Audio Buying Guide

Audio Buying Guide

If you like nothing better than tuning in to some audio, then check out this guide for our no nonsense tips - we've got all the options covered and explained so you can make exactly the right choice for the ultimate music experience including hi-fi systems, wireless streaming, internet radio and beats Audio - happy listening!

Just click onto one of the links below to find out more.

Wireless Music streaming - stream music throughout your house

Wireless streaming

This is a great way of transferring music or video from one place to another without having to download it first, so you're viewing and listening in real time.


Apple's Airplay wireless technology will be incorporated into more and more audio devices this year from speaker docks to AV receivers and Hi-Fi's so you can fill your home with music, not clutter. Enjoy your entire iTunes library - every song and every playlist in any room at the same time - great for parties as you can wirelessly connect all your Apple devices to stream music to any compatible speaker. Any wireless Apple product will work with Airplay, all you have to do is ensure your speakers are connected to your Wi-Fi network.

Android docks

Now you can wirelessly stream all your music from your Android Smartphone with the latest Android docks. Specially designed to charge and cradle most Android phones whether the connection socket is at the bottom, on the side or top of the phone. You can dock your Android phone horizontally or vertically so it always sits right in the centre of the dock for the very best connection. Plus look out for apps like Songbird app which is great for playing and synching music between your PC and your Android phone.

Bluetooth docks

These allow you to stream music wirelessly over a short distance between any Bluetooth enabled devices. Most of today's mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players and iPods have Bluetooth technology built-in. They're great for interacting with Smartphone's, you can connect your phone remotely to play games, surf the web or text friends whilst listening to your favourite tracks with crisp stereo playback.

Internet Radio - listen to any music station in the world

Internet radios enable you to access thousands of radio stations from all over the world and search for your favourite music by genre, rock etc to find the music you love. Plus access podcasts from BBC and commercial stations and catch up on the last 7 days of BBC radio programmes across the UK or the World service with BBC iPlayer Radio.

Most internet radios have a music player mode for streaming music to your internet radio via the Wi-Fi connection from your PC/Tablet and in some cases, your Smartphone. If you keep your music collection on your PC at home, you can use the radio's screen to choose music from your collection and listen using the radio's speakers. As Internet Radio works using your internet connection, it doesn't matter if DAB reception is poor where you live as you can get your radio fix via the internet instead.

All you need is one of our internet radios, broadband and a wireless router.

Beats audio™

Beats Audio™

Experience your music just as the artist intended with delicate details, driving bass and soaring highs which have to be heard to be believed. Look out for headphones, tablets and laptops with this feature and coming soon to Hi-Fi.

Bluetooth docking

Bluetooth docks allow you to stream music wirelessly over a short distance between any Bluetooth enabled devices.

Most of today's mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players and iPods have Bluetooth technology built-in. They're great for interacting with Smartphone's, you can connect your phone remotely to play games, surf the web or text friends whilst listening to your favourite tracks with crisp stereo playback.

Hi-Fi - What Hi-Fi should you choose?

To help you choose which type of Hi-Fi system is right for you, it is worth considering what format of music you are most likely to play on your system.

Micro Hi-Fi

Compact systems, usually single CD with a strong emphasis on style and design.

Mini Hi-Fi

Usually higher power with twin cassette and CD multi-changer.


CD's feature digital sound which has the benefit of high quality recording and it doesn't matter how many times you playback the CD it will maintain its sound quality.


CD-R (CD-Recordable) discs let you do a once-only recording of music you want to save, from your PC and then play them on most standard CD players. CD-RW (CD-Rewriteable) discs can be recorded on over and over again. Please note that not all CD-RW media work in all CD players.


MP3 is a music file that has been compressed to allow songs to be stored digitally with near-CD sound quality in much less space. Typically a standard audio CD can hold 20 tracks (74 minutes of music). Using MP3 files the same CD can hold up to 200 tracks. Not all Hi-Fi systems can playback MP3 files so you need to look out for compatible systems.

