The 21st century has seen major advances in sound equipment technology, giving artists, performers, engineers, and hobbyists more options and selection than ever before. There is evidence of technological improvements across the board in today’s world, from peoples’ homes to live concert settings. And not only are there more variations and brands of sound equipment, but also wholesalers and retailers that sell it. Whereas in the past one of the only options was to pay the retail markup cost, nowadays people can purchase equipment at wholesale cost and even open a line of credit and make payments on their purchases in many cases. Musicians’ Friend and Sweetwater are just two examples of online wholesalers that give customers the option of opening a line of credit if they meet requirements. This has opened the doors to more people who want to break into playing, recording, DJ’ing, and any number of other music-related activities on a fixed or tight budget. There are also many brick and mortar retail outlets, including major players like Guitar Center and Sam Ash, as well as independent and specialty shops. Retail stores of the latter variety can specialize in everything from vintage equipment, like guitars and amplifiers, to sound equipment rental and repair. Most large music stores have full departments dedicated to sound equipment as well as professionals who can assist with questions about technical specifics. It is important to ask questions if you have them in order to make sure you are getting the equipment you need and the best value for the dollar.