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Speaker options: a buyers' guide

SpeakersWhen it comes to buying a speaker system then there are plenty of cheap deals and offers out there that are well worth looking at, but because there are so many different options, it's crucial to carry out some careful comparison before you buy in the UK. That's basically because speakers come in so many different styles and specifications that you can get them in a whole array of options and for a variety of uses.

A speaker package can range from the cheap lower end models that cost next to nothing, right on through to the premium models that have specifications that are more than a match of their high prices. Even if you're only concerned with the cheapest speakers on the market, it's always a great idea to compare models online in 2012, mainly because they'll probably be quite different to the options that were available to buy at the same time last year.

Of course, knowing which are the best speakers might become more easy to check by reading the reviews from fellow consumers, many of which are posted online and are easy to find. However, the other consideration is what sort of speakers you're looking for. After all, you may only be interested in computer speakers, which have little to do with Hi-Fi speakers. On the other hand, PC speakers may be woefully inadequate for your needs if you're looking for a full-on home entertainment system, especially if you're faced with only going for the cheapest systems.

Speaker deals and offers

So, you might be on the lookout for cheap deals and offers on the likes of surround sound speakers, that can provide you with a complete movie experience in the comfort of your own home. Then again, you might need some iPod speakers, that will allow you to blast out a few tunes both at home or while you're out and about on the move.

Meanwhile, wireless speakers are also increasingly popular with music fans, simply because they offer cable-free convenience. In that respect, it can be tricky deciding on the best speakers for your needs, because they all do different tasks for a variety of music playing chores. Computer speakers, for example, have changed immensely in the last few years, so the best PC speakers right now are way more advanced than those of just a couple of years ago.

However, because the active speaker market is so healthy at the moment, it means that you have access to plenty of cheap deals and offers, all of which means that you can get a speaker system that will not only deliver the goods on a musical quality basis, but also ensure that with a little bit of comparison, you can get a package for the best price too. A little bit of time spent early on will pay dividends once you know what speaker system will suit the task in hand.

Getting the right speaker system

Speakers come in all shapes and sizes along with build qualities that make some better suited to certain tasks than others. For example, if you have a mobile device such as as iPad, iPhone, laptop or netbook then in most cases you'll have standard speakers that aren't as good as a separate system that can help distribute the sound in a much more impressive fashion. So it's a good idea to shop around for deals and offers on products that meet that end of the audio spectrum.

On the other hand, you may want to hook up your home PC system to a set of audio speakers that will allow you to enjoy the best that games and movies have to offer, and again, there are plenty of self-contained add-on systems that will get the job done for a reasonable price. At the same time, if you've got a decent budget then take a look at some of the high-end best PC speakers that are out there and compare the specifications as they offer a superior audio experience.

The good thing with the latter option is that they generally offer a simple plug and play interface that can be connected with a standard computer cable. Meanwhile, mobile devices such as those found in the Apple range will usually require a 30-pin connector in order to connect to the likes of iPod speakers, while devices from other models may have connection types that are unique to them also, so be sure to make a comparison of the different technical specifications before you buy.

The right speaker for the right price

Speaker docks are another example of a popular modern way to listen to music and these can be great because they offer quality performance but also mobility too and many can be packed away and taken with you where're you go. Bear in mind that if you're looking to recharge your mobile device at the same time then you'll probably need to be connected to an AC power source. And, as we said earlier, be sure to check the connectivity options and compare models to see if any kind of adapter will also be required.

Of course, you may want to get maximum value from your speakers and be able to connect them both to your iOS device or similar style MP3 player or tablet. Meanwhile, it's a good idea to consider where you'll be using the speakers most regularly, such as on a desktop alongside your regular computer PC system, or on the go, where it may be a good idea to have individual speakers that can be either placed strategically, or contained inside one convenient dock design.

Speaker specifications

Naturally, different speakers will come with a whole variety of different technical specifications, depending in the use they have been designed for. Some manufacturers will make a big point of flagging up the frequency response and suchlike of their speakers, but this is not an exact science and there's also no standardised testing method, so some speaker system facts and figures may be more accurate than others.

That's the point where some time spent reading different consumer reviews can be more useful than ever, as well as doing the more usual comparison of prices, deals, and offers. The other thing to remember is that many PC
speaker systems, those made for docking stations and the many and varied mobile speakers that can be used with music players and laptops, generally have smaller sized speakers inside, so the sound can quality can vary wildly.

The old adage of buying larger speakers for a better lower end frequency response still rings truer and while this is a little difficult if you need speakers that can be used in a mobile environment, there are differences in size from model to model. And, again, if you're prepared to spend more on state of the art speakers from some of the top manufacturers then you'll also find that the speaker size and materials they a instructed from will be of a more superior standard.

Speaker features and extras

SpeakersIf you need a speaker system that is as flexible and convenient as it is cheap then lookout for models that come with additional inputs, which will mean that it can be used in a wider variety of music playing scenarios and with a larger number of gadgets and gizmos.

You should also lookout for the wireless speakers that are on the market in 2012 as these have advanced considerably. You'll need to compare specifications to see if they have Bluetooth or AirPlay (formerly known as AirTunes from Apple) functionality in order to use our speakers in this fashion - some speaker models have both.

Speaker controls

Another important aspect to consider when composing different speakers is what level of control you have over playing the music itself. You may want on-speaker controls for quick and easy tweaking,while some models allow you to make adjustments via your computer if they are PC speakers designed with that specifically in mind. You may also require the ability to adjust both bass and treble frequencies, so keep an eye out for models that have that too.

USB 2.0 computer speakers for PC systems are worth looking at as they'll generally come complete with a pair of speakers along with a built-in amplifier that can offer a bit of much needed boost and you have the added bonus sod better stereo separation in many of these models too.

SpeakersYou'll also find that some of these USB 2.0 speaker models will be able to work by being plugged not your laptop or home computer, with power coming from the port itself, although the downside is often less better quality although the simplicity of a single cable speaker system appeals to many who don't want the hassle of multiple cables, especially if they're planning in listening to music while they are out and about.