Surround Receivers

I Got a New Receiver, Do I Need New Speakers?

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas were kind to you. You found a smoking deal on that AV receiver you were eyeing and you snatched it up. Score! But now that it is on the way (or maybe waiting to be installed) it has you thinking. Should you upgrade your speakers as well? Will your old speakers somehow limit or restrict how good your new receiver will sound? Let’s discuss!

All Things Being Equal

All things being equal, you shouldn’t have to upgrade your speakers for your new receiver. If you have quality speakers, your new AV receiver (with likely upgraded room correction) will only make those speakers sound better. Receivers these days don’t color the sound your speakers produce. You should have upgraded your receiver for new features, not because you hope that it will be an overall improvement in your sound.

But there is a time when you’ll need to buy new speakers…

Upgrading from a HTiB

HTiBs (or Home Theaters in a Box) solutions are popular entry-level systems for people. They often contain all the equipment you’ll need to achieve a basic surround sound system. They’ll have a head unit that is often a mixture of an AV receiver, a disc player, and a streaming solution. They’ll have a number of speakers (some of which might be wireless) and a bass module.

Subwoofer speaker connections

Often, these HTiB solutions have proprietary connections. The head unit may or may not power the bass module (they’ll call it a subwoofer) directly. You’ll look at these wires and your new AV receiver and realize fairly quickly that they won’t work together. AV receivers require speakers that will accept a normal speaker wire. They’ll need a subwoofer that can be connected by an RCA cable. If your current speakers have any other types of connections, you’ll need to upgrade them.

Reasons NOT to Upgrade

We get it, you started upgrading your system and now you don’t want to stop. Pairing your old speakers with a new AV receiver seems somehow sacrilegious. You WANT to upgrade your speakers. Fine. Go ahead. No one can tell you not to. But the question isn’t whether or not you can, but if you need to upgrade. If your old speakers worked well in your space and room, then they should work just fine with your new AV receiver.

We can make a case specifically for NOT upgrading. If you upgrade both your speakers and receiver at the same time, how will you know what made the bigger difference? You can’t! Therefore, it makes more sense to upgrade one at a time so that you can hear the changes. Upgrade your receiver and use your old speakers for a while. Get used to your AV receiver. Tune your system. Get everything dialed in as much as you can.

That’s when you upgrade your speakers. Now you can really hear the difference they make!

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