The 101 of Speakers | Rapallo
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Rapallo | Speakers 101

Written by Deano Lambert, Posted by Deano Lambert

May 4, 2022

In this weeks blog we break down the different types of home speakers that Rapallo sells on a day-to-day basis. Its pretty obvious but sometimes our customers forget about other options that could work better for them, plus, we’ll offer some relevant tips on choosing the right amplification for your system.

So, the basic line up and styles we will cover are:

  1. Passive Speakers – for music and home theatre, including: bookshelf, floor-standing, center channel, and surrounds style speakers.
  2. In-Ceiling / In-Wall – these are generally custom-installed speakers for sound in a room, or too provide sound for visual consent.
  3. Outdoor Speakers – the weather-resistant speaker that is great around the pool, the garden or on the back deck for sound while cracking our food on the BBQ.
  4. Powered Speakers – these have onboard amplifiers and include subwoofers, sound bars, stereo speakers, portable Bluetooth® speakers, and wireless home speakers.

Our team at Rapallo offer more than 1,000 home speakers. With so many choices, it’s hard to know where to start. This guide will get you on the right track. So we will start with conventional speakers that get their power from an external amplifier, then look at models that have amplification built-in and so on. It’s only a quick dive in, so if you need more help then call us on 09 274 4515 to talk in more detail.

Rapallo | Speakers 101

Here we cover off passive speaker selections, models that get their power from an external amplifier and require speaker cable. They are one of the more popular selections but powered speakers are on the rise. If you are curious about how they sound, our multiple demo rooms let you audition different speaker models to help you choose the right ones. Trying before you buy is very important with most speakers in this range or style.

BOOKSHELF / MONITOR SPEAKERS

Bookshelf speakers deliver clear and detailed sound, yet are compact enough to fit on shelves or stands. Perfect for apartments or homes with limited space. Bookshelf speakers are commonly used in a stereo music system, but they’re also ideal for the front or rear channels of a home theatre in a small- to medium-sized room. Also, they can be epic for gaming when used with a pair of sturdy stands to bring bookshelf speakers to ear level for excellent sound with movies, music, and video games.

+VIEW BOOKSHELF SPEAKERS

FLOORSTANDING SPEAKERS

Floor-standing speakers are usually several feet tall and are relatively narrow (although some are the size of a small mini) That’s why you’ll often hear them referred to as “tower speakers”. Floor-standing speakers combine large cabinets with multiple drivers for dynamic full-range sound. Their excellent bass response makes them a great choice for both music and home theatre. The MartinLogan Motion 20i floor-standing speakers are ideal for room-filling sound in large spaces.

+VIEW STEREO SPEAKERS 
+VIEW HOME THEATRE SPEAKERS

CENTRE SPEAKERS

A home theatres centre channel reproduces dialogue and center-stage sound effects from movies and TV shows. The centre channel is often the hardest-working speaker in a home theatre setup, so it pays to get a good one. But it is important not the mix ‘n match. Your centre channel should share the same tonal qualities as your left and right speakers. “Voice matching” them together ensures consistent sound throughout your room, which is especially important in the front LCR array. A great option is the Polk Signature Series used as the centre speaker.

+VIEW CENTRE SPEAKERS

SURROUND SPEAKERS

Surround speakers go beside and/or behind your seats to provide wraparound sound effects. They help create that believable sonic bubble that makes home theatre so immersive. Surround speaker options include bookshelf speakers placed on stands (such as the Polk S10 Speakers), custom-installed in-wall speakers, or specialized bipole/dipole speakers that fire sound in multiple directions. When you include them in a 7.1-channel surround sound system, position surround speakers beside and/or behind your seating position for immersive sound effects. We can assist with placement details for optimum sound.

+VIEW IN-WALL / IN-CEILING 
+VIEW HOME THEATRE SPEAKERS

IN-WALL & IN-CEILING SPEAKERS

Are you after amazing sound for music or movies, but don’t want to clutter your space with conventional speakers? Check out our selection of in-wall speakers and in-ceiling speakers.  In-wall speakers are ideal for space-saving surround sound. In-ceiling speakers are great for multi-room music systems, or as overhead effects channels in a Dolby Atmos home theater system. In-ceiling speakers such as the Klipsch SLM-5400C offer stealthy overhead sound for music or home theatre. the 5400C are great also as they are made for smaller than usual spaces.

+VIEW IN-WALL & IN-CEILING SPEAKERS

DOLBY ATMOS SPEAKERS

In a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X system based in the Home Theatre, in-ceiling speakers are ideal for overhead sound effects. But there’s an alternative if you aren’t able to install speakers in your ceiling. Atmos enabled speakers reflect sound off your ceiling to reproduce overhead effects — these are also a good choice for adding an additional layer of sound to your system.

+VIEW IN-WALL / IN-CEILING
+VIEW ATMOS MODULES

OUTDOOR SPEAKERS

We have seen a massive up-swing in this type of speaker. Perfect to add music to your garden, deck, patio, or pool area. They are weather-resistant outdoor speakers that give you lots of ways to enjoy your music in the great outdoors. If you only have room for one outdoor speaker, a stereo-input speaker gives you two-channel sound from a single speaker. Rock speakers blend into the scenery, and there are even outdoor subwoofers to round out the bass. The Definitive Technology AW6500 is the anywhere speaker and a popular choice in white or black.

+VIEW OUTDOOR SPEAKERS

Rapallo | Speakers 101

Powered speakers are speakers with built-in amplification, they have an amplifier and will usually require a power source. Years ago, just about all home speakers needed a separate amplifier. Now, there are plenty of speakers that have an amp built in.

