One thing every person (including myself) will say at some point when discussing audio products is “it sounds good to me” or “it sounds great” or something to that effect. The problem is, unless you put in some effort, it is very easy to fool a person to decide for themselves something sounds good. This extends not just to the layperson, but to people who have listened to dozens of speakers and reviewed them. It extends to myself and it extends to you.
So you’ve got a speaker picked out and its time to get an amplifier. You see the speakers have a wattage number and the amplifiers all have one prominently listed too. How do you know how many watts you need? How do you know if an amplifier will work well with your speakers?
Today the biggest buzz in the world of home theater audio is “object oriented” audio like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro3D and probably some more that I’m forgetting. This is new to most consumers but it isn’t groundbreaking technology. The underlying mathematics have been well understood since the 1870s. The first products that used this kind of technology were phased-array radars in World War II. However, only now is is coming to your living room. The big developments that have led to these technologies entering the consumer market are: improved compression algorithms which allow dozens of streams to exist on a single disc at once and cheap but powerful chips which can compute the required amplitudes and phase delays in real time. That being said, I still think it’s pretty cool. The academic term behind this is “wave field synthesis”.
So you’re an average consumer, and you’ve decided you want some surround sound in your life. After all, that’s whats in movie theaters, and you’d like your movie watching experience at home to be more like the movie theaters. Its not something you care all that much about, enough to spend a few hundred dollars on at most. You look online, or go into an electronics store, and you find it. One box that has everything you need. One swipe of the credit card and your desire will be satisfied. Every marketing person at every electronics firm knows there are a significant number of people who will act this way; people who want better audio in their lives but don’t know where to start. They take advantage by selling something that looks right, without there being any good way for an average consumer to tell whether or not it is a good product. Its not like you’re going to listen to it beforehand, much less make any objective comparison among several samples. They sell convenience in satisfying your consumer urges, not actual audio quality.