What To Look Out For When Buying Hi-Fi Speakers

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What To Look Out For When Buying Hi-Fi Speakers

Hi-Fi speakers are the key to any audio system. This is why it is important to pay attention when buying them. Everything the listener hears comes from the speakers as they put a hard limit on the quality and volume of sound that any system can produce. High quality Hi-Fi speakers are more important than large ones, the key is to pick the right speakers for the intended role and situation. This is something that sounds both simple and complicated at the same time; and it is.

The trick to buying Hi-Fi speakers is knowing what to look for, and that means the buyer has to understand both how the speakers work, and the conditions under which they intend to use them. Not all speakers are suited for all applications, and knowing which speakers fit which applications, and the nature of the application the buyer intends, is an important part in deciding what to look for when shopping for Hi-Fi speakers.

Understanding Hi-Fi Speakers

The first step to understanding Hi-Fi speakers lies in grasping the basics of sound and human hearing. What humans hear as sound consists of pressure waves in the atmosphere. Rapid fluctuations are interpreted as high frequency sounds, with the sounds becoming deeper as the interval between pressure waves increases. This being the case, a Hi-Fi speaker is essentially a magnetically driven pump that converts electrical signals into atmospheric pressure waves.

Basics of Speaker Design

The key to understanding speaker design is in making sense of the fact that different size speakers work better for producing different frequency sounds. The majority of speakers consist of a heavy paper cone with a magnet in the centre. While there are other designs, this is the most common. As a general rule, larger speakers work better with lower frequency sounds as they push more air than smaller ones. At the same time, smaller speakers have less mass, so they are more responsive to sudden changes in motion, making it much easier for them to produce high frequency sounds.

Consider the Intended Use

Every Hi-Fi speaker has a use that it is best fitted for, and an informed purchaser is better able to match the speaker to its intended use. Some of the factors that need to be considered are the space in which the speakers are installed and the kind of music that is to be played, as they all have an effect on determining the best Hi-Fi speakers for a given setting.

Consider the Space

The larger the room, the more powerful the speakers need to be to fill it. For example, a home theatre installation requires larger and more powerful speakers than a student's bedroom. A larger space also often requires more speaker separation in order to produce a stereophonic effect over a wider area. Large Hi-Fi speakers can also make a visual impact in the room they are in, so they may not fit the style of a small room unless the idea is to call attention to the speakers above everything else.

Consider the Music

Not all genres of music put the same load on a given set of speakers. Some put more focus on bass and percussion, while others put more strain on the higher registers. Knowing which kind of music the speakers are used for helps any buyer determine which speakers best fit their needs.

Consider the Circumstances

Another factor to consider is the listening circumstances. A person who can listen alone may want, and be able to use, more volume than a person who lives in a flat or shared accommodation and therefore cannot take advantage of the full volume their speakers can produce.

Making Sure the Speakers Fit the System

This is one of the most important things for anyone to look out for. The speakers have to be physically and electrically compatible with the audio system they are connected with. This is not only a matter of making sure the plugs in the Hi-Fi speakers match those on the audio unit they are connected to, one also needs to make sure they have the correct impedance.

Connecting the Hi-Fi Speakers

One thing that bears looking out for is the physical connection between the speakers and the audio unit. Not all systems use the same connectors, and it is very important to make sure that the speakers a person intends to buy connect to the receiver or other component. Some systems use proprietary connectors, in which case it is important for the buyer to make certain they get the right ones. Others use standard 3.5mm jacks, while others still, can accept bare wires. Whatever the connectors involved, the most important factor is always ensuring speaker and unit compatibility.

The Importance of Impedance

Impedance, measured in Ohms, measures electrical resistance. As a rule, the lower the impedance, the more current flows through the system. The other thing to remember is that speakers and connectors are rated by minimum impedance, as increasing the number of speakers lowers the impedance at the connector, allowing the speakers to draw more current. In fact, if there are too many speakers on a circuit, it can cause the impedance to drop to a point where it can physically damage the amplifier by drawing more power through it than it is designed to handle, which can often cause it to overheat. The other thing to consider is that amplifiers are designed to handle a certain load, and if the speaker impedance is too high or too low, the sound suffers.

Choosing the Right Hi-Fi Speakers

The key to choosing the right Hi-Fi speakers for any application or circumstance lies in putting all the pieces together in such a way as to produce the best possible sound for the situation. This is why knowledge is the most important tool in the prospective purchaser's arsenal.

The following checklist should help most buyers make a decision:

Factor

Details

Room Size

Larger rooms need more powerful speakers to fill space

Music Genre

Different genres use different frequencies more heavily

Situation

Different living arrangements determine allowable volume

Connectors

Check that the speakers have the same connector as the stereo

Impedance

Matching impedance matters as it prevents amplifier damage and allows full volume

Knowing what to buy and why to buy it makes all the difference for a prospective buyer. Hence, by paying attention to the above factors, it becomes easier to see what to look out for when thinking of purchasing that new set of Hi-Fi speakers.

Buying New Hi-Fi Speakers on eBay

eBay is an excellent place to buy Hi-Fi speakers, regardless of your need or situation. All you have to do is enter your search terms in the box, there is a search box on every page, and watch the results appear on your screen. Once you have the results in front of you, the next step is to narrow them down to just the ones that meet your requirements. The best way to do that is to use the filters in the sidebar in order to limit the results by specific parameters such as price range, manufacturer, and even speaker configuration. There are also sorting tools available that let you arrange the results to your liking, so that the Hi-Fi speakers that interest you most are at the top of your screen.

After you have your results, the next step is to determine who amongst eBay's many sellers is your best match. The place to do that is their seller profile page, where you can see everything from their location and feedback to any special policies they might have. Some sellers may offer bundles of speakers with stands or other accessories, while others may allow local buyers to pick up their Hi-Fi speakers in person and avoid the necessity of paying for shipping.

Conclusion

There are a number of things to look out for when buying Hi-Fi speakers, ranging from the speakers themselves to the environment in which they are used. As with any important purchase, the key lies in equipping oneself with the right knowledge. If the purchaser knows what they need and why they need it, the decision-making process becomes that much easier. While looking to make sure the connectors on the speakers match those on the stereo is obvious to most, checking that the speaker impedance matches that of the audio source is less obvious but equally important. Too low an impedance may damaging the amplifier, but any impedance mismatch can lead to audio problems.

Other things that need to be considered are the size of the room and the volume at which the speakers may be played. Larger rooms often benefit from larger speakers which move more air, and also produce more bass, an important factor for some genres of music. Therefore, all any buyer needs to do is pay attention to both the types of speakers and the capacity in which they are used in order to find the right Hi-Fi speakers for any given space or circumstance.

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