POWERED SPEAKERS

Powered stereo speakers have built-in amplification, and typically use an included cable to connect the left and right channels together. They offer one big benefit that a single speaker can’t, stereo separation. Two well-spaced speakers can make you feel like you’re sitting in front of a live musical performance. Most models have inputs for a CD player or other music sources and some even offer Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth, and turntable support. The Klipsch The Fives powered bookshelf speakers are powered stereo speakers feature built-in amplification and ARC support, perfect for a combo with a TV or a UST projector.

+VIEW POWERED SPEAKERS

SOUNDBARS

Sound bars are an easy way to improve the sound quality of TV shows, video games, and movies. Cause let’s face it, most modern TV’s have terrible sound. Soundbars increase the volume range of your TV and make dialogue clearer and easier to understand which as you age is important. Many sound bars include a wireless subwoofer for improved bass. Some also have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for wireless music streaming. Choices range from compact models to large, powerful systems that can simulate surround sound. Most sound bars can be wall-mounted for a small-footprint sound system. The Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ is a great high end option for a real upgrade on your TV sound.

+VIEW SOUNDBARS

POWERED SUBWOOFERS

Powered subwoofers add impactful bass to music and movie soundtracks, its that low rumble that fills in the sound. They connect to your receiver or amplifier via a subwoofer cable and connect to a wall outlet for power. A great way to improve both passive and powered speakers is to add a powered sub to complement them. Sometimes space is an issue, so you can go for an on-wall mounted subwoofer (some will even fit under your seat) or in-wall mounted subwoofers, so only a grille shows in the room. The bass from a powered subwoofer is an essential part of the home theatre experience and one that makes more breaks a soundtrack. We can’t go past the SVS range of subwoofers.

+VIEW SUBWOOFERS

PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

Want a portable music system that you can take anywhere? Bluetooth speakers have built-in rechargeable batteries, and stream tunes from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. There are tiny ones that clip to your backpack. And there are big, beefy ones made for hanging out at the beach or at the campground. Bluetooth speakers are an easy way to enjoy music anywhere you go.

+VIEW PORTABLE SPEAKERS

WIRELESS HOME SPEAKERS

Wireless speakers stream music through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and many (such as Audio Pro or Bluesound) offer app control for switching sources, picking songs, and adjusting volume. Some can even be controlled by your voice. Wireless speakers have stronger amplification and larger drivers than most portable Bluetooth speakers. Some models can run on rechargeable batteries, but most are designed to plug in and stay put like the Denon Home 250. Wireless home speakers give you access to a huge selection of music in any room of the house.

+VIEW WIRELESS HOME SPEAKERS

Rapallo | Speakers 101

If you have passive speakers, then you will need some form of amplification as they don’t have built-in amplification. So you’ll use / need an external amplifier to power them. The type of amp you need depends on your application. So lets see what types of amps are available. Turn it up!

STEREO RECEIVERS

Stereo receivers are an excellent way to power a pair of speakers for music. They combine a radio tuner, two-channel power amplifier and a preamp section for control over source selection, volume, tone, and balance. The Marantz NR1200 Stereo Receiver offers a tuner, amplification, and source control in a single component.

+VIEW STEREO RECEIVERS

INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER

Integrated amplifiers are like stereo receivers, but with no tuner. They typically offer better internal construction and use more robust power supplies than stereo receivers.  Integrated amps combine an amp and preamp section together for pristine music playback, a good example is the Denon PMA-1600NE.

+VIEW INTEGRATED AMPLIFIERS

PREAMPLIFIERS & POWER AMPLIFIERS

Want the best possible sound from your speakers? Go with a separate preamp and power amp for an amazing performance and a big jump in sound quality. A separates-based system gives you long-term flexibility, so you can upgrade your stereo or home theatre preamp for the latest feature set while keeping the same power amp in your system for many years. The Cambridge Audio EDGE NQ preamp and Cambridge Audio EDGE W power amplifier allow you to pair a high-quality preamp with a robust power amp for an exceptional listening experience.

+VIEW POWER AMPLIFIERS
+VIEW PREAMPLIFIERS

AV RECEIVER / AMPLIFIER

A home theatre receiver (AVR) powers five or more speakers for enveloping surround sound while also providing connections for your A/V gear. They are the sound and visual hub of the home theatre and provide control over the sources and sound. Home theatre receivers provide A/V processing and amplification for surround sound systems, and the Marantz SR7015 is a great example that has features to burn.

+VIEW AV RECEIVERS

SPEAKER CABLE

Passive speakers use speaker wire to connect to their source of amplification, and quality speaker cable is important. Too often we see incorrect gauge or small cables connecting speakers which leads to bad sound. Our speaker cable section has many well respected products for your next project.

+VIEW SPEAKER CABLE

POWER PROTECTION

Keep your gear protected where ever you have it installed. We recommend using power protection with virtually all home electronics, but especially with amplifiers, TVs, computers, and gaming systems, for us Isotek is the go-to. Our team do a lot of insurance estimate replacing gear that has been “zapped”, so don’t disregard it as an option.

+VIEW POWER PROTECTION

We hope that helped fill in some blanks. It was a pretty quick overview so remember expert help is a call or click away. Have questions about choosing the right speakers? Contact one of the Rapallo team and don’t forget, there is free lifetime tech support included with your purchase from Rapallo.

Have a great week.

Deano / Bensan / Tokorua / Simon.

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