Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers Buying Guide

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Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers Buying Guide

Speakers are the most influential elements when it comes to the overall quality of sound produced by a system. However, it is impossible to determine what the right speaker may be without considering room size. In the case of standmount speakers, they are best suited for rooms of small to medium dimensions. In spite of their compact size, standmount Hi-Fi speakers generally offer the best option in terms of pricing and performance.

Buying standmount speakers online involves a variety of considerations. Certain speaker characteristics have to be evaluated, bearing in mind the levels and types of sounds they are meant to reproduce. It takes a bit of simple technical knowledge to choose the right standmount Hi-Fi speakers to complete a system.

Buyers must also take into account the main specifications and advantages of standmount speakers, and understand about subwoofers and their functions, as they are commonly used  in Hi-Fi stereo systems featuring standmount speakers.

Standmount vs. Floor-standing Speakers

While in the past floor-standing speakers used to be extremely pricey, there are numerous low-cost models in the market today. With a more impressive design, floor-standing speakers also boast a larger cabinet space, which is directly related to the production of better quality bass.

However, standmount Hi-Fi speakers are not without their advantages. On the one hand, floor-standing speakers' ability to produce deep bass brings with it the problem of having to control resonance inside their  sizeable cabinets. On the other hand, smaller, standmount speakers are stiffer by nature, which makes them less prone to boxy colourations resulting from sound waves reflecting inside the box.

It is commonly believed that standmount speakers are better for watching movies while floor-standers are more suitable for music. While this may be true for low budget versions of both options, the reality is a bit more complex. 

Size and Price

Floor-standers can produce a bigger sound, but standmount speakers are far more agile. In order to purchase a floor-standing speaker with the agility of a standmount, it is necessary to spend a  sizeable amount of money. Similarly, to add the impact of floor-standers to standmount Hi-Fi speakers, it is necessary to add a subwoofer. 

Standmounts Enhanced with Subwoofers

A subwoofer's function is to reproduce the lower tones in the dynamic range. A quality subwoofer can reproduce 20 Hz tones, which are felt in the body rather than heard by the ear, creating a great impact, especially in home theatre settings. However, a subwoofer that can go as low as 30 Hz performs very well for most types of music.

The sound wave of the lowest tones in the scale can be very long. This does not mean that subwoofers only work in large rooms, although the waves are bound to bounce off the walls in smaller spaces. If the waves do pile up and create a nasty boomy sound, one must simply turn the bass volume down until this does not happen anymore.  

The key about using subwoofers is their position. A tip to find the best place subwoofers in a room is to play a 20 Hz test tone and listen to it from different spots in the room; the subwoofer should be placed wherever one can hear great bass. Most subwoofers produce less distortion when placed in a corner.

Adding a good quality subwoofer to a set of affordable standmount speakers is a great combination to achieve excellent sound quality.

Positioning of Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers

The placement of speakers determines a great deal of the sound's quality, depth, and impact. As a rule, small standmount speakers should be placed at least 180 cm apart if one wants to create a soundstage experience, which naturally requires larger rooms.

When trying to decide where to position standmount Hi-Fi speakers, the best way to find out is by trying different options. While certain types of speakers may perform better close to a wall, the majority of them work better when they have some space around them. A good way to determine the best position is to place the speakers next to a wall and start moving them away from it, until striking a good balance between great bass and extension. Sometimes setting the speakers at a certain angle can also help.

Basic Standmount Speaker Specs

While people are mostly concerned about power when shopping for Hi-Fi speakers, some of the power ratings listed by manufacturers can be a bit misleading. Moreover, there are many additional characteristics of a speaker that greatly affect their performance.

Power

Most people associate speaker power with loudness of sound. However, the power range provided by manufacturers should be treated as the minimum power that can drive the speaker. Contrary to popular belief, low power amplification is much more likely to damage standmount speakers than excessive power.  

The most reliable figure in terms of speaker power ratings is RMS power, expressed in watts. Sometimes manufacturers provide peak power ratings, instead of continuous RMS ratings. Therefore, the first thing to do is find out exactly what kind of power rating one is dealing with. For example, a standmount speaker advertised as 150 watt may play at a lower volume than another one advertised as 100 watt, if the power rating types differ.  

