Are you a first time buyer?
Don't panic... we have you covered!
It's not as complicated as it seems...
Venturing into the world of High End Audio, things can seem pretty daunting, but it isn't so bad once you get the basics. So here's a quick guide to what you need and some options of some of our best selling products for first time buyers...
So let's start with the basics...
There are a number of options you can explore with your first system. To start with there are a few things you will need:
- Source Componant
Probably the easiest way to explore these options is to look at each one individually
As the name suggests, floorstanding speakers are free standing, and are a popular choice for most people, as they offer some sonic benefits over there bookshelf counterparts. The main downside to floorstanding speakers is space. Floorstanding speakers will take up a little more room than bookshelf speakers, so it is always worth while planning where your speakers would be in your room!
Floorstanders start from around £295.00
Standmount or Bookshlef speakers are a smaller range of speakers, and offer a bit more freedom with placement. Unlike floorstanding speakers, bookshelf speakers can be placed on tables, shelves, counters and floor stands are also available if you want to get the most form your speaker. One drawback of a standmount speaker is its low range or bass capabilities. This is very dependant on your listening preferences, however sometimes a subwoofer may be required to get that sound you want, something worth considering.
Standmount speakers start from around £100.00
There are a number of options available with amplifiers, however as a first time buyer we recommend focusing on an integrated option. If you have a larger budget a pre/power set up is available, and please get in touch if that is something you would like to explore. With an integrated amplifier your pre amp and power amp are integrated into one unit, which is helpful for space saving and also "normally" less expensive.
There are a few things to consider when choosing an amplifier -
Depending on what speakers you have decided to go for, you need to make sure your amplifier can drive them. Its worth taking a look at the specs to make sure the amplifier will power your speakers. Again if you have any concerns with this please get in touch.
Depending on what you want to use with your system (e.g. turntable, Bluetooth, CD Player etc...) you may need to consider how many outputs you will need. For example, if you want a CD Player & Turntable, you will need a minimum of 2 x outputs, in order to connect both components.
It's also worth considering what features may/may not be useful for you. If you are planning to add a turntable to your system, a built in phono stage might be a very useful feature to have, and will also save you buying a separate phono stage which will take up more room, needs more cables etc...
Another popular feature of a lot of amplifiers is Bluetooth or streaming capabilities, which is the fastest growing method of listening thanks to the emergence of hi quality streaming services such as Tidal.
If you are planning to listen to your system through headphones at any point, it is also worth taking a look to make sure your amplifier has a built in headphone amplifier or option to plug in headphones. Getting a quality headphone output is essential to maintain the high quality sound you expect from your system, even when using headphones.
Integrated Amplifiers start from around £169.00
Probably one of the most popular options for first time buyers is using a turntable with their system. The vinyl revival alongside the sound quality you get makes it a very appealing option. So what is there to know, well a couple of things...
Using a turntable will require the use of a phono stage, in order to amplify the signal the cartridge picks up from the vinyl. As mentioned before some amplifiers will have a built in phono stage or you can buy a separate phono stage, which then connects to your amplifier. Alternatively some turntable will have a built in phono stage so you can connect them directly to your amplifier. All options work very well, so it is really down to personal choice.
It's maybe worth considering at this point whether you plan to ever upgrade your turntable in the future. If so, it may be worth looking at a slightly more expensive option, as it will allow you to upgrade things such as the cartridge, tonearm, cabling etc... While cheaper options will allow this, the cost of the upgrade usually outweighs the cost of a new turntable, so its something to consider.
Turntables start from around £129.00
Bluetooth is becoming a very popular way for people to listen to music. Since the emergence of services such as Tidal, you can now stream music in full CD quality, while also having access to an enormous library of artists.
As mentioned before the in the amplifier section, many amplifier now come with a integrated bluetooth module, allowing you to connect straight to the amplifier from your phone or tablet.
If you amplifier doesn't have bluetooth, you can buy external bluetooth units, which plug directly into your amplifier and then will allow you to play music from your phone or tablet at full CD quality.
External Bluetooth modules start from around £69.00
Another option is to add a CD Player to your system. CD players will connect into one of your amplifiers output, and are connected using an RCA cable. Some brands do offer "all in one" style options, which offer an amplifier, CD player, etc.. all in one neat box, but normally the chosen option is to use a separate CD player as these tend to offer a much superior sound quality.
CD Players start from around £159.00
An essential part...
Cables are sometimes overlooked in most systems, however they play a very critical part in how your system performs overall. For a first system, you don't need t worry just as much about spending a lot on cables, but is if defiantly worth allocating some of your budget to them. In most systems you will require:
- Speaker Cable
- RCA/Interconnect cable
- Mains Cable
Purchasing better versions of each of these doesn't actually cost very much, and the nice thing is they can always be upgraded later, so you don't need to spend big in one go, you can spilt it up and purchase them in stages, so its not as sore on your bank account.