Speaker characteristics directly affect the performance of your Hi-Fi system.
Speakers are the most critical link between the amplifier, the room and your ears in the music reproduction chain. They carry music from the amplifier to your room and interact with both. Speaker quality and build characteristics directly affect the performance you will get out of your home cinema/Hi-Fi system.
Speakers must ideally match your amplifier, for maximum performance.
It is widely known that matching speakers with amplifiers is very important if you want to achieve the sound quality that you paid for.
Even with large and expensive high-end amplifiers, you need sensitive, easily-driven speakers. High-sensitivity speakers reproduce music realistically, without compression or distortions.
Beautiful speakers can be placed freely, to achieve maximum sonic performance.
Most people usually try to hide their speakers, even when these are crafted like expensive furniture that serve our music enjoyment. However, speakers that match your interior dÃ©cor can be placed according to the laws of electro-acoustics without compromising your style.
Sound quality is greatly influenced by the position of the speakers in the room. Less expensive speakers correctly placed according to the rules of acoustics will play better than more expensive speakers placed in the wrong position, for example hidden in the corners.
The right speaker must perform equally well with soft music and bombastic action flicks.
Sometimes all we ask for is background music to a friendly dinner. At other times we are asking for the thrill of a demanding soundtrack or the recreation of a concert in our living room. Our demands from a quality speaker system change depending on our mood, the needs of our busy, varied lifestyles and on the diversity and increasing sophistication of home entertainment technology, like home cinema and games consoles. Crystal Audio speakers are built to satisfy all these needs and more.
Your speakers must not magnetically interfere with your sensitive electronic equipment.
The magnetic fields generated by the powerful magnets of speaker drivers mean that magnetic shielding is necessary to protect TVs and susceptible magnetic storage media. Speaker magnets are therefore housed in a steal enclosure or a second magnet with reverse polarity is placed behind the speaker to cancel the stray magnetic field.
Spending money on well known brands, does not guarantee sonic quality and high performance.
One of the main challenges in setting up a home theatre is choosing loudspeakers. This task is complicated by the incredible variety of loudspeaker brands, models, designs and prices. Spending more money or buying well-known brand speakers does not guarantee that you will purchase the right model. After all, audio experts agree that only a small percentage of loudspeakers are worth buying, and there is often little relationship between performance, brand and price. Within a price range the majority of loudspeakers are underachievers. The rest are good performers and only a select few are star performers.
Ideally, by following the “blind” test methodology, A-B switching and some reference recordings.
Comparing speakers can be a fairly complicated procedure. Even a small difference on the sound level can make one speaker sound better than another.
Do not be fooled into thinking that if you use the same amplifier and keep the volume level constant, the speakers will play at the same level. This is due to the fact that different speakers have different sensitivities to the input signal. Level-matching can only be done with the use of a sound pressure level meter, known as a decibel meter, available from an electronics store.
It is possible to feed the speakers with white noise, which is included in tracks of special speaker evaluation CDs and DVDs, and match the sound level of the speakers. In an ideal situation the different speakers would be hooked up to an A-B switch that allows the listener to instantly go back and forth between the different models.
Once the levels are matched it is possible to go on to the next stage of a listening evaluation.
The tone settings of the pre-amplifier should be set to flat, as we do not want equalization interfering with our evaluation.
Then, pay attention to how natural the music sounds. Concentrate on the voice of the singer and evaluate how real it sounds. Do the same with musical instruments. Do they sound true? Is the sound balanced, with no artificial emphasis on the bass, midrange or highs? Can you separate the instruments playing? Is the sound focused and the sound image correct? Do the speakers perform well at high and low volume settings? Does the sound stir you emotionally and do you have the feeling of listening to a live performance?
Once you answer the above questions you will have an excellent picture of the performance of the speakers you are comparing.
By listening to them in an acoustically familiar room and focusing on the different sonic layers.
Evaluating speakers is really much more difficult than it might initially sound. A whole field of acoustics, namely psychoacoustics, studies the way we perceive sound, decode it in our brain, compare it to realistic sounds and how our auditory perception gets fooled or misled â€“ and not strictly in a bad way! Virtual surround technology is wholly based on the fooling of our auditory perception for a good reason.
Without getting or even attempting to go really deep into the theory, here are a few general rules:
- Don't let your other senses, and mainly your sight, intervene in your judgment. Big or good-looking speakers by no means necessarily translate into good sound
- Consider the room in which you are auditioning the speaker. It is almost impossible to evaluate a speaker in a room you haven't heard music in before
- Especially in non-acoustically correct rooms the evaluation of speakers is totally unfair
- The best place to evaluate speakers in is your own listening room. That's why Crystal Audio offers a 60-day trial period during which you can fully evaluate the speakers, trying your favorite music and movies and asking the opinion of your friends and family members
- Choose reference material (music or movies) and not some average recording. Consult our great Reference Recordings tool and find the best recording of the genre you prefer
- Try to listen closely to each different layer of sound. Listen to the acoustic instruments, the voice of the singer and evaluate their closeness to reality
Consider the spaciousness of the sounds, the wideness of the stereo image, the bass quality (tight, bringing music to life or muddy) and the overall experience you get. Close your eyes, immerse yourself in the music and sounds, and feel the emotions triggered from science meeting art