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A loudspeaker is an electro-acoustic device used to produce acoustic energy, or sound. When selecting speakers, find one with proper stereo imaging (sound you can "see") and a flat-ish (or "neutral") frequency response. If taken care of and driven responsibly, a good quality pair of speakers will deliver you pleasurable music listening for many years to come.

Buyers Guide

For desktop users, bookshelf speakers are typically used as they are of a manageable size. Note that some of these options are passive (meaning they require amplification) and some are active (amplification built-in).

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For placement, refer to your loudspeaker's manual. If this is not available, place the speakers in a triangle, and aim the speakers 60° degrees to the listening position. Finish studio monitor manufacturer has an excellent guide for proper loudspeaker placement that is highly recommended.

Surround Sound

For those who want surround sound, and have an audio interface or sound card that supports it, purchase a surround sound amplifier and then pair it with matched speakers of your choosing/budget. You will also need a sub-woofer (such as the Polk Audio PSW10, PSW111 or Klipsch R-100SW) and a center channel speaker. There are various sizes of surround sound (5.1, 7.1, Atmos, etc) but 5.1 is arguably the most common.