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Audio Systems 

Audio Systems: specifications, types

Purpose

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 man...datory 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.

— Smart column. 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).

Carriers

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, external 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 practically 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 numerous 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 disadvantage 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.

Tuner memory

The number of radio stations that can be stored in the tuner's memory.

By itself, the memory greatly simplifies the work with the tuner. Instead of having to manually search for your favorite stations each time, it is enough to “remember” them and in the future simply select the desired wave from the list in the receiver’s memory. The number of memory cells in modern audio systems can reach several tens; this will be especially useful for residents of metropolitan areas, where there are many stations on the air, as well as for those who often have to travel and tune the receiver to local frequencies.

Radio Data System (RDS)

Tuner support for Radio Data System technology. This technology is used mainly in the FM band; it allows, in addition to the sound signal, to transmit additional textual information by radio — for example, the names of broadcast compositions, announcements, advertising messages, etc. For RDS-enabled audio systems, this information is shown on the display.

System power

The total sound power provided by the audio system at maximum volume, in other words, the total power of all the speakers provided by the device (including the subwoofer).

The higher the power, the louder the system will sound and the larger the area it can cover. On the other hand, high power significantly affects the price, dimensions, weight and power consumption of the device. In addition, when evaluating and comparing according to this indicator, it is worth considering some nuances. Firstly, some manufacturers go to the trick and give in the characteristics not the average, but the peak sound power; such numbers can be quite impressive, but they have very little to do with real loudness. So if it seems to you that the claimed power is too high, it's ok to clarify what exactly is meant in this case. Secondly, when comparing, it is worth considering the presence of a subwoofer — it plays an auxiliary role, but it can account for more than half of the total system power. Because of this, for equal total power, a device with a subwoofer may be quieter than a model without a subwoofer: for example, a 2.0 40W system will have 20W per main channel, while a 2.1 40W model may have 20W per subwoofer, and only 10 watts for the main speakers.

Power per channel

Nominal sound power (see "System power") on each of the main channels of the audio system. This indicator is most often indicated in models with a subwoofer (see "Number of channels"); knowing it, you can estimate the power distribution between the main speakers and the subwoofer.

Subwoofer power

The subwoofer power rating is a bass driver used in 2.1 and 3.1 systems (see "Number of Channels"). For rated power in general, see "System Power"; and in the case of a subwoofer, this indicator allows you to evaluate the volume and richness of the bass produced by the audio system, as well as the ratio between the power of the main channels and the “subwoofer”).

Number of lanes

The number of distinct frequency ranges (bands) into which sound is divided when played through the acoustics of an audio system. For each such band, a separate speaker is provided, and sometimes several.

The simplest option provides 1 lane; it is very popular in modern audio systems, because. requires a minimum number of speakers, and the sound quality can be quite good. More advanced options provide 2-3 bands (low and high frequencies, or bass, treble and medium), and in high-end models, the number of bands can be up to five. Note that, in addition to integers, models are also produced with a fractional number of stripes — for example, 2.5 or 3.5. This marking indicates the presence in the design of a speaker responsible for two bands at once: for example, model 2.5 has separate speakers for bass and treble plus a combined bass + midrange (similar in design to bass, but also loaded with mid frequencies).

Anyway, the abundance of bands, usually, indicates a high class of acoustics: the more separate frequency ranges, the narrower the specialization of each speaker, the more accurately it is able to reproduce its part of the signal, and the more complex the system is.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity determines the intensity of the acoustics response to a signal of a certain level; Simply put, the higher this figure, the higher the volume of the speaker system will be at the same signal level. Note that in the case of audio systems, this parameter plays a secondary role: it is important for selecting acoustics for an amplifier, and here both of these components are in most cases optimally matched by the manufacturer to each other.

Impedance

The term "impedance" refers to the resistance of a speaker system to alternating current. Note that in the case of audio systems, this parameter plays a secondary role: it is important for selecting acoustics for an amplifier, and here both of these components are in most cases optimally matched by the manufacturer to each other. Therefore, in fact, information about the impedance can be useful only when looking for speakers to replace the complete ones: it is highly desirable that the new acoustics have the same impedance as the standard ones.

Frequency range

The total frequency range reproduced by the acoustics of an audio system. Measured from the lower threshold of the lowest frequency speaker to the upper threshold of the highest frequency: for example, in a 2.1 system with main speakers at 100 – 22000 Hz and a subwoofer at 20 – 150 Hz, the total value will be 20 – 22000 Hz.

