“Music gives us a surprising ability to get in touch with our inner-selves, revealing what lies deep within us all. It plunges us into an ocean of sensation, emotion, forgotten dreams and lost memories. Beyond the rhythm and the notes, beyond the melody and the style, music invigorates the senses and frees our emotions. Right at the very basis of music, vibrations resonate throughout the body like an instrument.” – Focal
Streaming platforms have made it easier than ever to listen to music. As long as you have a smart device, laptop or computer, you can access virtually any track in the world. All you have to do is open Spotify or Apple Music, pick a song and click play.
But there’s a big difference between listening to music as background noise, and truly listening to music. And this is where equipment plays a huge role. Audiophiles know this very well. A quality home audio setup can make a world of difference when it comes to the quality of the music you listen to. The millions of vinyl, cassette tape and CD sales are a testament to the rising importance of quality. Simply put, it’s about time to get into hi-fi.
If you’re looking to get into hi-fi, and build your own analogue, hybrid or digital system, it’s important to choose the right components, understand what they are, and how they all work together.
The main part of any hi-fi audio system is the speakers, commonly referred to as loudspeakers. They use the electrical signal supplied by the playback device to vibrate their internal components and create the sound you hear. In other words, they have the most influence on the sound quality. There are many different parts within a speaker that impact the end sound, including the crossovers, the material and size of the cabinet, as well as the number and quality of speaker drivers.
Speakers can be divided into two categories: passive and active. Because they require the signal from the playback device to be amplified, passive loudspeakers need external amplification from an amplifier or receiver. On the other hand, active speakers have internal amplification that intensifies the sound for the speaker.
There are pros and cons to both types. Passive speakers are more flexible and inexpensive, whereas active speakers are standalone solutions. The quality of the cables that send the signal can also make a small difference in the quality of the sound.
There are thousands of brands that manufacture speakers, one of which is Focal. The reason I mention the Focal range of speakers and not any other brand is that they continuously perform acoustic research in order to provide the best hi-fi audio solutions. With each passing year, they increase their expertise in driver technology to provide the broadest collection of equipment that’s capable of reproducing the artists’ creations as genuinely as possible.
Moreover, they use high-quality materials in their builds, such as aluminium, beryllium and Kevlar in their tweeters and woofers, keeping their speakers light, yet rigid. Typically, the more rigid the equipment, the better the audio quality. Focal speakers feature inverted dome tweeters that are worlds apart in terms of quality from the classic dome speaker solutions. They keep the speakers light and structurally strong, while keeping distortion low even at high frequencies.
They provide hi-fi solutions to luxury homes of all styles, shapes and sizes. All you need is an experienced seller to help you select the perfect speakers that complement your home to revolutionise your listening experience. From the Aria 926 to the Scala Utopia Evo, there’s a solution for everyone. The options are limitless, but one thing remains the same – the guarantee for uncompromised studio-level audio quality that reproduces the tunes the way they were meant to be heard.
As briefly aforementioned, amplifiers take the weak electrical signal from playback devices, and amplify it so that your headphones or loudspeakers can play it. Without one, you won’t be able to listen to the music loudly, if at all. This is especially true for hi-fi open-back headphones, which demand highly amplified signals.
Fortunately, most loudspeakers and headphones nowadays come with integrated amplifiers, which combine the separate parts of amplifiers, photo preamps and wired and wireless connectivity options, acting as the central hub in both analogue and digital hi-fi systems.
Receivers, which are essentially amplifiers with built-in audio, let you listen to music on your hi-fi system without the need for an analogue source like a turntable, CD player, or cassette player. Most receivers nowadays perform a similar function as the hub for wireless signals, but they also provide a range of connectivity options. As a result, you can stream music from your smart device or computer directly through your system.
There are two basic types of receivers – AV and stereo receivers. Stereo receivers are only capable of powering two-channel systems, whereas AV receivers are designed to connect to your TV and power several different channels, making them ideal for use in surround systems that feature multiple speakers. Simply put, AV receivers are more versatile and capable than stereo receivers.
If you’re looking for a controlled sound environment, then you’re best off with headphones. The earcups of headphones do the same job as the speakers in your surround system, but they project the audio right into your ears. This way, you experience the sound quality without the effects of the acoustics in the room.
There are many different types of headphones, including open-back, close-back and headphones with different types of drivers, including planar magnetic, electrostatic and dynamic. The newest technology in headphones is wireless connectivity, allowing them to receive radio signals through the air rather than cables, then using their on-board digital-signal processing abilities and amplification to turn it into audio.
The Final Word
No matter whether you’re an audiophile, or just want to enhance the audio quality of your home theatre system, hi-fi solutions are the way to go. Not many people understand why someone would spend extraordinary amounts of money on hi-fi home audio systems, but people who truly enjoy music and want to experience it as intended know that the cost is completely justified.
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