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Audio Systems

Audio Systems Buying Guide
Introduction: Buying a stereo system can be a daunt...
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Audio Systems Buying Guide


Buying a stereo system can be a daunting task if you've got limited knowledge of audio components, fortunately many companies out there sell complete audio systems for consumers to make the purchase much easier. Though the term Audio Systems can comprise of many things as it does here on TestFreaks, the category of Audio Systems includes the stereotypical BoomBox, iPod docks, streaming audio systems like the Squeezebox and much more, in this category you can find many different types of audio systems that have many different purposes.

When you're looking to purchase any type of audio, be it for your home or personal use, the old adage 'you get what you pay for' very much applies. Of course there are some exceptions to this as there are with anything, but for the most part if you want good quality audio you're going to have to pay for it.

I personally only purchase audio components from well known and respected companies, I know the quality of the products from companies like Altec Lansing, Logitech, Denon, Sony, Philips and a few others are going to be very good. Though of course these companies do offer budget priced products as well, but even their low priced products are much better than the unknown brands on the market today in terms of build quality, features and actual audio sounds.

If you're in the market for any type of audio system it's always good to first sit down and consider a few things before even starting to look for a product:

What features do you need?

Many products today are packed with features, it seems that companies try and outdo one another with all of the features that are included on some of these items. That can be a good and a bad thing though, these features come at a premium price meaning that you'll be paying extra for those features even if you don't have any use for them. So when you're deciding on an Audio System try and decide what features you'll be needing the most and those features that you'll actually use, sure it's nice to have all kinds of features but why have them if you aren't going to use them? Basically why pay for the advanced features if you have no use for them when you can get a lower priced product that does have the features you need.

What are you going to do with it?
This might seem obvious that the answer is listen to music, but what I mean is what will you be using it for literally, as in what conditions will the product be enduring? If it's going to be sitting on a shelf in your home or office then you don't need something that's rugged and tough, but if you're planning on camping or taking it places with you, transporting it around a lot, you might want to look for a product with features made just for your needs. Some products travel well while others do not, if you're going to be using it outside then you might want to consider something that is water and vibration resistant or even one that you can purchase an optional case for.

Where are you going to be putting it?
This might go with the above question, but not really, this is more of a space related issue. Many companies make products that are virtually the same but only smaller for those that are space limited in their homes or offices, so you might want to consider where you'll be using the product most often. If you're in the market for a nice audio system you should make sure that it's going to fit in your current entertainment center, living room or where ever you'll be putting it, you don't want to buy something only to find out that's it's not going to fit where you planned on putting it.

What are you going to be using it with?
Compatibility, compatibility, and compatibility! I can't stress that enough when it comes to purchasing anything audio or even technical related. I've known many people purchase things only to get it home and find out that it doesn't work with the intended product or it's just not compatible with their other products. Sure most usually in a situation like this you can go and get an adapter, but of course that adds yet more cost and another trip to the store or possibly having to wait for the adapter to be delivered. Why not just make sure what you are purchasing is compatible with your products first? With a little research you can find out what works with what and even how well it works with those intended products. Many times products are listed as being compatible with things but in reality they truly aren't, there are times when you'll see a product with compatibilities listed but only to find out they are limited in what they can do, in other words some products are more compatible than others. There are times when something is listed as being compatible but when you get it home you find that their definition of 'compatible' means that only the basic functions work and you don't have access to the advanced features that you may intend to use or may have specifically purchased the product for. This of course is where a little bit of research beforehand would have really helped in the decision to purchase said product or not.

When purchasing an audio system of any kind be sure to look at the reviews or ratings of these products, there are times that even with a well known company that you might find one of there products is lacking in one are or another. Doing a bit of research and finding out what other people have to say about a product will save you money, time and frustration in the long run. You don' want to go and buy something that you know nothing about, even the big name companies have products that are not up to par at times and don't perform as they are advertised to.

Places like Testfreaks.com, product review websites and even magazines are great places to look and learn about any type of audio product you might be considering buying, these resources can be invaluable to consumers when making any types of purchases. These sources of information will tell you things about products that the manufacturer might not, you'll most likely get to see actual pictures of the products, ratings with pros and cons and you'll even find actual everyday user comments as well to let you know what the average person thinks about such products.


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