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Audio Systems 

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Audio Systems: specifications, types


Music centre. Music centers are stationary audio systems, including a player, amplifier and acoustics; their distinctive feature is the speakers, made separately from the main unit. Some models may have mounts for installing speakers on the main unit, but these mounts are quick-release, and the length of the wires allows you to place acoustics separately.

Minisystem. Minisystems are relatively small devices made in...one-piece cases; despite their small size, they are usually designed for stationary use, although they may have self-contained power supplies (see below). The functionality of mini-systems can be different: some models, in fact, are speakers with slightly enhanced capabilities, in others these capabilities can be comparable to full-fledged music centers and even have wireless charging.

Tape recorder. The radio tape recorders have a distinctive design reminiscent of cassette recorders; and some of them are even capable of handling cassettes, see "Media". Like the music centers described above, such devices have everything you need for listening — a player, amplifier and acoustics; however, the speakers are made non-removable, and the functionality of radio tape recorders is usually more modest. On the other hand, such models are suitable for carrying and can even be used to play music on the go — the almost mandatory features of radio tape recorders are the presence of a handle for transportation and the possibility of autonomous power supply (see below) from replaceable batteries.

— Floor system. The purpose of audio systems of this type is already clear from the name: they were originally designed to be installed on the floor. Such an installation allows you to create fairly large devices with powerful acoustics; in fact, most floorstanding audio systems are actually a set of speakers with a built-in player. However, there are also quite compact models of this type that allow desktop or wall mounting with the stand detached.

Party. Audio systems for organizing incendiary musical parties with friends and relatives. Such models are able to sound a vast space both indoors and on the street dance floor. Often, party audio systems are complemented by built-in lighting effects to create a disco atmosphere, and microphones can also be connected to them, which karaoke lovers will appreciate. Alternative names for such audio systems are Party-column or PartyBox.

For musicians. Advanced speakers with good sound quality, especially for musicians who give performances on the street or participate in outdoor events. Such models are not intended for full-fledged concerts, but rather for "live" performances in public places. Audio systems often involve the ability to connect musical instruments, and they are often equipped with a suitcase-type handle for easy portability of equipment.

— Smart speaker. Audio systems in the form of relatively small single speakers with "smart" control electronics. For such devices, four key features can be distinguished: Internet connection (usually via Wi-Fi), synchronization with a smartphone or tablet (usually the same), support for voice commands and advanced functionality. In fact, smart speakers are not classic audio systems, but universal “helpers” with speakers for playing music; and the possibilities of voice control in them go far beyond the "musical" functions. So, many models allow you to set a timer or alarm clock on your smartphone, control smart home components, get help on a variety of requests, etc. At the same time, contextual command recognition is often supported, with the ability to process complex queries like “put the group that I listened to yesterday in the evening".

Number of channels

The maximum number of audio channels that the audio system can reproduce through its own acoustics.

1.0. One channel of audio allows only monophonic sound — enough to hear the sound, but not providing a surround effect. The advantage of this option is compactness, because For normal operation, it is enough to equip the device with one speaker. The single-channel format is found mainly in inexpensive models, as well as in the most compact audio systems..., where small size is more important than "fancy" sound.

2.0. Two channels is the minimum required to play stereo sound. This format already allows you to achieve a sense of spaciousness without requiring too many speakers and complicating the entire system. Therefore, he is very popular.

2.1. Modification of the 2.0 format described above, supplemented by a subwoofer — a specialized speaker for low frequencies. The use of a subwoofer improves sound quality by delivering rich bass sound.

2.2. A further extension of the 2.1 format described above, providing for the presence of two subwoofers — this improves the reliability of the transmission of low frequencies.

— 3.1. An extended version of the 2.1 standard, in which two classic stereo speakers are complemented not only by a subwoofer, but also by a third, centre speaker. This allows you to improve the sound quality — in particular, due to a richer surround sound.

Note that 2.0 models that do not have their own subwoofer may be equipped with a subwoofer output (see below).


Built-in memory. Own memory allows you to store and play music and other content directly through the audio system, without the use of external media (which can be damaged or lost). Such memory can be based on hard drives or SSD modules; the first option provides good capacity at a low cost, the second one is faster and more reliable.

USB port. A classic USB port, which in this case is usually used for flash drives, ex...ternal hard drives, or other devices with a mass storage function, such as miniature audio players. USB functionality includes at least direct playback, but other options may be provided, such as file sharing with built-in memory (see above). In addition, if necessary, a connected device (for example, the same pocket player) can also be charged through this port.

Card Reader. Device for reading information from memory cards; such carriers are very popular in modern electronics. Most often, card readers are designed for various versions of SD or microSD cards, but other options may occur; this point in each case should be clarified separately. The purpose of this function is very similar to the USB port described above: it is primarily used for direct playback, but other functions may occur.

