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Bright Audio

Bright Audio Showroom

Bright Audio is an online store with a very different attitude. We have been in the business of high-end audio sales for over 15 years in New York City. We understand that reputable stereo and audio stores are not readily available to everyone. The products we sell have limited distribution and are safeguarded by the manufacturers who build them. So at brightaudio.com, it is our goal to provide the best kind of online access to quality products, video guides, recommendations, and help with technical issues and installation. You will receive the kind of attention and service you would expect to receive if you walked into our store in New York City.

So click on the inquire tab next to any product and ask whatever question you may have, browse our video page or related links. We have a great blog with guest posts from some of the top names in the audio industry and we produce our own videos featured here and on our unique YouTube channel with the single intent of better informing and helping our customers.

Featured Videos

Peachtree Audio nova150 Integrated Amplifier
Grado Rs1e Reference Series Headphones
Clearaudio Concept Record Player

Bright Audio – Home Audio

In a nutshell. A home stereo system includes two speakers for two good reasons. Most recordings have two separate and distinct channels. And you have two ears.

When you listen in stereo, recorded music sounds more like a live performance. It’s a feeling you won’t get from a single wireless speaker.

Most stereo systems include three things:

  1. A stereo receiver or amplifier
  2. A matched pair of speakers
  3. At least one music source

This article will help you choose a home stereo system that suits your lifestyle and your listening space.

Wireless speakers are super convenient. One box is all you need. And some of them sound surprisingly good. For background music, I love them.

But stereo recordings have discrete left and right channels for a reason. They give you the unmistakable impression that you’re in the room with the performers. In this regard, a pair of speakers always beats one.

Listening to music in stereo gives you the experience the artist had in mind. And it’s just plain more fun! You can hear the musicians spread out across a three-dimensionsal sound stage.

With stereo, different instruments come at you from different points between and beyond the speakers. You hear your music in three dimensions – just like you hear real musicians positioned in different places on an actual stage. You experience the music and the space in which it’s played.

Will a stereo system work with my phone?

Stereo receivers with home networking capabilities give you access to an endless variety of music.

Think stereo systems are strictly old-school? Think again. Many of today’s stereo systems have Bluetooth® and/or Wi-Fi® built in, so you can easily connect your phone and listen to Spotify or You Tube™.

Think they’re just for well-heeled audiophiles? You might be surprised by how little you have to pay to get a decent system.

A stereo system takes up more room than a single wireless speaker. But for music lovers, that’s a worthwhile trade-off.

Parts of a home stereo system

A home audio stereo system typically includes three main ingredients:

  1. A stereo receiver or amplifier
  2. A matched pair of speakers
  3. At least one music source

The music source could be an external component, such as a turntable or CD player. It could be a receiver’s built-in AM/FM tuner. Or it could be a wireless connection to a smartphone or a home network.

What is a stereo receiver?

Traditional stereo receivers combine an AM/FM radio tuner with a 2-channel power amplifier and a preamp section. The preamp section gives you control over source selection, volume, tone and balance.

What’s an integrated amplifier?

An integrated amplifier is just like a receiver, but without the radio. Some models are as large as a typical receiver. But there are plenty of compact amps, too. For more info, see our integrated amplifiers buying guide.

For a super-simple system, try powered stereo speakers

A turntable and a pair of powered speakers make a great compact stereo system.

If you’re looking for an even more compact system to liven up a dorm room, kitchen, or small apartment, consider a pair of powered stereo speakers. With the amplifier (and, in some cases, the Bluetooth receiver) built in, these speakers save a lot of space.

Want your music streaming sources built-in, too? Try a pair of wireless multi-room speakers linked together in stereo mode.

Stereo amps with wireless multi-room audio built-in

Want to enjoy the benefits of a wireless multi-room audio system, but with real stereo speakers in at least one room?

Consider mating a pair of regular (non-powered) stereo speakers with a powered zone component. It’s a very compact wireless multi-room music player with a stereo amplifier built in. Amplified zone players are also made by Bluesound.

Speaker options to fit your taste and your space

Your library, home office, spare bedroom, or any other small, relatively private room can become your sonic sanctuary. Bookshelf speakers are perfect for small rooms. They can be wall-mounted or placed on speaker stands.

Floorstanding speakers are great for large rooms. They produce plenty of deep bass. They’re hard to beat for big, room-filling sound.

For more speaker selection tips, see our article on choosing stereo speakers.

Don’t forget the speaker wire

Most speakers don’t come with any wire. You’ll need to get some to connect the speakers to your receiver or amplifier. For more info, see our article on choosing and installing speaker wire.

How many watts do you need?

If you’re buying a pre-packaged system, you don’t have to worry about the finer points of matching speakers and amps.

If you’d like to put together an a la carte system, you can get some advice from one of our expert advisors. Or you can follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Look at the recommended power range for the speakers you want to buy.
  2. Choose an amp whose RMS power output (watts) is within the acceptable range.

