Whether you love watching movies, hosting video game nights, or throwing parties, you can dramatically improve your experience with a home audio system.
These days, you don’t even have to be a tech expert to get your living room set up with all the latest equipment – simply set your budget and take your pick from the vast range of options.
You’ll need a stereo amplifier or receiver, speakers and of course your music source, which increasingly means internet streaming. If this is already starting to sound too techy, don’t worry – staff at Bermuda’s tech stores are happy to help.
Kenneth Pemberton, who runs Gear and Gadget Bermuda on Queen Street, Hamilton, said: “For most people, the first thing we need to know is what are you going to use the home audio system for? “How are you going to entertain yourself? Are you looking for audio visual or just sound audio?”
“If a person has a question about any kind of technology, we find out what works best for you. It’s important to be as detailed as possible.”
KEY AUDIO CONSIDERATIONS INCLUDE:
• Are you a critical or casual listener?
• How big is your room?
• Will you be mainly using the system for music or television and movies?
Mr. Pemberton added: “You have to think about where people are playing music from – is it from CDs or a computer? Most people use streaming devices and don’t mind paying for Spotify. All these things work through Bluetooth or Google speakers or Amazon speakers or JBL speakers.”
“A lot of people also want to enjoy their music privately, so they need to think about headphones,” he added.
One of the big questions is how much money you are willing and able to spend.
“Not everyone is going to buy a $1,500 sound system,” Mr. Pemberton said. “They would rather find something that just does the job. But if you are willing to make the investment, you know you will be paying for quality.”
Some people select pre-packaged stereo systems, which contain an amplifier, radio tuner, receiver and speakers. This can make the process easier, but they don’t always have enough power for high-quality sound in a big room.
By assembling your own system, you get more flexibility and can customize it to meet your needs.
Stereo receivers have a range of connection options, such as phono input for vinyl records; digital audio connections for CD, DVD or Blu-ray players, cable and satellite boxes and televisions; or subwoofer output for added bass.
You can get small speakers that can fit on bookshelves, or floor-standing speakers for large rooms. Experts recommend placing them up to eight feet apart, making sure you leave space between the speaker and the wall. They should be angled towards the best listening spot in the room.
Mr. Pemberton said one of the most common mistakes people make is to buy equipment that doesn’t match up.
“If you purchase a Samsung TV, you should get a Samsung sound bar. They are designed to work together – that’s the best quality of sound you are going to get,” he explained. “When you buy things designed to work with each other, it makes the experience so much better.”
He also suggested purchasing a VPS battery back-up at a cost of about $150, to protect your investment against brown outs.
If you’re not confident installing your new equipment yourself, the store will help.
“We offer at-home support but normally these things are pretty user-friendly, and people are able to set them up themselves,” Mr. Pemberton said. “Just unpack the box, scan the code and connect to your source.”