How to Buy Standmount Speakers

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How to Buy Standmount Speakers

Although many people view floor-standing speakers as the ultimate in home audio speakers, standmount speakers can provide superior sound quality in a number of settings and situations. Standmount speakers are smaller than floor-standing speakers. While they may not be able to produce the low frequencies reached by floor-standing speakers, they produce a more articulate sound. When comparing similarly priced speakers, standmount speakers produce superior instrumental and vocal realism and better integration than floor-standing speakers. Standmount speakers deliver excellent quality audio without taking up too much space.

Before buying standmount speakers, learn the technical terminology related to speaker features and specifications and what to look for. In addition, an understanding of speaker components and how they work together to produce high quality sound is beneficial. Finally, learn how to position standmount speakers for the best results. Listeners should take their taste in music into account when choosing speakers as different genres have different audio demands. Standmount speakers are available from electronics and audio visual shops, and online from sites like eBay.

Features of Standmount Speakers

The features of standmount speakers require some explanation as they are referred to using technical terminology. To understand what to look for while shopping, use the table below as a guide. It lists common features and specifications, with a short description.

Feature of Standmount Speakers

Description

Power

Measured in watts (W)

Amount of electrical power speakers can handle before sustaining damage

More power usually means higher volume

Described as nominal or peak power

Nominal power

Commonly displayed as root-mean-square (RMS)

Describes level at which speakers can work continuously with low distortion and no risk of damage

Peak power

Describes highest level speaker can work at without being damaged

Frequency response

Range of sounds a speaker makes

Humans hear 20 to 20,000 Hertz (Hz)

Sensitivity

Measured in decibels (dB)

Describes how efficiently speakers convert electrical energy into sound energy

High sensitivity produces louder volume

Impedance

Measured in ohms

Describes how much the speaker resists current output from amplifier

Should match amplifier

Lower impedance demands more power

Total harmonic distortion (THD)

Good quality speakers have THD of less than one percent

Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)

Measured in dB

Relates to clarity

The higher the SNR ratio, the clearer the sound

It is important to note that the terms in the table have been simplified a great deal. More research may be required for a deeper understanding of factors that influence the performance of the speakers. However, a basic understanding of these terms is more than adequate when buying standmount speakers.

Customer and expert reviews are invaluable when shopping for standmount speakers. Although the best way to judge speaker performance is to listen to them, conditions in the home are different to conditions elsewhere, and different hi-fi components could further cause variations in sound quality.

Construction of Standmount Speakers

Standmount speakers usually consist of two or more drivers and a cabinet. These components combine to produce the unique sound of the speakers.

Drivers of Standmount Speakers

The drivers produce the sound and are designed to relay a range of frequencies determined by their size. A woofer is a larger driver that produces bass, while a tweeter is smaller and produces high frequencies. In two-driver speakers, midrange frequencies fall somewhere between these and are divided between the drivers by the crossover network. A low-pass filter (LPF) keeps high frequencies from reaching the woofer, while a high-pass filter (HPF) keeps low frequencies from reaching the tweeter. Speakers with fewer drives are generally believed to produce better sound due to the difficulty of balancing crossover dynamics when more drivers are added to the speaker.

Cabinets of Standmount Speakers

The cabinet is not only for display, it has a pronounced effect on the speaker's sound reproduction abilities. Of course, matching speakers to the household design is important, but, whatever colour and style is chosen, speaker cabinets should be rigid, well braced, and internally dampened to produce the best sound. Plastic speaker cabinets should be avoided when buying anything larger than computer speakers. Medium density fibreboard (MDF) and wood are popular choices for speaker cabinets due to their strength and rigidity. Where possible, knock on the speaker cabinet. Speakers that make a hollow noise are best avoided.

How to Position Standmount Speakers

There are very few hard and fast rules about the positioning of standmount speakers. The best way to find the perfect position for these speakers is by experimenting. However, some tips make it easier to find the right spot.