Sensitivity and Impedance

In terms of sound quality, impedance and sensitivity play a more important role than power rating. A standmount speaker with great sensitivity may offer higher volumes for a certain level of power, while it also produces more dynamic sounds.

Sensitivity expresses the volume the speaker may achieve at a given voltage level. This is very important for establishing how powerful the amplifier has to be, in order to be able to drive the standmount speakers. This measurement is expressed as decibels per 2.83 V input. A speaker is considered to have high sensitivity starting at around 90 dB.

As important as sensitivity is, it cannot be evaluated without considering impedance, which is measured in ohms. This specification refers to the load presented to the amplifier by a speaker. In order to assess impedance, it is important to know that a four ohm load represents double the driving effort when compared to an eight ohm load.

The most frequent impedance for speakers is eight ohm, six ohm is also acceptable. Finally, four ohm speakers may be easier to drive, but they can also overheat certain amps.

Speaker Cables

The quality of the cables used with a set of speakers can greatly affect the sound quality of a system. As they are in charge of managing amplifier-speaker interaction, the importance of cables can never be underestimated. It is always best for them to be the shortest they can, and it is also key to find a good balance between inductance and capacitance.

In larger rooms, where long cables are needed, these must also be thicker. For a run of less than 15 metres, a 0.064 gauge cable may be acceptable, but longer runs require at least 0.08 gauge cabling.

Finding the Right Standmount Speakers

When purchasing speakers one plans to use for low volume listening, those with a high voltage sensitivity and an eight ohm impedance offer a great performance. In these cases, this type of speakers generally offers a very energetic and vibrant sound. The quality of the amplifier also plays a key role, as a better amp can create a more dynamic sound at low levels.

When it comes to the choice between used and new standmount speakers, it is important to consider that these items are the safest bet for buying second hand, when compared to other sound system components.  

Speakers generally improve with age, instead of deteriorating, as they tend to loosen up with frequent use. The trick is to test speakers by listening to a sound track with a full frequency sweep;  if there are no rattles or buzzing sounds, the speakers are in good condition. 

Finally, speakers must match the amplifier that drives them. As a general rule, it is best to choose an amplifier with a higher driving capability than the speakers are supposed to require. This allows the amplifier to work more at ease, thus producing a better quality sound.

How to Buy Standmount Hi-Fi Speakers on eBay

eBay boasts thousands of options when it comes to selecting either new or used speakers and subwoofers. In order to find great standmount speakers, it is necessary to make some decisions prior to the search. Make sure you establish the power rating, sensitivity and impedance that suit your system, before you start looking for speakers.

When you have a clear idea of the particular kind of standmount speakers you are looking for, you can type relevant keywords into the search bar on every page. You can also narrow your search by typing some of your preferred brand names in the search box, or, you can input details about colour, design, and material. Then it's time to assess pricing. When buying used, it is always a good idea to check the pricing of new items. Especially in these cases, it is essential to ask the seller some questions, to make sure the items are in good condition and suitable for the types of music you most frequently play.

Shipping and delivery are also very important aspects in this kind of purchase, as Hi-Fi speakers require safe wrapping and careful handling in order to reach you in optimum conditions. Especially when you are not buying locally, it is also a good idea to find out about guarantee availability and coverage. Finally, the ultimate test of standmount Hi-Fi speakers is listening to the sounds that come out from them in a specific room, therefore, knowing everything about return policies is also a must.

Conclusion

Standmount speakers are a great option to complete excellent sound systems at an affordable price, and they do not take as much space as large floor-standers, which means that they can also fit inside small rooms. It is also possible to combine standmounts with floor-standers, in order to add the low tones provided by the latter.

Alternatively, subwoofers can complement standmount speakers to add great bass to home theatre setups, or in the case of people who prefer to listen to any type of music where heavy bass is prominent. Low level and acoustic music listening do not generally require combining floor-standers with standmounts or adding subwoofers.

Sensitivity, impedance, and power rating are three of the most important things to consider when selecting a set of standmount Hi-Fi speakers. These values can also help you match speakers with the amplifier that is meant to drive them.

As a general rule, it can be misleading to base speaker choices solely on their listed power rating. Clarity of sound and dynamic range cannot be measured by this type of rating, and only a careful consideration of a variety of aspects can guarantee an optimum sonic experience.

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