Speaker Buying Guide

The electric speaker as we know it was created in 1876 when Graham Bell placed one in his classic invention, the telephone. Since then, many modifications and improvements have been made. A design using compressed air to amplify sound was patented by Horace Short in 1898. This device suffered from poor acoustic quality and could not produce low volume audio. The breakthrough emerged in 1924 when Chester Rice and Edward Kellogg invented a speaker that used electromagnets. When filters were added in 1930, the overall sound quality was enhanced and the electric speaker finally found a place in stores and homes around the world. More developments have been made to increase crispness and volume and decrease the amount of static as well as the size of the speaker. The results of this can be seen all around us and speakers of all shapes and sizes can be found everywhere.
A quick look in your local audio equipment store will tell you that there are many types of speakers currently available. Floor-standing models are the largest and the most popular among audiophiles. This is because they can be freely moved and are designed to produce great audio quality. Compact (bookshelf) speakers can be placed anywhere and are great for houses with limited space. Their size increases their portability but can also reduce the overall sound quality compared to floor-standing units. In-wall and on-wall speakers do not take up any floor space at all. They can be installed to sit hidden inside the wall or hanging visibly into a room. The advantage of these sorts of speakers is that they are very space efficient and can offer superb sound quality. They cannot be removed if moving houses though. The speakers you choose depend on your space requirements, budget, and personal preferences.
The sheer variety among the different types of speakers is astounding. The smallest compact speakers can be less than 10 inches high. Comparing this to the largest floor-standing speakers (some over 50 inches tall) will tell you that this is certainly a diverse field of products. This also leads to a variety of speaker prices, and models can be found to suit all budgets. Some are retailing for less than $50 while others can be found for over $1,000. Of course, there is much more to speakers than just their size and price as the inner workings also differ. The two main types are acoustic and electrostatic which use compressed air and electricity respectively to create different frequencies of sound wave. Acoustic models create minimal distortion, but are lacking in efficiency. Their electrostatic counterparts also produce very low levels of distortion, but cannot produce high bass levels.
Purchasing any speaker requires that you know exactly where you will place them within a room. The location of the listener is also important as the sound emanating from the speakers should converge on the person or people listening. Your room's dimensions will determine the points that will give you the optimal listening performance. Advice about speaker placement can be found online or at any reliable audio equipment dealer. Just remember that smaller rooms might not be able to handle large floor-standing speakers. These models are typically sold in sets and you will require space to place two or more units. You may also need additional room for a sub-woofer for that added bass. Do not let this dissuade you from purchasing a good quality set of speakers, however. Our site contains a wide range of speakers and information to answer questions regarding our products.