Stands for Standmount Speakers

When buying standmount speakers, pay attention to the speaker stands. These should be solid and durable, providing a stable base for the speakers to rest on. For added stability, secure the speaker to the stand with some blu-tack. Some speakers come with spikes on the bottom, like those found on floor-standing speakers, to increase stability. These can be used to secure speakers standing on carpets, but can damage hardwood or laminate flooring. The standmount speaker's feet should be adequately stable on harder floor types. Some stands come with additional design features such as adjustable heights and grooves in the stands that hide wires.

Magnetic Shielding for Standmount Speakers

If the speakers are placed near a television or any other kind of screen, opt for models with magnetic shielding. This prevents the magnetic field created by the magnets in the drivers from interfering with the screen's display, causing discolouration and distortion.

Placement of Standmount Speakers

Few speakers produce good sound when placed in corners or against walls. Flat, hard surfaces reflect sound and can create echoes and feedback. Similarly, soft furniture, carpets, and curtains tend to absorb sound.

Size of Room for Standmount Speakers

The standmount speakers chosen should be appropriately sized for the room in which they are placed. Smaller, lower output speakers are best for small to medium spaces as their sound tends to get lost in larger rooms. The best listening area is usually at a point between two speakers. In addition to moving the speakers around the room, experiment with slightly angling them away from or towards the listener.

Standmount Speakers for Specific Music Genres

A listener's favourite music genre influences the type of sound that the speakers should produce. For example, listeners who listen mostly to rock may prefer speakers with more bass, even at the cost of losing a little tonal accuracy; that do not distort, produce a grainy sound, or add an artificial coarseness to higher frequencies. In contrast, those who are more inclined to listen to acoustic music, such as folk, jazz, or classical, may be willing to give up lower bass in favour of accurate midrange frequencies.

How to Buy Standmount Speakers on eBay

Learn how to search and evaluate items and sellers on eBay before you start shopping for standmount speakers. Searching is easy: simply type a phrase, such as "Sony standmount speakers", into the search bar, which can be found on every page, to see the items available from eBay sellers. Click on the most appropriate category and choose the desired product features to refine your search. For greater control over searches, use the advanced search feature.

Evaluating the Item and the Seller

Once you have found standmount speakers that you want, click on the individual listing to go to the item listing page. Here you can find everything that you need to make an informed decision about the item and the seller, including the full item description, buying details, accepted forms of payment, postage and packaging costs, and the seller's feedback information. eBay's seller feedback feature allows you to see what other buyers think of specific sellers' products and customer service. Click on the number next to the seller's username to see his or her feedback score.

When buying bulky items like speakers, consider buying from someone in the local area. Some sellers allow local collection provided you are both comfortable with this arrangement. You do not only save on postage and packaging, but you also be able to plug in and use your speakers as soon as you have collected them.

Conclusion

Buying standmount speakers can be simple after doing adequate research. The first step in the buying process is learning about the technical specifications of standmount speakers. This includes aspects such as power, frequency response, sensitivity, impedance, and distortion. Although high power speakers are louder than others, this is not the only specification to consider when buying speakers, especially not if the speakers are used in a small or enclosed space. A wider frequency response yields richer sound and lower THD ratings and higher SNR ratios produce clearer sound.

In addition to the technical specifications, consider how the speakers are built. Fewer drivers tend to produce better sound, but this varies from speaker to speaker. The speaker cabinets should be rigid, well braced, internally dampened, and not prone to vibration.

The placement of standmount speakers greatly affect how they sound. The stand chosen should not detract from the speaker's ability to produce high quality sound, and should be stable and well grounded. The best way to find the perfect sound is to experiment with placement. Speakers should not be placed in corners or flush against walls, and it is important to remember that hard surfaces reflect sound while soft furnishings absorb it. The best listening area is usually at a point halfway between the speakers. Turning them an inch or two to either side could make a huge difference to the sound. A range of standmount speakers are available from eBay sellers.

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