‘Music should come crashing out of your speakers and grab you, and the lyrics should challenge whatever preconceived notions that listener has.’ Lou Reed uttered this famous quote attesting to the fact that he was quite picky when it comes out to choosing a speaker. In fact, in an article that appeared on Smart Money, Reed demonstrated that he is a ‘sound perfectionist’, obsessed with the way speakers replicate recorded music. Sound systems might tend to be overlooked by consumers with the majority buying plasma screens and other video equipment. However, many are realizing now the importance of good speakers and a crisp audio system as demonstrated by healthy sales of wireless Bluetooth speakers in 2015 reaching $1.1 billion, as reported by Statista. With the number of brands out there at different price points, knowing how to pick a sound system for a great listening experience matters.
Good Speakers Determine the Quality of Your Sound System
The fundamental aspect when it comes to getting the best possible audio experience is all about choosing the speakers. The first thing you need to do is to evaluate your needs. Are you an occasional listener or would you like the surround experience to go with your TV when watching a movie? Next is to do a bit of research as to how speakers and sound systems work. It is important to match your speakers with your amplifiers. This means your amplifier must be able to boost power where it can support speakers and subwoofers. Impedance is the measure of the resistance of components and measured in ohms. Speakers are rated between 4 to 8 ohms while amplifiers are effective in the range of 4-16 ohms. A simple rule to remember: it is okay to connect higher impedance speakers to an amplifier but not the other way around. But don’t worry, manufacturers today make it easier to pair speakers and amplifiers using compatible ohm ratings.
Power is another thing to look at but since there are so many differences in the way ratings are given by manufacturers, you should only look at the power of your amplifier if you are considering a low-impedance speaker. Sensitivity, on the other hand, is the term used to define how loud a speaker reproduces sound per watt. Low sensitivity speakers will require more power to increase volume and the reverse is true. To scale things, look for a speaker with a sensitivity rating of 80dB-88dB on the lower end and 89dB-100dB per watt on the higher end.
The Real Test Begins
Putting everything together is the next test. You need to assess where and how you place your speakers and amplifiers. The layout of a room, as well as its surface (hard floors, empty walls or bare tiles), are important. To improve acoustics in a room, you might want to dampen sound by putting in carpets or rugs and move some furniture around for better bounce/reflection. Correct placement of your devices also matters for you’ll want to avoid dead center walls. Mounting your speakers firmly also ensures that no unwanted vibrations can be heard. Another important point to consider in your set-up is to make certain that you have good speaker cables or wires for you want sufficient delivery of current. There’s also the option of bi-wiring speakers to enhance overall sound quality.
A sound system that is well-thought out and carefully chosen can improve your listening experience and enjoyment immensely. It is not about high/low-end devices or prices but the way you put things together that defines a fantastic listening environment.