In general, the wider the frequency range, the fuller the reproduced sound will be, the less low and high frequencies will be lost due to insufficient acoustic capabilities. On the other hand, do not forget that the actual sound quality also depends on a number of other parameters — primarily the frequency response. In addition, human audible frequencies range from 16 Hz to 22 kHz; deviations from these values are very small, and the upper limit also decreases with age. Therefore, from a practical point of view, it does not make sense to provide too large a frequency range; and impressive performances like 10 – 50000 Hz, found in top-class models, are usually more of a kind of "side effect" of high-quality speakers (and at the same time — a marketing ploy) than a really significant moment.

Phase inverter

The phase inverter is a tube installed in the column housing and having an outlet to the surrounding space. The length of the tube is chosen so that a signal comes out of the outlet, inverted in phase relative to the signal from the front of the diffuser. This enhances the sound pressure and improves the sound of the speakers, including at low frequencies. Note that such audio systems should be placed at a certain distance from walls, furniture, etc. — otherwise, a hum may occur due to the movement of air through the phase inverter tube.

A similar function in some models is performed by a passive radiator (see below).

Passive emitter

A passive radiator can be simply described as a low-frequency speaker that does not have its own reproducing system (coil with magnet). It is driven by pressure fluctuations created by active drivers and acts as a resonator to deliver deep, rich bass—especially useful for systems that do not include a subwoofer. At the same time, unlike phase inverters, passive radiators do not generate additional noise.

Equalizer

The presence of an equalizer function in the audio system.

Equalizer allows you to change the timbre of the sound by adjusting the volume for individual frequency bands. The simplest version of this adjustment provides 2 bands (high and low frequencies), but most often there are more bands. Anyway, the equalizer can be useful both for fine-tuning the sound to your own preferences, and for compensating for the shortcomings of external or standard acoustics, connected headphones, etc. - for example, if the speakers "fail" certain frequency bands. In addition, many audio systems have a set of equalizer presets (presets), usually designed for different styles of music - "Classic", "Rock", "Pop", etc. You may also be able to create and edit your own presets.

Bass Boost

Bass boost function for powerful and rich bass. Often implemented as a single button, with which you can actually "turn the bass on and off." This is more convenient than adjusting the low frequencies using the equalizer; in addition, various special technologies can be used to enhance the bass.

Interfaces

Airplay. AirPlay technology was developed by Apple. It is based on Wi-Fi and is used to wirelessly broadcast content from Apple devices to external audio systems. Thus, this function is useful for those who want to connect an iPhone or iPod touch to the audio system, but do not want to fiddle with wires; however, it is possible to connect via AirPlay and other devices — for example, a PC with iTunes and a Wi-Fi module installed.

Airplay 2. The second generation of the AirPlay technology described above, introduced in 2018. Among the main innovations of this version is support for the "multi-room" format, that is, the simultaneous transmission of several audio signals to different compatible devices installed in different places. In this way, you can, for example, turn on the radio broadcast of a news program in the living room, relax music in the bedroom, etc. In addition, AirPlay 2 received a number of other improvements — improved buffering, the ability to stream broadcast to stereo speakers, as well as support for voice control through Siri.

Chromecast. The original name is Google Cast. A technology for broadcasting content to external devices developed by Google. Allows you to transmit an audio signal from a PC or mobile device to the audio system, broadcasting is standardly carried out via Wi-Fi, while the receiver and signal source must be in the s...ame Wi-Fi network (Chromecast media players are an exception). Note that in signal sources (smartphones, tablets, PCs, etc.), Chromecast is implemented at the level of individual applications. For example, at the time of its creation, this feature was available, among others, in the YouTube and Netflix apps for Android and iOS, as well as in the web versions of these apps for Chrome. Thanks to this format, this technology is extremely widespread nowadays, and the ability to connect a particular gadget to an audio system with a Chromecast is usually limited to the ability to install appropriate applications on this gadget.

— DLNA. DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a standard that allows you to combine various types of home electronics and home appliances into a single network for content sharing and management. In the case of audio systems, DLNA can be used, for example, to play music from a computer disk connected to such a network, broadcast sound to a device installed in another room (for example, an amplifier), etc. Connection to DLNA can be carried out both wired and wirelessly (according to the Wi-Fi standard), and the compatibility of devices does not depend on their manufacturers — the only condition is compliance with the DLNA standard.

