Guide to Buying Home Audio Equipment Online

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Guide to Buying Home Audio Equipment Online

Home audio equipment covers a wide selection of equipment, including CD drives, speakers,, amplifiers, and audio technologies such as DAB radio and MP3 players. The category can be organised into two groups: complete systems and individual components. A shopper who is technically minded may choose to purchase individual components for a higher quality home audio experience, whilst complete systems with more affordable price tags may be attractive to individuals who are not as technically inclined.

Regardless of which category a shopper might be considering, it is important to search for an item after gaining an understanding of the technology and choices available in the marketplace. Understanding the technology even at a rudimentary level can help a novice or an expert shopper make an informed choice when making a purchase of home audio devices.

When considering a used or brand new piece of home audio equipment,, it is of value to know how one can navigate the online marketplace, including the auction site, eBay.

Shopping for Home Audio Equipment Online

Online retail platforms are a useful channel to get information about the home audio equipment choices available to a shopper. Powerful search engines allow a shopper to key in simple two or three word descriptions that describe the items being sought. Typing in "home audio equipment" can return listings of hi-fi systems, stereo amplifiers, tuners, speakers, and CD players. The listings may be of individual components or complete home systems in a box. They can also be found for digital audio devices such as DAB radios and MP3 players. Learning some simple search tips for online shopping can enable a retail experience that is simple, meets the requirements, and yields competitive prices.

Think Before Buying Home Audio Equipment

Before launching into purchasing home audio equipment online, it is worth considering exactly what type of audio experience is needed. Is the intention to make digital content from an MP3 player heard throughout the home, or is the requirement to enhance the quality of soundtracks of movies? Buying individual home audio equipment components is an effective way of assembling a system that generates audio at very high standards. However, keep in mind that purchases of this nature do require higher levels of technical skill to configure, when compared to already-assembled systems.

Hi-Fi Systems

Sold either as individual components or as complete, hi-fi systems tend be classified according to size. Full breadth systems usually measure 43 cm wide with speakers and amplifier components. Traditionally the preserve of the audio enthusiast, hi-fi systems are of higher quality, are only sold as individual components, and come with higher price tags. New and used systems of this size are frequently seen for sale. Used models are likely to include amplifier, CD player, cassette decks, and tuners, whilst newer models can be seen without cassette decks and with tuner amplifiers replaced by separate amplifiers and DAB digital radios.

Occupying slightly less space, between 32 and 36 centimeters, a midi system crams similar functionality into a smaller space, whilst mini systems traditionally achieve the same within 27 to 30 cm sizing. Micro hi-fi systems are smaller still, and sizes between 18 and 20 cm are not uncommon.

Hi-Fi System Components

Hi-Fi systems are made up of a series of individual components. Each component has a specific function that works to provide a complete audio experience in a system.

Stereo Amplifier

Sitting at the heart of a hi-fi system, the stereo amplifier is designed to accept input from a variety of sources that could include CD, cassette tape, and record deck. The input is then amplified to create sufficient volume from the system’s loudspeakers. With the demand for cinema sound quality at home, newer amplifier models can have the ability to drive up to seven channels of loudspeakers.


A tuner is a radio system without an amplifier. The tuner is designed to pick up an AM or FM radio signal, and later models are sometimes fitted with Radio Data System (RDS) functionality that allows radio programmes to be interrupted with breaking news and traffic information. The newer hi-fi systems replace tuners with DAB Digital radios.

CD Player

CD was the format of choice for many years, and CDs are still played regularly in many homes on CD players and standalone units. Each CD stores up to 80 minutes of digitally recorded audio tracks that replay with a very high quality. Audio in CDs does not exhibit the background noises so often experienced with cassette tapes.


Speakers convert electrical signals from an amplifier into sounds that can be heard across a room. Technology is constantly improving, and modern speakers are almost capable of reproducing sound across the same spectrum that the human ear can hear. Speakers, when purchased as individual components, should be bought to suit the room and the type of music listened to most often. As an example, modern dance music benefits from speakers with greater bass responses.

