Whether you’re a professional sound producer or want to relax and enjoy a good sound experience, choosing audio equipment is essential. Instead of using Bluetooth, earbuds, or other wireless speakers, maybe it’s time to upgrade your audio system.
With this all-in-one guide, you can be ready to shop online or in physical stores for suitable units that will give you a theater-like sound experience.
Why Do You Need Audio Equipment?
Depending on your needs or wants, you can have any sound equipment to get great sound. For instance, if you appreciate the sound for extended periods, you may need more than a pair of speakers. Or, if you want to have a realistic experience when watching movies, audio equipment may help.
With the right audio equipment, you can have various units to give a highly satisfying and full-sounding experience, even if you have a small space. Check out the tips below to get you started.
Choosing Audio Equipment The Right Way
While buying any audio equipment will do, some end up buying incompatible ones. They rely on trial and error, making them purchase unnecessary units. Not only will it be a waste of money, but it can also take up a lot of space. What’s worse, some equipment gets stacked without being used and only there to accumulate some dust.
Avoid such scenario by considering the tips below:
1. Align Your Budget with Your Audio Equipment Wants
Completing audio equipment may cost you more than buying your car; that’s if you take sound quality quite seriously.
While getting the best equipment seems nice, it’s also best to check your budget. You don’t want to accumulate a huge debt because of wanting the most expensive units out there. But, of course, you don’t want to buy cheap ones that may disappoint you after some use.
That being said, you need to establish your budget. It’ll be your guide to narrow down your search. If you’re tight on budget, check your existing sound system. If they’re still good, then maybe add the other missing equipment instead of changing them all at once.
To ensure that they still produce quality sound, use an audio analyzer like the ones in this link https://www.ap.com/audio-analyzers/. By doing this, you get to measure your units’ performance.
Then, with the list of the missing units, source out online or in physical store sales. You don’t have to complete the system in one shopping. You can buy a piece that’s on sale, then buy the others from different stores on sale. Or you can wait for other stores to go on sale for the other missing units.
But if money is out of the question, you can splurge on expensive equipment. Don’t forget to check out the other factors below so that you can get the most out of your money.
2. Choose Between Active and Passive Speakers
One of the essential components of an audio system is the loudspeakers, speakers, or soundbars for your television set. They affect the sound you hear as they produce it from the electrical signal coming out of your digital streamer, player, or turntable. That’s why you also need to consider the type of speakers you may want to use.
You have two choices: active and passive loudspeakers. With active speakers, you don’t need external amplification as these types have their built-in amplification. On the other hand, you need an amplifier for passive speakers so they can produce sound.
Go for active speakers as they’re more expensive when you have extra money. For a tight budget, passive speakers are more affordable. Moreover, the latter allows you to use various amplifiers.
3. Go for Analog Mixers or Digital Mixers
As for mixers, you also have two choices: analog and digital. With mixers, you can send incoming signals to various destinations.
The question is, what type of mixer is suitable for your needs? While both can do excellent jobs of enhancing your sound experience, there are certain factors you need to consider, such as the following:
- One is on how you’ll use the mixer. For a home audio system, a digital mixer may be better. If you’re in a band and do tours, you can go for either of the two.
With an analog mixer, you can run and adjust the sound as quickly as possible. You can have a built-in mixer with instant access to sound processing controls like faders for a digital mixer. While analog mixers are used to control multiple channels in one go, digital mixers can select a specific channel to control. Moreover, digital mixers can also store your presets. Thus, you can use it easily by choosing your preset; no more adjustments are needed.
- Another factor you need to consider is the mixer’s price. Analog is more affordable, while digital mixers cost more. But unlike analog mixers, digital ones let you control the mixer via mobile gadgets.
4. Buy the Most Suitable Amplifier
You also need to consider getting an amplifier. A suitable amplifier or amp depends on the type of speakers you have. The compatibility of the speakers and the amp is essential to avoid damaging your speakers. When damaged, the speakers may produce poor sound quality.
In general, you may need to buy an amp that can provide 1.5-2 times your speakers’ power rating. This is to provide enough power for your speaker. Thus, you may need a different amplifier for every speaker with a different power rating.
You should also consider the room’s size or how loud you want your sound to be. With larger rooms, you may need louder volumes, which means you need bigger amplifiers. That way, you can fill the space with enough sound to your liking.
5. Check the Specs
Most importantly, you should check the specifications of the speakers, mixers, and other units. Low prices may save you some bucks, but the quality may not be pleasing. It’s also true for some highly-priced audio equipment; not all expensive ones have the right specs.
With such, here are some tech details you may need to understand, so you can check if the equipment is of high quality:
- Impedance: You can call it resistance to the electrical signal from your amp, and it’s measured in ohms. This resistance is vital because without it, continuous pumping out of power occurs, resulting in burnout.
Thus, you may want to stay away with two to four ohms, which are considered low-impedance speakers. Instead, go for an eight-ohm load. That way, you won’t put your amplifier and speakers at risk. The lower the ohm, the more power is needed to reach the optimal volume of your speakers.
- Power: Also, check the power that your amplifier needs. While many manufacturers put a standard watt per channel, some only do it for show purposes. If you buy from unknown manufacturers, you may chance upon an amplifier with less power than what’s stated. That’s why you should opt for speakers with eight ohms; you won’t have to worry about overpowering your speakers.
- Sensitivity: In layman’s terms, sensitivity is your speakers’ loudness per watt. You may want to have a higher sensitivity rating so that you won’t have to need more power to make volumes louder. Speakers with a high sensitivity range from 89dB-100dB per watt or more, while a lower sensitivity rating has 80dB-88dB per watt.
- Sound Characteristics: Also, consider the emphasis on treble, also known as bright, punchy, or laid back in speakers. These sound characteristics also exist in amplifiers. You use it to create a synergy between your amplifier and speakers. For instance, if you use a bright amp and bright speakers, they may produce bright sounds. Some may enjoy it while others may not. With such, some use bright speakers to pair with a mellow amplifier to tame the sounds. Depending on how you want your audio experience, use these sound characteristics as a guide when buying amplifiers and speakers to make them compatible.
6. Don’t Forget the Cables
While not the main component for your audio equipment, the cables are essential to connect your units. Since you need to connect your amplifier and speakers or other units, using the right interconnects will make them play. Without these cables, your units may malfunction or may not produce sound at all.
Although units come with their cables, you may need customized or pre-cut wires. That way, you can place your units away from each other. However, you have to measure the exact length you’ll need before buying pre-cuts.
Or you may need to change your old cables if they’re already damaged or cut. You don’t want to start a fire or accident because of cut wires or cables.
Your audio equipment should enhance your listening experience. Whether for home or professional use, buy the ones within your budget. Choose the speakers that you think are best for your audio needs. If you want to use an amplifier, then a passive speaker is the better choice. You may also want to have a mixer, especially for professional use. That way, you can produce better sounds.
What’s important is to check their specs, so all of your units are compatible. By knowing what to buy, you can have the best audio equipment at your disposal.