-LAN. Standard interface for wired connection to local computer networks based on RJ-45 connector. Its presence allows you to use various network features such as Internet radio (see "Advanced") or DLNA (see above). Compared to another network interface — Wi-Fi — LAN is less convenient due to the presence of wires, but it is more reliable and provides a higher actual data transfer rate.

Wi-Fi. The presence of a Wi-Fi wireless module in the design of the audio system. This technology is used both in computer networks and for direct connection of various devices with each other; its "range" is enough to work within residential premises, even through walls. In this case, Wi-Fi can be used to work with network features such as Internet radio or DLNA(see above). At the same time, this option is more convenient than wired LAN, due to the absence of actual wires. In addition, support for this technology is a prerequisite for using the AirPlay and Chromecast features (see above); and in some devices, Wi-Fi even allows you to connect smartphones, tablets and other gadgets as remote controls.

Bluetooth. Direct wireless communication technology between different devices. One of the most popular ways to use Bluetooth in audio systems is to work with an audio signal, primarily broadcasting sound to wireless headphones or speakers; and some models also provide the ability to connect a smartphone, tablet or other device and use the audio system as an external Bluetooth speaker. However note that initially Bluetooth is noticeably inferior to a wired connection in terms of sound quality; however, nowadays, this shortcoming is often compensated by the use of one or another version of the aptX codec(see below).
In addition, other options for using Bluetooth may be provided — for example, file sharing between the built-in memory and the same smartphone, or remote control via an application. They are not mandatory for modern audio systems, but with the development of technology they are becoming more common.

— Support for aptX. Support for audio system aptX — a codec designed to improve the quality of sound transmitted via Bluetooth. Accordingly, this function automatically means the presence of a built-in Bluetooth module (see above). The need to use special technologies is due to the fact that in the original Bluetooth format compresses the audio signal very strongly, which significantly affects the final sound quality. aptX technology is designed to remedy the situation: according to the creators, it provides sound purity, "comparable to Audio CD (16-bit / 44.1kHz)" and almost as good as a wired connection. This is often enough even for comfortable listening to lossless formats, not to mention MP3 and other popular compressed formats. Of course, in order to use aptX, the signal source must also support it.

— Support for aptX HD. Support for the aptX HD codec by the audio system, an improved and updated version of the aptX described above. This version claims sound clarity comparable to Hi-Res (24-bit/48kHz) audio material; this allows you to comfortably listen not only to MP3, but also to lossless formats and even uncompressed audio materials. On the other hand, aptX HD support is quite expensive, and its advantages over the original aptX become noticeable only on very high-quality audio materials, for which consumer audio systems are rarely used. Therefore, this function has not received much distribution.

— Network audio streaming. The ability of the audio system to work with network streaming (streaming) audio services like Deezer, Spotify, Tidal, etc. Such services are designed to broadcast content (in this case, mostly music) over the Internet; in this case, the files being played are not stored in the audio system, but are played directly from the corresponding resource on the World Wide Web. Nowadays, there are many streaming services that differ in the range of music and access conditions; a specific list of supported services should be specified separately. However, anyway, the main advantages of online streaming can be called an extensive selection of content and almost instant access to the desired composition; some services can also act as a radio, automatically selecting music according to the manufacturer's preferences.

— Speakerphone. Ability to use the device as a hands-free system for a mobile phone. In this mode, the audio system is connected to the device, most often via Bluetooth (see above), and the voice of the subscriber at the other end of the line is output not to the phone, but to the speakers of the audio system. This is often more comfortable than holding the phone to your ear; in addition, the speakerphone is useful if several people need to participate in a conversation.

— NFC chip. NFC is a short-range wireless technology (about 10 cm). In audio systems, NFC is mainly used to facilitate communication using the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth standard (see above). With this chip, you can simply bring an external NFC-compatible device to the audio system and confirm the connection — it's easier than manually configuring settings.

— Docking station for Android. The presence of a docking station for connecting portable electronics (primarily smartphones) based on the Android operating system. In fact, the dock is a socket-stand, supplemented with a special plug; thanks to this, it not only provides a connection, but also allows you to install an external device directly on the audio system, which is quite convenient. Also note that such a connection often provides additional features — for example, controlling the player on a smartphone from the audio system remote control. However, when choosing a model with this function, note that Android devices are very numerous and diverse; in fact, this means that before buying it makes sense to make sure that your gadget is compatible with the audio system.

