The Enriching Sonic Experience of a Good Music System

Are you someone who is fully satisfied listening to music on mobile devices and other handheld portable MP3 players alone? Are you someone who is not fussy about the type of music system that one is listening to? Who is not able to differentiate between the sounds emanating from the headphones of your mobile and the speakers of a good stereo system?

Or are you someone whose idea of a “dream machine” is that ultimate music system that you have been dreaming to own all these years – tower speakers, powerful amplifier, receiver with CD player and AM/FM tuner, turntable, the works? The old-fashioned component audio system?

Music sounds different on different systems

Forget about the charging tempo, the beatific and teasing cello of Bach’s Suites but just pick up a popular music album, say Queen’s “A Night at the Opera” and one will realise that the 1975 masterpiece sounds so profoundly different when listened to on a good stereo system. The majestic artistry of Queen hits you in all its glory and power in the wonderfully crafted tracks, each of which is a gem, and at once you wonder if Freddie Mercury and his gang had engineered their masterpiece way ahead of its times. But again, were we able to appreciate their intricately arranged music only because we happen to listen to it properly on a good system? Would the music have been lost out had we listened to it on an inferior system?

Every note comes alive

For some people, the listening goes beyond the tempo and the beat of a particular musical piece but extends to the finer nuances of the recording which come alive only on a good music system. On a good music system, you could hear every pluck of a string instrument, every note of the guitar, the various percussion instruments, and inflection of the singer’s vocals recreated in your living room. Whether you are listening to the raw power of The Who, the psychedelic Pink Floyd, the jazzy sax of Stan Getz, or the dreamy Norah Jones music, one can really appreciate their music only on a good audio system. Preferably through the speakers in one’s living room.

Are the days of the component stereo system over?

With new audio technology moving in, is the mid-market for audio system dead? Well, on the ground, it looks like it. The audio market could, at present, be broadly divided into the convenience market – the portable MP3 players, the Bluetooth devices, laptops and the high-end market, which is shrinking and rapidly losing its space to the burgeoning convenience market.

Did video kill the radio star?

Technology changed the audio market landscape but it is not as if there is no market for the home audio system. However, this technological change was more for the sake of convenience. MP3 has less range in its compressed format and is in no way a comparison to the superior sound of CDs and vinyl records but MP3 players are more portable. The decline of the audio system market is also attributed to the rise of the music video, bringing people’s penchant for visuals over the sonic experience of stereo systems. However, the fact remains that with a pure audio system, the surrealistic visual simulations created in the mind of the listener cannot be compared to the visuals created by television.

The market for home stereo system remains

Although convenience market rules the game, and even if all you need is a pair of good quality headphones and an MP3 player, and even if you could carry entire music collections in your pocket, there are music aficionados who still prefer pure music from a good music system. Even if minuscule, there is still the market for mid to high-end home stereo systems. There are still who swear by the pure sound of the component home stereo system.


Sukumar Thingom


  1. Interesting read! I for the most part, usually just use headphones with my phone to listen to music but I can definitely see why others may prefer to use a music system instead.

    As far as music systems go, I have never gotten into them myself mainly because I know that not everyone in my household is a fan of the music that I listen to.

    My question is, do you have a specific sound system that you would recommend to others for a great value? If so, which one would that be?

    •  Dear Arie,

      When I wrote that post, I did not have a particular model in my mind but had the concept of music system as a whole, and perhaps, its dwindling market. There is the question of availability of brands/models in one’s country’s market and so recommending a particular system is difficult. For instance, in my country (India), there are not too many models coming under trusted and reputed brands. However, for home use with ready connectivity with Bluetooth devices and other inputs, which is wireless (no need for separate cable connection to speakers, etc.), does not require a vast footprint, great sound, I would recommend Bose Wave SoundTouch series. The question is availability. Thanks for comment!

  2. Really Enjoyed this article. My mom always was a big fan of music and always made sure that she had a nice sound system to listen to her music. I do feel if you have a really good pair of headphones you can almost achieve that sound personally but nothing compares to having a good sound system. Its unfortunate but now days many people do not see it that way. Interesting read

    • True. Nothing compares to having a good stereo system with a good pair of speakers. It’s good to know that there are still people who believe in component music systems 🙂

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