I have a good friend who's a phenomenal musician. He plays several instruments and will even sing backup sometimes in local bands. Me, I can't carry a tune or play a note, but I'm a great listener. I decided to break down and get some new stereo speakers and talked my friend into coming along for technical support.
It turned out to be a very wise decision on several points. My original plan was to have him tell me what to look for and how to get the best value for the money. And he did that but in a way that I would have never guessed. The technical aspects of the speakers were important, as was the price.
But you also can get caught up in all the jargon and latest fancy styles. The high range, low range, and all that's in between are what I've always looked at when trying to choose the best stereo sound. And that's a good start but what my friend brought out is that the type of music, the acoustics of the room, and your own hearing abilities play a huge part.
Before we even got out the door he had me grab a couple of CDs that had some of my favorite music. He also took a look at the room where the speakers were going to be located and the equipment I had for playing music. On the way we talked about prices and some of the major brands and their particular features.
We went to several of the major retail outlets and looked at what they had and listened to a few. My friend explained that due to the nature of how speakers work (over simplication is that sound is vibrations) a speaker that reproduced high notes well couldn't produce low notes.
So a common way to overcome this problem is to have two speakers to break out the "stereo" and play high and middle range. Then you add a third speaker that provides the bass or low-end spectrum called a sub woofer. The arrangement of the two stereo high to mid range speakers is important but you can place the sub woofer (low bass range) speaker anywhere in the room.
Regardless of what you use to play your music whether it be a computer, stereo receiver, iPod or MP3 Player, good quality stereo speakers can make a big difference. Size is not always a good indication of quality as evidenced by the small Bose speakers. It's more about the speaker's ability to accurately reproduce the sound that is recorded.
The construction of the enclosure and quality of materials used in building the units are important. The location and acoustics of the room, and even the type of music all have bearing on the quality of reproduction. And not all of us want to spend unlimited amounts on very small improvements that most people can't even hear.
A quick and dirty way to help determine the quality of sound from any speakers is to crank up the sound, raise the treble or bass adjustments, and see if the sound deteriorates. Low quality speakers will quickly exhibit some noticeable problems when you do this. But few people listen at full power or max settings and as long as the speakers perform at the levels you listen at they might work for you.
So stereo speakers are really a personal choice based on your budget and requirements. You can get a good quality set of speakers for around $100. After that price point it really depends on any special requirements you may have, like the size of the room, type of music, and style of enclosures.
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