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30 Tips for Choosing Speakers
floor standing speakers
December 20, 2013 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
A useful list of tips for selecting the perfect set of speakers.
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Posted by Jeff James Beck  on  12/13  at  01:53 PM

Not bad for a start, but you left out a few of the most important “tips” and oversimplified some things (which probably would have been better omitted so as not to cause confusion).

First, I’m almost shocked you recommended placing floorstanding speakers inside entertainment cabinets, or placing bookshelf speakers actually on bookshelves or in cabinets!!  VERY poor recommendation.  Unless a particular speaker is specifically designed to be placed inside some sort of cabinet or on a bookshelf or close to a back wall, it’s NOT a good idea.  Floorstanding speakers should be placed with space around them (per the specific manufacturer’s recommendations) and bookshelf speakers should almost always be placed on proper speaker stands.

You’re somewhat correct in saying it’s a good idea to match your amplification to your speakers’ power ratings, but that’s an oversimplification.  Going back to your correct advice that it’s more dangerous to underpower than overpower your speakers, when selecting components you should always shoot for MORE amplifier power than your speakers are rated for.  This leaves you plenty of headroom before clipping.

Also you stated that sensitivity is more important than power in a speaker.  True, but grossly oversimplified.  Newbies will never understand what this means.  If you’re going to bring up this point I’d suggest explaining what sensitivity ratings mean in the real world.

I’d also suggest explaining, while you’re on the subject of various types of speakers, that besides the traditional B&M (brick & mortar) hifi stores, we have a whole new business model and new industry springing up for audio gear—the Internet Direct (or ID) model.  There are distinct advantages (and a few disadvantages) to the ID model and it would be helpful to bring this topic to your readers’ attention.

Finally, you left out the #1 absolutely most important “tip” for choosing speakers:  LISTEN to as many different speakers as you can then buy what sounds right to YOU!  You are the only one who needs to like the sound of your speakers and you have to live with them for as long as you will keep them until your next upgrade.  There are several great online forums where you can get great (and horrible) advice and information about speaker brands and everything else audio-related, and it’s a great idea to research there but auditioning many different speakers within your budget is the best way to educate your ears and find what turns you on.  Then consider ID brands as well, which you can’t listen to before ordering—but you get to audition them in your own home on your own gear for usually 30 days, with a money-back guarantee.  If you don’t like them it only costs you shipping to send them back.

But the main point of course is don’t just buy the first pair you see or hear, don’t just buy what a salesperson in your local shop (or heaven forbid big box store) tells you is good, and do take your time and compare different speakers side by side if possible, using your own CDs or other source material that you’re familiar with.  It’s the best way to ensure long-term audio bliss.

Posted by Chip Divot  on  01/11  at  11:26 AM

This list must be for newbies becasue it definitely is overly simplified.

10. contrary to popular belief, your room IS part of your speakers…they will vibrate adding to or ruining the sound of your system. The problem with most thoughts on home theaters is to suck all the sound out of the room by “damping” then try to add sound back to the room. If you build your room like an instrument to compliment the sound you will greatly improve the sound and you will need lower wattage amps. Damping speakers is like building a martin guitar then stuffing it full of pillows and expecting good sound! Check out http://www.michaelgreenaudio.com/forum like I did to learn about building or acoustically treating your room.

Also more expensive doesn’t always mean better…and like the previous poster said…listen for yourself. Your ears and your taste should be the final decider

Posted by J.T  on  04/20  at  01:51 PM

Just curious,, in the choosing of speakers for the home theater, no-one has mentioned flooring, drapery or walls like are they textured, fabric covered, what about the ceiling how high is it and furniture do these have any bearing on the final outcome ? I ask this because I have noticed that if a ceiling is high but not vaulted or cathredal but higher than 8’ that maybe I should not put in-ceiling but in wall, only because and do not quote me as I may be wrong, wont you need to have the volume higher to be heard or what about echo or hall like effect ? Does flooring materials make a difference? Like wood versus tile or marble and carpet.  What we hear in stores is not gonna be what we hear in our homes, is that a true statement after all the environments are very different. Just curious as to hy these things had not been mentioned as something to consider when choosing speakers.
Thanks for the answers

Posted by J Wayne  on  04/25  at  12:24 PM

What is the issues with placing subwoofers in enclosed furniture spaces?

Posted by Chip Divot  on  04/25  at  08:18 PM

J.T.

the less sound absorbing material the better…learn to Control the sound…not kill it. There are acoustic treatment that will control the pressure zones and that will stop the echo from the corners and midseams. Flooring makes a big difference..including the type of wood the floor is made from - if you use wood. Engineered wood over concrete is fine if it doesn’t have a high plastic content like in laminates. what you want to do is match the speed of the floor, walls and ceiling so the sound isn’t inhibited from a slower material…as in carpet, drapes, etc. Even the material covering a speaker cone degrades the music…do you want fantastic sound or so-so sound but it looks “good”?

Most stores don’t even have good sounding rooms. They have way too many products in the room that degrade the sound of the speakers you are trying to listen to…try to find a store that will set up a room with the equipment you want to check out. Or you can buy equipment that you can tune to match what you want for sound and your room. follow the link from my last post to learn how…not my site, just info on what I have recently learned.

J.Wayne,

The only way to get fantastic bass with lots of girth is to move it around the room to see what works best in your room…putting it in a cabinet would be like leaving it in the box but wiring it up. ;-)

Good luck,

Chip

Posted by Bchap  on  04/30  at  07:47 PM

I’m impressed that 10% of the points here were dedicated to transducers, but disappointed the review lumps them all together under the “shaker” moniker, which has admittedly been tarnished by devices whose accuracy was, at best, questionable.

There are indeed “new” (well, since 2003) transducers which are not “shakers” and which are not hindered by this old design. A casual google or wikipedia search for “tactile transducer” will bring up a variety of new designs which do a much better job than “shakers” and which I implore the reviewer to demo before grouping all of these producs together.

Posted by Chip Divot  on  05/02  at  02:44 PM

Bchap,

I think you posted on the wrong article.

Chip

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