Whether you’re a music fan, or you just want your new television to sound as good as it looks, for most folks, their TV speakers just aren’t going to cut it. Audiophiles can spend an enormous amount of time researching and weighing the pros and cons of one system over another, but for most people, a little background and a quick primer is all it takes to make the home audio decision that’s right for you.
First off, let’s get this out of the way; if you aren’t looking to dramatically improve sound quality and your only issue is that your TV just isn’t quite loud enough, a sound bar is really all you need. For just a few hundred dollars, you can find a quality bar that will hardly take up any space at all and will provide the volume to fill your living room. They’re extremely simple to set up. and for most casual viewers, they’re really all it takes to give your TV the boost you’re looking for.
A full on theater set-up will definitely prove a little more costly, but will go a long way toward providing you with that “movie theater experience” right in your own home. A sound system is essentially comprised of an AV receiver and then whatever speakers and subwoofers you like. While home audio has a reputation for being outrageously expensive, with a little research, it really doesn’t have to be. The average consumer shouldn’t ever need to spend more than $1,000 for truly impressive audio quality.
If you’re looking for something to play music as well as movies out of, stereo speakers may be your best bet. Though in recent years, this set up has sort of fallen out of style in favor of surround sound systems, it is significantly cheaper and easier to set up and will allow you to listen to your music the way the artist intended
Sound is one market where buying second hand can not only save you money, but often times can even result in a vastly superior product. Consider going to second hand stores, thrift shops and even Goodwills to look for receivers and speakers. Plug the model number into Google and you’ll be sure to find a thread or discussion post about the product, filled with research and insight from audio experts and enthusiasts. More often than you’d think, this can result in spectacular finds for a fraction of the cost.
Finally, if you’re on a budget and you’re looking to get the most “bang for your buck”, remember that virtually 100% of the time, investing in quality speakers through a budget receiver are going to sound tremendously better than vice versa. Additionally, cords and cables are marked up astronomically by box stores, but they are almost never any better quality than their cheaper competitors. Check an online retailer that you trust and keep an eye on customer reviews and you should be able to find cables for literally a tenth of what the brick and mortar stores are trying to charge you.
Home audio doesn’t have to be intimidating! Just know what you need, check online before you buy and you can have an incredible set up in no more than an afternoon.