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How to get the best hifi sound quality - Systems - Myths Legends and Facts

This section is dedicated to those who want the best quality of sound but are tired of or confused by all the hype and nonsense published in the press. It is written by an audio engineer who happens to like relaxing with good quality music, so, put the kettle on, print it out and read carefully. You may not agree with or even understand all of it, but if you are going to spend hard earned cash on audio equipment - give it a try - you might even spend less than planned and be able to take the other half on holiday as well...!

Starting point

Before we begin ordering equipment and building a system though, take the time to do this: Go to a live music event, preferably one where there is NO sound amplification and LISTEN very carefully. Listen to the orchestra, how your chest takes a pounding when the guy hits the bass drum, or how clear the high tones of the smaller instruments are. Make a mental note of the difference in volume between the loudest and quietest instruments, the dynamic range. Listen to a live brass band, how strident yet musical the instruments sound. From these events, take home an aural picture of how your hifi system should sound, BUT, don't be too unhappy when you realise that you just cannot replicate the exact sounds you heard. Hifi is an illusion, a striving to achieve the best compromise that suits your own tastes. Remember that modern music media, mobile telephones, Iplayers, computers etc all use digital storage methods with various degrees of bit compression. Most of these omit parts of the original signal to save storage space so can NEVER sound as good as the original. So, after all that is said, be realistic with your expectations. Spend your money wisely but based on solid product research.


  1. Some definitions - Cut through the technical stuff - Written to be understood....Technical Terms Explained
  2. HiFi in a nutshell - Does this describe your ideal HiFi? Is surround sound HiFi?....Hifi appreciation and aspirations
  3. HiFi components - What makes a good system?.....System Parts
  4. Digital vs Analogue - What is the difference?.....Components
  5. Speakers the critical link - All about speakers.....Speakers
  6. Summary - All the above in brief.....Overview
  7. Products - Show me the goods.....Products
  8. Mods - My Maplin 150W Mosfet Module hums - what can I do?.....Modifications

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