If you are looking to make the most of your audio experience, then you have likely looked into bringing a quality sound system into your home. Once you begin the hunt, it can seem overwhelming if you are not sure what all is required.
Tower or floorstanding speakers do not require an amp but using an amp on good quality speakers will not only increase the volume but permit an increased sound quality as well. The amp can help differentiate the frequencies on tower speakers with a two-terminal setup.
With that in mind, it is important to select the right amp for your speakers if you do choose to purchase one. You will likely find that there are many opinions scattered throughout forums on the internet. However, for the best advice, you can discuss your unique situation with an audio expert at the store you plan to purchase your speakers from.
Also read: Does a Subwoofer Need an Amp?
How Does an Amp Help My Tower Speakers?
Some people believe that all sound systems are the same. Quite frankly, those people are wrong. If you have ever gone to a movie theater, then you know that the audio produced in this setting is far different than that of your home television speakers. This is not only due to the design of the room but the design and placement of the speakers in the cinema.
Tower (floorstanding) speakers generally have four drivers (tweeter, midrange, woofer, subwoofer). Each of these drivers receives a different range of frequencies, thus producing a different sound. When connected to in two-terminal setup, the amp differentiates between the high and low frequencies sending these appropriately through the right driver.
An amp does more than just “turn the volume up” aka amplify the sound. Used correctly, an amp can help to make a seamless sound quality produced with high-end speakers. Though, it is important that you invest in quality speakers if you plan to see an improvement in your sound system.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the physics behind audio systems and how to effectively use them. Some people just look at the price and think that they are buying the best or most cost-effective option. However, to truly understand what type of sound system you need for your home, you need to dig a little deeper.
What to Consider When Purchasing Home Sound System Equipment?
Since there can be so many different parts and price ranges out there, it can be tough to differentiate what types of equipment you need for your home sound system. While you might not need the most expensive products out there, cheap equipment can sometimes mean cheap sound quality, too.
There are a few aspects you need to consider when purchasing home sound system equipment. Your home’s natural acoustics, hard/soft (absorptive) surfaces, aesthetic, sound preference, and what you plan to use the sound system for will all play into what you need for your sound system.
If your home has high, lofty ceilings, and hardwood floors, for example, then you will notice that your natural acoustics might be more reverberant than a home with lower ceilings and carpeted floors all throughout. This will change how you can use a quality sound system to your advantage.
Both of these types of homes can still benefit from home sound system equipment, but they might just require different types or placement of the equipment.
Additionally, there are various designs that you can find with sound system equipment. For example, tower speakers can be found in various cabinet materials. You will find everything from wood to hard plastics to metal. Obviously, these will change the appearance as well as the possible effects on the sound streaming from them.
What you plan to use the sound system equipment for will likely influence your budget on the equipment. While someone who wants better sound quality for home movies can get away with fewer purchases, someone who plans to play and record music in their home should invest in higher-end products.
Should I Get Floorstanding Speakers or Bookshelf Speakers?
Once you start looking into the various types of speakers, you may find that you like the appearance and quality of both floorstanding and bookshelf speakers. After all, they are both great options, but they offer benefits for different needs you may have.
Deciding between floorstanding speakers or bookshelf speakers depends on your personal preference and sound function needs. Floorstanding speakers create more robust sound, especially in their ability to carry the bass. Bookshelf speakers can also be high-quality, but they are used at lower volumes.
So, this is another question that goes back to what you plan on using the speakers for. Though not all bookshelf speakers should be placed on a shelf (as this can change the absorption of the sound waves), they are still generally placed out of the way.
On the other hand, floorstanding speakers are often placed at the center of the room. They make a quality statement piece for many homes.
If you do not know if you should get floorstanding speakers or bookshelf speakers, consider your sound needs as well as your home’s spacial allowance. If you are only planning on using the sound system when you host a small, relaxed gathering, then the bookshelf speakers might be a good option for you.
However, if you would like the bass (and other sounds) to carry throughout your home as you play a movie in your home theater, then you should consider investing in high-quality floorstanding speakers.
Choosing which ones you should purchase can seem a bit intimidating at first, but, again, considering your space and your sound needs will help you to navigate this process.
How Do I Choose an Amp for My Tower (Floorstanding) Speakers?
If you have decided that you need an amp for your tower (floorstanding) speakers, then your next decision is to decide which one is the right fit. Without any prior knowledge, you will need to research your unit as well as the amp you hope to pair with it.
You will need to ensure that the power from the amp matches the speaker’s ability to handle this. While the ohms (nominal impedance) will read the same, the power rating of the speaker will be half of the power deliverance on the amp. Undercutting your amps will result in sound clipping and distortion.
Sound clipping and distortion will obviously make the quality of your sound go down immensely. However, what some people do not realize is that this can actually cause damage to your speakers, too.
Some think that they need to provide less power than the power rating allows on the speaker, but this actually has more chance of harming the equipment.
Instead, you will need to tune the amp so that it can appropriately supply the amount of power that is needed to create a quality sound as well as keep your equipment safe.
Without a proper matchup, you will find that your sound quality will suffer for it, and you could end up damaging the equipment that you just spent significant amounts of time, money, and energy to set up.
If you do not feel comfortable with choosing the right selection, it can be best to speak with a professional who can point you in the right direction. You will likely find that sticking with the same brand can also help you to match up the appropriate equipment. As there are many varieties out there, just be sure to do your research beforehand.
Terminology to Look for When Choosing an Amp
When selecting the right amp for your freestanding (or other) speakers, you will need to pay attention to many considerations. Of course, if you are new to the sound system arena and are simply looking for the best equipment to bring into your home, this might all sound confusing.
To help eliminate this confusion, these terms have been broken down into the key components of what to look for in pairing your amp and speakers.
A few common terms that you will see include power, sensitivity, and impedance. If you are still confused about this and are looking to purchase the right equipment, it is best to consult a professional than to risk jeopardizing your equipment.
An amp’s power refers to the number of watts that the amplifier is supplying to the speaker. The speaker will have a power allowance that should usually be doubled by the amp’s power deliverance capabilities.
The amp’s power can be seen in terms of continuous power or dynamic power, though most people use continuous power to choose their amp.
Sensitivity specifically refers to the decibels produced by the speakers. This encompasses, in a sense, how loud the sound will be when power is pumped through the sound system.
Sensitivity ratings are determined by how loud the sound is (per 1 watt) at a distance of 1 meter. Sensitivity levels are not directly indicated to the quality of the speaker, though they do refer to the loudness.
Impedance will affect both your speakers and your amps and will be measured in ohms. This is a measurement of the electrical resistance. When you begin looking at the measurements to find the right fit for your speakers/amps, just be sure that the ohms (impedance) on the amp never exceed the ohms (impedance) on the speakers.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.