- Ditch the earbuds! Upgrade to a good pair of headphones that reproduce the full spectrum of music. There are several high-end brands available: look to Etymotic Research, Shure, or even Koss' The Plug which is conveniently priced.
- Choose quality over quantity. Sure, your friend has 4,000 tunes on his top-of-the-line MP3 player, but most of them are of such low quality that the minute he turns up the volume the music distorts. Instead, choose the highest resolution you can for your files and resist the urge to play the numbers game. Choose lossless compression if available.
Drop the dock. Few if any sound docks can replicate the experience of listening to your favorite music through good speakers: the speakers are too close together to achieve any stereo effect. When you upgrade to a stereo or home theater receiver with USB connection for your MP3 player, you can use top-of-the-line speakers to reveal nuances in music you've been listening to for years. For under $600 you can buy a nice stereo receiver and pair of Axiom M3 speakers.
Photo: Gwen Stefani wearing Beats By Dre Studio headphones