How Do You Define High Fidelity?

Achieving high-fidelity sound is all about using equipment that minimizes distortion as much as possible. And painstakingly engineered speakers are a key element.

"High fidelity" is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and not just when discussing John Cusack's finest roles. We all know that high-fidelity audio is desirable in any home sound system, but what exactly does that mean? With an understanding of the engineering principles and materials that go into achieving excellent results, you can choose components that deliver consistently brilliant listening experiences.

Maximize clarity

At a basic level, high fidelity means faithfully reproducing sounds as they were originally recorded. The concept has been widely used for marketing purposes since the 1950s, when technological developments like reel-to-reel tape, the long-playing record and improved speaker designs made it possible to bring quality sound home. Of course, as audio equipment and standards for recordings continue to advance with the times, our understanding of what qualifies as high fidelity also changes.

Today, lossless digital audio formats have made it possible to hear more of the subtle details in music than ever before. High-resolution sound offers sampling frequencies of 192kHz at 24-bit depth, capturing more of the little touches and textures from recorded performances than is possible with CDs. Many fans still prefer the warm tone and classic feel of vinyl, but lossless files are opening new doors for fidelity in your everyday listening.

Whatever your preferred audio formats, one of your top priorities when putting together a Hi-Fi system should be flat, smooth frequency response. That means playback doesn't emphasize high, low or midrange frequencies but instead accurately reproduces the timbre of the recorded performances. The unique tonal characteristics of each instrument or voice comes through to the listener, along with a sense of where each performer is situated spatially on the soundstage.

How to select Hi-Fi speakers

If you're striving for high-fidelity sound, it's important to look closely at the materials and engineering that go into your choice of speakers. Testing out different setups can reveal varying levels of detail and exact spatial positioning. By making the right choices for your listening area, you'll maximize your enjoyment of every nuance of your favorite tunes.

As key components in a surround sound system, floor-standing speakers like Definitive Technology's B9000 series provide remarkable sonic accuracy across a broad soundstage. These speakers feature forward-focused bipolar arrays that convey precise imaging throughout the listening area and integrated powered subwoofers that maintain an ideal balance among frequencies.

Bookshelf speakers can also offer impressive fidelity if they have the proper construction. The key is an expansive sweet spot where listeners also can get the full benefit of detailed imaging. The Demand D11 accomplishes this with an aluminum dome tweeter, a Wave Alignment Lens and a Linear Response Waveguide.

Getting Hi-Fi right is about matching your home audio setup to your available space and personal preferences. Find a wide selection of speakers built for amazing performance by taking a look at what's available from Definitive Technology.