Take reviews with a pinch of salt
Just because a review says it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s good. A common mistake among beginners or even audiophiles when looking for guidance is to select components on the basis of a rave review without listening to the product themselves.
There’s also a huge difference between reviews in high-end magazines and reviews in mainstream magazines for the mass market. High-end magazines cater to reader purchases, meaning a more transparent opinion. Whereas mainstream magazines are more advertiser driven.
Of course, be wary of reading a review that only praises.
Sometimes, it’s not about how much you spend on a system. A great choice of budget components can be more musically impactful than a system that’s four times the price. Consider this, a modest car, tuned with precision can beat a luxury car in a race.
Likewise a well selected, modestly priced system can sound better than a shoddily put together system with premium products. A good Hi-Fi specialist will always be happy to help you with your choices.
Let your ears be your guide
High-end brands with big budget marketing doesn’t always guarantee great sound. Follow your ears, and go for the equipment that gives you the best sound for your buck, rather than following well-known names. You’ll be quite surprised with the quality some lesser-known brands provide.
Having said that, do consider a company’s reputation for build quality, customer service and product reliability.
Remember, big brands may not mean big sound.
Relationship with Hi-Fi retailer or specialist
Your local Hi-Fi retailer or specialist is far more than just a sales person moving boxes for profit. He or she is a dedicated music enthusiast who wants to provide the satisfaction of a great sounding product. A good specialist knows his products and can be your guide. One of your specialist’s services could also include setting up your system at home.
Things aren’t great right out of the box
A premium speaker positioned incorrectly in a room can sound worse than a modest speaker in the perfect place. A Hi-Fi specialist can guide you with specific procedures for each component in a playback chain. You can also personally tweak a system’s placement according to your needs. You’ll get better at this with time and experience.
A great sound system, selected and positioned correctly is a work of patience and time, but thoroughly worth the results.