My name is John Zimmer. I'm the owner of Sound Representation, which specializes in the sale of high-end audio equipment. I really learned everything that I know about high-end audio from working at this store that we're sitting in right now, Stereo Exchange. I'm going to teach you what to look for when you want to shop for a stereo.
One of the most important choices when buying a stereo is figuring out what type of speakers to choose. The size of your room has a lot to do with this choice. In general, the smaller the room, the smaller the speaker. Buying a large floor-standing speaker for a New York City studio apartment is probably gonna result in a system that sounds overripe in the lower frequencies. Buying a pair of bookshelf or mini monitor speakers for a large room will result in very poor bass performance, and you'll constantly try to turn up the volume on your amplifier. In-wall, in-ceiling, or on-wall type speakers are generally going to need a sub woofer in order to supplement the sound of those speakers in a larger room. Smaller speakers just don't have the surface area required to pressurize a larger room. They simply cannot move enough air. Matching the right size speaker to the right size room is crucial to getting the best sound.