13 September 2016
5 Steps to Building a High-Performance Audio System
Invest in the Right Gear to Get the Most Out of Your Favorite Music
All the memories and emotions of your favorite music come rushing back to you on a great-sounding music system. And while speakers are the most important element for improving sound quality, it takes more than expensive speakers to get things just right.
A high-performance audio system is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a total environment encompassing comfort, acoustics, and system performance. Herein, we explain how you can create the ultimate listening experience in your Dallas, TX home.
SEE MORE: How to Take Your Home Theater Design up a Notch
1. Decide Where Your System Will Be Used
The first step is figuring out where you want to set up your high-performance audio. Will it be in a dedicated listening den with optimized acoustics or in your living room to show off to your guests? The size, dimensions and layout of your room will affect the both the type and the placement of the speakers you choose. You’ll need more powerful speakers to fill up a larger space, but you don’t want to sacrifice bass performance with the smaller speakers you might want for a smaller space.
2. Invest in High-End Loudspeakers
Speakers make the biggest difference in how an audio system sounds. They not only affect how loud the system can play, but also the purity of the sound and the precision of the “imaging” of the sound, ie, where the instruments appear to be placed between the speakers. In fact, the best loudspeakers virtually disappear as you listen to them, with sound coming from a 3D space around and between the speakers.
Stereo speakers come as two-and three-piece systems, with the third piece (and sometimes fourth) being a powered subwoofer housed in an enclosure separate from the left and right speakers. The best full-range sound generally comes from larger speakers with built-in subwoofers, though there are some terrific choices in more compact speakers paired with a subwoofer. Note that speakers built-in to the walls and ceiling can’t sound as good as the best free-standing systems, so you’ll need to also consider the cosmetics of the speakers you buy.
3. Pair Your Speakers With the Right Electronics
Speakers are powered by an amplifier that should be chosen, in part, for its power compatibility with the speakers you prefer. But amplifier sound quality is just as important as amplifier power. Your Bravas Partner will definitely have recommendations for you.
Some amplifiers have a built-in preamplifier; typically, the better preamps and power amps come as “separates”, ie, they do not share a common chassis or power supply. And the preamp – which handles the low-level signals that come from your DVD, media server, Internet, and/or turntable – can have a big effect on sound quality and imaging.
4. Choose High-Quality Source Components
Ultimately, the quality of the music will rely heavily on your source components. The amplifier can do a great job making the signal stronger, but the quality will only be as good as the source. The MP3 format that lets you put 10,000 songs on your iPhone significantly compresses the audio information; you can’t hear the effects of compression on ear buds, but the effect on a quality sound system is striking – you will hear a difference! Save your music as uncompressed files on a media server, or stream from services like Tidal or Deezer. DVD’s are uncompressed in their native format. And turntables and LP’s are making a huge comeback, as the signal on an LP is analog to begin with, giving you the closest thing to music’s natural continuous wave format. The cables and power conditioners you use can affect the sound experience as well. Your expert will match these with your budget and listening discernment top create the best overall fit for you.
5. Design a Unique Control Solution
The last step is making sure that your system is easy to use and enjoy. Your Bravas Partner can help you find a control solution that makes the most sense. Would you like to use a handheld remote, dedicated touchpad or an app on your phone? With a professional installation, the possibilities are nearly endless. You can even bask in the nostalgia of flipping your LP’s to side two, by hand.
Way back in the early days of “high fidelity”, high-performance playback of recorded music was the most rewarding entertainment technology there was. If you’ve forgotten how thrilling it is to hear your favorite music on a great audio system – or if you’ve not yet experienced how awesome your music can really sound – visit your nearest Bravas Partner soon to audition some of the best speakers and electronics in the industry.