Cheap Home Audio Gear and Tips (2021): How to Get Great Sound

It might be a new year, but it's still a bad time to leave the house right now. That makes it a great time to listen to music ! If you've found a gaping hole in your music or podcast listening setup—maybe you don't have noise-canceling headphones to tune out the toddlers, or you're just trying to get better sound, we've got you covered. These are our tips for upgrading your home audio.

This isn't the only list of audio-related stuff we have! Be sure to check out our guides to the Best Gifts for Audiophiles , Best Headphones , and Best Bluetooth Speakers for more. Need other work from home gear? We have an Ultimate Work-From-Home Gear Guide .
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Updated January 2021: We've added a few new picks, updated tips, and tweaked language.

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Free Home Audio Tips

Photograph: Getty Images

Often times, big audio improvements just take some menu diving and feng shui.

Check Your Streaming Settings

I can't tell you how many friends and family I've had check their streaming settings, only to realize they didn't have them set on the highest possible audio quality.

Enter your music streaming app's settings menu and make sure you set audio to high quality. Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music make the music quality settings easy to find. You can download your favorite playlists and albums if your home Wi-Fi cannot handle the higher bitrate stream.
Speaker Location Is Everything

Photograph: Adorama