IPhone / iPod Dock

Type of docking station for connecting Apple gadgets to the audio system — primarily iPhone smartphones and iPod touch players.

By itself, the dock is a special socket with a connector in which you can install a mobile phone (or other gadget), thus connecting it to the acoustics. This is often easier and more convenient than using a cable, and it also allows you to use various additional features — for example, control the player on a smartphone through the remote control of the audio system.

As for the type of docking station, in this case it is indicated by the type of connector used for connection. It is worth noting here that since 2012, only the 8-pin (Lightning) interface has been installed in Apple portable gadgets, and docks are made for it in all modern audio systems. The earlier 30-pin connector is found only in older models; there are also devices that support both interfaces at once.

More features

Omnidirectional sound. As the name implies, audio systems with this feature radiate sound evenly in all directions, covering a space of 360°. Thus, the device can be installed in the centre of the room and evenly “fill” it with sound, which will be clearly perceived at any point. On the other hand, an omnidirectional system usually sounds 1.0 (mono); the design may include various tricks to ensure surround sound, but these still in most cases do not reach full stereo.

Voice assistant. Audio support for voice assistant. The most popular nowadays are such assistants: However, other solutions are also possible. Anyway, it is worth noting that this is not about the function of the audio system itself, but about compatibility with smartphones, tablets and other gadgets that have their own voice assistants. Thus, to use the voice assistant, you will have to connect the audio system to an external device. On the other hand, the capabilities of such assistants are usually more extensive than those of built-in voice control systems(see below); advanced features are often supported, such as natural speech recognition with complex queries (“Play the last album of the band …...that I listened to”), weather forecast, sports scores, etc. Of course, the specific set of supported commands and languages \u200b\u200bcan be different — depending on the voice assistant and its version.

— Voice control. A feature that is virtually mandatory for smart speakers (see "Intended Use") and hardly found in other types of audio systems. As the name implies, this control allows you to control the device using voice commands. It differs from the voice assistant (see the relevant paragraph) in that in this case we are talking about the simplest commands related to the main functionality of the audio system — for example, "Stop", "Continue", "Next track", etc. It is worth having in mind that voice control is almost guaranteed to support English, but the ability to recognize other languages should be specified separately.

— Smartphone control. The ability to control the audio system from a smartphone, tablet or other gadget with a special application installed on it. Usually, the connection is made via Wi-Fi (see "Interfaces"). The convenience of this function lies not only in the fact that you can control the system from a distance — the application is often more convenient and provides more options than the controls on the radio itself.

— Multiroom support. Device support for Multiroom technology. This technology allows you to create a single wireless network in the house from several speakers located in different rooms, and simultaneously play music in all these rooms. The specific features of such networks in different models may be different, they should be specified separately. So, some devices use a Bluetooth connection, others use Wi-Fi (directly or via a local network). In some cases, the control speaker broadcasts sound to all the others, and the same music plays throughout the house, in others, the speakers are “equal”, and different tracks can be turned on simultaneously in different rooms. Some audio systems require an external sound source (smartphone, tablet, etc.), others are capable of playing the role of a player themselves, including for streaming Internet services.

— Synchronization of speakers. The model supports the ability to synchronize the operation of several speakers connected to one signal source. This solution allows you to realize truly stereo sound, improve the quality and power of sound reproduction, as well as expand the stereo panorama. The only thing is that both speakers must support the appropriate connection type. Different brands may have their own speaker interconnection technologies (JBL Connect, JBL PartyBoost, Sony Party Chain), or maybe a universal TWS.

— Karaoke. A popular entertainment that allows users to sing their favorite songs to the backing track (musical accompaniment with the original vocals cut out) — in such a way that the vocals superimposed on the backing track are played through the acoustics of the audio system. This feature requires at least one microphone input.

— Karaoke Mix. An extended version of karaoke (see above), which provides various additional features — for example, performance evaluation in points, singing competitions, etc. Usually, it allows you to connect two microphones already.

— Internet radio. Ability to listen to Internet radio stations on the audio system. In general, such broadcasting is similar to conventional broadcasting, however, it is carried out not through the radio, but through the World Wide Web, which provides some additional features. So, Internet broadcasting has no restrictions on the range and ranges, allows you to listen to programs from any country and in any language; and the list of broadcasters is extremely extensive, among them there are both traditional radio stations duplicating their programs on the Internet, and specific, purely network projects. The presence of this function assumes support for at least one network interface — Wi-Fi or LAN (see "Interfaces").

