As everywhere else in life, when shopping for speakers one can know just enough to mess things up. But, you likely want to get your selection right the first time. This is what we do for people. We also offer complete audio, home theater, sales and installation. We are “A” rated on Angie’s List.
Our customers have never expressed anything but satisfaction with the speakers we’ve sold them, and most of those customers heard the speakers for the first time only after they were setup in their homes.
The belief that today’s small loudspeakers sound as lifelike as large ones is largely false. If you’re under this impression, it’s likely because marketing departments have told you what you want to hear. Or, maybe you believe this because you heard small speakers and they sounded great. I have, too. We sell more small speakers than large ones. Just know that, all other things being equal, larger speakers get closer to reproducing the full range of lifelike sound. They can play lower in frequency and they can better reproduce changes in volume. Go look at the product lines from any speaker company. The vast majority of the time, as you move towards the flagship (i.e. more realistic sounding) model, the speakers get larger. Given equally competent designs, the general rule is that the larger the cabinet volume the greater the potential for lifelike sound.
Speaker types that give the most sound for the dollar–all other things being equal and for most listeners–are, from best to worst (applies to wireless speakers and outdoor speakers, too):
These start at about $700/pair and, to most listeners, will rate as more lifelike and enjoyable to listen to than smaller speakers of the same price. Audiophiles will sometimes take exception to this for a number of reasons that boil down to preferring sins of omission over sins of commission. For one example–there are others–it’s a belief among some audiophiles that it’s better to have no bass than to have bad bass.
These measure roughly 8″ x 8″ x 10″ or larger and are meant to be placed on stands or on a shelf. These may be as inexpensive as speakers get or, for a reference-class option, set you back $20k.
These might be ranked below on-wall or surface speakers, in value, if you add in the cost of installation. Typically, flush mounting takes longer than surface mounting. These sell for as little as little as speakers sell for up to several thousand dollars each.
This category includes soundbars and speakers that have been designed long and shallow to look good next to flat panel TVs. These sell for as little as speakers sell for on up to a few thousand dollars each. Most of this speaker category needs a separate woofer. Woofers usually sit on the floor and may be as small as 10″ cubed or as large as a couple of dorm room refrigerators.
Not if you’re comparing our prices with another authorized dealer who is offering the same thing. Unauthorized dealers are out there, however, and buyers should be wary of the risks involved (e.g. no warranty, marred merchandise, modified product, ignorant/no support staff).
This last category consists of speakers that are meant to be used, always, with a separate woofer. If a speaker’s optional stand is a pole, if the speaker is under 8″ tall, or if the speaker is easily grabbed and carried around with one hand, chances are you’re looking at a micro speaker. Micro speakers sell for $100 or so each up to maybe $500 each.
You may be aware that speaker designers will use one, two, or three or more different types of speaker-drivers (i.e. the usually round things inside the speaker cabinet that vibrate to make the sound) to cover different frequencies. Such speakers are referred to as “one-way speakers,” “two-way speakers,” “three-way speakers,” and it goes on to about 5-way. This fact about a speaker cannot be used to predict how lifelike–or good–it will sound. There are state-of-the-art speakers that utilize one, that use utilize two, and that utilize three or more driver types. It is generally true, however, that a speaker utilizing just one driver type will not sound as good as the other types unless that “one-way” speaker costs many thousands of dollars.
As for the issue of watts, know that amplifiers output electrical power which is measured in watts while speakers output sound which is measured in decibels. The only useful characteristic of a speaker having to do with watts is that speaker’s minimum recommended amplifier wattage. Knowing this fact about a speaker helps one choose a matching amplifier. You must be sophisticated in your consumption of amplifier manufacturer’s wattage claims, however, as these claims are not well regulated. One amplifier brand’s claim of 100 watts would be more honestly called 50 watts by a another brand. In my example, the former brands tend to be mass market (e.g. Sony, Pioneer, Onkyo) and the latter tend to be higher-end (NAD, Bryston, AudioControl).
On display for demonstration, DH Audio and Home Theater has these loudspeakers: ATC SCM100ASL, ATC SCM11, PSB Alpha B1, KEF Q350B, Bryston Mini A, Bluesound Pulse Flex. Demonstrations of other models might be arranged upon request. Typically, we base our speaker recommendations on the sound of the speaker, a site survey, and a consultation with the customer. We don’t limit the recommendations to what’s on display. No one has ever said they’re unhappy with a speaker choice!
Just some of the available speaker brands we’re authorized to sell include:
ATC, Bluesound, Bose, Bryston, Dali, Epos, Madison Fielding, Martin Logan, Monitor Audio, Paradigm, PSB, Sonos, Stealth Acoustics, Triad.
If you’ve read this far you’ve probably nodded your head a few times. Call, let me know you were looking this over, and maybe you can get some useful guidance, or save time or money — (973) 428- 9800. (Some people are fine with speakers they already have, for example.) Or, you can send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, give us your contact info and a message at the bottom of this page: contact info & message.