Let me show you some tricks which I have learned over the years while installing audio equipment. In particular, I’m going to focus on how you can squeeze the maximum sound quality out of your audio system. Chances are that you don’t have enough money to purchase a top of the line audio system. Therefore, you will have to make compromises.
However, by picking some fairly decent components, you can still achieve close to the same quality that you would get if you spend two or three times as much money. Let me show you what I mean.
First of all, you should probably budget one third of your overall money towards purchasing some decent speakers. Speakers are the element which have the single highest amount of distortion. You should purchase speakers which are rated for at least twice the wattage that you will actually be driving them with. That is to avoid excessive distortion. Distortion will occur when the transducer of the speaker is driven beyond its rated value. At that point the movement of the transducer is no longer linear relationship to the voltage which is driving the voice coil.
Therefore, keeping the amplitude fairly low, you can stay within the region of minimum distortion. However, manufacturers of loudspeakers typically rate the speakers when driven to pretty much the level before destruction. That means you should stay well below that limit.
When choosing speakers, you will need to assess what kind of environment you will be setting the speakers up in. If you have a large environment or if you environment is fairly noisy then you will need some fairly substantial wattage. There’s no rule of thumb in terms of picking the wattage because the volume of you speakers depends in part on the sensitivity of the speakers.
I would do a test run with them speakers in an environment that comes close to your actual environment. If your retailer has a similar size room then you should set up those speakers at your retailer before purchasing them.
Then make sure that the speakers can get louder than you would actually need them to be. That way you can stay below the threshold where the distortion picks up. When choosing an amplifier to match with your speakers, you should make sure that the wattage of the amplifier does not exceed the rated wattage of you speakers. That will prevent you from over driving the speakers and possibly damaging them.
You don’t have to budget is much money for the other components because they typically have less distortion by orders of magnitude then either your speakers or the amplifier. Simply pay attention to what features those components have and also whether they can connect to your source.