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A Guide to Speakers for Installers

Speakers are an essential component of any audio system, whether it’s needed for listening to music, watching movies or entertaining guests. But with so many different types of speakers for residential and commercial applications, it can be difficult to determine which ones are right for your customers. This guide will explore the different types of speakers, important speaker specs, the necessary accessories and more.

Types of Speakers


Floor-standing speakers, also known as tower speakers, offer high-performance sound and more bass compared to other speakers since they are designed with multiple speaker drivers. These speakers are more ideal for rooms with a sizable space that will help the speaker create a balanced sound throughout the room. Floor-standing speakers are very versatile devices that come in various designs, aesthetics and speaker drivers.

Living rooms, home theaters, music rooms, gaming rooms

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Bookshelf speakers are well-rounded devices that offer a proportional balance of reliable sound quality and performance, while being portable and affordable. These speakers are perfect for customers who want to elevate their sound for casual activities such as listening to music or watching movies. Bookshelf speakers are best suited for small to medium-sized rooms in a home.

Living rooms, home theaters, music rooms, gaming rooms, bedrooms

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Soundbars are specifically designed to enhance the sound produced from TVs to provide a more immersive audio experience. They can be installed under or above the TV and offer various connectivity options, including HDMI, optical audio input, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Living rooms, home theaters

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Subwoofers are designed to deepen low frequencies, or bass, in a sound system. There are two types of subwoofers: active and passive. Active, or powered subwoofers, have a built-in amplifier and they’re typically easier to install. On the other hand, passive subwoofers need an external amplifier to power the subwoofer driver. Keep in mind that amplifier power rating should match the subwoofer’s rating to ensure high-performance and to avoid sound distortion.

Living rooms, home theaters, music rooms

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Smart speakers

Smart speakers can be used for a wide range of purposes, including listening to music, getting quick information and controlling other smart home devices. While these speakers aren’t designed to enhance sound for movies and streaming, they can be very convenient and helpful for your customers to use for daily activities.  

Living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, offices

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In-wall and in-ceiling

In-wall and in-ceiling speakers offer a seamless solution to customers who prefer a minimalistic design in their home. While they offer reliable sound, it’s recommended that these speakers are installed with a separate subwoofer to ensure a full range of audio. Both in-wall and in-ceiling speakers come in different types such as two-way and three-way models.

Living rooms, home theaters

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Outdoor speakers make a great addition to any residential home to entertain guests for family gatherings, parties and other outdoor activities. There are two types of outdoor speakers: in-ground and surface mount. In-ground speakers are installed in the ground and not visible, while surface-mount speakers are mounted on the wall or ceiling. Most outdoor speakers are weather-resistant to ensure their longevity and durability.

Backyards, pools, gardens

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Receivers and Amplifiers



Receivers play a crucial role in managing and processing audio and video signals in any sound system. Receivers feature multiple audio and video inputs and outputs that allow people to connect various devices to them. These devices also offer multiple video processing features to enhance the video quality, while providing a range of audio input options including HDMI, optical, coaxial, analog RCA and more.

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Amplifiers are designed to increase an audio or radio frequency signal. Amplifiers have a gain factor that represents how much they increase the input signal’s amplitude, which is expressed in decibels.

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Important Speaker Specs 

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Fequency Response

Frequency response is measured in hertz (HZ) and it determines how well a speaker can reproduce different frequencies of a sound. Frequency response can be affected by various factors, including the size and type of speaker driver, the crossover network and the cabinet design. As an installer, it’s important to take note of the frequency response of a speaker to ensure your customers’ speaker setup will produce natural, high-quality sound.

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Ohms are used to measure how much resistance a speaker has to the flow of electricity – the higher the ohms, the more resistance the speaker has. Knowing the ohm rating of a speaker is important because you’ll need to ensure the rating of the speaker matches with the amplifier you’re pairing it with. If the speaker has a higher ohm rating than the amplifier, the speaker will not receive enough power and it will output under-performing or even distorted sound.

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The coverage angle of a speaker is the angle at which the speaker can produce sound at a given level. The coverage angle is affected by several factors, including the type of speaker, the size and type of driver and the crossover network. It’s important to determine the coverage angle of a speaker so you’ll know how the sound will be distributed in a room.

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Maximum Sound
Pressure Level (SPL)

Maximum SPL is classified in decibels (dB) and measures the highest sound level a speaker can produce without audio distorting. Maximum SPL is determined by a few factors: the speaker's overall design, driver size, power handling and enclosure type. When you're deciding what speaker you should install for your customers, be sure to consider the acoustics of the installation space such as the room size and sound reflections. These factors will immensely help you determine what speaker is best for certain types of applications.

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Power handling

Power handling ratings are expressed in watts (W) and indicate the maximum electrical power a speaker and other audio equipment can handle. Power handling ratings have two specifications installers should know about: continuous power handling and peak power handling. When installing an audio setup, it's extremely important to match the power handling ratings with each piece of equipment to prevent damage, poor audio quality, distortion and overheating.


Speaker accessories

Speaker accessories

Pair your customers’ speakers with the essential accessories for a complete setup. From mounts to stands and speaker snaps, ADI has everything you need to get the job done.

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Speaker wire and cable

Be sure to shop all the essential wire and cables you need for your next installation.

Residential audio cables

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Commercial audio cables

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Services and Support

Outdoor Speakers Features 

Learn about the different types of all-weather speakers and what to consider when installing them in backyards and outdoor spaces.

Read More

Multi-Room Audio Systems 

Customers are increasingly interested in having multi-room audio in their homes. Read about what multi-room audio is and how these systems work. 

Read More

Herman Integration Services 

Subcontract your AV labor to take on more projects and grow your business with Herman Integration Services. Herman’s technicians and support staff and install your next projector project, provide pre- and post-sales support, program devices and troubleshoot. 

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Project Registration

Register your project with ADI for free and offer your customers the best price for top-performing products and solutions. Get in touch with our Project Registration team today by filling out a short form. 

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