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How to Select Home Theater Speakers?

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

One of the standard practice followed by customers after knocking doors of many home theater dealers is - go online, visit few forums, check the comparisons between the various speakers that they have been proposed for their home cinema rooms. But during such events, what we forget is that we are making our judgement based on the personal opinions of other individuals and their sense appeal towards the sound.

The right way to do this experiment is to check the specification sheet of each speaker proposed and make wise and well studied decision.

(Disclaimer - Few things like material components, driver components and crossover may vary for each speaker brand or series)

Let me help you analyze and understand the 5 best specifications that matter while selecting speakers -

1) Impedance - The impedance also known as resistance is calculated in ohms(Ω). In layman's term it is like a speed breaker. Imagine driving a car in a good speed of hundred kilometres per hour and you come across a speed breaker. The car speed is reduced based upon the bump of the speed breaker, and that bump is nothing but a resistance/impedance. The ideal impedance that you shall come across in most of the home theater speakers are 8Ω, 6Ω and 4Ω.

Higher the impedance, lesser will be the output power but it shall also prevent your ears. Similarly, lesser the impedance means higher output power which can also damage your ears at high volumes.

2) Sensitivity - Just like humans are sensitive to food, speakers are sensitive to their food, which is the Power. Sensitivity in Speakers is calculated, when you give only One Watt of Power to a Speaker and stand at a distance of 1 meter with a Mic. The sound that comes out from a speaker is then measured in a unit called Decibel (dB).

Higher Decibel Level indicates Higher Sensitivity. It further means that a Speaker with High Sensitivity is going to draw Less Power from the Amplifier to deliver a High Decibel output. So, whenever you are buying a speaker you have to check the sensitivity, a lesser sensitive speaker may require more power from the amplifier to produce the same decibel levels of a higher sensitive speaker.

3) Frequency Response - Sound is nothing but the movement of air in the atmosphere. This movement of air is caused by the various frequencies produced by a speaker. Human hearing frequency range is from 20Hz to 20kHz, and this gap reduces as our age progresses.

A typical speaker Frequency Response shows the range of sound the speaker can produce and deliver. So, larger the frequency range better would be the output from the speaker.

Typically, satellite speakers start from 100Hz; Bookshelf, In-wall and On-wall speakers would start from 60Hz and Floor Standing would start from 40Hz. With regards to High Frequency, most of the speakers have 20kHz support but few of them go upto 35 to 40kHz. These speakers denote a higher treble response.

4) Power - The power that matter for true Hi-Fi Speakers is referred as RMS power. You may come across some crazy Power Ratings like 1500Watts, 2000Watts in Sony, Philips, Panasonic. This is not RMS Value, it is PMPO (Peak music power output). RMS value means Root Mean Square value and its way lower than PMPO output, but the sound output is far superior than PMPO systems.

Obviously with regards to the RMS Power, higher the number is always better, but ensure to check AV Receiver's Output Power to match with that of speakers.

5) Aesthetics - In today's modern world, we all are particular about our design requirements. So, the last parameter that you should consider while selecting between speakers is aesthetics.

Whether you want slim on-wall speakers, or want to flaunt your floor standing speakers, or want everything hidden! Also, for surround and atmos speakers you have to check your room environments, walls and window positions. It is also very important to note the dimensions and colors of your speakers to complement your room ambiance.

If you want more guidance in selecting between speakers then you can get in touch with me and my team here


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