Audio Systems


Audio Systems Buyers Guide

With so many different audio systems to choose from it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Take a look at our audio systems buyers guide to ensure you pick the perfect system for you.

Audio system sizes comparison table

Audio systems generally come in three different categories of size, each having their benefits and drawbacks.

Size Benefits Drawbacks
43 cm
  • Different brands and models can be combined
  • Create the highest quality sound
  • Components often sold separately
  • Take up more space
  • Middle price range makes them affordable
  • Different brands and models can be combined
  • Sound quality not as good as larger models
18-20 cm
  • Can be cheap to buy
  • Can produce adequate sound for home systems
  • Can't generally combine different brands

Features to look out for

The features that you can look out for on your audio system, dependent on your needs are:

  • Stereo amplifiers and receivers
  • Tuners
  • CD players
  • Speakers

Stereo amplifiers and receivers

The majority of audio systems come with a receiver that amplifies the sound coming out of the speakers. Generally a higher wattage system will produce a louder sound but that does not necessarily mean it will be better quality. When choosing your audio system consider what it will be mainly used for.

If you plan to listen to music then you will need a different sort of audio system, whereas if you plan to use it as part of your home cinema system you will need an inbuilt sound decoder.


A tuner is a radio unit that does not have a built in amplifier. Today, the majority of tuners have a radio data system or RDS that allows radio stations to send information to the listener, for example the name of the track that is playing. This information is received through an LCD screen at the front of the machine.

The majority of tuners also feature autotune capabilities so you can find stations easily and save your favourite stations onto the machine.

CD players

Despute downloading becoming an increasingly popular way of buying music, CD players are still very common in audio systems. Some systems will have more for multiple discs to be stored at any one time.

Most CD players today use digital technology to convert information on the disc into an analogue signal which produces a cleaner and crisper sound quality.


The speakers you choose for your audio system are an essential part of your equipment if you want to produce the best possible sound. Unless your speakers are good then the sound quality provided by your system doesn't really matter as it'll never produce a good sound.

Speakers come in a huge variety of styles, sizes and designs and range in price from a few pounds to thousands of pounds, depending on what you choose.

Different speaker designs include closed box, reflected bass and slave bass. The most common types of speaker for home use are closed box and reflected bass which are able to produce a powerful low tones.

Placing your speakers

Once you've chosen the speakers you want it's important to consider where you place them in your home carefully. Large items of furniture in the way of your speakers can affect the sound so try to leave space in front of them. If your speakers aren't designed to be put on the floor then place them on a stand so that the full effect of the sound can be heard. Avoid corners if you can, and leave 3 to 5 feet between the speaker and any wall, especially if your speakers have rear bass ports.

If you have two speakers then place them away from each other on separate sides of the room to get the full benefit of the sound produced.

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