Roberts Audio Video

Selling and custom-installing audio & video equipment since 1934

Home Audio: Speakers


The hard part about choosing speakers is that the size won't tell you about the ability of the speaker to realistically reproduce the recording. Even though a speaker can play a particular range of music doesn't mean that it is able to do so accurately. The response may be uneven, the components restricting, or the cabinet vibrating. Only by listening to the different manufacturers will you hear the differences, but you will hear if you try for yourself.

Next time you go home from a concert and play your stereo, does the violin sing or just scream, is that an oboe you hear or a clarinet? Does the singer sound like she is in the room with you for a private performance, or does it sound like you are in the cheap seats in the back? Roberts will help you realize the capabilities of your system. Maybe all you need is some new speaker wire.

The hardest piece to choose because of the diversity of size, style, types and prices. Speakers have certainly improved and shrunk in size in the last couple of years. The new computer design systems and polymer construction materials have enabled manufacturers to build better sounding and looking speakers than ever before. For outstanding music try an in-wall speaker you don't have to see. Or try an outdoor model for barbecues, gardening or just relaxing in the sun.

Generally a speaker smaller than 2' in height and designed to sit on a shelf, stand or wall bracket. These speakers are often inexpensive and can offer extraordinary amount of sound. The limitation of this size is in producing realistic bass. Most bookshelf speakers will be ported; a tube is installed to produce frequencies below that of the woofer. The port is similar to blowing across a coke bottle, the amount of water (size of tube) changes the pitch. This will improve the low-end bass and keep the cabinet size down.

These are similar to early speakers but have been turned sideways to have a slimmer profile. This also improves their clarity since the sound will bounce less off the narrower front surface. The larger size will have better bass than a bookshelf and will not need a stand. The active listener and music lover will prefer a tower design not only for the bass but they can produce a fuller sound as well, due to the less restrictive design options.

A cube shaped speaker that is designed only to play the low bass. A subwoofer is added to a bookshelf or tower design to fill in where the main speaker leaves off. With a bookshelf, the subwoofer must reproduce a wider range of frequencies since the smaller speaker is limited in bass response. In such a system, the lowest bass is still lost because you are making up for the size of the main speakers. With a tower, a sub is used to augment the bass for realistic size and feeling. The impact that a subwoofer offers will enhance the strength of the timpani, the weight of a string bass and enable us to believe there is a dinosaur in our living room.