There will always be a place in people's lives for a hi-fi system. The formats of the source music may have changed along the way from vinyl and cassettes, cd and mp3, to the newest streaming services, but the classic format of amplifier system and speakers has stayed strong through the changes.
As with all audio equipment, there are systems and speaker units available at all price points and quality levels, to cater for all budgets and requirements.
Sold as stereo pairs as standard, in compact ‘bookshelf’ design or larger ‘floorstanding’ types. Each offers its own merits, and the choice usually is dictated by the available space you have for them, and the power output and type of audio system you will be using.
The standard format was always a 2-way speaker, or two drivers, so a larger woofer for bass and midrange, and a tweeter unit for treble. This is still the classic design followed by many manufacturers, especially for smaller bookshelf speakers. It delivers a balanced range, with cabinet porting often applied to enhance low end response.
Many of the larger floorstanding speakers utilise a 3-way design, with a midrange driver added. Working through an internal passive crossover, this allows total separation of the audio signal into its separate parts of bass, middle and treble. This allows for lower frequency response and larger midrange spread, as these signals are no longer fighting over the same driver, which is especially noticeable at higher volumes.
Many manufacturers of hi-fi speakers also include matching centre channel and rear effects channel units in their ranges for creating a surround sound system for both music and for home cinema use. These multi speaker setups require a suitable multi-channel amplifier over the conventional two channel stereo system, and will also allow the connection of a dedicated subwoofer unit, which can then allow the main speakers to be smaller in size than those required to deliver a full range signal.
Hi-fi speakers can be really discreet, hiding into a room's decor, or they can be much larger items, with cabinet finishes in various colours and grained veneers to compliment their surroundings, becoming a functional and visual talking point