Portable Audio - Why restrict yourself?
Is it time to take it seriously?
Like may industries, things are getting smaller, and manufacturers are bringing out new products which are compressing technologies into ever smaller packages! However have the thought of the effect that could have within the HiFi industry? Well... now it may well be worth considering!
When you speak to people, many feel it wasn't worth investing in portable audio in the past, because they would never be able to produce the same sound quality that they get from there dedicated system at home, and that is a fair point, but now, how close can you get?
It's not half bad!
With newer technology, you could be surprised by what you can expect to achieve, just because something is small does not necessarily mean it cant produce a sound quality to rival many "dedicated" units. DAC's arguably have been the breakthrough in that respect. You can now buy a DAC that is no bigger than a standard USB memory stick, such as the AudioQuest Dragonfly. These advancements mean you can have a DAC that you can carry in your pocket, meaning suddenly getting an audiophile sound on the move isn't such a crazy thought.
But that isn't going to change things?
You may feel that adding a simple DAC isn't going to make enough of an improvement to make you interested, so let's take a look at what else is available.
Headphone Amplifier: Portable headphone amplifiers have become increasingly popular, and its easy to see why. Take for example the Audio Technica AT-PHA100, its a compact unit, with up to 14 hours battery life and even comes with a rubber matt and bands so you can attach a smartphone.
Amp/DAC: Many manufacturers are now combining both technologies, offering an "all in one" package which offers even further convenience. This can be seen in products such as the Onkyo DAC-HA200 which incorporates both technologies. This means when you are on the go, you are only really adding one small item to your luggage, but achieving a much superior sound quality!
But hang on, how about the headphones?
Of course headphones have always been portable, but in some cases, people may have felt that they didn't really achieve anything close to what they expected in terms of sound quality. Well those days are long gone! Now a number of audiophile grade headphones are available, from a vast range of manufacturers, allowing you the ability to achieve an audiophile sound on the go.
Some examples of this type of headphone are:
These are just a few examples, but from their specs you can see how much thought has gone into their design. want much like HiFi, everyone will have personal preference, so if you want any advice, or would like to hear some options, please feel free to get in touch.
How about the source?
Like a HiFi system, it is key to start of with a high quality recording, in most cases you want recordings of at least CD Quality. There are many options out there on how to achieve this, you can buy a range of High Quality music players, download music onto your smartphone or table, or possibly the most common method is using a streaming service.
With streaming services such as Tidal or Roon now producing CD Quality recordings, it is possible to achieve a fantastic sound, but it is always key to make sure that what you are supplying the other units is of high quality. Regardless of how much you spend, or the quality of your components , it is always key to make sure the recordings are good!
So can I upgrade later?
Simply the answer is yes! With its growing popularity, manufacturers are now producing several models, all which range in price, features, specs etc... SO much like a "conventional" HiFi systems, you can upgrade almost every part. Even with your headphones, rather than change them, in many cases you can upgrade the cable, offering you further enhancements without breaking the bank!
Having the ability to bring your music on the go is something which is very exciting for us, in the modern busy world, getting time to sit down and appreciate all tat your HiFi system has to offer is something of a "treat" for many, but being able to bring that music experience with you, is something that I would personally relish!