Home Audio Buying Guide
“I am a music lover and I would love to spend my idle times listening to a great music. Or even when I’m cooking or doing some household chores, I’d like some music to set my mood. This is the reason why I believe a home audio system is important especially when the family is a music lover like I do. In order for you to find the best audio system for your home, you need to have an idea first on the features that you like and also the different types of it.”
A quality home audio system has become a standard fixture in many homes. Purchasing a new home audio system can be a daunting experience due to the range of options and technical jargon to decipher. It is important to be educated on the options and capabilities of various audio systems and components. This guide will provide anyone with the tools to understand various technologies and available products. Once consumers gain a solid understanding of product range, components, and how to determine personal needs, the selection and buying process becomes quick and efficient.
Home Audio System Overview
The term “home audio system” refers to a wide array of products and components that produce or reproduce sounds of any medium in the home. This includes iPod speakers,, stereos, surround sound systems or components like high-end receivers.. Many home audio kits include everything needed for a home theater with the exception of a TV. This distinction is important to understand. All home theater systems have components of home audio systems, but not all home audio systems contain components needed for home theaters. Home audio systems can be as simple or extensive as desired.
Origins of Home Audio Systems
Speakers and sound reproduction have come a long way since the phonograph. Many homes have audio systems and home theaters with audio quality that surpasses what was used in movie theaters and concert venues twenty years ago. In the late 1980s, home theater systems first emerged. With high-functioning multichannel speakers and the explosion of VHS, consumers were able to replicate the quality and experience of a movie theater in the comfort of their own homes.
Advanced audio capabilities coincided with the boom of big screen TVs, giving consumers high-resolution displays at affordable prices. The introduction of 5.1 surround sound changed the dynamics of home theaters and entertainment. DVDs were released standard with Dolby Digital surround sound, which gave consumers the ability to have a 360-degree audio experience in their homes. Today, there are virtually limitless options to choose from. You may want the simplicity of an iPod dock for easy listening or you may want to watch Blu-ray DVDs with surround sound and a subwoofer that will shake your house.
The ultimate goal of any audio system is to produce the most realistic sound reproduction possible. When watching a movie, viewers want to feel as though they are immersed in the location, dialogue and music of the film. If you are watching an action movie, you want to feel the explosions and hear the car pulling up from behind. When listening to music, the sound should seem as natural as possible, as if your favorite band or musician was playing in the living room.
Common Audio Formats
There are multiple formats of sound reproduction. As technology advances and sound reproduction improves, there are an increasing number of formats and options to choose from. When selecting a format such as Dolby Digital Plus, make sure to understand what media are compatible with each format, and what accessories are needed to utilize each component to its full capability. A thorough understanding of audio formats will help make the selection process easier.
With monophonic sound, all elements of sound are sent through a single channel, most often using one speaker and amplifier. AM radio is still produced with monophonic sound. This type of technology is outdated and largely off the market because of the availability and better quality offered by formats such as stereo and multichannel sound.
Becoming popular in the 1950s, stereophonic (stereo) sound production sends sound through two channels. This has the benefit of an improved listening experience because the sound is filtered through a left and right channel, which allows the listener to experience sound from speakers in a more natural manner. When listening to a track from your favorite band, for example, the bass and keyboard may be sent to the right channel while the guitar and drums to the left, and the vocals may be sent to both channels for a centralized effect.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
This six-channel audio system is the most common in home theaters. Dolby Digital is the original mainstream surround sound format. The six channels include speakers in the front center, front right, front left, left rear and right rear. The 0.1 represents the sixth …