Choosing new home speakers can be a challenge, simply because most people don't understand all the technical details that go into making "good" speakers. Many people assume that bigger speakers will mean better speakers, and don't think about a speaker's sensitivity, its wiring, and even how it will look in their home. When you're ready for new home speakers, note a few tips and terminology to remember so you know you make the right choice.
1. Start with your space
One thing to remember is that size doesn't always determine the quality of speakers; larger speakers will sometimes provide more volume and clarity, but bookshelf speakers, meaning those that are more compact and can fit on a shelf, can often provide just as much listening enjoyment as larger speakers. Note your space and what can fit with your other electronics and décor. If you have a bookshelf behind your couch, you might opt for bookshelf speakers to keep them closer to your ears. If you don't have room on your entertainment center, you might instead opt for stand-alone speakers that you can place anywhere you want in the room.
2. Terminal types
You'll need to note the types of terminals or connections behind speakers. Spring clips are good for bare wires, and these are usually found on lower quality speakers. Binding post terminals are what most people want if they aren't building their own entertainment center; these are plugs that work with most connections you'll find on televisions and stereo systems, including banana plugs, pin connectors, and spade connectors. If you already have wiring from your television or stereo with a type of pin that slides into a speaker connection, you'll want binding post terminals.
This may be one of the most important features to consider with new speakers, yet it's one that many buyers overlook. Sensitivity refers to how efficiently speakers convert power into volume. This is why larger speakers aren't always quality speakers and why smaller speakers might deliver more sound quality than their larger counterparts; the speakers with the highest sensitivity rating usually deliver the most sound and the clearest sound. As an example, a speaker with a sensitivity rating of 91 decibels may only need 25 watts of power to deliver that sound, whereas one with a 85 decibel rating may need 100 watts of power to deliver the same sound. Look for this sensitivity rating when choosing any speaker so you know you're getting quality sound and aren't overspending on size alone.
To get started shopping for speakers, check out a company like Tivoli Hi-Fi Pty Ltd.