There are a dizzying number of choices these days for audio speakers, receivers, and other such a/v equipment. It’s understandably tough to pick the right product, especially so for those who aren’t experienced audiophiles.
The truth is that picking the right product, unless you’re paying for consultation from an expert perhaps, is going to require some diligence – understanding what you actually need equipment and spec wise, then finding products that can deliver on said specs.
That said, there’s at least one simple and easy way to filter out good products: go with a reputable company. There are many established manufacturers, and there wares are often just as well priced as seemingly competitive off brands. We’d also seen in reviewing many, many audio products that good companies tend to specialize in different things: High fidelity, aesthetics, modest prices, etc.
Here’s a running list (in alphabetical order) of our favorite audio companies and brands of speaker manufacturers and why so specifically:
Bose – why: they get kind of a bad rap for being overpriced, but, they have a lot of really nice looking, well built, and easy to set up speakers and other products that are a good choice for a lot of people.
Dayton Audio – why: great builds and great specs for modest prices. If you want great sounding speakers that are not all that expensive, hard to go wrong with these guys.
Definitive Technology – why: great builds that look particularly slick, and great specs that specialize in strong bass, all at competitive prices.
Edifier – why: they make a lot of different kinds of of really good bookshelf speakers that cater to just about every thinkable need: inexpensive and easy to set up, good power at a value, whatever.
ION Audio – why: they filled a gap with making really nice portable all-weather speakers that are on par with wired outdoor speakers, whereas most portable speakers are small hand-held units that don’t come close to box speakers.
Klipsch – why: excellent value per dollar spent, and some of the best and most powerful non-commercial grade speakers available on the market.
Onkyo – why: they make a lot of HiFi stereo receivers that aren’t exorbitantly expensive, which they tend to get.
OSD Audio – why: a wide range of products at great prices for the specs. They also have certain specialty designs that are hard to find elsewhere, such as ported outdoor loudspeakers.
Polk Audio – why: they were one of the pioneers of affordable HiFi home theater, and continue to make several great loudspeakers at some of the most competitive prices. They also sport some pretty slick designs too, which is nice because aesthetics tend to be reserved for the higher end stuff.
Sony – why: we all know one of the most recognizieable electronic companies in the world, but specifically with audio, they make a lot of great higher end receivers with a lot of channels that aren’t exorbitantly expensive, which they tend to get.
TIC – why: they actually solely produce outdoor/all-weather equipment, specializing in a seemingly small niche. Great products at solid prices where overall selection is limited, such as powered/active outdoor bookshelf speakers or on-ground omnidirectional speakers
Yamaha – why: also a well known company, but, specifically with audio, they make some of the lowest priced speakers and receivers that still have solid builds and specs. If you’re looking to make a system on a budget, chances are at least one piece of it will wind up being from these guys.