Updated on December 12, 2018
Our Guide to Buying Home Speakers for your House
So you want to install home speakers in a space in your home? It’s important to know what to look for when shopping as well as other information about speakers.
There are tons of details and considerations you should think about. Here are a few, for starters:
Surveying your Space
It is important to consider the space you want the speakers to be operating in. Look closely at what factors need to be considered for speakers to function at their highest efficiency in your new home.
If you ask a professional for advice on speakers, the first thing they will likely ask you is how big the room is. This way, they can gauge what effect the room will have on the speaker. They will also ask you how open the room is. Small, closed-in rooms with walls on all sides are not the best environments for larger speakers as they will take up a lot of space and fill the room with bass, causing the output to sound a little dull.
On the other hand, larger, more open rooms will make a small speaker sound restricted. Larger speakers will help keep the sound-stage lifelike, seamless and more immersive, all important characteristics of home theater sound.
Speaker Types & Placement
Speakers in Furniture
If you need an entertainment cabinet to put your speakers in, you may want to stay away from larger bookshelves or make sure that the speakers with lots of bass do not end up bouncing around the cabinet, producing some unwanted vibrations. If a speaker must be placed within a cabinet, try to buy a bookshelf speaker that stops the bass at around 80Hz or so.
An alternate option would simply be to get a Bluetooth speaker. This way, you can move the speaker around at any time you want. Also, they come in really handy sizes and you won’t have to worry about cables.
Speakers in the Corner
Full-range, floor-standing speakers by the side of a TV by a corner can cancel out the bass of the speakers. Because there are a bunch of large, smooth surfaces for the sound to reflect off, it will distort the sound and lessen the quality you paid for. If you really cannot rearrange it, go for with bookshelf speakers that have a subwoofer, or any other separate source of bass, instead.
Speakers in Walls
One of the handiest trends to arise within the world of home speakers is in-wall speakers. When looking past the increased setup difficulty, speakers inside the walls are highly space-efficient and look clean and beautiful. No cable management, no chunky subwoofers taking up space around your TV. If the aesthetics of your speaker situation is important to you, you might want to take a closer look at in-wall speakers.
Walls and Floors
Hard surfaces are the enemy of speakers. No matter how much you spend on a speaker, if there are many large, smooth surfaces for the sound to reflect off of, it will change what you hear. To test this out, the best thing to do is to go stand in the center of the room and clap loudly. If there seems to be a lot of echoes or a ringing sound, consider putting your system in another room or taking steps to reduce that echo. Adding furniture can help break up long, flat surfaces, thus improving your sound quality.
If you spent a significant amount of time and money on making a room look nice, then maybe consider looking at speakers that will compliment the space, rather than clash with it. There are quite a few speakers that can actually be decorative and compliment a room rather than stand out as a bulky piece of equipment.
At some point when researching and shopping, you will hear that it is crucial to match your speakers with your receiver or amplifier. You want to make sure that your amplifier is capable of driving your speakers effectively and safely. You must also consider how your receiver or amplifier sound with your speakers.
There are some other things to consider when pairing speakers with an amplifier, like sound characteristics. Amplifiers will also have certain sound characteristics, just like speakers. If a speaker that is ‘brighter’, has an emphasis on treble, is paired with a bright receiver, the results may not be desirable. Yet, when paired with a more mellow amp, a bright speaker may be a little more tamed, causing a balance possibly more to your taste. This information can be important for both those purchasing a new amp and those that already have an amp and want to find speakers that are its best match.