Choosing the right audio system depends on your goals, preferences and budget. If you are the type that enjoys music your audio system will focus on your two main speakers and how to drive them.
If you are more into movies you will be more apt to focus on delivering a full 3D sound experience. Your Multi channel setup will be more important than just the two main loud speakers alone.
If you are trying to satisfy a need for greater music listening and movie watching there are options to try and achieve this as well.
What Are Your Priorities
Would you consider a $3500 audio system a burden to your budget but have no issue with spending $7500 on a cruise vacation? You might consider music as just a sound to fill the empty voids as you live your day. Others consider music as adding a treasure trove of flavor to their experience.
How much of your disposable income gets spent on an audio system depends on how important music and movies are to you. You might not enjoy music or movies but your family might. You could be investing in an audio system to enhance quality time with the family.
How much are you willing to spend on an audio/home theater system? 10% of your annual income or 10% of your monthly income? The best thing to do is visit your local sound dealer and listen to as many audio systems as you can.
If you are perfectly happy with the way the less expensive system sounds get that one. If you think you need to get the most expensive then get that one. One thing for sure is if you get the best system possible you will be rewarded for many years and you wont be looking to upgrade any time soon.
In the long run this may actually save you money because you wont be upgrading and most likely the higher end components will last lounger than the economical choices. Not to mention the resell value of high grade components will help off set costs if you ever decide to upgrade.
How To Buy
If your budget allows it you will buy the audio/Home Theater system all at once in one complete purchase. The other option is to purchase components separately at different times.
If you cherish music and/or movies you will most likely spend as much as you can to get the best sounding deliver possible. The three basic ways of purchasing an audio system are:
- Buy the whole system with the greatest components at once. This option is for those fortunate enough not to worry about a budget. They choose the best system available and immediate enjoyment for them and their family.
- Buy the whole system with budget in mind. Here you will carefully choose the best components at the best price. You might even find great deals on ebay.
- Buying your audio system alacarte. For example you do not like going in to debt just to buy an audio system so when the funds become available you buy. If you figured out which components you need you can plan out your spending and selections. Buy the AVR now and get the loud speakers next month. Buy the pre amp this month. You might have older system up and running now. You can swap the updated components into the older system so you have something to use in the interim.
Value or Luxury
Some of you value shoppers may require the best sound at the best price. Other luxury minded people require great sound great design and finish.
The manufacturers philosophy is built in to the product. Some manufacturers state their purpose such as great performance at a great price. Others boast great performance with great design and finish.
There are other types you should be aware of. The manufacturer the builds a great looking component but does not perform as well as you think it should for the price. These are considered Boutique brands. Don’t waste your money on these.
This will depend on your configuration requirements. Are you getting a system with a preamp, multi channel power amplifier and controller or are you getting an avr receiver with everything built in to the chassis? Are you getting a music only two speaker system or a multi channel home theater?
A good rule of thumb is to spend 40% of your budget on speakers, 40% on amplification, 15% on your signal (such as dvd player, DAC, CD player etc) and 5% on interconnects and cables.
For example if you are getting a home theater and have a $3500 budget you can get the Pioneer Elite VSX-LX305 9.2 channel receiver, SVS Prime Satellite Pro 1 Speaker System, Denon DCD-900NE cd player and the rest for speaker wire and connectors.
If you are boot strappin your home theater build you may have considered buying some used components. There are actually some dealers that sell used components with a small warranty attached. You may find a rare garage sale deal but unless the unit is in working order at purchase you may want to pass on it.
There are some enthusiasts that buy used components and fix them. Sometimes better than from factory specs. You could maybe find people who sell refurbished components online. Check your local market places and classifieds for possibilities.
Don’t forget ebay. Some people may be selling a brand new unused component still in the box at a great discount. Ebay has almost anything you could want for your audio system.
When shopping at the local shop you have another resource available to you. Your salesman may be super knowledgeable about all the components you are looking to build. He may have the best advice about which component goes best with each other. He may even match the best pricing.
For example you may want the Marantz AVR with the Klipsch floor standing speakers. He may suggest to get the Polk Audio floor standing speakers because they sound better and are on sale for the same price.
Keep an eye out for the best deals. Know what the fair price is for the components you want and when you see a good deal or a sale be ready to pounce. Also know what your preference is. Mostly music, mostly movies or both? Your system should be configured to handle your requirements.
I hope this helped good day!