— Recording to a USB drive. The ability of the audio system to record to an external USB device — for example, a USB flash drive. In this way, you can record your favorite radio programs from a conventional tuner or Internet station (see above), copy music from optical discs, etc.; Specific USB recording capabilities vary by audio system model.

— Clock. Ordinary clock — a device for displaying time, most often in the form of numbers on the display. Sometimes these hours are the most convenient. In addition, this function is necessary for some other features — primarily the alarm clock (see below).

— Alarm. A classic alarm clock that sounds at a set time. It can be useful not only for wake-up calls, but also in other cases when you need to warn the user about the arrival of a certain time. A feature of this function in audio systems is that the inclusion of a specific radio station or musical composition can be used as a signal.

— Shutdown timer. A feature that allows the audio system to turn off automatically after a user-defined time. Thanks to the timer, you can, for example, turn on relaxing music to fall asleep and fall asleep peacefully — the audio system will turn off on its own.

— Charging when plugged in. The ability to use the audio system to charge devices connected to it — pocket audio players, mobile phones, etc. For this, usually, a USB port is used; while some models are able to play music from an external gadget right in the process of charging.

— Wireless charging of gadgets. The ability of the column to work in Power Bank mode without using a cable. The gadget is charged wirelessly by placing the necessary device on the charging area.

— Nightlight. The presence in the audio system of its own built-in lamp of low power, which allows it to be used as a night lamp. A night light can be useful for both young children and adults who are uncomfortable falling asleep in complete darkness; in addition, it can come in handy in situations where you have to get up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, before sunrise — at least with the light from the nightlight, it's easier to get to the main switch.

Inputs

RCA. The RCA interface uses coaxial cables with characteristic "tulip" plugs and corresponding connectors. It can be used to transfer different types of data, however, in this case, it means connecting the audio signal from the preamplifier in analogue format, one channel of audio per connector. RCA is widely used in modern audio technology, but its resistance to interference is very limited.

Mini-Jack(3.5 mm). Standard connector for most modern portable audio equipment. In audio systems, it is mainly used to connect such equipment — primarily pocket media players. It uses analogue signal transmission, while the resistance to interference, like RCA, is not high, and the quality may even be lower due to the fact that both channels of stereo sound are transmitted over the same cable.

Coaxial S / P-DIF. An electrical version of the S / P-DIF standard, using a coaxial cable with a “tulip” connector for signal transmission. Do not confuse this interface with the analogue RCA described above — despite the identity of the connectors, these standards are fundamentally different: "coaxial" works in digital format and even multi-channel audio can be transmitted over a single cable. Compared to optical S/P-DIF, this interface is less resistant to interference, but more reliable because electrical cables are not as delicate.

— Optical. One of the varietie...s of the S / P-DIF standard is, along with the coaxial one described above. In this case, the signal is transmitted via a TOSLINK fibre optic cable. The main advantage of this interface is its complete insensitivity to electrical interference, while its capabilities are sufficient even to work with multi-channel audio. Among the shortcomings, it is worth noting the high price of connecting cables, as well as the need for careful handling of them.

— Under the microphone. Input for connecting a microphone to an audio system; can use different types of connectors (3.5 mm mini-Jack, 6.35 mm Jack, etc.). This function is mandatory for models with karaoke (see "Advanced"), but can be used for other purposes.

Outputs

RCA. The RCA interface uses coaxial cables, with characteristic "tulip" plugs, and the corresponding connectors. It can be used to transfer different types of data, however, in this case, it means outputting an audio signal in analogue format, one channel of audio per connector. RCA is widely used in modern audio technology, but its resistance to interference is very limited.

— Mini-Jack (3.5 mm). One of the standard connectors in modern audio equipment, it is widely used in portable devices, as well as for connecting headphones. However, we note that in this case we mean the jack responsible for the line output — an interface for transmitting an audio signal in analogue format to an external device, such as an amplifier. The headphone jack is listed separately in our catalog, even if it belongs to the 3.5 mm mini-Jack standard; See below for details on headphone output.

Coaxial S / P-DIF. An electrical version of the S / P-DIF standard, using a coaxial cable with a “tulip” connector for signal transmission. Do not confuse this interface with the analogue RCA described above — despite the identity of the connectors, these standards are fundamentally different: "coaxial" works in digital format and even multi-channel audio can be transmitted over a single cable. Compared to optical S/P-DIF, this interface is less resistant to interference, but more reliabl...e because electrical cables are not as delicate.

