How to build the perfect Hi-Fi system
Musical tastes and preferences vary as much as the other attributes that make us human and unique, so making sure that we have the best possible set-up to play our favourite tunes around the house is extremely important. Getting the balance right between volume and power and the intricacies of blended instruments and voices can make all the difference between a mediocre listening session and a memory that will last forever.
Balance can be very hard to achieve when setting up a Hi-Fi system. Much of it is down to simple trial and error, arranging the various speakers and fiddling with the settings until you hit the perfect combination. However, there are certain factors that can be of serious help in tackling this difficult quest.
Back to basics
Before even setting foot in a Hi-Fi shop, or clicking on your first link, make a list of what it is that you want from your Hi-Fi system. How powerful should the speakers be? Will you use headphones? Do you want a traditional turntable, or will you rely on your smartphone or tablet for modern-day online music streaming? Do you need Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity? What kind of amplifiers do you prefer? Then, research prices and work out what you can afford or, if you can’t quite reach the desired budget for your dream system, which aspects you would be prepared to compromise on.
Prioritise and plan
One area that you should try to retain as high budget as possible is the speaker and/or amplifier, as this will ultimately dictate how the music sounds when it is played. That said, however, don’t skimp too much on the turntable as any flaws such budgeting may cause will be emphasised by your top-of-the-range speaker. Once you have selected your speaker, ensure it can connect with the rest of your chosen system and that you have ordered the right cables, wires and connectors to make everything run safely and smoothly.
Listen and learn
Having a demonstration of a set of stereo speakers is not always totally helpful, as the sound will differ according to the dimensions of the space in which the music is being played. Always measure your room before buying speakers and try to get as accurate a demo as you can before you commit to anything. Listen to the speakers from different angles too – above, below and to the side to make sure you are happy with them wherever you may be in the room. If you are unsure about the settings, ask an expert to run through them with you, and to show you how they all work.
Slowly does it
If you are starting from scratch, remember that you don’t have to buy everything at once. This can be useful advice if you are on a budget to. Don’t panic at potentially huge bills mounting up. Instead, buy one item at a time and spend time getting to know it to make sure it really is what you want. If you are building on an existing hui-fi system, this is also a useful approach. Take it easy for longer-lasting results.
Don’t forget the added extras that can make a Hi-Fi system really excel. Buy the best cables, stands and supports that you can afford – a Hi-Fi system is a sizeable investment and you want to protect it and prolong its useful life. Beware false economies and take a little longer to save up if necessary. Make sure you position your kit on a stable surface, or buy a sturdy table if needs be. Sound quality can really be affected by wobbly flooring or an uneven carpet or rug. Get some specialist cleaning equipment too to help prevent the build-up of dirt, dust and static. Your Hi-Fi supplier should be able to advise on the best type of cleaning products to buy to keep your new Hi-Fi system safe.