A Buying Guide to Home Speakers

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A Buying Guide to Home Speakers

The cost of a good set of home speakers can be absolutely astronomical without first taking the time to do some research. The varied qualities of home speakers available for purchase can be quite overwhelming without the knowledge needed to make an informed purchase. Impedance, frequency response, and nominal power, all mean nothing without a system that fits a space properly. Before shopping, individuals must determine what type of system, and features, best fits the area the home speakers are placed in.

Everything from seating to the number of outlets required for the system can factor into a home speaker purchase. Since needs vary so widely, shopping for systems at brick and mortar stores can become quite expensive. Online marketplaces like eBay, however, offer thousands of options for most home audio system needs. With just a minimal amount of information on the topic, individuals seemingly morph from uneducated consumers, to knowledgeable shoppers. Understand the options available in order to make a purchase that satisfies all home entertainment needs.

Determine Home Speaker Needs

Understanding the needs of the room that a home audio system is placed in, is of the utmost importance. Seating, the actual architecture of the room, and even the outlets available, all affect the type of home speakers needed for a space. Determining what the area calls for before ever shopping for home speaker options, is essential in making an educated purchase. Survey the room that the speakers are set to be placed in before ever venturing into a purchase.

Placing of Speakers

Knowing the best spot to place a set of home speakers, is the first logical step in purchasing a quality home speaker. Since rooms and seating vary in size, simply considering where speakers would fit best is important to note. Once the aesthetic value has been determined, now comes the task of deciding where people are likely to sit in the room. For the most adequate results, individuals should sit in the center of the sound field, and should have minimal obstruction between them and the speakers. Although this is not always possible, placing a speaker set without items such as couches and chairs between it and the listener, tends to be most ideal.

Room Architecture

Individuals are almost always surprised at how very much room architecture affects the sound produced by a speaker. More intimate areas call for speakers that produce crisp, clear audio without the need for much power. More spacious rooms with high ceilings, however, are able to easily accommodate high powered systems that are designed to produce powerful sound levels. Even the floor of a room factors into what power of speaker should be purchased. Carpeted rooms tend to soak up sound, while wood floors can reflect and even amplify the sound coming from a home audio speakers.

Outlets and Connections

In a more modern home, selecting speaker placement based on outlets and connection options, is rarely the determinant factor. Those with limited outlets and cable connections, however, should factor in such issues before selecting speaker placement. If the best place for the speakers has no outlets, and very little space for extra audio cables available, consumers should consider wireless speakers as a necessary option. Running cables across the floor and through walls tends to be a hassle, so make sure to survey connection options before shopping for the speakers themselves.

Home Speaker Specifications

Understanding the language used to describe speaker options is the next step in shopping for home audio speakers. Terms that range from RMS to impedance and frequency response mean nothing to those dipping a foot into the pool of audio for the first time. Educating oneself on just a few of the definitions for such term, makes shopping less confusing and often much more productive. Knowing the specifications of audio systems is an important step in selecting the right speaker option.


For most home speakers, power is rated and measured in watts. A watt is either abbreviated as 'W' or simply spelled out completely. Generally, speakers are labeled with the amount of watts a speaker can safely operate without succoming to damage of some sort. Normally, a higher power rating means more volume without sacrificing clarity. Power ratings are often described in one of two different ways.

Power Ratings

Nominal power is many times measure with RMS, or the root mean square, which simply identifies the level of power a speaker can operate at with minimal distortion, and zero risk of speaker damage. Peak power, on the other hand, describes the maximum power level a speaker can operate at before imminent damage is likely. Select a speaker that has a fairly high nominal power to find a dependable system with quality sound. Those who want to achieve intense sound levels, might be more suited with speakers that have a higher peak power.

Frequency Response

Another common piece of jargon associated with home speakers is the term frequency response. Frequency response is a fairly important element of a quality set of home speakers, and understanding the term is quite simple. Frequency response refers to the range of sound that a particular speaker is able to produce. This range is usually measured in hertz and is abbreviated as 'Hz'. Since the human ear understands sound at a 20 to 20,000 Hz range, searching for a system with a similar range is likely to yield positive results.


Impedance is simply a measurement of how resistant the drivers of a speaker are to electrical currents. Impedance is not normally as important a factor as nominal power, but purchasing speakers with the wrong impedance can be potentially devastating to a system. In order to create a quality home audio system that works in unison, simply match the impedance numbers of all speakers and amplifiers. The most common impedance rating are 16, 8, and 4 Ohms. For the best sound quality results, find speakers, receivers, and amplifiers with the same impedance rating as one another.

Sensitivity and SNR

Another important factor in shopping for speakers, are finding a system with a fairly high level of sensitivity and SNR. Sensitivity simply refers to the amount of volume a speaker can emit based on voltage. Sensitivity that is higher allows speakers to create more efficient use of power. SNR, however, is the abbreviation of signal to noise ratio. Noise is a term that describes background sound that is unwanted, while signal is the quality audio users want to hear. If crisp, accurate sound is an important factor, search for speaker with a high SNR.

Types of Home Speakers

Home speakers, much like speakers for any use, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A single tweeter in a speaker is designed to get up to a 20,000 Hz frequency response, while a mid-range speaker is designed specifically with a 500 to 3000 Hz range in mind. A speaker labeled as a woofer, however, is constructed to span between 40 and 1000 Hz. Subwoofers are designed to provide lower, deeper sounds that offer increased bass performance, and a richer tone at 20 Hz to 200 Hz. One of the most popular home speaker types is the full-range speaker. Full range speakers are designed to reach the entire gambit of frequency response possibilities.

Home Speaker Brands

Just as there are many types of home speakers, so too are there hundreds of speaker brands available. Although some speaker brands are more dependable than others, the most vital factors in selecting a speaker come from the ratings mentioned above including: impedance, frequency response, power, and sensitivity. JVC and Samsung are two very popular home speaker brands that have years of technology development behind them. Other brands of home speakers include: Sony, Bush, Bose, LG, and many more. Selecting a brand that is dependable is always a strategic shopping element.

Purchasing Home Speakers on eBay

Traditional stores tend to have a limited selection of home speakers simply due to the space such inventory takes up. With online marketplaces such as eBay, however, such space is not an option. Thousands of home speaker choices are available through the various sellers who occupy the pages of eBay. Determining which seller is most likely to meet the needs of the buyer is quite simple. With advanced seller ratings, consumers simply have to read through the various categories of ratings available.

Since thousands of search results are likely to be listed in a simple search from the eBay home page, most users tend to be a little overwhelmed at the start. Narrowing down search results through the online marketplace, however, is actually quite simple. The advanced search function available on eBay, allows individuals to narrow down the search field before ever starting their shopping experience. With so many tools and shopping options, it is no wonder so many choose eBay to shop for home speakers.


Shopping for home speakers tends to be a fairly confusing process without the right knowledge of terminology and speaker options. Understanding where a speaker set is to be placed is often the first stage in selecting adequate home speakers. Knowing what speaker ratings mean, however, is usually the separation point between an informed consumer, and just another shopper. Figuring out what frequency response, impedance, sensitivity, and a range of abbreviations means, is quite important when attempting to purchase a quality home speaker.

Once an individual understands the ins and outs of the speaker world, finding an adequate speaker option can be difficult. Selection is often quite limited at traditional stores due to space requirements. With online marketplaces such as eBay, however, individuals are many times able to locate their exact needs. Consumers who know exactly what they want, as well as what the space requires, should consider utilising a non-traditional shopping method such as eBay. Know the options, understand the technology heavy language, and buy a home speaker set that meets your needs.

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