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Before You Buy Stereo Speakers, Consider These Factors

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Speakers determine the overall sound quality of your system, so it's worth the time to listen to several models before making a decision. The most important factors in choosing a speaker are personal preference, speaker type and the stereo components you will use to power your speakers.

Sound Quality is a Personal Decision

Sound quality is a very personal judgment, like cars, food or wine. Everyone’s tastes are different. There is no “best” speaker, only the one that is best for you. When you shop for speakers, listen to several models with familiar music. Take your favorite discs with you when you shop and identify speakers that sound good to you. Your experience in listening to live music is a good gauge to evaluate speakers. The speaker should sound natural to your ears, have balanced tone quality and should be easy to listen to for long periods. Don't feel rushed, listen to a speaker several times before making a final decision.

Types of Speakers

There are many types of speakers: floorstanding, bookshelf, satellite, in-wall and on-wall models. Your choice should be based on personal preference. Here’s a summary of each type: floorstanding and bookshelf speakers generally have the best overall sound because the speakers and enclosures are performance matched. They take floor space, a consideration for some homeowners. Satellite speakers are very small speakers that are used with a subwoofer and take much less space. In-Wall speakers have good sound and the grills can be painted to match the walls. On-wall speakers are very popular with flat-panel televisions.

Correctly Matching Speakers with Components

A speaker should be matched with an amplifier or receiver with the right amount of power for the best performance. Manufacturers usually specify a range of amplifier power necessary to properly power the speaker. For example, the speaker may require a range from 30-100 watts of output power to operate well, so use this specification as a guideline. More about amplifier power and speakers here.

Additional Things to Consider:

After you get your speakers home, take the time to correctly connect, install and place the speakers to get the best performance. A little patience now pays off in the long run.

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