If you already have an amp (or you’d rather pick your amp first), make sure the speakers you choose can handle the power it puts out.

If you’re using 4-ohm speakers, make sure the amp you choose is compatible.

To get the most from a small amplifier, choose efficient speakers (as reflected in their sensitivity rating). The higher the number (in decibels or dB), the more efficient the speaker, and the louder it plays with a given amount of power.

Setup makes a huge difference

Toeing in your speakers (pointing them toward your seat) can make a dramatic improvement in their sound.

The placement of your speakers relative to your listening seat plays a large role in your system’s sound.

The speakers should form an equilateral triangle with your listening position. This means your speakers are the same distance apart from each other as they are from you. For more tips on how to set up your speakers, see our article on speaker placement for stereo music listening.

There’s no shortage of headphones out there. We offer more than 350 different models, spanning all types of styles, colors, and features. So how do you find the best headphones for you? As someone who’s written about and tried lots of headphones, I can help you narrow down your choices.

The right headphones for the situation

Here’s the most important thing to think about: how and where you plan to use headphones. Different headphones work better in different situations. In the sections below, I’ll take you through the main categories and uses, and point out some features to look for.

Fit options

There are some basics you should know about fit. Here are the three styles:

Over-ear headphones surround the ears completely. On-ear headphones rest on them. In-ear headphones/earbuds fit securely inside the ear opening or canal.

You’ll find that earcup sizes can vary greatly. That’s why we take photos of most of our on-ear and over-ear headphones on a mannequin to show scale. Look for them in the photo carousel at the top of product pages.

Open- vs closed-back

Open-back headphones allow air to flow through the earcups. This typically ensures sound that is more spacious and natural. Closed-back headphones help keep sound from leaking in or out.

Open-back and closed-back headphones

Wired vs wireless headphones

Most of our top-selling headphones right now are Bluetooth headphones, and I expect their popularity to keep growing. They let you listen to music without connecting a wire to your phone — where most of us keep our music and podcasts. That makes them super convenient.

Plus, Bluetooth’s sound quality and reliability have greatly improved over the past 4 or 5 years. And now that that the iPhone and other popular phones no longer feature a headphone jack, even more of us are turning to wireless.

Even so, audio purists prefer wired headphones to deliver the best possible sound. And the highest-end headphones rely on a wired connections. When I’m not checking out a new pair of headphones at my desk, my go-to listening rig includes a pair of wired over-ears.

Noise-canceling headphones

Noise-canceling headphones take sound isolation a big step further than closed-back headphones. They use internal circuitry to neutralize the sound around you. I strongly recommend them for air travel — they can block out the plane’s engine drone so you can watch movies or listen to music at safer volumes.

Features to look for:

  • “Adaptive” or “Adjustable” noise cancellation. Some noise-canceling headphones can be adjusted according to your environment. While some offer manual adjustments, others do it automatically based on the level of external noise.

 

“Truly” wireless headphones

Since then, we’ve seen a wave of Truly Wireless headphones (also called “true wireless”). Just like other in-ear Bluetooth headphones, they’ll play music wirelessly from your phone. But each earbud rests in your ear without a cord connecting the two, making them 100% wire-free.

Feature to look for:

  • Charging case. Most of these headphones recharge wirelessly inside their included charging case — check our product details to see how many hours of power the case can bank.

Wireless TV headphones

We always get questions about headphones for watching TV. I think Sennheiser’s line of transmitter-based headphones are the most reliable TV headphones. The transmitter connects to your TV or stereo and beams sound wirelessly to your headphones. Perfect for late-night viewing.

Feature to look for:

  • Effects modes and/or dialogue boost. What matters most to you? Clear, intelligible speech? Rollicking, immersive surround effects? Rich, balanced music sound? There are transmitter-based headphones that excel in each area.

Watch TV at the volume you want to, without disturbing others.

Audiophile headphones

Brooklyn-based headphone shop Grado gives a personal touch to each of their wooden earcups.

I prefer listening to a great pair of headphones over a nice pair of speakers. It’s not the most popular stance to take here at Crutchfield. But I just love the absolutely unfiltered connection you can get to an artist, song, or performance when you have the right headphone setup. You can really sink your teeth into the clear, dynamic sound that top-flight headphones can deliver.

The most-respected headphone manufacturers all bring something a little different to the table. Some brands to look for include Sennheiser, Grado, and Audeze.

Comfort Matters

How your headphones feel plays a big part in how much you’ll enjoy them. If I’ve had a test-run with a pair of headphones, I like to tell you whether they fit relaxed, snug, or somewhere in-between. Scan the product bullets or read “my take” for fit details on the headphones you’re considering.

Smartphone control for on-the-go listening

A three-button in-line remote gives you the most control over your smartphone’s music and call functions.

