In the battle for better sound, no one has it tougher than students. Most are on limited budgets—and if they’re music students, their reeds, strings, or cymbals come first. Most live in small bedrooms or dorm rooms, often shared with others who might resent a late-night exploration of Head Hunters or Bitches Brew.
The good news is that there’s more excellent-sounding, affordable audio gear now than ever before. Thanks to technological advances and more efficient manufacturing, today’s 18-year-old saxophone student may well have a better, more versatile audio system than her father did when he went to college, for less than a third of the inflation-adjusted price.