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Audio Buying Guide - Music Sources

Music Sources Explained

Time and technology have evolved the way we store our music. While vinyl and cassettes were once the standard, this is no longer the case – and digital alternatives to CDs are becoming more popular and practical.

Music today is linked with the devices that we use to play it. MP3 players and iPods now offer various features in addition to music playback, while smartphones, tablets and computers can both store and play music. Each of these device types can also access music from a number of sources.

Internet Music Streaming

Music streaming is becoming increasingly popular, because it’s convenient and practical. It involves playing music directly from an internet source or a mobile phone, tablet or computer – the advantage is that you don’t have to download and save each song to your computer or rely on physical formats like CDs.

In fact, it’s now so popular that streamed songs now count towards to UK singles chart each week.

Services like Spotify, Napster, Deezer or Google Play Music let you access thousands of songs from all genres. If you have a smartphone, tablet, computer or MP3 player with Bluetooth, WiFi or NFC, you can play music directly over your speaker from one of many online music streaming services or your personal music collections – remember that a subscription may be necessary for some services to access the music they offer.

Personal Music Library

Your personal music library consists of any music that’s stored digitally on a device you own – that could be your smartphone, laptop, PC, MP3 player, tablet or external hard drive.

Normally you’d store this music on the hard drive of whichever device you’re using and then play songs through a programme like iTunes or Windows Media Player.

Having a digital music library can be more flexible and convenient than older storage methods like vinyl, cassettes or CDs, because the only limit to how many songs you can have is how much memory or hard drive space you have on your computer, phone, tablet or other music player - rather than how much shelf space you have in your house.


You can copy music from a CD to your personal music library on your computer (such as iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries), which is a great way to keep copies of your favourite albums in digital format – plus it gives you a more convenient way to play back songs without needing a Hi-Fi, Boombox or other CD player.

However, CDs have been the standard music format for the last decade, so many people own large collections.

While it’s possible to convert CD-based music into a digital format, CD audio quality is still superior to digital formats like MP3, and many people still find it important that their speakers can play music in a physical format such as a CD – so products such as Hi-Fis and Boomboxes can offer CD players for this purpose.

View our range of CD compatible Hi-Fis


For years, the radio has kept us up to date with the latest music and news – now it’s available in both the familiar analogue format and the newer DAB format.

DAB offers thousands more stations than analogue radio, and tunes automatically to the station you want. You won’t have to retune your radio, and since stations are sorted by name rather than frequency bandwidth, you can find them more easily. It’s a great feature that saves you time and hassle spent on manual tuning.

DAB radio offers all kinds of music, talk shows and sports broadcasts to suit your tastes, and can also display information such as song titles and radio station details.

You’ll enjoy much clearer sounds with DAB radio too, because it’s free from the static and interference commonly experienced with analogue radio. You’ll enjoy your favourite stations in crisp audio quality.

View our range of DAB Radios

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