Intro To Home Audio (Basics) - Part 1

This guide answers alot of home audio questions for anyone struggling with home entertainment center or just simply trying to hook up that old amplifier and set of speakers that are lying around. This guide is mainly directed towards beginners but if your an audiophile you still may be able to pick up a handy tip or two.

Hooking Up a Stereo Receiver

Before you start you will need two speakers, two speaker cables, and one stereo amplifier. If your speaker cable looks really old and tarnished you may want to either replace it or at least strip new ends for the cables. Stripping new ends for your speaker cables will ensure a solid connection to the amplifier and will improve the signal quality transferring from the amplifier to the speaker.

You can find a set of stripping pliers at your local hardware store or you may even find a par at your local dollar/bargain store, if you want to go one step further you can melt some solder on the wire tip to prevent fraying if its the kind of receiver with speaker clips, or you can end the wires by crimping a c-clip or washer connector if they attach to the receiver with a screw.

Your speaker wire may be coloured red and black, or maybe not, just make sure you are constant on how it connects to the speaker and receiver (red is positive and black is negative). Now if you have an antenna for the stereo plug that into the FM antenna slot, some old receivers have an internal antenna housed in a black tube at the back this can be adjusted for reception later on. Once you've everything is connected plug in your receiver, turn the volume down, then turn it on and tune in to your favorite radio station and increase the volume to your desired listening level.

Different Types of Cables

Common audio cables that are used with your stereo and in conjunction with your stereo are:

  • Speaker cables
  • RCA cables (the ones with either red and black or red and white connectors)
  • A ground wire
  • An antenna wire
  • An optical cable (for digital output to surround sound receivers)
  • Additional connectors

Most audio cables can be converted with an attachment to fit different types of audio sockets. 1/8 inch stereo plugs can be converted to ¼ inch and vice versa. RCA Cables can be converted to stereo jacks of either 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch. Just about anything can be converted to what you need with the right connectors, just go to your local stereo shop, hardware store, or even some corner stores will carry these items.

Intro to Home Audio (Basics) Part 2 >