar through Wine is possible. But is annoying to use.

Other things to note

Playing anything via Bluetooth will decrease the audio quality to 320kpbs which is MP3 Quality. Stick to wired as much as possible.