How to Buy Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers

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How to Buy Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers

Standmount speakers are Hi-Fi speakers that have been raised off the floor to achieve better sound quality. They either sit on designated stands or they are placed on and in bookcases. Due to their small size and the limited range of the drivers, a standmount Hi-Fi speaker usually does not incorporate a subwoofer. This fact can make achieving adequate bass sounds with standmount speakers a challenge, and poorly chosen standmount speakers may struggle to match the sound quality of free standing speakers. Before buying a set of standmount speakers, it is therefore important to learn enough about their advantages and disadvantages to ensure that an informed choice can be made as to whether they are the right type of  Hi-Fi speakers for the buyer, and, if so, to determine the specification which will best meet the buyer's needs.

In order to find the most suitable standmount speakers, the buyer is likely going to have to shop around. There is such a wide range of sizes, power ratings, colours, enclosures and price points that even the largest high street retailer is only able to stock a small, representative sample of all the standmount speakers available. This means a shopper needs to visit a number of stores. A shopper can save time by shopping online, where markets like eBay can offer a larger range of standmount speakers, both new and used, and often at better prices than the high street. These factors make eBay a good place to shop for standmounted Hi-Fi speakers.

What Is a Standmount Hi-Fi Speaker

As Hi-Fi speakers have developed over time, the range available has expanded to fill just about every niche. A technological advance in the 1960s called 'acoustic suspension' made it possible to manufacture much smaller speakers without sacrificing the quality of the sound. This led to the development of speakers that were small enough to place on a stand or shelf, rather than the floor. Their small size is the characteristic of standmount speakers, although many standmount speakers today use a design called bass reflex.

Drawbacks of Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers

At first sight it may not seem to make much difference whether speakers are placed on the floor or on a stand or other mount, and therefore the development of standmount speakers may not seem that significant. In practice though, the very fact of making the speakers small to save space, means that standmount speakers often have a single driver to cover both low and mid-range frequencies. This can significantly affect their sound quality.

Low Frequency Sounds

A particular drawback is the absence of a subwoofer. Sounds below 20 Hz are generally felt rather than heard, and because these low frequencies are important to human perception of audio content, the lack of these low frequency sounds can detract from the overall enjoyment of a piece of music, a film, or game. Even for those standmount speakers which do include a subwoofer, it is more difficult to send sound vibrations effectively through a metal stand, or a shelf raised off the floor. For this reason, standmount speakers either need to be paired with a conventional subwoofer placed on the floor, or the user needs to adopt a strategy to compensate for the lack of deep vibration.

Bass Reflex Speakers

Another disadvantage, which only applies to those standmount speakers which use the bass reflex design, is that they often have too much resonance, resulting in the bass sounds having a booming quality. Since many standmount speakers these days are bass reflex designs, this is a factor to bear in mind when choosing a standmount Hi-Fi speaker.

Advantages of Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers

The popularity of standmount speakers demonstrates that their disadvantages are not the whole story. Their compact size is their obvious advantage, as not every room has the space available for large, free standing speakers. With a smaller size comes a lighter weight, and hence, greater portability. Another surprising advantage is that although large rooms generally require a free standing speaker, for small to medium sized rooms, standmount speakers can actually sound better than free standing ones. This is particularly the case if the free standing speaker is tall and thin. This is a design compromise often used to save space but which is difficult to execute well.

Composite Bass Unit

Bass sounds are not everything, and not all consumers like deep thumping bass. For those who do, standmount speakers can be incorporated into a system that has a subwoofer. Even without a subwoofer, the composite bass units, which many standmount speakers have, can produce good quality sounds. And for the rest of the sound spectrum, standmount speakers can often produce first rate quality.

Home Theatre and Surround Sound Use

One of the fields in which standmount speakers come into their own is when creating a home theatre setup, or putting together a surround sound audio system. These applications can call for half a dozen or more speakers placed around the room. To achieve this with floor standing speakers would require more space than the average room can offer. However the compact size and flexible positioning of standmount speakers means that such setups are possible. While their generally lower price points makes such setups more affordable, too.

