Home Audio Systems – Perennial Favorites
After the television, home audio systems are the most popular home entertainment
devices. In fact, if we consider radios to be part of home audio systems, we can
easily say that, worldwide, home audio is even more popular than TV. As with any
popular technology, home audio continues to evolve. During the period from the
fifties to the eighties, vinyl records were the most popular audio storage
medium. That was replaced by CDs which is now being taken over by DVD audio.
The advantage of DVDs over CDs is the higher storage capacity which allows for
audio recorded at higher resolutions. DVDs also are capable of storing
multichannel audio that is used in surround sound systems. CDs remain popular,
though, and will probably be the standard audio storage medium for home audio
systems for the foreseeable future.
No matter how the audio is stored, home audio systems need the same basic
components. The heart of the system is the amplifier, which receives signals
from the playback device and sends them to the speakers. This basic principal is
the same for any kind of audio system no matter how simple or complex.
Sometimes home audio systems are completely integrated into one component. This
is the case with radios and portable CD players. They simply need to be plugged
in and turned on.
Other home audio systems are more complex with each part of the system a
separate unit. High-end audio systems have a separate amplifier, preamplifier,
CD player, tuner, and speakers. They are capable of retaining good audio quality
while playing back music at loud volumes.
Midrange home audio systems may have some of these components combined together.
The most common audio component is the receiver, which combines an amplifier,
preamplifier, and tuner. Speakers are attached to the outputs and CD players or
record players are attached to the inputs of the receiver.
Surround sound home audio systems are becoming more and more popular. These are
often integrated with a television set to provide a home cinema system. There
are satellite speakers placed around the listening area and a subwoofer is
placed in an unobtrusive spot to provide low-frequency sounds. The systems are
often used to play DVD video as well as DVD audio.
The standard in surround sound home audio systems up until recently has been
5.1, which means there are five satellite speakers and one subwoofer. Recently
we have seen 7.1 systems cropping up, so this may be the new wave in home audio
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