How to buy speakers: A beginner’s guide to home audio

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Frequently asked questions

There are some frequently asked questions that we wanted to address which didn’t seem to fit any particular category, so we left them for the end. At this point, though, we hope that you feel empowered to venture out and make a wise speaker purchase. Remember, this should be fun! The moment the fun stops is the moment you know you are headed in the wrong direction. No one hears things quite the way you do.

Trust your judgment and find some speakers that move you. Good luck!

Can I mix and match speaker brands?

You can, sure, but it isn’t a great idea. Different speaker brands will sound different and when sounds move from one speaker to another in a surround sound scenario, you want the sound signature to remain the same all the way around. If you need to piece-meal your system, that’s fine. Just know that with each matching speaker you add, the better your system will sound. The one exception to this rule is the subwoofer, which leads us to our next question.

Can I buy a subwoofer from a brand that differs from my speakers?

Yes, you can, and in many cases, it is a very good idea. Not all speaker makers are necessarily great subwoofer makers (and the inverse of that statement is also true) Check out the reviews of the subwoofers that go with the speakers you are considering. If they are less than glowing, consider a subwoofer from a company that specializes in subs. The sub is a big part of a high-performance home theater system and shouldn’t be skimped on.

Do I need two subwoofers?

In many cases, a single subwoofer will produce plenty of bass and can stand on its own. There are times, though, when the area you must place your sub in is less than ideal from a performance perspective. The addition of a second subwoofer comes with a few advantages. Two subs will work together to even out “dead spots” in the room. Each sub in a dual-sub system won’t have to work as hard and, therefore, the resulting sound is often cleaner. It is also possible that your appetite for bass is flat-out insatiable. A dual-sub system should do a good job of feeding your need for big, bad bass.

Now that you’re a home audio expert, check out our individual speaker reviews and our continually updated list of the best speakers on the market.

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