In the world of home theaters and sound systems, Hi-Fi audio devices are some of the most sought-out units out there. In fact, dedicated audiophiles have no qualms about investing thousands of dollars just to find the perfect combination of Hi-Fi equipment.
But, what is Hi-Fi, anyway, and what exactly makes up a Hi-Fi system? We’re going to discuss everything you need to know in this article, including tips on how to build your own top-of-the-line sound system!
Hi-Fi, or High Fidelity, is a term used by home audio enthusiasts, casual listeners, and audiophiles to refer to the high degree of accuracy in the reproduction of sound.
The term originated in the late 1940s, a time where technological advances to music and sound quality were rising. It was also when audio equipment started fully transitioning from mono to stereo to satisfy the demands of those who were particular about the quality of sound.
Most of the music and sound effects we hear today are created by Hi-Fi audio systems. Some of the devices we use in our daily lives are Hi-Fi, as well. This includes headphones, sound systems, amplifiers, soundbars, and any other device that’s used to play audio in great quality.
Compared to Lo-Fi, or Low Fidelity, Hi-Fi music is much more refined. The equipment produces a sound that’s without distortion or background noise. In Lo-Fi audio, imperfections such as static, scratches, echos, etc, can be heard.
What Makes a System Hi-Fi?
The purpose of Hi-Fi systems is to make the sound of music as authentic and “real” as possible.
Some audiophiles focus their attention on getting the highest quality pair of headphones in the market to achieve the ultimate Hi-Fi sound. Because, unlike full-blown stereo equipment, headphones create a barrier between sound and the outside world. In comparison, sound systems are almost always affected by the acoustics of the room.
Despite that, many feel that the blocked off sound produced by headphones is much less convincing than that of speakers. This is why they’d rather invest in a Hi-Fi system.
These systems typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. To an average user, they might consider this to be a huge amount, but to an audiophile, it’s an investment worth every penny.
When it comes to building the perfect Hi-Fi system, balance is key, and a lot of it boils down to trial and error.
How Do You Build a Hi-Fi Sound System?
Sound quality is somewhat subjective. What may sound amazing to you, may not sound that great to someone else.
This is why there are no solid guidelines when it comes to building a Hi-Fi system that will satisfy everyone. Just like all of us have unique taste buds, we all perceive sound differently, as well.
With that said, there’s a certain “format,” if you will, that every audiophile must follow to achieve their ultimate Hi-Fi system. Don’t worry–it’s not as unattainable as you might think!
Before anything, let me ask you this: how do you listen to your music? Do you listen to audio tracks on Youtube and Spotify, or do you have a huge vinyl or CD collection that you want to utilize? The answer to this question will determine how your system will function.
The component you choose will greatly affect the sound that passes through your system. If, for instance, you’re fond of listening to vinyl records, it might be worth spending a little extra for a turntable, tube amps, and DAC.
Doing so allows you to achieve a sound that your amp and/or speaker would never reach, no matter how expensive.
This may not come as a surprise. Amplifiers are what powers your music and control the overall volume of your sound. They do most of the heavy lifting, which is why investing in a high-quality amp is extremely important.
Amps come in multiple types, including pre-amps, power amps, and integrated amps. Receivers can be used, too.
Simple is often better when it comes to amplifiers. If you’re okay with replacing your amplifier every few years, you can invest in an amp that has digital components. However, keep in mind that with rising technology, these components may fall out of date quite quickly.
Therefore, it’s sometimes better to purchase an amp without digital processing onboard. You’ll also be able to potentially save money for repairs should something go wrong with the internal components.
Selecting the right set is critical to ensuring that your system works correctly in your room. Too big, and the sound will overwhelm your room and become bloated. Too small, and the sound will never develop into its full richness and life.
To ensure your system works correctly, select a set that works in accordance with the room you want to play your music in. If you purchase a system that’s too big, the sound becomes bloated and thick as it’ll overwhelm the space. If it’s too small, it’ll lack richness and life.
You’ll also need to think of how you will use them. Do you want to listen to music that has a ton of bass and beats, or would you rather listen to gentle music? Are you one to dance around the room while listening, or do you sit still and enjoy the sound the speaker produces?
Rooms under a 10′ dimension do well with smaller-sized speakers. Medium-sized speakers are ideal for rooms that range around 10 to 15′, and anything over that qualifies for large speakers.
In a nutshell, Hi-Fi can be described as the pursuit for the cleanest, highest, and most dynamic audio or sonic listening experience. The quest for the ultimate Hi-Fi system is still ongoing, especially with the ever-changing technological era we live in today.
Although many are entirely willing to fork thousands for Hi-Fi equipment, this doesn’t mean you should pay high prices for high-quality audio. There’s an impressively large collection of budget Hi-Fi products. They might even tempt the biggest audiophile to consider buying one for themselves!