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Passive speakers connect to a receiver or amplifier. These include large floor-standing speakers, smaller bookshelf speakers, and center channel speakers for home theater.
There are also several kinds of powered speakers, which don't need a receiver or amp. These include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers for playing music from your phone or online services, and powered stereo speakers that come in pairs.
Everyone's ears are different, so evaluating speakers for different types of music is subjective. Fortunately, Crutchfield's Speaker Compare technology lets you audition a wide range of speakers online, using your own music so you can get an accurate comparison. Give it a try today!
Not necessarily. Floor-standing speakers use their combination of larger drivers and spacious cabinet volumes to produce full-range sound with great bass. But they are not the only way to go. A pair of smaller bookshelf speakers with a subwoofer might be a good fit for your room. Or you might use floor-standers as front left/right speakers in a surround sound setup with bookshelves as the surrounds.
You'll see a recommended power range listed on individual speaker pages. This gives you a sense of how strong your amp should be. Another spec to consider is sensitivity: the lower the number, the more power the speakers need to play at a given volume. Giving your speakers more power not only lets you play them louder, it helps them render music and voices with greater detail.
Good speakers will sound good no matter what you play through them, including music and movie soundtracks. If you're putting together a home theater system, it's common to use that same system for playing music as well as movies. Many home speakers are designed to work as part of a "voice-matched" surround sound system, which helps keep the sound consistent throughout your room.