How To Build A Home Stereo System


Even though it’s entirely possible to go to a box store or even a specialty music store to buy a home stereo system that is all paired up and ready to go, many people had rather build their systems with specific components that they choose themselves. For example, someone might like a particular amp but want an entirely different brand of speakers, CD player, or other components.

While this may sound like a fairly easy thing to do, in reality, it can get quite complicated. The first thing you must understand is exactly what components are needed to begin building your home stereo system. The 3 basic components are source, amplification, and speakers.

When you consider source components, you are talking about things like turntables, cassette players, or computers. Also, included are optical disk players like CD or BluRay. Another group of sources is streaming via the Internet with Sonos and other services like Spotify and Tidal. An amplifier will take the electrical signal produced by the source, and then make it ready for powering and sending signals to your speakers. The speakers then convert it into acoustical energy. Every component has a specific role and this means that one component will not function without the others.

Choosing Your Source First

When trying to answer this question, the first thing to consider is how you choose to listen to your music? Do you love your vinyl record collection, your CDs, or iTunes collections? Do you want the ability to listen to all of them and even more? Once you decide which sources you want to be able to access, then you can determine your source components. When you choose the components you want to go with, it can get very interesting. If you want the very best playback experience, then you need to choose quality source components because as the source material plays back through the amplifiers and speakers, it will only be as good as the source you choose.

Turntables: Everyone knows that turntables play vinyl records in various sizes. Typically the sizes are 33 3/3 and 45 RPM. 75 RPM is generally very old vinyl records.

CD players: They play CDs you buy from stores or online, you may also want a CD player to be able to play CDs you have burned yourself on your computer and not all CD players will do this.

DAC: This stands for the digital to analog converter. It is used to connect different digital components.

Streamer: This component plays music that you get from the Internet or a local computer that is often used with DACs.

Computer: The computer can be considered as almost the same as a streamer, but it can be much less convenient and may well be lower on the performance level.

Portable Devices: These items can include things like smartphones, tablets, and perhaps laptops that can be connected wirelessly to a DAC.

Which Source Components Do You Need?

The most important thing to consider when you are choosing your source components is which ones that you will use the most. If you are more of a digital streamer or use a smartphone or tablet, then you know you will need a DAC component. If you love vinyl records and have a collection, then you will need a turntable. If you have a great CD collection, then you need a CD component. This is what building your home stereo system is all about. It is supposed to be suited to the musical options that you want to have access to.

Choosing Your Speakers Second

Some people might think that you would need to choose an amplifier second and not the speakers, however, that’s not the case. Choosing speakers that suit your needs and work well in the room you are placing them is vital. If the speakers are too big, then they can overwhelm the room and feel bloated. If they are too small, then the sound can’t develop to the full, rich sound that you want to achieve. The key to choosing the best speakers for your home stereo system is in knowing how you will use them.

What Size Speakers Does My Home Stereo Need?

Another thing to consider is how you are going to place your stereo system. Will you want to save space and place it on a bookshelf or table-type stand? Do you want it standing on the floor in a stereo case of some sort? Do you want a lot of power and bass, or are you the type that just wants gentle listening? Speaker manufacturers sell all kinds of speakers that will fit the needs of any individual!

The speaker size you decide to go with should be based on the size of the room you are going to place the stereo system in as well as how you will display it. When you have a smaller room, 10′ feet in dimension, it is better to go with smaller speakers. In a room that is somewhere between 10 feet and 15 feet, you can choose a medium size speaker that may be floor-standing or still small enough for a bookshelf or entertainment cabinet of some kind. You can also add a subwoofer to smaller speakers for a mid-size room. For larger rooms over 15′ feet, you can easily go with large floor-standing speakers

Speaker Dispersion

If you intend to mostly listen to your music sitting in one place, then you may not necessarily need speakers that have broad dispersion. This simply means that the speakers will spread their sound all around the room instead of staying more localized in a small area. If you like to move around the room to dance or listen to music while you clean or do some other chore, then speakers that have broad dispersion are the right choice for you.

How To Choose Home Stereo Speakers

Speakers will generally have three individual components. They are comprised of drivers, crossovers, and the cabinet these features are housed in. The drivers are the cones, the domes, or the ribbons that are seen on the fronts of speakers. A very good driver will have a low distortion within its range. The crossover divides the signal ensuring that appropriate features are directed to the right drivers and make sure the drivers work together as a team. Even the cabinet is important in what the speaker sounds like. The cabinet supports the drivers ensures they are in the right acoustic environment.

How To Choose A Home Stereo Amplifier

The reason that you choose the amplifier for your stereo system last is because you have to first know which sources and speakers that you will be connecting to it. You must have sufficient power and control, along with resolving capabilities high enough and low enough distortion to ensure your speakers sound their best.

You might think that a far more expensive amp will be better, but many times it is only about the overall power the amp provides. Going with a mid-range priced amp of good quality could be a sound choice if you are on a smaller budget. Something more simple can often be better than something more complicated.

If you are going to be using digital components with your stereo system, then you know that many times these will be outdated fairly quickly. Therefore, choosing an amp that has a digital processing might not be a great idea if you want it to last for a long time. These amps can often cost more, be more prone to provide lower performance, and can cost you a pretty penny to have repaired if they have a problem.

Choosing A Display Method

Once you have selected the three main components for your HI-Fi home stereo system, you are on your way to enjoying your great music with a great quality sound. If you choose your components wisely and pick quality products, the system should last you for many years. Of course, when choosing all of the components, always make sure you also have all of the right cables to connect all of your components. Sometimes cables come with a component, but sometimes they don’t.

Once you have selected all of the components you will be using to assemble your system, then is when you choose a cabinet, table, or bookcase to put it in. Even if you choose floor speakers, you will still have to house the other components like your amp, CD players, BluRay players, cassette decks, or turntables. You want your system to look stylish and cohesive after you have spent all of the time and money putting it together. Pick the location in the room where you want to place the system and go from there.

Pick a method of display that shows off your system to its best advantage. You will also want the display method to easily allow you to connect and disconnect components if you ever wish to change anything or replace a connection cable of some kind. Lastly, try to match your display cabinet or other display feature to the décor in your room and pick something that will easily adapt to any new décor you might add or change later.


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