— Optical. One of the varieties of the S / P-DIF standard is, along with the coaxial one described above. In this case, the signal is transmitted via a TOSLINK fiber optic cable. The main advantage of this interface is its complete insensitivity to electrical interference, while its capabilities are sufficient even to work with multi-channel audio. Among the shortcomings, it is worth noting the high price of connecting cables, as well as the need for careful handling of them.

— Subwoofer. A separate output for connecting an external subwoofer — a specialized low-frequency speaker. The use of such a speaker allows you to significantly improve the sound of low frequencies, make the bass powerful and rich, which general-purpose speakers are not capable of. Note that such an output can also be useful in systems with a built-in subwoofer — external "subwoofers" are in most cases more powerful and provide more options for adjusting the sound.

— Headphones. Separate headphone output. Most often, a standard 3.5 mm mini-Jack or 6.35 Jack is used for this purpose, but there may be other options — for example, a manufacturer's proprietary connector. Anyway, headphones can come in handy in situations where you need to keep quiet — for example, if you want to listen to music at a late time when others are already sleeping — or vice versa, in noisy environments when ambient sounds drown out the speakers of the audio system.

— Composite. The full-size composite interface includes three connectors — one for video transmission and two for left and right stereo channels. However, in this case, a composite output usually means only a video connector (the standard acoustics of the audio system are responsible for the sound, it usually makes no sense to broadcast it to a TV). Anyway, this output allows you to connect the audio system not only to the latest, but also to frankly outdated TVs. Its disadvantages are poor image quality and incompatibility with HD.

— Component. Output for transmitting video signal in analogue format. Outwardly similar to the composite interface described above, because also uses three RCA cables; however, in this case, these cables carry three components of the video signal (hence the name). The component interface is considered the most advanced among the popular analogue video standards, it provides the highest image quality among them and is even capable of working with HD resolutions. Among the shortcomings, it is worth noting the impossibility of transmitting sound — this will require a separate connection.

— S video. Analogue interface for video transmission. In some way similar to the component described above, since it also provides separate wires for transmitting video signal components; however, in this case there are only two of these wires. This, on the one hand, allowed us to limit ourselves to one connector instead of several, on the other hand, it slightly reduced the quality of the “picture” and limited the bandwidth, so HD is out of the question with such a connection.

— SCART. Universal audio/video interface using a characteristic large 21-pin connector (20 pins plus a rim around the connector). For a long time it was the standard for European video equipment, but today it is considered obsolete due to its low bandwidth and significant dimensions. Note that SCART can work with signals of different formats, which allows the use of adapters — in particular, for connecting external devices via composite and component interfaces.

— HDMI. Universal digital interface that allows you to transfer HD-video and multi-channel audio over a single cable. It is practically a standard for modern video equipment, in particular, it is present in most TVs. In audio systems, this type of output is used in the same way as the coaxial S / P-DIF described above — that is, to output the audio signal in digital form.

Wall mount

The ability to place the audio system on the wall — by hanging on carnations, hooks or other similar devices. Installing such fixtures can be quite a hassle; on the other hand, the device suspended from them does not require space on the floor, table or other surface, which can be very useful in cramped conditions.

LCD display

The presence in the audio system of its own LCD display. Such displays may have different characteristics: in some models, these are the simplest indicators in which symbols are made up of separate luminous fragments (similar to how numbers are made up of separate “sticks” in the simplest electronic watch); in others — full-fledged matrices with an image formed from pixels. However, anyway, the display makes the control of the audio system more convenient and intuitive, because. can display various additional information — the selected signal source, track name, RDS data (see above), equalizer settings, error messages and much more.

Lighting effects

The presence in the audio system of the function of light effects. Usually, this is the backlight of the speakers and/or the front panel, which can change brightness and colour, blink, etc.; the rhythm of work can be independent or synchronized with the track being played in the light music mode. This function practically does not affect the main functionality of the device, its purpose is purely decorative.

Touch control

The presence of touch control in the audio system.

Sensors are considered more advanced controls than buttons, rotary knobs, etc. Firstly, they give the device a stylish and technological appearance. Secondly, touch panels do not have unnecessary protruding parts, so they resist dirt well and are easy to clean. Thirdly, such control is purely "to the touch" pleasant for many users: the sensor is triggered by a light touch, you do not need to press it like a button. On the other hand, this feature significantly affects the cost of the audio system.

