When it comes to a quality sound system there are a great number of considerations to take on board, not least of which are the financial constraints and intended usage. Debate surrounding key technical components such as audio toroidal transformers vs laminate transformers is noteworthy, but this is just one aspect of what makes a sound system great.
What is a sound system?
Put simply, a sound system is a series of devices, either combined or stand-alone, that modifies and outputs sound. The original input signal is modified by a number of signal processors ‒ almost always an amplifier, although there are usually others ‒ that become an output signal routed to any combination of speakers. A great introduction to the basic principles of sound systems can be found online.
Common types of sound system speakers
Tweeter – Designed to reproduce the highest audible frequencies.
Midrange – Made to reproduce frequencies in the middle of the spectrum.
Subwoofer – Capable of reproducing the lowest frequencies.
Combination – Mostly found in home sound systems, these usually consist of a combined tweeter and midrange speaker in a shared enclosure, often with a lower frequency response in lieu of a dedicated subwoofer
Whereas commercial and club sound systems invariably comprise separate devices, most popular home sound systems consist of a combined amplifier and combination speaker pair, which fulfil different requirements. This is by no means a hard and fast rule, however, as many home sound systems have individual speakers or dedicated subwoofers ‒ not to mention the multitude of multiple-speaker home theatre set-ups. The primary considerations are often power handling and build quality, such as whether the amplifier is powerful enough to adequately power the chosen speakers.
Issues regarding build quality and the materials used are far less cut-and-dried with regard to amplifiers and speakers. Whether you opt for high-end components such as carbon fibre subwoofers and other specialised speaker materials or toroidal output transformers from companies such as http://sigatransformers.co.uk/, it is always best to compare and contrast the available options whenever possible.
Whether you are looking to build your own sound systems or are simply an audiophile, it is always worth understanding the types of devices used and how they interact when determining what makes a sound system great.