Digital music trends
I grew up in a time when the family stereo system had pride of place in the lounge room, each (giant) speaker flanking a complex network of wires and components. Mum used to blast the music so she could hear it in the kitchen while she cooked or cleaned the house on a Saturday morning.
Today is a very different story. Between wireless speakers and music streaming services, you can now access, store and play millions of tracks – all through your smartphone device.
Music streaming services
In addition to accessing millions of tracks, you can also listen to obscure radio stations from all over the world, create your own playlists or ‘stations’, and even browse through the music collections of your friends. In the case of Pandora’s Music Genome Project, a whole catalogue of music can be automatically generated based on your personal preferences.
However, unlike purchasing an individual track from iTunes, or a CD from your local music store, music-streaming services can only be accessed by a monthly fee (though many do offer trial periods). And, unlike a hardcopy CD, you no longer have access to the music once you cancel the subscription.
“The Sonos application is a simple, intuitive interface that makes it easy to access your personal library or choice of streaming service,” says Dave, a successful DJ known as “Crucial D”, the co-founder of Wicked Beat Sound System.
“Sonos allows you to have a soundtrack in the parts of your home that you spend the most time in, instead of it being locked up in an office computer or a device with little or no amplification,” he explains. You can use the great sounding Sonos all-in-one speakers or bring your own high quality speakers and amplification to the system if you wish.”
Award-winning audio engineer Phil Johnson co-founded Bruns Acoustics so that he could merge modern wireless technology with quality craftsmanship.
“We had won several awards and had enjoyed designing world-class products but became disenchanted by the constant push to reduce cost, which often sacrificed quality and used materials harmful to the environment,” said Phil, whose Audiophile headphone won the prestigious CES Design and Engineering Innovations Award in 2013.
Bruns Acoustics’ retro range of speakers enables you to wirelessly stream music from your smartphone or tablet through an analogue amplifier.
“We chose analogue for its warm, natural sound as these characteristics make it a pleasure to listen to for extended periods of time,” Phil explained. “Designed in-house, our BA1 analogue amplifier uses premium components and is built to last.”
As you can see in this video, the entire manufacturing process from milling the logs to wiring the speakers is executed at the company’s workshop in the Byron Bay hinterland.
5 music-streaming tips
According to technology specialists C-Net, there are five things to consider before purchasing a music-streaming subscription.
- Search the different catalogues to see if they include your favourite artists.
- How are you going to stream your music? While most offer apps for Android, iOS and Windows phones, not all synch in with Sonos (see above), or your PlayStation or Xbox.
- Look for free trials or subscriptions where you can sample the service, in some cases up to a month without paying.
- Services like Apple Music and Google Play Music offer family plans that enable multiple people to share the same membership. Prices differ so be sure to research your options.
- Check to see if you can store and stream your own music.