If you’re commuting or listening on the move, consider headphones with a built-in remote/mic. They give you control over some of your phone’s key functions.

Feature to look for:

  • 1-button vs 3-button remote. See if the in-line remote has one button or three. A single button offers control over music playback, phone calls, and other phone features. Three-button remotes add volume control.

Headphone amps and DACs

High-performance headphones often require more power to perform their best. A Headphone amplifier can make a world of difference. For the best sound, you also don’t want to rely on your computer or phone’s digital-to-analog converter (DAC). An outboard DAC can squeeze out every musical detail – soft or powerful —from a recording,

Bright Audio

207 Avenue A
New York,
NY
10009
US

Phone: 6469186191
Website: https://www.brightaudio.com/

Nice store with welcoming, helpful employees.

"Nice store with welcoming, helpful employees. They have a nice range of equipment to suit different budgets, and they don't act like snobs." ~Oscar H. Yelp
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T19:53:40+00:00
"Nice store with welcoming, helpful employees. They have a nice range of equipment to suit different budgets, and they don't act like snobs." ~Oscar H. Yelp

This little shop only has the best options

"I spent days in and out of this awesome little cozy shop with my girlfriend trying to decide on a new gift for our new home. We visited other hi-fi shops in the city but none compared in terms of ambiance and attention. Sure, others have more selection (HUGE space requirement) but this little shop only has the best options and the pieces you'll want...in terms of a deal and value, we are VERY happy and will return there for future upgrades! 🙂 Thanks Kerry!" ~Sean J. Yelp
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T20:00:22+00:00
"I spent days in and out of this awesome little cozy shop with my girlfriend trying to decide on a new gift for our new home. We visited other hi-fi shops in the city but none compared in terms of ambiance and attention. Sure, others have more selection (HUGE space requirement) but this little shop only has the best options and the pieces you'll want...in terms of a deal and value, we are VERY happy and will return there for future upgrades! 🙂 Thanks Kerry!" ~Sean J. Yelp

Really nice boutique sound store.

"Really nice boutique sound store. The chairs for listening are more comfortable than the ones in my own living room and huge windows shine light in the place. They even let us listen to our original recording through their speakers. It was really great. Loveable and sweet dog too!" ~Leah L. Yelp
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T20:17:39+00:00
"Really nice boutique sound store. The chairs for listening are more comfortable than the ones in my own living room and huge windows shine light in the place. They even let us listen to our original recording through their speakers. It was really great. Loveable and sweet dog too!" ~Leah L. Yelp

Will 100% be returning with all my audio needs.

"AMAZING! I was having trouble with my vinyl setup, and when I called the store that originally sold it to me they actually suggested that I call Bright Audio. So I called. Didn't matter that I wasn't even a patron, one of the employees (Allen--thanks!!) spent 15 minutes on the phone helping to walk me though a few troubleshooting options. He was clear and knowledgeable and patiently explained everything until it was fixed! Will 100% be returning with all my audio needs." ~Emma F. Yelp
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T20:18:53+00:00
"AMAZING! I was having trouble with my vinyl setup, and when I called the store that originally sold it to me they actually suggested that I call Bright Audio. So I called. Didn't matter that I wasn't even a patron, one of the employees (Allen--thanks!!) spent 15 minutes on the phone helping to walk me though a few troubleshooting options. He was clear and knowledgeable and patiently explained everything until it was fixed! Will 100% be returning with all my audio needs." ~Emma F. Yelp

Great team, and you are all so knowledgeable!

"It was beyond great meeting all your guys last week. Great team, and you are all so knowledgeable!" ~Suna
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T20:20:58+00:00
"It was beyond great meeting all your guys last week. Great team, and you are all so knowledgeable!" ~Suna

Fantastic people who know the industry inside and out.

"If you're looking for a no BS place to demo/buy home theater equipment you can't beat these guys. Fantastic people who know the industry inside and out." ~Byron B. foursquare.com
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T20:22:22+00:00
"If you're looking for a no BS place to demo/buy home theater equipment you can't beat these guys. Fantastic people who know the industry inside and out." ~Byron B. foursquare.com

Very nice and knowledgeable people.

"Really high class and welcoming hi-fi shop. Picked up a very reasonably priced cork mat here for my turntable--sounds great. Very nice and knowledgeable people." ~Eric F. Yelp
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T20:23:48+00:00
"Really high class and welcoming hi-fi shop. Picked up a very reasonably priced cork mat here for my turntable--sounds great. Very nice and knowledgeable people." ~Eric F. Yelp

I couldn’t have asked for a better setup.

"Kerry, I want to thank you and your team for all you have done. I couldn't have asked for a better setup. On top of that I made some good friends. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need something." ~Steve
Bright Audio
5.0
2018-03-29T20:25:21+00:00
"Kerry, I want to thank you and your team for all you have done. I couldn't have asked for a better setup. On top of that I made some good friends. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need something." ~Steve
5.0
8