CD. The presence of a CD drive means at least the ability to work with discs recorded in the CD Audio format (up to 74 minutes of high-quality sound, divided into tracks). In addition, modern audio systems often provide support for discs with MP3 files; in this format, you can fit a whole collection of albums on one disc, but the sound quality is lower.

DVD. Ability to work with DVD optical discs. These discs are much more capacious than CDs, which allows you to record not only music in high quality, but also movies; in fact, most often DVDs are used precisely as media for storing video. This standard is also gradually being replaced by more modern media, but it is still very far from the final "death". Note that DVD drives are also compatible with CDs, but not vice versa.

— Blu-ray. A high-capacity optical disc format that emerged as a standard for storing high-definition video with multi-channel audio (DVD's capabilities were no longer sufficient for such volumes of data). Blu-ray discs are almost never used for audio content. Because of this, and also for a number of other technical reasons, support for such media is extremely rare in audio systems.

— Vinyl records. Built-in player for playing music from vinyl records. Technically, such media are completely obsolete, but they still have a lot of loyal fans. In addition, quite a few audio systems with this feature support recording to USB (see "Advanced"); this can be useful for owners of "vinyl" who want to transfer their record libraries to more modern media.

In addition to those described above, other types of media may be provided in modern audio systems. For example, some models are equipped with USB type B inputs, thanks to which they can connect to a computer via a USB connector and work as computer acoustics with advanced features (such as copying music from a PC to external media or vice versa).

Cassette deck

The type of cassette deck provided in the audio system.

The cassette deck is a device for playing magnetic audio cassettes. This type of media is considered completely obsolete, but some users still have quite a significant stock of such cassettes. Thus, some audio systems are still equipped with this feature, but nowadays decks are usually single cassette; two-cassette solutions, which allow you to transfer music from cassette to cassette, have practica...lly fallen into disuse.

Tuner type

The type of tuner installed in the audio system. In this case, the type refers solely to the way of setting; for digital broadcasting, see "Tuner bands".

— Analogue. Tuning to the desired frequency in such tuners is carried out mechanically, usually using a wheel and a scale with a slider. Analogue receivers are simpler and cheaper than digital ones, but they are less accurate — you can only approximately set the frequency with such control. This can make it difficult to tune in with n...umerous stations in a small frequency range (especially for FM broadcasts in large cities). In addition, these tuners "do not know how" to memorize stations. Therefore, analogue modules are used relatively rarely; they are mainly equipped with low-cost audio systems, as well as devices in the “retro” style, where a mechanical scale and a tuning knob are mandatory design elements.

— Digital. The direct tuning of the tuner in such models is performed by an electronic circuit; the user only sets the required frequency by giving commands to the electronics using buttons, a rotary wheel or other control element. Digital tuners are more advanced than analogue tuners, they are more accurate in tuning and can support various additional features — station memory (see below), automatic search, etc.

Tuner bands

Radio bands accepted by the music centre tuner. To date, the most common support for such ranges:

— FM. Part of the ultra-short wave (VHF) band between 87.5 MHz and 108 MHz. It uses frequency modulation, which allows you to broadcast music in stereo with a fairly high sound quality, as well as transmit RDS signals (see RDS). At the moment, most music radio stations in the CIS broadcast in this range, as a result of which FM is supported in the vast majority of audio systems. The disadv...antage of this option is the limited reception area — a maximum of several tens of kilometers from the transmitter — so FM broadcasts can usually be listened to within the same city and surrounding areas.

— AM (from the English amplitude modulation — amplitude modulation) — broadcasting using amplitude modulation. Usually this term means broadcasting on medium waves in the range of 520-1610 kHz; most consumer AM receivers are designed for these same frequencies. The reception range of AM stations can be hundreds of kilometers, but the sound quality is lower than on FM, so this format is broadcast mainly by “talk” and news radio stations.

— VHF. In this case, the sub-band 65.9-74 MHz is meant, using the so-called OIRT modulation. In this format, VHF broadcasting was originally conducted in the countries of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but at the moment it is not very popular due to the development of FM. VHF is technically similar to FM (see above), the main differences are the occupied frequency band and the inability to transmit RDS signals in VHF (see RDS).

— DAB+. DAB is an abbreviation for Digital Audio Broadcasting, i.e. "digital broadcasting"; and "+" means an improved version of this standard. Formally, DAB + is not only a range, but also a signal transmission format: unlike all the options described above, it, as the name implies, is digital. This gives a number of advantages over traditional transmitters — in particular, a greater range with less power and high quality of the broadcast sound. In addition, this sound is practically not subject to distortion: weak interference does not affect its quality, and when the transmitter power is critically reduced, the signal is not distorted, but disappears entirely. The latter, however, can be written down as disadvantages; but the really significant drawback of this option is perhaps its low prevalence (so far) in the CIS countries. Technically, such broadcasting can be carried out in any band above 30 MHz, but in fact several options are used (depending on the country) related to the VHF band. Note that DAB+ tuners are capable of receiving original DAB radio broadcasts, but not vice versa.
Number of channels
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