DAB Radio

Digital Audio Broadcasting has been technically available since 1995, but it was only later that the number of services began to drive sales of DAB radio units. These units offer a crisper and clearer listening experience and, characteristically, suffer from less signal interference. They are recognised as providing a superior audio experience.

MP3 Players

MP3 players have had tremendous consumer appeal, and it is now possible to buy amplifiers that have interfaces to permit MP3 players to be plugged into home audio equipment. This brings all the advantages of portability and combines it with digital clarity and new amplifier technology to create a better listening experience. Whether the MP3 player is a branded device, such as from Apple, or is part of a smartphone or a simple stand-alone player, it represents great flexibility for home audio listeners.

Home Theatre Systems in a Box

Home theatre systems provide the cinema fan with the opportunity to experience cinema-style audio and sound effects from the comfort of the home. A pre-packaged system often combines a DVD player or Blu-Ray player with an audio amplifier that presents sound to a series of speakers across a wide frequency range. For someone looking to improve on the audio experience provided by a TV set, these systems are an economical way to start.

For all but the most avid audiophile, systems of this nature offer a significantly improved audio experience, and a choice of model should be based upon the size of room and number of speakers. A larger room should benefit from a seven-speaker system which gives the opportunity of directing sound across a wider space. A small room can benefit from a system with two speakers and a central woofer for generating lower frequency sounds.

Systems with a DVD or Blu-Ray Player

A good home theatre system should come with its own DVD player or Blu-Ray player.. Where the system has a DVD player, a progressive scan player leads to clearer video presentation to match the improved audio experience. Systems with the player housed in a separate unit are preferable, as they allow for the DVD player to be upgraded at a later point if desired. These systems do require a slightly more effort in setting up because of additional cabling.

Systems without a Player

One may choose to purchase a home theatre box without a DVD player so that it can be combined with one that is already in use. When combining a home theatre system with an existing DVD player, there is likely to be an additional remote control for the new system to add to those already controlling the TV set and the DVD player.

Sound Bars

If additional equipment is not desired, then it is possible to improve the audio from a standard TV set with a sound bar. A sound bar houses up to five additional speakers mounted as part of a single unit that can be hung on a wall. They improve sound quality, albeit not as much as a home theatre system, for a much lower investment and are also simpler to operate and manage. Wireless sound bars can also be used to the same effect without leaving wires running across a room.

Buying Home Audio Equipment on eBay

There are many opportunities to purchase home audio equipment on eBay, and a place to start is on the eBay homepage. Simply type in "home audio equipment" in the search bar, and click the button to begin the process of making a purchase. If you are not able to find the item you are looking for, you may choose to change the search term you are using. Terms such as "radio tuner&" and "amplifier&" can create good returns for you to begin reading through. Other terms such as "mini hi-fi" are also likely to be successful.

It is always a good idea to be confident about the seller you intend buying from. You can learn about a seller by reviewing the feedback ratings from other eBay shoppers and by looking at the other items they have sold in similar categories. If you are unsure about the information in a listing, you can ask the seller a question, and gauge the seller by the quality of the response.


Buying home audio equipment can be the start of a journey that turns a novice audio user into a serious audio fan who only enjoys a superior high-fidelity experience. Carefully-chosen home audio items can result in a pleasurable listening experience for a user. Choices in home audio equipment include hi-fi systems, sound bars, and systems with or without a DVD or Blu-Ray player.

One can find a wide selection of home audio devices online, including the auction site of eBay. At eBay, one can access a large number of used and new home audio equipment items. The availability of the website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week offers unparalleled convenience to an individual initiating a search for products in this category. By using the powerful search facilities and tools on eBay, one can not only find the ideal home audio equipment item of choice, but also check the quality of a seller before placing an order. Thanks to eBay, a shopper can find and purchase the items needed to expand the audio environment and enhance the listening experience in the home.

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