Music is a medium for humankind to express and communicate. Music is part of human endeavor as it brings people together, tells us stories, makes us cry and makes us smile. It's powerful art.
We often associate the best sounding music with live concerts, and that's no surprise as concert sound systems are typically state of the art. In comparison, home audio systems are much smaller and even portable and powered by battery.
This may surprise you, but you too can have a home audio system that rivals concert sound systems. In fact a well implemented home audio system can have you believe that the concert is in your very own lounge room.
If you would like to set up an awesome home audio system then keep reading.
Imagine this, you sit down in front of two speakers. You press play, close your eyes and a three dimensional sound stage appears. The drums emerge dead center while instruments dance left to right. Then vocals emerge, every word is clear and hypnotic. Welcome to High Fidelity audio, aka Hi-Fi.
But what's the difference between a home audio system
and a Hi-Fi system?
A home audio system in its simplest form is a phone and a portable Bluetooth speaker. These systems are cheap and compact, but fail to reproduce sound in a way that’s realistic. When playing music through a system like this, one can easily tell that the music is coming from a portable speaker and the finer details of music are lost. In essence, that concert sound we’re after will not be realised with a system like this.
If you want concert equivalent sound then you need a Hi-Fi system; a system that can reproduce sound accurately, and no surprise given that fidelity means truthful.
Moreover, the main benefit of Hi-Fi systems is that they provide the illusion that there's no audio system, but rather the impression that the musicians are in the room with you.
A Hi-Fi system needs two speakers, amplification and audio source.
The source is a component that allows music to be played and stored. The most common types are;
Spotify app on your phone and a Bluetooth streamer
I personally like to use my phone paired with a streamer as I can easily find my favorite song, or even use the Spotify and Tidal discover functions to find new music.
Speakers or also referred to as loudspeakers, are devices that convert electricity into sound. Speakers used in good Hi-Fi systems consist of quality materials and are designed to produce sound with low distortion.
Good Hi-Fi speakers aren't cheap to buy commercially, but they are the most crucial part of a good audio system - so you will want to get this right.
Speakers come in two sizes, stand mounts (bookshelf speakers) and floor standers.
The floor standers are large speakers that typically exceed one meter high. These speakers are designed for large rooms where loud volumes are required.
In smaller rooms, stand mount speakers are ideal, and preferred by many including myself. The smaller form factor provides an aesthetic advantage while allowing sound to radiate into the room in a more uniform fashion, which is important for accurate sound reproduction.
Small speakers can also be paired to a subwoofer, which provides deep bass while also allowing the system to reach louder volumes.
For speakers to produce sound they need to be fed electricity and this is achieved by using an amp. If we want our speakers to sound good then we need an amp that can provide clean power that does not pollute our music with unwanted noise and distortion.
There's stacks of amps to choose from and the choice can be overwhelming. To make it easy for you I have compiled my recommendations in this article.
A good hi-fi system is going to cost you more than a cheap portable speaker, but that shouldn't be a surprise given the rich sound experience. On top of that, a Hi-Fi system is something you will enjoy for life.
Albeit, there are ways to reduce the cost of a stereo system while achieving great sound. The first is to buy an amp and source equipment that is within your budget, you don’t need to spend thousands here. Check out this article: System setup ideas
The next is to build as much as you can - build your speakers, speaker stands and speaker cables. It’s not unrealistic for commercially available speakers to have north of 500% profit margin. So by making them yourself you can attain a massive cost saving while also building something you’re proud of.
But I get it, building speakers is a daunting undertaking, there's so many things to consider from cabinet making to electronics. Learning all these aspects took me years; and it is a big ask for anyone to dedicate their time to this in their busy lives.
So to make speaker building more accessible I have developed both in workshop and in home courses that allows anyone, no matter the skill level to build their own speakers.
There’s stacks of speaker kits online, and to be honest some sound good. But as you may have seen, the kits include low grade cabinet material (typically MDF) that require you to spray paint or veneer them. The latter can look good, but requires advanced skills and tools. These kits also come with limited instructions and guidance, so there is a prerequisite for existing skills and knowledge.
The Speaker Projects fills this gap by providing plywood speaker cabinet material and detailed instructions. So no matter your skill level, you can build an amazing set of speakers while learning new skills and saving your money in the process.
For further interesting information on Hi-Fi setup ideas, click the button below to see the article. To be navigated to our speaker kit page hit the Our kits button below.