With music listeners increasingly relying on smartphones, tablet devices, media players and notebook computers as their playback equipment, the trend toward compact roadworthy gear matches up with the focus on portability.
Music Apps and Websites
Along with music-oriented hardware, today's mobile consumers need access to tunes for their tablet devices or smartphones. Apps and websites can connect you with new tunes and artists as well as bring familiar tracks to your ears. Some of these options support free playback within an advertisement-supported interface. Others charge a monthly fee for access to millions of songs or a per-track fee for individual titles. You'll also find sites and apps that provide both free and paid listening options. If you want to listen to Internet radio while you're on the go, you can find apps that support specific stations and services that charge a modest fee for access to a global range of AM and FM broadcasts.
Mobile music lovers may lose access to their music libraries that are stored in the cloud while they're on the go in environments that lack cell service, so syncing tunes on your device keeps you entertained in flight or off the trail. "Streaming services do not work on planes or in areas with slow data services," app developer Justin Tipton, founder of JRT Studio, says. "Also, even if you do have service, if you are a music addict, you could easily run up your data charges through streaming music. Syncing my music to my phone keeps me from being worried about data overages with playing music from the cloud." To hold your expanded music library, look for a large-capacity memory card that's compatible with your device.
Wired or Wireless
Wireless technologies literally cut the cord between your listening device and your ears. Their high power-to-output ratio, efficient energy consumption and light weight make these wireless devices ideal mobile companions. Tipton likes the convenience of wireless connectivity even when he's on the go in his own home. "The Bluetooth headphones and speaker are also a must for my active life," he says. "I don't want to be tripping over wires or dragging my phone wherever I go. I can throw my phone on the desk and then move around my house while still jamming out."
Speakers and Headphones
The link between your music and your ears consists of speakers and headphones, long-standing technologies that have endured even as the devices they originally supported have fallen out of favor. Along with their wireless capabilities, some of these accessories include touches that address practical or aesthetic concerns. Headphone cushion designs emphasize comfort over long wearing periods, even during active, vigorous exercise. Manufacturers tailor some products specifically for women, with smaller enclosures that suit smaller ears. Wired devices include tangle-limiting features to keep cords from snagging. You can find listening technologies in virtually any color, style and materials, including wood.
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