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What exactly is high fidelity?

Discover the joys of hi-fi audio with help from Thomas TV

From 33s and 45s to cassettes, 8-tracks, compact discs, and digital downloads, music has been distributed to fans and collectors in multiple different formats over the years.

For both the casual music fan and the serious audiophile, the format was never as important as the qualify of the audio. Simply put, people who love music expect “high fidelity” (a.k.a. hi-fi) to be produced by their stereo components, but what exactly does that mean?

“At Thomas TV, we believe everyone who loves music deserves to listen to hi-fi audio,” said Tyler Thomas, owner of Welland’s Thomas TV. “Whether you’re an audiophile or just love music in general, it’s worth spending the money on proper stereo equipment, cables, and speakers, so that you can enjoy a genuine hi-fi listening experience.”

Hi Fi Audio Explained 

High fidelity or “hi-fi” is a term used by audiophiles and sound system hobbyists to describe the level of quality and accurate sound reproduction that high end stereos and other devices can provide.

The degree of hi-fi quality being produced is directly related to the source of the audio content. High quality music produced by specialized audio equipment helps create the best listening experience next to live music.

Factors Affecting the Audio Quality

There are many factors that determine the ultimate hi-fi quality of sound. First and most important is a sound system that is highly accurate with extremely little distortion of the original audio signal.

“All sound equipment has a measured level of distortion,” said Thomas. “The more distortion there is the less of the original recording you will hear. With a good hi-fi you can expect to enjoy clear sound that’s clean and crisp and free from distortion and other equipment noises like hum or hiss.”

Thomas said such distortion often comes from a bad recording that can’t really be improved. Other outside sources of interference and noise are the abundant radio frequencies from cellphones and WIFI systems, microwaves, radio stations, TV broadcasts and more. Good quality well designed cables go a long way towards blocking or neutralizing this noise.

Identifying Sound Quality 

If your source recording is a good source such as a music streaming service, CD, or a new vinyl record, the audio quality should be good. Ultimately, you want your sound system to lose as little of the original quality as possible.

Some recordings are even labeled “lossless.” This means it is almost as good as the master recordings at the studio. Lossless recordings can produce the full range music at better than CD quality. Lossless and other hi-fi quality music is available through major music streaming platforms like Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify or Apple Music.

However, you can only benefit fully from this quality if your sound system is a proper hi-fi capable of producing that quality of playback.

Building the Best Hi Fi System

Here are a few factors to consider in order to choose the right equipment.

The first rule is this: your hi-fi system is only as good as your weakest link. The system needs to be well balanced. Don’t spend too much on any one component; the entire system has to work together to achieve the best end result. Start with quality source components. Then make a list of the types of music you want to listen to and the format you’ll be using most – CDs, vinyl records, streaming services, etc. Come into Thomas TV and the staff can help guide you in choosing the best audio components for your needs.

Not all power amps, preamps, integrated amps, or receivers are equal. This is the engine of your system, and you want a quality product to send efficient and adequate power to the speakers or headphones you’re using. Amplifiers are integral to building a great hi-fi system because they help fashion the sound as well. The amp will also affect your volume range. The room size in which you’ll be using your hi-fi system and the sound level at which you like to listen will help determine the watts of power you may require.

“Speakers are also an important factor to consider,” said Thomas. “Whether you’re looking at bookshelf, standing floors, in-wall or on wall, speakers are the voice and the final link in the chain. They need to produce your favourite music the way you want to hear it. At the same time, they also have a limit to how low they can play and still maintain the proper range. It’s good to audition a few before making your purchase.”

Cables are what connects each part making sure no power gets lost and no noise gets added. You will need cables for the sources, including cables for the amp and cables for the speakers. AudioQuest Cables are one of Thomas TV’s most popular brands. With its cables being sold in several thousand outlets in over sixty countries, AudioQuest focuses on delivering excellent value and performance in every product the company develops. They have beginner cables to get you started with many levels of upgrades available to fit any budget.

“At Thomas TV we have experts that can assist you in making the right choices to get the best system performance for your budget,” said Thomas. “We can also help you plan for future upgrades and improvements. The best part about this hobby is you can build it from the ground up and enjoy the process along the way with our help.”

Learn more about the amazing product choices and sound system expertise. Visit Thomas TV at 130 Thorold Road West in Welland. Or connect online here.