How Much to Spend on Speakers: The Difference between $100 and $1,000 Speakers

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Vivid visuals are only half of the equation when it comes to assembling a home theater system. The difference between passive movie watching and complete immersion is spectacular audio. Searching for a good speaker system can be quite overwhelming. Speakers can cost as little as $100 or as much as $1,000. Some audiophiles even spend over $10,000 on their home sound systems. Basically, a speaker is a box that produces audio. So why the price variation? A number of factors come into play. Sure, you can say that the more expensive speakers ought to sound better, but to something as subjective as audio quality, unless you’re a hardcore audiophile, would you drop a lot of money for them?

Let us look at what you’re paying for when you buy a $100 versus a $1,000 speaker system.


More expensive speakers have more drivers – and the quality of these drivers varies dramatically. Speaker drivers produce different frequency ranges. The more drivers in a speaker system you have, the more enhanced sound you will hear. The most common speaker drivers are the woofer (low bass), subwoofer (lower bass), mid-range speaker (middle frequencies), and tweeter (high frequencies). The drivers incorporate different materials depending on the type of cones, magnets, coils, and other materials used in constructing them. Quality drivers are capable of handling more power. Fundamentally, less expensive speakers wouldn’t be able to handle more power in the long run – the copper wires inside will eventually heat up and melt, resulting in a broken component. High-priced speakers are engineered with elaborate construction and stronger materials – manufacturers are proud of that – and it gets more complex as the price goes up.



Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. However, one defining quality of 6.1 or 7.1 sound systems is that they are huge. And you know those seven-figure speakers sound phenomenal. Bigger speakers also have larger tweeters and woofers. Essentially, the more surface area there is, the better the audio quality. So how do small speakers fare? It’s a simple science: small speakers sound incredible in small rooms. Space is definitely one thing you should consider before you get a sound system. For the sake of comparison, a $100 speaker will give you 5-1/4-inch woofer and a 3/4-inch tweeter, while a $1000 speaker usually has two 6-1/2-inch woofers and a 1-1/2-inch tweeter.


Sound Advice

Amazing speakers should completely submerge you not just in sounds – but in emotions as well. And that can be achieved with a sound system that has a dynamic range, powerful bass, and excellent timbre. You want to be able to turn the volume up high without the audio sounding like a banshee. Regardless of how much you are willing to spend on a decent sound system, you need to assess what you already have. You don’t have to completely start from scratch if you currently own a few audio components. Consider upgrading: if you have a good central speaker, add rear surround speakers and subwoofer for a richer sound.  The sound system is the most buildable part of a home theatre – and the good news is speakers come in a wide range of prices and can fit into any budget to match your home audio needs.


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