It's safe to start listening again. Good sound is back!
I edit the home A/V and pro audio articles on Crutchfield.com. It's a cool gig for a guy who's been seriously into audio since way before 1974. I started buying records, guitars, and gear with the money I made mowing lawns and delivering newspapers. Now the way I earn my money has changed for the better, but where it goes hasn't changed too much. Just give me the proverbial three chords and the truth. I'll do my best to help you feel it, too.
More from Jim Richardson
Heads up!Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.
How do you experience music?
Do you relish the sounds of music like you savor the flavors of a gourmet meal? Is your music a wellspring of inspiration rather than a mere backdrop for your everyday activities? Would you like it to thrill you, at least some of the time?The way most people listen has changed dramatically since hi-fi became a household word
What is high fidelity?
Simply put, it's sound reproduction over the full spectrum of audible frequencies, with no audible distortion of the original signal. Such reproduction conveys the artistry of a musical performance with the utmost accuracy. It immerses you in an experience that's true to the live performance. Playback reveals all of the intensity, the subtle sonic details, and the full range of emotions captured by the recording.
Educate your ears
Learn what to listen for.
Are you old enough to remember the Hi-Fi 1.0 era, when vinyl records were king? There wasn't much on TV, and multitasking wasn't even in the dictionary. Music lovers were much more likely to relax and just listen, devoting their undivided attention to the art within the grooves.
Then along came cassettes, MTV, PCs, MP3 players, earbuds, and other gadgets that multiplied our listening options but diluted the experience by degrading sound quality and pushing music further and further into the background.Finally, hi-fi catches up with your gadgets
For decades, people who were serious about sound quality had little choice but to buy a stack of components and a pair of boxy speakers. Fast-forward to Hi-Fi 2.0. Now some of the same devices that devalued the experience of listening to music can be used to enrich it. Computers can sound as good as high-end CD players. Smartphones and tablets can be powerful tools for music discovery.
Portability is no longer the enemy of sound quality. Today's "lossless" digital music files sound terrific. Pair your iPod® with a good set of headphones or a digital-media-friendly car stereo, and you can enjoy hi-fi sound wherever you roam.
Crutchfield can help you discover the thrill great sound can bring
Whether it's a high-end home music system, a car stereo makeover, or a simple upgrade of your TV sound, we'll show you how to improve your audio. Wherever you see our Hi-Fi 2.0 logo, you'll find information that steers you toward better sound. For a sample of our hi-fi guidance, try the links below.
» iPod, iTunes®, and AirPlay®
» Home audio shopping guides
» Home audio installation
» Surround sound and TV sound upgrades
» Car audio shopping guides
» Car audio installation