My recommendations for listening to music on a sub-$1,000 budget: Social listening: -Speakers: Klispch ProMedia 2.1 ($150) *It's not worth spending more on speakers unless you have the motivation, money, and knowledge to optimize your room's acoustics. -Personal listening: *Headphones: Sennheiser HD380 ($150) for sound isolation and comfort, or open-backed headphones for a more natural sound stage. *An external DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), headphone amp, or audio interface for a cleaner and stronger signal ($60-$150). *SubPac ($300 for seated model, $350 for backpack model): I got the seated version (S2), and it's an incredible compliment to headphones, that allows you to truly feel (and hear) the bass without compromising quality. It's great for any genre, from EDM to Jazz and Classical! *Audiophile-Quality Media Player: Audirvana Plus for Mac (free for 15 days, $74 to buy), JRiver Media Center for Windows or Linux (free for 30 days, $50-$70 to buy) What matters on a budget (ranked from greatest to least impact): -No Bluetooth: its compression destroys the advantage of everything else you're investing in. -An external DAC, headphone amp, or audio interface (moreso the higher your headphones' impedance; check specs). Of lesser importance for computer speakers, but your signal will still be cleaner, and less affected by computer activity and other interference. -Uncompressed or lossless source files/media (e.g. CDs, FLAC or ALAC files). Modern storage space makes MP3s obsolete. -Fast internet connection for YouTube: Unfortunately, YouTube compresses audio, and doesn't allow you to control audio quality. A higher quality compression will be automatically chosen if your internet connection is faster. -An audiophile-quality media player: The major difference in quality I notice with my equipment is that, along with an external DAC etc., it further helps keep the playback consistent, and unaffected by your computer's other activity. -High resolution audio: There has been no conclusive study showing that humans are actually able to perceive a difference above CD quality (16 bit, 44.1 kHz). That said, high resolution audio gives more headroom for producing music, allowing you to distort audio more before the distortion is audible. -Expensive cables: Even audiophiles say they don't make a perceptible difference, unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on a true hi-fi setup.