At a certain point in a music lover’s life, headphones just won’t do anymore. An avid music listener will get dissatisfied by the sound quality of music and will want to experience a more ‘open’ environment on which to listen to his favorite music – and no, we’re not talking about the dinky sound offered by mini component systems (though, to be fair, there are some models that do offer decent sound).
If you’re one of these people, then it is the perfect time to invest in decent stereo equipment. Of course, one of the most crucial pieces that you’ll need to invest in are speakers. There are a number of factors to consider when buying speakers and it may confuse a lot of people, especially those who are just getting into this hobby and especially those who are going into the separates route, which is basically not buying a complete system but, instead purchasing amps, transports and speakers separately. If you’re shopping around for speakers read the following tips and you’ll have an easier time finding the speakers that you need.
1. Set your budget.
First, determine how much you’re willing to spend on speakers. You will be surprised at how expensive some speakers can get. It’s a good idea to set a budget so you can narrow down your choices to what’s within your budget. It’s a crushing experience to actually find a speaker you love only to find out that it costs more than your car.
2. Choose between a Bookshelf or a Floorstander.
There are two ‘form factors’ for speakers, the bookshelf speakers are the small boxy units that you can fit almost anywhere. Floorstanders, as the name suggests, are the long units that range in height from three feet and up. Try to determine which ones you’ll need. A bookshelf speaker is more compact and will fit most homes, but it may not give off enough bass. Floorstanders will occupy more real estate in the home, but good quality floorstanders could offer great bass that sometimes you’ll forego the need to get a subwoofer.
3. Considering pairings with your hifi equipment.
Audiophiles take a lot of stock on pairings. The claim is that there are some speakers that will work best with certain equipment and vice versa. If you bought an amplifier first, try to do research and find out what owners of the same amp recommend as a good pairing for the equipment. This is an easy way of narrowing down your choices and a great jump-off point when you’re finally shopping for the speakers you want.
4. Audition your speakers.
This cannot be stressed enough. There are some people who will buy speakers based solely on recommendations from friends and other hobbyists. Recommendations are good but it would be best to go to the store and ask to audition them. Nothing beats your ears. Auditioning the speakers will give you actual experience on what the sound quality of the speakers will be. A person may recommend a good speaker but if you don’t really like how it produces sound then it’s not a good recommendation based on your personal experience. Go ahead and ask to audition different speakers, the speaker stores will be more than happy to accommodate you.
In fact, there are even stores that will let you bring home the speakers so you can audition them at home. The reason for this is that the acoustics in the audition room and your home are different. They also use different audio equipment (remember the equipment pairing!). It’s the reason why home auditions for speakers are a usual request that audio stores get.
5. Ask an expert
If you have a friend who’s into the hobby don’t hesitate to ask for help. He can accompany you to the stores and help you in choosing speakers by giving insights on the acoustic quality each speaker produces. Of course, at the end of the day, it’s still your ears that will decide which speaker to buy. You can also visit forums dedicated to speakers and sound systems.