Your Audio…It’s Crap!

I’ve wanted to complain about this for a while now as it’s one of my pet peeves.  But Klipsch has made it easy for me – STOP BUYING CRAP AUDIO!

Now that I’ve decomposed myself, let me add some structure to that argument.  Audiophile’s have their own personal preferences, some will be quite cranky about this post – others will praise it.  General consumers might be a bit more wiser because of it, and ignorant people will continue to be ignorant.

But to start this, I have to make a list of stores that are on my do not buy from ever-never-ever list for audio products.  If I ever have the chance to stop someone from doing it at one of these stores I do so:  K-Mart, Target, Wal-Mart, Sams Club, Costco, RadioShack and Sears.  You can buy your video crap there, no problem…but please do yourself a favor and don’t buy your audio products there.  You aren’t saving the money you think you’re saving.  PLEASE STOP THE INSANITY!

And if you think I’m endorsing certain products in this post as well.  Good.  I am.

When I was much younger than I am today, I always thought it’d be great to work at Best Buy.  Not because of the access to thousands of movies and CD’s at a retail value without the tax, but because I would get to be around some amazing sound systems that provide awesome sound.  Thinking back, when I was really young (7) I used to have stereo wars with my brother…yeah…a boombox versus as full blown powered amplifier with a set of 15″ drivers on a three way system.  Good luck chuck.

As I began to do more homework though, I found that the best audio isn’t necessarily where there is quantity of products, it’s hidden in the details.  While I enjoy music loud and proud, I would often get a bit light headed if certain things sounded off – I now know that one of the reasons I get so angry when things just sound bad is because I have a notion of perfect pitch.  Quality is a big deal to me, but to most it isn’t.  What I don’t appreciate though, is when people insist they have to have the best, and are forced onto a product that is far from the best either because of quality or because of numbers they don’t understand.

I single Best Buy out because it is the sole national retailer of Bose (or as I call them Hoes) products – a company that has done a wonderful job of keeping the general public in the dark and ignorant of what true audio power is.  It’s a cheap product, built poorly that generates a revenue of well over 50% for Bose and some people are just that stupid that they’ll pay it.  People seriously believe if they drop $2,000 on a 5.1 sound system with five cube speakers and a subwoofer that it’s fantastic…these people have obviously never used their ears.

Granted that is how much it costs to get at least a decent set of front speakers and an amplifier that’s worth a damn, it’s not the cost of a sound system that effectively provides the dimensions that happen naturally.

Remember this important piece of information if nothing else from this post: TWO WAY SPEAKERS ARE STANDARD. Three way is better, Four is best.  And no, I’m not talking about direction.  I’m talking about driver (speaker) variety quantity.  That is – two way, consisting of a hi-pass driver (tweeter) and a low-pass driver (woofer).  Why is this standard?  Those of you who have ever talked to another human being, does their voice only have treble embedded in their voice?  How about bass?  So you now know that one voice uses a combination of these things why would you think it’s okay to have something that throws your perception off so much?

“The subwoofer?” – Incorrect.  The subwoofer is designed to compliment the lower frequencies that the low-pass drivers on the speakers themselves do not in thinks like…car crashes, explosions, or that badass bass guitar solo.  It is not designed to deal with the lower tones of Vin Diesel’s voice.

For $2,000 – you could get a quality Marantz or Pioneer Elite amplifier (or if you go on eBay, a decent Yamaha before they slid by the wayside recently), and a pair of two way Klipsch Icon floorstanding speakers, or even a quintet system with a subwoofer.  With that, you’ll run right around the same price with a system that will perform circles around any Bose configuration and last many years longer.

Things to know about audio stuff:

  1. Watts has little to do with loudness, and more to do with an electrical bill.  Intensive wattage can lead to the system being able to deal with a higher decibel of volume, but that doesn’t mean much for the quality.  A 900 Watt system can emit sounds that can be comparable to up to a 2,000 Watt unit given that certain other variables line up.
  2. Frequency Response will tell you how bass-y or how treble-y your sound will be.  20 Hz is the lowest most humans can hear, and 20 kHz is usually the highest.  A good medium is speakers down to around 36 Hz and up to 18 kHz, with the subwoofer picking up the slack at the low end.
  3. Sensitivity will tell you just how much slamming force your speakers have.  A sensitivity of 106 dB means your hair will likely be pushed back into your seat when jamming.

Five worst offenders of “crap audio” –

  1. Bose – duh…
  2. Samsung – Your TV’s are amazing…why don’t you just stick with the one thing you HAVE perfected?
  3. Sony – I think it’s about time you gave up trying to dominate the market, it’s not 1990 anymore, and you haven’t made a quality product since then.
  4. Panasonic – See Samsung…ugh.
  5. Emerson – Please give up…your day has passed.

Five best speaker products –

  1. Klipsch, Jamo, Energy – By far the most reasonably priced.  All licensed by the Klipsch Company – Klipsch speakers are an amazing buy for the quality of sound they produce and the vintage models are to die for.  As for Jamo – they make Bose speakers look trashy in appearance and sound so many times better.
  2. JBL – Only the higher end models, but for sure still some of the most intense sounding speakers out there.
  3. B&W – If you can stand the (imo) ugly appearance (of some) – you’ll love ’em.
  4. Polk – One of the best producers of speakers at a great value.  If cash is tight, this is definitely the route to take without compromising quality.
  5. MartinLogan – Make some absolutely astonishing speakers with an awesome slick appearance.

With that…say it with me class…STOP BUYING CRAP AUDIO!!!  (It’s embarrassing to audiophiles.)

And remember kids…friends don’t let friends buy Bose.

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