Listen, if you're buying speakers, the best thing to do is listen to them. If you can't, you'll learn a lot perusing specifications.
Online shoppers need the most info, but even brick-and-mortar buyers can predict quite a lot about a prospective speaker's performance and system compatibility by looking at the numbers. Tech talk gets you woozy? No problem, the main points of interest would be the dimensions of the speaker and how much the thing weighs.
Hint: bigger and heavier speakers almost always sound better than small, lightweight ones.
So far, so good, but woofer size also provides clues about how much bass a speaker will produce. Bigger woofers make more bass than smaller ones, but the cabinet's size is almost as important a factor as woofer size in determining bass quality/quantity. Multiple woofers may look impressive, but they're less reliable predictors of bass oomph; we've tested lots of skinny speakers with two, three, four, or more drivers that didn't make much bass. The cabinets were too damned small, four 3-inch woofers don't make as much bass as one 6-inch woofer in a larger box.
You might hope the frequency response specification, "38 Hertz -- 22,000 Hertz," would predict how much bass the speaker would make. The first part of that spec, "38 Hertz" refers to the bass output--the lower the number--the deeper the bass. Ah, but since there wasn't any reference to the tolerance of the spec, it's just about useless. Some manufacturers include a "+/-" after the frequency response number, something like 38 Hertz - 22,000 Hertz +/- 3 dB, and that helps a bit. Any speaker that reaches 50 Hz or lower can be considered "full range" and doesn't necessarily need to be partnered with a subwoofer--for music. Multichannel (5.1, 6.1, 7.1) home Theater applications almost always require subwoofers.
I have less to say about tweeters, other than to recommend buying speakers with tweeters; a fair number of pricey "sound bar" speakers are tweeterless. That's not to say they will sound bad, just not as detailed and clear as speakers with decent tweeters. … Read more