In the field of audio product design, the clear replication of the human voice can be a difficult goal to achieve but is one of the most important factors to consider when creating a product that’s purpose is to reproduce sound. One of the difficulties is implementing a design that can clearly articulate the human voice across a variety of different forms – music versus speech in particular – without sacrificing one forms performance for the benefit of another. A sound system designed just right can deliver clear performance during speech and music whether it is a radio, computer stereo, home entertainment system or a set of headphones. But not all systems are created equally and some of the top performers are very high priced. Luckily, there are many excellent products that perform beautifully and deliver the goods at affordable prices.

In this Blog series, we will give you tips to help you determine what sound systems are good for what and how to identify systems that will most likely deliver the sonic performance that you desire. Additionally, this series will focus on system varieties within a low to modest budget.

Single Speaker System Tips.

Single speaker systems are great for personal listening or filling a small room with sound. Many popular AM/FM radios house a single speaker and are typically portable; systems such as these are great for their ease of use, size and portability. However, systems with a single speaker have their limitations. For instance, they are mono. If the manufacture says it’s stereo, this means that the left and right stereo sounds are being put into the one speaker; this is so you don’t miss sounds that may only occur on the left or right channels. So, the system is receiving stereo information and combining it into a mono speaker. Although this is the case with the speaker, most all of these systems have a stereo headphone jack.

Single speaker systems are excellent for talk radio listeners and for background music where stereo sound is not a necessity and/or system size is an issue. If you are looking for a high fidelity sound system for music, a single speaker system won’t deliver you the best that music recordings have to offer. If you listening to talk radio mostly, or just need a radio to casually listen to, these systems are ideal for their ease of use, lower price and size. 

When shopping for a Single Speaker System, whether it is an AM/FM or WiFi Radio, in the under $200 range, here are some tips to consider:

For mostly Talk Radio personal listening (pocket radios):

·    Larger than 2” speaker should be sufficient.

·    Focus your search on reception performance and other features

·    A really good one will run between $50-$70.

 For mostly Talk Radio room listening:

·    4” – 5 ¼” should be sufficient if moderate volume levels are needed.

·    High End models can run as much as $180 but good performers for under $100 can be found.

For Music and Talk Radio personal listening:

·     2” or larger speaker is great for close listening or smaller rooms. AM/FM radios typically have larger speakers because larger antennas are required for greater reception power. This makes the case bigger so manufactures typically put in larger than 2” speakers. WiFi radios can run very high fidelity sounds in small packages. Good manufactures typically put in high quality compact speakers to keep the case small but the sound acceptable; $100-200 for a good model.

·     Quality of product becomes a big factor. Some high quality 2” system can easily outperform larger systems.

For Music and Talk Radio larger room listening:

·     Very high quality 4” or larger speaker

·     Recommend 5 ¼” speaker. Anything larger than 5 ¼- ½” single speaker systems are rare. Due to the size needed to house a larger speaker, many manufactures opt to make it a stereo speaker system instead.

·     If in a large room or high volumes are needed, consider a stereo system. However, most of the best AM reception radios utilize single speaker system; typically $100+ range.

The Bottom Line:

Advancements in technology have improved the Single Speaker System’s ability to provide full range sound at impressive volume levels. For under $200, you can get some amazing sound and reception qualities in a small package. If you are looking into radios and trying to find the one that is just right for you, having a good idea about how much you are willing to spend, where you are going to listen it, and what features are deal breakers will guide you in the right direction. Got questions? Let us know at and keep an eye out for part 2: Stereo systems