How to Determine the Quality of a Stereo

The issue of audio quality measurement has been a long-standing debate in many forums. A number of the commonly asked questions by participants in this debate include.

In an attempt to form audio devices work to desired standards, designers and engineers within the sound industry make use of metrics like frequency response, echo, distortion, noise cancellation and delay. Usually a sound designer aims at creating a bit of sound equipment that achieves predetermined levels of every of those audio quality metrics. Therefore, audio quality measurements are indeed relevant from the very beginning of sound production.

As a demanding user of sound, whether a sound production expert or a fan of quality audio, you’re set to realize tons from understanding the way to measure audio quality. There are various ways of doing so. Most of the methods that are developed for this purpose not only measure quality but also provide easy-to-understand ratings for various sound quality metrics. The ratings are normally indicated on sound equipment or their manuals. as an example , every speaker will have its frequency response rating indicated somewhere either on the magnet, the manual, or on the package during which the speaker is delivered.

With knowledge on the way to interpret and translate a rating into meaningful information about the underlying sound quality measurement metric, one can make well-informed choices when dealing with any sound equipment.

Common Sound Quality Measurements

There are many methods and tools for measuring sound quality. Whichever method you choose to use, being familiar with key terminology will help you to live audio quality successfully. Here are a number of the common terms used when evaluating sound quality:

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)

THD measures the entire amount of distortion produced by a system as sound is translated from the first signal to audible sound. It indicates how faithful an amplifier or speaker is in translating what’s in an audio source, say a hard drive or disc, into sound.

A lower THD rating implies higher quality of sound. Most high-quality audio components have a distortion rating of but 1%. For loudspeakers, the distortion rate can range anywhere between 1% and 5%. Sub woofers are related to the highest distortion among all sound drivers. There are subs with distortion rates as high as 10%.

Human ears cannot measure distortion and differentiate distortion rates reliably especially at low bass levels. the details of THD measurement are often understood comprehensively only by sound engineers and technicians. It involves quantifying non-linear behavior of waveforms.

Output Power

You might wonder: what has power need to do with audio quality? Well, if you’ve got a touch little bit of experience with audio equipment like speakers and amplifiers, you know of a crucial concept called RMS. Pick five speaker reviews randomly and you’ll notice that the reviewers dedicated a big portion of their reviews to debate RMS.

RMS stands for Root Means Square. it’s a measure of the quantity of energy (in watts) that a channel during a audio system has. The RMS rating for a speaker indicates the quantity of power that that speaker uses to breed sound for extended periods.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is probably the foremost straightforward thanks to determine audio equipment’s capabilities. An assessment of the frequency response rating gives you a thought of how high or low the speaker can play. Thus, you’ll determine how the speaker contributes to the general audio quality of the system that the speaker may be a part. In other words, the frequency response of a speaker informs you ways much value, in terms of audio quality, a selected speaker adds to your entertainment system.

The human ear can hear sound between the frequencies of 20 HZ to about 20K HZ. Frequencies below 310Hz are bass frequencies and people between 310Hz and 12 kHz are midrange frequencies. Anything from 12 kHz and above are high frequencies.

It’s not difficult to measure a speaker’s performance in terms of frequency response. Take an instance where you watching a movie. If you’ll hear explosions loud and clear during action scenes, then the speaker has great bass/low frequencies. If you’re taking note of music and may feel the impact of every instrument within the music, also as human voice, then your speaker is a superb mid-range performer. Finally, you’d know that a speaker is awesome at high-frequency audio reproduction if it projects cymbals and high notes during a clear and enjoyable way.

Signal to Noise Ratio (SN Ratio)

Measured in decibels, SN ratio is that the ratio of quality audio to noise (fidelity of the sound equipment). SN ratio is measured for several devices including CD/DVD players, receivers, etc. Devices with high SN ratio – 90 to 100 decibels – are viewed as having hi-fi to the sound source.

To understand the fundamentals of SN ratio measurement, realize that everything around your audio device or system produces noise. A dB measurement are often attached to all or any of the sources of noise. as an example , a hair dryer produces approximately 70-90dB while a refrigerator contributes about 50dB of noise.

If you would like to run some sound volume tests on your own, various dB meter apps are available for download and use on your smartphone. Such a tool is useful once you are calibrating your home entertainment system.

Speaker Impedance

Measured in Ohms (symbol: Ω), speaker impedance is an indication of the amount of current that a speaker can draw. Most sound devices are rated 8 ohms or 4 ohms. A 4-ohm speaker (coupled with an honest amp) is preferable if you’re trying to find higher quality sound, but it’ll be costlier than an 8-ohm speaker of comparable type and size.


When someone asks about what a system can concede short bursts, they’re asking about its headroom. For home cinema systems, the headroom figure is a crucial consideration because it gives a thought of the system’s ability to deliver thrilling experiences from explosions in action movies.

How to Determine the Quality of a Stereo

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