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Buying Guides: Home Audio

Home speakers 101
by Kramer Crane

What you need to know before you start shopping for home speakers.

What are the best surround sound speakers for your home? The answer largely depends on the size of your room. This guide walks you through how to build a well-matched home theater system. Learn the role that each speaker plays, along with tips for choosing the right ones for your system.

Speaker wire guide
by Steve Kindig

Most home speakers don't come with wire. What gauge (thickness) do you need? Is there a special kind of wire for in-wall installation? How many feet of wire will you need to buy? What kind of connectors are best? We'll help you choose the right kind of speaker wire for your home audio system.

How to build an exceptional, immersive, audiophile-quality sound system for music and movies by choosing an individual preamplifier/processor and one or more stand-alone power amplifiers.

Stereo speakers from Definitive Technology, KEF, Klipsch, ELAC, and PSB are among our best picks for early 2019. Learn why we love them, and read testimonials from our happy customers.

Sound bars from Yamaha, Sonos, Bose, Sony, JBL, and Polk Audio top the list of best picks. Learn why we like them, and follow the links to see hundreds of customer reviews.

Sonos buying guide
by David Brown

Interested in an easy solution for wireless audio throughout your home? We'll help you decide what Sonos gear you need to make your multi-room-music dreams come true.

A home stereo system built around an integrated amplifier is perfect for a serious music lover. Learn what to look for as you shop.

Looking for a simple way to improve your TV's sound? A sound bar may be the solution.

Before you purchase outdoor speakers, you need a good systems plan. How many speakers do you need? How much amplifier power? Where should the speakers go? A Crutchfield A/V system designer explores three outdoor sound system examples.

DAC buying guide
by Kramer Crane

A DAC (digital-to-analog converter) transforms digital files or streams into music. An external DAC gives you better sound than the one in your phone or computer. Portable DACs are primarily for headphones. Larger models are for home stereo. Learn how to choose the DAC that best meets your needs.

Intro to home stereo systems
by Jim Richardson

How to put together a home stereo system (and why you need one). Been listening to a single wireless speaker? Learn why having two speakers is so important.

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