The frugal guide to portable audio enthusiasts.

This guide assumes you have a computer with a fast internet access and know your way around it.

The gear must be cheap, durable and have above average audio quality on the go.

Audiophiles close your eyes or leave this page. 😉

One of the best audio players around can be found in second hand shops, the Sony PSP 3000 aka Slim PSP.
I use it all the time to commute because it has a good battery life and is sturdy enough to take some pounding in my pockets and bag. The size and the need to use proprietary memory cards cripple it a bit but besides that it can drive most headphones to decent levels.

Now some of you think, “what about smartphones?”
I must say most cheap smartphones suck at playing music and drain battery fast when playing music loud.
Tablets? The Asus Memopad series are pretty amazing , I know because I own one.

Headphone amplifier:
If you can get a cheap one by Fiio go ahead, or you can make one using the many layouts around the net, for that you need to know your way around electronics.

There are many resources to find cheap headphones around the internet but I recommend the Grados SR-60i or 80i and the Philips 3595 earphones. Sennheiser and AKG have lots of good cheap stuff.

Find music:
The internet has lots of legal and not so legal ways to find music plus don’t forget your friends, most of them will be happy to share music with you.
The lossy VS lossless debate is everlasting but on the go and in noisy places you don’t actually need lossless, now it can make a difference if you want to hear music at home. Personally if find that most 320Kbps mp3 files or high bit rate aac files are enough to make me happy outside my home.
The Sony PSP doesn’t play FLAC or APE files but tablets can.

In the past it was a pain to hear good quality music on the go, most walkmans sucked and headphones were fragile and expensive. These days you don’t need ipods or top of the line audiophile headphones to hear good music.

Believe or not lots of people still think there is some voodoo magic behind good quality sound.

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