DAB Radio

Most audio systems feature a traditional radio, however you may also like the benefit of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) digital radio. Benefits include - lots more channel choice including new radio stations in your area with digital technology, interference free listening and CD quality sound. Look out for the DAB radio logo on selected products.

Ipod/ iPhone

Some Hi-Fi systems feature a built-in iPod docking cradle so you can play your iPod through the Hi-Fi and enjoy 1000s of your favourite tracks. Some iPod docks can charge your iPod/iPhone while they play so you can enjoy your music and not worrying about your battery running out of power.

Wireless Hi-Fi

Wireless Fidelity technology uses radio waves to connect compatible devices such as speakers and music centres. Hi-Fi systems like this enable you to store music on one music centre and then connect wirelessly to multiple speakers and play your music in different rooms around your home. Please note some wireless speakers may require a wireless router and broadband internet connection.


Some Hi-Fi systems feature DVD playback that allows you to connect your system to your TV and enjoy films with better than CD quality surround sound. This option is ideal if you don't have the space for a separate DVD player and surround sound system.

In Car stereo

Car stereo sizes: Car stereos are labelled as single DIN and double DIN. The "DIN" label refers to the size of the in-dash stereo unit, or "head" unit. Single-DIN and double-DIN stereos are about 7 inches wide, with 2 and 4 inches of height, respectively. Stereo depth will vary, so you may need to measure the car-stereo cavity in your dash.

In car stereo features explained below:

4 x 45w RMS Maximum power output determines the sound quality and volume.
MP3/WMA/AAC Playback Allows you to listen to tracks that you have downloaded from the internet.
USB Port/3.5mm Music Socket Allows you to connect your MP3 player to your stereo.
RDS/EON Re-tunes to the strongest signal, displays station name and local traffic news.
Bluetooth Allows you to connect you phone so you can make hands-free calls.
ID3 Tag Displays track information.
CD-R/CD-RW Allows you to play recordable and re-recordable CD's.
Pre Outs Allows you to connect amplifiers and sub woofers.
Direct iPod Allows you to control your iPod from your stereo.


In-ear headphones are the most commonly seen style, and they're perfect with MP3 players. They insert directly into your ear canal and offer a lightweight, ultra-mobile way to listen to your favourite tunes on-the-go.

On-ear headphones are designed to rest lightly on your ears, and are connected by a band that wraps around the top of your head. Usually featuring flat ear pads which don't cup around your ears completely, these models deliver stunning sound and give you a greater awareness of your surroundings.

Full size headphones feature large ear cups to fully enclose the ear, placing less pressure on your ears and allowing greater comfort for hours of use. Delivering high-end quality sounds, some models offer noise cancelling and sound isolation, helping you enjoy every last beat without the interference from unwanted external noise. Their size does make them less mobile, but they're ideal if you love to sit and listen to music for long periods.

Noise cancelling technology, which ensures that you only hear your music and not the bustle of the street.

Wireless headphones that provide extra freedom in your home, so you can relax without worrying about cables.

Sports headphones come in a variety of lightweight designs providing wraparound or securing-loops for jogging and gym work.

Service Guarantee

If it can't be fixed we'll replace it fast!

If the thought of expensive repairs brings you out in a cold sweat, our Service Guarantee may be the answer! From laptops to washing machines, we can repair or replace the faulty item quickly and easily... plus you can spread the cost of protection with your Very Account.

  • Available for larger electrical items
  • If your purchase breaks down and can't be fixed, it'll be replaced
  • Simple claims service and no callout fee
  • Protection available for up to 5 years…with renewal available for appliances up to 8 years old

Click here to tell me more about Service Guarantee

Terms & Conditions apply. Service Guarantee does not include some situations, for example: accidental damage, and wilful act or neglect. It is not an insurance product. Service Guarantee starts after the expiry date of the manufacturers guarantee period.

Service Guarantee is offered by Shop Direct Home Shopping Limited. Provided by The Warranty Group Services (Isle of Man) Limited, St George's Court, Upper Church Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1EE.

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