Let the music play on….

With Strictly back on our TVs, dancing is firmly on the agenda for autumn. In June I wrote about music streaming services, and I hope you’ve been able to enjoy dancing to some new tunes as a result.  But having decided which service to use to listen to your music, what are you going to listen to it with? (Or should that be, with what are you going to listen to it?  On. With.  Whatever…!)

So, on to the hardware.  As always, there are various options for you to listen to digital music.

1. At its simplest you can use your computer and the sound system built into it. Or even your regular laptop speakers, but these do tend to be a bit ‘tinny’.

2. My son spent around £40 on a set of computer speakers; apparently they’ve got ‘two tweeters and a bass bin’ so he’s happy. They have a mini-jack connector and he simply plugs the speakers directly into his laptop or his phone’s headphone socket.  They sound quite good in his bedroom.

3. Go Bluetooth.  There are a variety of bluetooth speakers ranging from just a few pounds. You ‘pair’ your device with the speaker which means you don’t need cables.  As with most things, you get what you pay for. Our Tipster Mark swears by the Bose Soundlink 3. It’s Bluetooth and has a good bass sound and costs around £240.  It has a range of about 9 metres and will remember the last 6 devices it’s been connected to.  It runs on mains power, but it also has a fantastic 14 hour battery life. Ideal for garden parties, although maybe not this week.

4. Show me the Sonos!  It’s fab and my clear favourite! If you want an easy-to-use music system that covers your whole house and will play all of your music, no matter where it’s stored, Sonos is probably your best option.  You can have speakers in every room, all connected to one music library and one streaming account, and each playing different things if you want. It can handle the highest quality streams and music downloads. It can also cope with televisions, Internet radio, husbands and many children, plus you can even choose whether your speakers are black or white. There are so many options, starting from about £200. Why not take a look at their website, www.sonos.com and build your own system?

And as always, if you need help to sort out your Sonos, or any other home IT support, just get in touch. Meanwhile, keep dancing….


That’s where the (free) music takes me…

One of our Tipsters was telling us how her younger sister had come home this week aglow with excitement.  “It’s so cool!” young sister exclaimed.  “I’ve just bought a record player.  It can play albums!”  She apparently then spent an afternoon at a discery in Soho buying “old school” albums.

Another Tipster with a background in radio was telling us about the excitement the industry felt when Dire Straits made the then momentous decision to issue their latest album (‘Brothers in Arms’, one of my all time favourites) on the brand new CD format.  Then came iTunes, then music players and now today we don’t need to buy anything other than a streaming subscription.  A what?  Well, you no longer have to upload your entire music collection to every device you own.  You can sign up to a music streaming service, where the music is played to all your devices over the internet.  And in many cases it will cost you nothing.

If you decide to sign up, the good news is that you’re spoilt for choice. Whether you go for Apple Music or Spotify, you’re guaranteed to find a huge catalogue of music, a host of playlists to help you discover something new to listen to and offline playback so you’re not eating into that mobile data package on your phone.

But which one stands out from the rest and will give you the best overall music streaming experience?

We’ve been using –


over the past few months here at Tipster Towers to cover the leading contenders.

Our informed Tipster tip is… try them all!  That might sound like a bit of a cop out, but they all have at least a 30 day free trial. Apple Music has a three month trial.

Amazon music is included if you have an Amazon Prime membership and you can play it through your Alexa/ Echo device too. There’s not that much to choose between them all, for general use, although Spotify has a free version that runs ads.  If you want the full service they all cost around £10 per month although there are higher quality options of around £20 per month.

They all sound great.  Having said that, the most exacting of audiophiles using the most expensive of headphones or speaker setups should probably only consider Tidal or Deezer’s Elite option.  If you own a Sonos, the multi-room speakers are set up to work with both Tidal and Deezer’s high quality services, as well as with Spotify and the others at their standard quality.

My personal favourite is Spotify, but it really comes down to which one you like the look of and how easy you find it to navigate. As always, please get in touch if you need a Tipster’s Touch to tickle your tech.