Remote control

A remote control is included with the audio system. The convenience of this function is obvious: instead of having to approach the device every time to change the operating parameters, you can give a command from the remote control without getting up.

Microphone

Microphone included. This equipment allows out of the box to ensure complete readiness for all kinds of events from light background voice acting to wedding feasts with a toastmaster and competitions.

Autonomous power supply

Type of independent power sourceused in the audio system. Such power is usually not the only option — it only complements the ability to work from the network.

— AA batteries. Replaceable elements of a standard size, colloquially known as "finger". Available in a variety of options, varying in quality and price, available not only as disposable batteries, but also as rechargeable batteries; sold almost everywhere. The main advantage of all replaceable cells is the ability to quickly change dead batteries for fresh ones (of course, if there is a reserve), while the original battery has to be charged — and this takes time and an external power source. As for AA, they have a relatively low power and capacity. These characteristics are sufficient for relatively compact devices; however, for models that need to power mechanical drives (for example, for CDs) and/or provide high sound power, “AA” batteries are poorly suited, and therefore are rarely used in them.

— AAA batteries. Replaceable elements, known as "mini-finger" or "little fingers". In general, they are similar to the AAs described above and differ from them only in small sizes and, as a result, less power. Because of this, such power is used only in the most compact models of audio systems, which do not require high power, but small sizes are crucial.

— Batteries C. Replaceable cells known as "Baby". The features of replaceable cells are generally described...in AA Batteries above; here we note that C batteries have a cylindrical shape and are similar in length to “finger-type” batteries, but are much thicker, due to which they are distinguished by higher power and can be used in rather “gluttonous” systems.

— D batteries. Replacement cells, the largest variety of standard cylindrical batteries used in modern audio systems. Used in the most powerful models that require a large amount of energy.

— Batteries. This parameter is indicated in our catalog in two cases: if the device uses standard replaceable elements that do not belong to any of the standard sizes described above, or if the battery size is not indicated in the manufacturer's official data.

— Accumulator. Powered by its own original battery, which is not related to standard sizes, and in some models is also non-removable. On the one hand, this option eliminates the need to constantly buy replacement batteries (or significantly spend money once on rechargeable batteries), moreover, the battery is usually supplied as a kit. However, when the charge is exhausted, in most cases the only option is to charge from an external power source — and this requires not only the presence of such a source, but also a fairly large amount of time.

Working hours

Audio system operating time without connection to an external power source (network or USB port, depending on the capabilities). Note that manufacturers tend to indicate battery life in their specifications under optimal conditions for energy saving: at low volume, without using additional functions, etc. Therefore, in fact, this indicator may be noticeably lower than the claimed one, and speakers with a long operating time will not sound at full volume for the specified hours.

USB for charging the audio system

The presence of a standard USB connector for charging the audio system.
– microUSB. One of the miniature versions of the USB connector, still popular in portable gadgets, despite the emergence of a more advanced USB C. It has relatively limited capabilities (in particular, it is inferior to USB C in terms of the maximum possible charging power), but this moment is rarely important. At the same time, there are many cables and chargers for microUSB.

– USB C. A relatively new type of USB connector, actively gaining momentum. Like microUSB, it is small in size, but has a more convenient double sided design and advanced features, such as the ability to transmit higher power, which has a beneficial effect on charging time.

USB for charging gadgets

The ability to use the audio system to charge devices connected to it – pocket audio players, mobile phones, etc. For this usually a USB port is used (microUSB or USB C in modern models); some models are able to play music from an external gadget right in the process of charging.

Wireless charging of gadgets

The ability of the speaker to work in Power Bank mode without using a cable. The gadget is charged wirelessly by placing the necessary device on the charging area.

Dustproof, waterproof

The presence in the audio system of additional protection against dust and moisture.

This feature will be useful if the device is planned to be used outdoors (for example, at a picnic, at a cafe in the summer area, etc.) or in a room with not very favorable conditions (like a garage or a workshop with constantly open gates). Note that the specific degree of dust and moisture protection in different models can be different: some devices are designed for a maximum of rain without strong winds, others are able to endure even complete immersion in water without consequences. These points should be clarified separately. However, anyway, audio systems with dust and moisture protection will be more resistant to extreme conditions than models without this feature.
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