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Constant innovation is driving the evolution of music technology to improve your listening experience

Music technology has come a long way since Thomas Edison unveiled the first phonograph in 1877. A lot has changed in the 142 years that followed that particular milestone, in terms of music formats and playback technology.

But one thing hasn’t changed: people’s desire to get the best from their music systems. That’s where this guide comes in. It’ll introduce you to some of the most innovative audio equipment available today and explain exactly how it could take your listening to the next level.

Sound without sacrifice

Do you know how much of the music is missing when you listen to MP3s?

Popular streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music, offer unrivalled convenience: they provide you with instant access to millions of songs but that convenience comes at a cost – sound quality.

Singer-songwriter Jake Isaac listens to his recordings in MQA

In some cases, as much as 90 per cent of the data from the original recording is discarded to create an MP3 file, leaving you with a music file that can be streamed instantly but has less sound quality than a humble CD.

If that strikes you as too much of a sacrifice to make for the sake of convenience, then there is a solution: the MQA, or Master Quality Authenticated, format. MQA is a technology that enables all of the original recording to be preserved in a digital format that can still be easily streamed.

You can stream thousands of MQA tracks on your computer or via an iOS or Android device from Tidal. You can further enhance playback with a high-performance digital-to-audio converter (DAC), such as one of the three USB-based models in AudioQuest’s award-winning DragonFly range. Plug a DragonFly into your smartphone or computer, then plug your headphones into the DragonFly and you can enjoy the dynamic, detailed, high-definition sound that MQA can deliver.

Put music at the heart of your home

Great sounds, voice-activated multi-room control and a virtual assistant all in one

When is a speaker not a speaker? When it’s part of Harman Kardon’s Citation series of smart home audio systems. In which case it’s a wireless, internet-enabled, voice-activated virtual assistant that combines an engaging listening experience with transfixing design.

Every speaker in the Citation series has Google Assistant built in to not only enable hands-free control of your home’s music, lighting and heating systems but also allow you to access your schedule and find information online without touching a button.

Another thing all Citation speakers share is Bluetooth and Chromecast connectivity so you can wirelessly play or stream music from your smartphone, tablet or computer (Citation 300 and 500 models also support streaming via AirPlay2).

Individually, every Citation speaker delivers exceptional audio to whatever room it’s in but, in combination, they can bring both multi-zone and multi-room audio to your home – so you can share your music throughout your house or allow everyone to listen to their own preferred music, all through one networked system and all in exceptional HD quality.

Superior sound reproduction with the capabilities of an internet-enabled virtual assistant

Excellence remastered

Introducing the all-new Mu-So 2nd Generation – the premium wireless speakers your music deserves

The Mu-so 2nd Generation and Mu-So Qb 2nd Generation from Naim Audio aren’t merely updated versions of their Mu-So forebears, they’re the next evolution of them.

“Combining our company’s 46 years of hi-fi mastery with the very latest music-streaming technology, not to mention class-leading performance, features and design, Mu-so 2nd Generation speakers are the wireless audio systems you and your music deserve.”
Charlie Henderson, Naim Audio MD

The new Mu-so 2nd Generation models feature Naim’s unique music-streaming platform, developed by 25 engineers over three years to offer the very best performance. This acclaimed innovation is only found in Naim music-streaming products, from its entry-level Uniti range, all the way up to the £20,000 flagship ND 555.

As well as working brilliantly on their own, Mu-so 2nd Generation speakers can also be easily integrated with others to create a multi-room set-up. By using the updated Naim app (available for iOS and Android devices) you can combine them with other networked Naim products (including 1st generation Mu-so and Qb). Alternatively you can pair Mu-so 2nd Generation models with other AirPlay 2-compatible wireless speakers via the Apple Home app, or with other Chromecast devices via groups controlled by the Google Home app.

More signal, less noise, no power

Hear the world in high-definition, without the need for batteries

Thanks to their position, our ears are great at receiving sound from the sides. But sound coming from in front of us – such as music at a concert, for example – has to compete with the noise emanating from either side, which our ears naturally prioritise.

earHD gives you all the good vibrations, none of the bad Hear live sound with more detail and clarity

But you can overcome this with the help of Flare Audio’s earHD. earHD is not a hearing aid – it doesn’t increase volume; it increases detail. It’s a non-powered device that reduces ambient noise. earHD funnels in sound from a 60°-wide aural field directly in front of you. It focuses that sound uniformly and reflects it straight into your ear, while isolating it from the background noise beyond that aural field.

To put it another way, earHD ensures you hear more of the signal and less of the noise. And independent tests carried out by the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at Southampton University confirm it. You hear more with earHD, whether you’re listening to live music or a loved one speaking to you.

Supercharge your headphones with mojo

Put the power back in your music with the help of the device used by the best sound engineers

Sound in its natural state can only be heard once, in the moment it’s made. To hear it again, it needs to be recorded, which means the soundwaves must be turned into data; the analogue signal must be turned into a digital one.

Mojo is the easiest way to integrate a pro-quality DAC into your everyday listening experience

But you can’t hear digital signals; without a digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) it’s just zeros and ones. You need a DAC to take those zeros and ones and turn them back into the analogue soundwaves that your ear and brain can recognise.

The good news is that the devices that play digital sound files come equipped with DACs. The bad news is those DACs are invariably inferior, mass-produced units that have been chosen because they keep costs down. Which means the quality of the conversion is poorer and the sounds reaching your ear are less like the original sounds made by the musicians.

You can remedy that with a high-quality DAC, such as Chord Electronics’ Mojo. Mojo is the world’s most advanced portable DAC/headphone amplifier and also the easiest way to integrate professional-quality digital-to-analogue conversion into your everyday listening experience.

Hear the difference for yourself

Let the experts at Electromod help you take your listening to another level

With a well-established reputation for sourcing cutting-edge products and unparalleled customer support, the team at Electromod offers experience, expertise and world-class service to audiophiles all over the world.

Electromod – for headphones tailored to an audiophile’s hearing

Electromod offers a wide range of amps, digital to analogue converters and headphones from some of the world’s most innovative manufacturers, including Schiit Audio, Synergistic Research, Dekoni and MrSpeakers.

MrSpeakers is a relative newcomer to the audio market but has quickly made a name for itself by producing award-winning headphones, the latest being the Aeon Open and Aeon Closed models.

Both of the new Aeon models use MrSpeakers’ planar magnetic drivers, which are said to offer greater fidelity than their dynamic counterparts. The Aeon Open is geared towards more expansive ‘soundstage’ environments, while its Closed sister model is better suited to busy and noisy locations. But both Aeon models offer incredible audio performance and stand apart in terms of sound quality and comfort. Come and hear the difference for yourself by getting in touch with the Electromod team today.