As audio technology has advanced, stereo and home theatre surround systems have gone from being small and simple set ups to elaborate collections of high end components. Modern stereo systems are a blend of components that either input various audio signals into the system or receive those signals and output them into audible signals that can be heard. For many people, simply having a stereo receiver that takes the incoming signal and sends it through an amplifier to a set of speakers is more than adequate for an everyday audio experience.
However, there are those individuals who expect more from their listening experience and choose to take a more involved approach when it comes to manipulating the sounds their system produces for optimum effect. For these individuals, installing an audio controller into their stereo system enables them to manipulate every aspect of the input and output of their system for the most life-like audio experience possible.
How an Audio Controller Works
Sound is basically a series of pressure waves that cause vibrations that are received by the ear and processed in the brain. Stereo systems replicate sounds that are recorded with a microphone and reproduce those sounds in amplified form through stereo speakers. These sounds that are reproduced fall within a high frequency range, a mid range, or a low frequency range that are sent to the speakers. Standard stereo systems do not generally distinguish one range of frequencies from the next when they are sent to the speakers, and the result is that each speaker plays a portion of all three frequencies at the same time. The trick to achieving excellent stereo sound is to have the ability to isolate each of these frequencies and direct them toward specialised speakers that are designed only to handle that particular frequency. This is where an audio controller comes in.
Audio controllers have the ability to isolate each particular frequency range and direct that signal to a specific speaker. The controller can send high and mid range frequency sounds to speakers that are dedicated to replicating that range, and low frequency sounds to subwoofers that are constructed only to handle bass notes. Audio controllers can also separate vocal sounds as well and direct them to specific high or mid range speakers. the truly unique aspect of an audio controller is that it can direct specific frequencies to different speakers as well as different areas within a home or vehicle. The user can have vocals playing through speakers in one area of the room while guitar plays in another and drums and bass play in a separate area. This creates a truly realistic sound experience that can be manipulated according to the listeners preferences.
Important Features of an Quality Audio Controller
Audio controllers can range from basic devices that control only a few aspects of a stereo system, or they can be highly specialised units that allow the listener to manipulate multiple input sources and direct them for optimal sound performance. Adding a fairly basic audio controller that can direct various frequencies to a basic sound system can dramatically improve the performance capabilities of that system and is one of the easiest ways to upgrade its capabilities. When selecting an audio controller, there are certain features that should be kept in mind prior to making a purchase decision.
Multiple Source Input Controls
An audio controller should have the ability to accept and control input from at least two separate channels. The input controls allow the user to adjust the signal level before it continues to the other portions of the controller. Monitoring and adjusting the input gain, which is the level of the signal, helps to ensure that the input falls within a range that does not promote feedback or distortion. Having the ability to accept multiple input signals gives the audio controller the ability to process audio from a stereo as well as a DVD player or television.
Perhaps the most vital feature of any audio controller is the ability to adjust and mix the various frequencies and direct them to the proper location. An onboard frequency equaliser allows the user to raise and lower the output signals of each frequency range individually. This ensures that one type of frequency does not overpower another and it provides the ability to fine tune the output to each speaker according to its capability. This virtually eliminates distortion within the system and ensures that the various sound ranges are mixed properly for the ultimate sound experience.
Another important feature to consider in an audio controller is the ability to amplify the signals it processes. Speakers produce sound when their driver moves back and forth and creates sound pressure waves that produce vibrations we can hear. Audio signals that are recorded via microphone must be amplified prior to sending them to a speaker because they do not have enough power to operate the speakers driver on their own. While many stereo system receivers have a built-in amplifier, the ability to introduce an additional source of amplification to the audio signal serves to improve the sound reproduction capability of the stereo system.
Audio crossover is the ability of the system to split the audio signal into separate frequencies and direct those bands to speakers that are dedicated to handling those frequencies. Most audio speakers cannot handle the entire range of sounds that a stereo can produce, so in order to produce these sounds with clarity, the individual frequencies must be directed to speakers that are best capable of handling them. Crossover control allows the audio controller to direct lower frequency sounds to a subwoofer that has the ability to play that range without creating excessive vibrations that lead to distortion. Likewise, high and mid-range sounds are directed toward speakers best suited to handle them, which provides precise and direct sounds in the same manner that they were recorded in.
Multiple Zone Capability
Another important feature of an audio controller is its ability to direct audio output to various zones or areas within a home. Audio controllers can produce whole home audio, which means speakers can be placed in various rooms or parts of the home and play music from the main source. This gives the effect of having an individual stereo system in each room that can be controlled from one location. Multiple zones are also a great feature in home theatre surround systems that utilise speakers placed in different positions around the room to produce the most realistic and effective surround sound possible.
How to Buy an Audio Controller on eBay
Once you have decided to add an audio controller to your stereo system, the best and easiest method of searching for and purchasing your new audio controller is by utilising the advanced search tools available on eBay. Begin by navigating to the eBay home page where you can enter a keyword such as "audio controller" into the search box. A number of auction listings are displayed that correspond to that search term. At this point you can browse through the various auctions until you find exactly what you are looking for, or you can select from various categories that refine the search and narrow the results to more closely match what you are looking for. If you already have a certain type of audio controller or brand in mind, you can enter that information directly into the search box and only results that correspond to that term are be displayed.
After you have found the audio controller that suits your needs, the next step is to take a moment and review the seller's feedback prior to committing to the purchase. The eBay community utilises feedback that is left by the buyer to rate each seller on how they conduct their auctions. A seller with good feedback has a documented history of satisfied buyers and can be trusted to conduct their auctions in a professional and honest manner.
An audio controller is an excellent way for music lovers to take full advantage of their stereo and home entertainment systems. Audio controllers allow individuals to enhance the sounds that their system produces and direct them to specific speakers as well as certain areas of a room or the home as well. Audio controllers give the listener the capability of tweaking the performance characteristics of their audio systems and help increase the audio capabilities of even the most basic of stereo systems.
Audio controllers enable users to configure their system according to their own level of audio expertise. People who do not have a great deal of audio experience can take advantage of the audio controller's simplicity and adjust output signals until they appeal to their tastes, and what they are looking for. True audiophiles can take full advantage of the multiple function capabilities of an audio controller and completely customise the sound experience of their stereo system to fulfill their specific sound requirements.