Technical Issues to Consider

There are a number of technical issues to consider when choosing standmount speakers. These include the power rating, size and type of drivers, and the materials used to make the Hi-Fi speakers.

Power Rating

The power rating normally refers to the maximum power, or sometimes the peak power, which the speakers can handle. Standmount speakers can vary dramatically, depending on their size and intended use. Generally the maximum power may fall anywhere between 75 watts and 250 watts, although this is only a very rough guide.

The higher the power rating, the better the speakers should be at reproducing high volume sounds or challenging low frequencies without suffering distortion. However, it is also important to ensure that any amplifier or receiver used in conjunction with the speakers has compatible power ratings.

Drivers

Drivers are the units which actually produce the sound. Most standmount speakers will include two or three drivers. The most common options are as follows:

Ultra-High Frequencies

High Frequencies

Low Frequencies

Super-Tweeter.

Tweeter, with a diameter of between about 2 cm to 3.5 cm.

Generally covers mid-range sounds and bass sounds. Typical diameter of 8 cm to 17 cm.

The ideal speaker would cover the entire range of sounds from below 20 Hz, to over 20,000 Hz, these being the full spectrum of sounds audible to humans. Realistically there is a compromise made with most speakers, but the wider the range the speaker covers, the better the speaker should sound.

Magnetic Shielding   

This refers to a protection built in to the speakers that prevents them interfering with, and possibly damaging, television screens. As most speakers are used in a living room, and may be stood in close proximity to a television set, this can be important.

How to Buy Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers

Although standmount speakers are very widespread on the high street, before buying a set it is worthwhile making the effort to ensure that the speakers offered for sale are the best available at the price. Stores often promote their speakers heavily, but since they only carry a limited selection it is not easy for shoppers to tell whether they are really getting a good deal or not. Comparing between several different stores and brands is the best way to get an idea about the relative specifications and prices of standmount speakers. Only once this comparison has been made, will the prudent shopper be well placed to make their purchasing decision.  

The only drawback to this strategy is the cost in time and travel needed to make a comparison. This can be easily overcome by shopping online, where online markets such as eBay offer a very good selection of standmount Hi-Fi speakers.

Finding Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers on eBay

Rather than travelling physically from store to store, you can find a comprehensive range of standmount  speakers on eBay. Simply go to the eBay homepage and type 'standmount speakers' into the search bar. This action produces a list of hundreds of speakers on sale. You can then narrow these down by specifying those characteristics which meet your requirements. For example you can specify the number of speakers in the system; whether or not there is a subwoofer; whether the speakers are new, pre-owned or refurbished; or by selecting a particular brand which appeals to you. If you are looking for a set of wireless speakers, you can filter the results to include only those that are wireless. Or, if you want speakers with a certain type of audio inputs, like banana jacks, you can filter for those, too.

There are other choices you can make when shopping for speakers on eBay, too, such as the method of buying which best suits you. Some of the speakers on offer will be sold at a fixed price, enabling you to choose the ones you like, and purchase them straight away. Others will be offered in auction, meaning that you can bid for them and wait to see if your price is accepted.

Whichever method you choose, the opportunity to select from such a large range of speakers, and the simplicity of searching and buying, makes eBaya convenient and easy place to shop for standmount Hi-Fi speakers.

Conclusion

Standmount Hi-Fi speakers are popular due to their compact size, and their affordable price. There are both advantages and drawbacks to buying this type of speaker. Sound quality can be compromised due to the limited range of drivers in most standmount speakers. And in the case of bass reflex speakers, the speaker needs to be carefully designed if it is to avoid sounding 'boomy' at low frequencies. However, standmount speakers can be ideal for home theatre and surround sound systems, and can also represent very good value both in terms of space and cost.

There are so many different standmount speakers to choose from, that when buying them in the high street it is important to compare different speakers from different stores, to be sure of getting a good deal. The time and trouble this requires can be greatly reduced by buying online, where markets such as eBay can make the comparison much easier and faster. eBay has a very large choice of standmount speakers, which makes it simple to find the ideal set.

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