Your Guide to Buying Hi-Fi and Stereo Speakers

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Your Guide to Buying Hi-Fi and Stereo Speakers

There are average speaker systems that play a decent level of music, and then there are Hi-Fi sound systems that play music on the extreme level. The main difference between an average stereo speaker and a Hi-Fi one is the sound quality, and it must be heard in order to be believed. Of course, with higher sound quality also comes a higher price point, so customers must be cautious when purchasing a Hi-Fi stereo system.

It is always recommended to visit a local electronic store first so that buyers can hear the difference between sound systems and choose the one that they prefer. Then, savvy shoppers should return home and conduct online search using a website like eBay to find the same system at an exceptional value. When looking for either stereo or Hi-Fi, buyers need to pay attention to the ohms, the power, as well as the size of the speakers.

Speaker Systems

A speaker is only part of an overall system that includes a music player, amplifier, and a set of speakers. The music player plays the music, the amplifier increases the sound, and the speakers emit the sound throughout the room. Before a customer purchases speakers, he or she must make certain that the amp can handle the power of the speakers. Furthermore, it does no good to purchase high end, Hi-Fi speakers, if the homeowner is using a low-quality player and amp for the system. A low-quality music player cannot produce a good signal, and a low quality amp cannot amplify the sound properly for it to make a difference on Hi-Fi speakers.

Understanding the Difference Between Hi-Fi and Stereo Speakers

Hi-Fi is short for High Fidelity, and it is the term many audiophiles use for speakers that can reproduce high quality sound with a minimal amount of distortion. Hi-Fi speakers simply represent the best qualities of stereo speakers. In other words, think of normal stereo speakers like a good budget car. They work and are dependable, but they are also short on luxury. Meanwhile, Hi-Fi speakers are the audio world's Mercedes, BMWs and Rolls Royces. Not only do they work exceptionally well, they do so with style, grace, and excellent performance.

Speakers that are rated at Hi-Fi performance often carry a Hi-Fi label, but customers are advised to do their own research since sometimes manufacturers include this label even on normal speakers. Hi-Fi speakers are extremely durable and are made out of only the strongest magnets and voice coils for precise tuning.

Hi-Fi and Stereo Speaker Options

When it comes to choosing Hi-Fi and stereo speakers, there are almost limitless options available. Many first time audio buyers and even seasoned audiophiles can easily become overwhelmed with the wide selection found in the store. While concerns such as the overall design, finish and specifications of the speaker should be taken into account, these are all secondary considerations. The main options are choosing a speaker system with the right amount of ohms and power for the audio system, and customers must pay extra attention to these options.

Ohms

Buyers have probably noticed either the word 'speaker impedance', or the term 'ohm' used on a speaker label. Simply put, an ohm is a measurement of speaker impedance, which is a measurement of how much the electrical current flows through the speaker at specific voltage levels. Speakers are often rated at either 4, 8 or 16 ohms, and the lower the ohms the more power the speaker is extracting from the amp. For example, a 4 ohm speaker takes more power than an 8 ohm speaker.

While the ohm level does not affect the sound quality of the speakers, it does determine how well the speakers function. In fact, more often than not, when speakers blow out, it is typically due to the ohms, not the power outages. The speakers must meet the minimum ohm requirement on the amp, and this can get slightly tricky if multiple speakers are used.

Understanding Ohms

There is a mathematical formula for calculating ohms that comes in handy when installing speakers. For speakers that use the same amount of ohms and are installed in a parallel circuit, the overall amount of ohms used equals the impedance of one speaker divided by the number of speakers. In a parallel circuit that uses two speakers with an impedance rating of 4 ohms, the overall amount of ohms is 2. This is unwelcome news for an amp, since the minimal ohm rating for most amps is 4. 2 ohms. This factor means that too much energy is being used, and could potentially result in a speaker blowout. Therefore, if a customer has an amp with a minimum ohm rating of 4, then they need to use two speakers with 8 ohms.

Power Handling

While the impedance of speakers is measured in ohms, the amount of power used is measured in watts. It used to be conventional wisdom that a speaker should use twice the amount of power that an amplifier gives it (in other words, twice the RMS Power Output). However, with most modern speakers this is not the case, which is why many manufacturers now carry a label that suggests the minimum and maximum amp power output. For example, a label may state that the minimum level must be 50 watts and that the maximum level be 150 watts.

Theoretically, the speakers can work with any number in this range, but it is best to select the middle ground. At only 50 watts, it is likely the speakers sound thin while playing them at 150 watts. This may make the speakers deteriorate quicker over time. Choosing to connect them to an amp that only uses 100 watts per channel, allows the speakers to be played safely.

Size

Finally, for many homeowners, the size of the speakers is also an important consideration. Typically, the large floor-standing, or tower speakers, are usually the most powerful. This type also comes with the largest woofer cones, allowing them to play deep-bass tracks without the assistance of a subwoofer. However, because they are very loud and take up a lot of room, they do not do well in tiny rooms or small flats.

The bookshelf speaker comes in a more reasonable size that can easily fit on a stand or a shelf, where it is not in the way. Smallest of all speakers are the satellite speakers, which are often mounted on the walls for surround sound. While low quality satellite speakers won't make a great impression, there are Hi-Fi satellite speakers that sound just as good as their floor standing counterparts.

Buying Hi-Fi and Stereo Speakers on eBay

Once the potential buyer knows which speakers he or she wants, eBay is the perfect place to begin their search. New or used, big or small, eBay has a gigantic selection of stereo and Hi-Fi speakers from all around the globe. Customers can purchase home entertainment Hi-Fi speakers for their living room, or excellent car stereo speakers for their automobile. With such a large selection of merchandise that is typically sold well below retail value, everyone can find a good deal.

Strategies for Searching for Stereo Equipment on eBay

When buying speakers on eBay, try to purchase them as a set. Speakers made by the same company often sound better when played together due to voice matching, and cohesiveness. Therefore, do a search for 'stereo speaker set' or 'Hi-Fi speaker set' to find pairs of speakers being sold together. Of course, you can also choose to purchase individual speakers, but try and make sure they are made by the same company. For example, if you want Onkyo speakers, then search for 'Onkyo speaker set'. You can also narrow the search by size, and power specifications.

Tips on Buying Used Speakers on eBay

ebay carries a large selection of used speakers, which can provide you with a great deal, provided you do your homework. Always approach a used auction very carefully by first examining the actual photo of the item for sale. It should be in decent description and any possible flaws need to be clearly detailed. It is also a good idea to check with the seller's return policy in case there are any problems.

Try to purchase used items that seem to be in good condition. When it comes to stereo equipment, never purchase anything that looks damaged on the outside since chances are, there may be significant internal damage as well. If you have questions about a used auction, always ask the seller before placing a bid to ease your concerns.

Conclusion

Whether a customer is looking for a stereo system to play music, or a Hi-Fi system to impress all their friends, eBay is the perfect shopping location. From eBay's homepage, potential buyers can browse through a large listing of speakers from all over the world. When it comes to selecting either stereo or Hi-Fi speakers, customers should always choose the one that sounds best to them. There are few hard and fast rules to expect when it comes to connecting the speakers.

Therefore, buyers need to carefully evaluate the specifications of the speakers before their purchase, specifically the impedance and power handling levels. Be sure to only purchase speakers that will work with the system settings, to avoid blowing out costly Hi-Fi speakers that prove difficult to replace. Select speakers that are the right size for the home to ensure that they fit into their surroundings. Take the guesswork out of buying speakers and enjoy the music they provide.

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