Music in Your Apartment
Selecting a high fidelity music system to work well in an apartment or small room is a challenge. Space is at a premium and consideration has to be given to neighbors and integrating the system in a harmonious way. Here are the do”s and don’ts.
· Choose your speakers first and then select the partnering equipment second. Speakers are the item that gives your system its voice and so you need to be comfortable with the kind of sound they produce.
· Medium size speakers will play bass more effortlessly and play at low listening levels better. Speakers that occupy small floor space are preferred, but this does not imply tiny speakers on stands or on walls are better. A small speaker has limited bass capability and low efficiency. Simply put, it doesn’t sound as good!
· Seek out a speaker that works well when placed in close proximity to the wall behind the speakers (say 10 cms). Speakers that do not perform well until pulled out into the room are annoying. You do not want to be walking around the speakers all the time.
· Efficient speakers work better at low listening levels than inefficient speakers. You want your speakers to express music well at low listening levels rather than having to crank the volume for them to jump to life. This is important for late night listening. As a rule of thumb speakers with an efficiency of 92dB/1wattt/meter or greater are considered to be desirable.
· Speakers need an amplifier. You can have the amplifier built inside the speakers, called active speakers, or a separate amplifier with passive speakers. Active speakers still require a pre-amplifier to switch between sources and control the volume. Either way you are committed to one box in addition to your speakers.
· You can buy valve or solid-state amplifiers. Valve amplifiers generally sound articulate at low listening levels and suit an apartment space very well. There are also some very good solid-state amplifiers you can choose from. You do not need high power if you have chosen efficient speakers. Low to medium power is all that is required for a small system, usually 30 watts is more than enough.
· Energy consumption when in use and on standby is a consideration today. Choose an amplifier that consumes less than 1 watt in standby and has some kind of Eco Mode to keep power consumption as low as possible.
· Most systems today are centered on a digital sound source be it CD Player or Computer. In most cases a dedicated DAC (digital –to-analog converter) will give you much improved sound quality, so plan to include one in your system at some point.
· Don’t forget good old analogue! There is life left in the vinyl LP and many audiophiles consider the sound from vinyl to be superior to digital. You be the judge, a modern turntable can be a work of art as well as a musical instrument.
Stereo vs Home Theatre. A well chosen and set up stereo music system will sound better than a “home theatre in a box” that costs the same money. Many people seeking the ultimate listening experience are abandoning home theatre in favor of a high quality stereo system. Movies sound great on a high quality stereo system that is properly set up.
Allow sufficient money to get the job done right first time. It is better to wait until you can afford to buy the right system than to under-budget and buy something that you will soon tire of. You will waste a lot of time and money if you get it wrong and have to buy again.
Ask Pure Music Group for advice. We have lots of products that meet the above criteria and the experience to help you avoid the pitfalls.