The Essentials for a Quality Home Sound System
It doesn’t matter whether you spend your Saturday nights listening to Beyoncé, Bach or the Bachman Turner Overdrive. Without the right home sound system, you aren’t getting the most out of your music. These days it can be fairly easy and cost-effective to set up a high quality sound system regardless of your musical taste. Read on for the essential equipment.
First, consider your space
Think about the size, shape, purpose and characteristics of your room or space. Does it have carpet or hardwood floors, and how will this affect sound? Are you planning to distribute audio throughout your home for entertaining, or will you have one room set up for pure listening pleasure? Considering how and where you will be listening will be important in researching the right gear for the ultimate sound.
Your media source may be a CD player, radio, record player, wireless audio streaming device or a combination of all these sources to play your music of choice. It may even be from your DVD player or your smart TV. Regardless, you’ll want to look for a high quality source device that does justice to your audio setup. For wireless audio streaming we love the QED uPlay Stream for a WiFi option which is compatible with digital music files up to 24bit/96kHz resolution, or the Quad VA-One for rich valve-based streaming via Bluetooth.
The amplifier, or receiver, is an essential component of your music system as it allows the signal from the media source to be loud enough to be played through your speakers. Think of the amplifier or receiver as the engine that drives your car. Its components consist of a preamplifier, which adjusts the sound from the source to be strong and clear enough for further processing, and the power amplifier, which converts the audio to a level that can drive the speakers. You’ll need to make a choice when considering amplifiers between choosing separate preamps and power amps giving you greater flexibility and control over sound, or selecting an integrated amplifier that includes both in one.
Although amplifiers can be measured in watts, what’s more important is that you choose the right amplifier for the music you’ll be playing through the speakers you have chosen. This is where expert advice can be invaluable.
Your speakers are obviously a crucial piece of the audio puzzle and your individual choice will depend on your space, your individual musical taste, and whether the system will be used within a theatre setup. Most home systems will typically feature a set of stereo floor speakers such as the Wharfedale or Quad ranges, while modern bookshelf speakers can also pack a powerful punch with a smaller footprint. If you prefer a minimalistic look or are looking for quality party sound with zone control throughout your home, ceiling speakers may be the way to go. If you’re planning to incorporate a home theatre system then you’ll want to add additional speakers for the complete surround sound experience. Again, this is where expert advice can be invaluable.
Cables and surge protection
Why spend time and money investing in quality equipment if you aren’t connecting and protecting it properly? Surge protection can help to shield your new components against power spikes and surges, you’ll want to invest in some quality speaker cables and interconnects to achieve the best sound from your new system. You shouldn’t consider these components as of secondary importance, as they are what deliver the signal from your media source, to the amplifier and then to your speakers, so if they are not of the same standard as the rest of the equipment, you will not be getting the best performance from your investment.
Digital to analogue converter
All digital media players already include a digital to analogue converter, including laptops, CD and DVD players and most wireless speakers. A DAC is not essential for a great sounding system (particularly if you have already chosen devices with a good quality built-in DAC). However, if you are experiencing issues in sound quality that can be linked back to the conversion process, you might consider adding an external DAC to your system to address this.
Creating your own sound system is a highly subjective experience and you’ll want to speak with a couple of experts before making your final decision. Contact the team at AV Revolution today or find one of our stockists to explore the best options for your sound solution.