An In-Depth Guide to Understanding Sound Quality

Sound quality is an assessment of the accuracy and intelligibility of the audio coming out of a device. It can be hard to understand, let alone assess, without in-depth knowledge of various aspects. You should get to know the factors that affect the purity and intensity of the sound to be able to make the right purchase when buying a new sound system, or know when your current one needs fixing. If you are having a difficult time assessing a device, you’ve come to the right place. The following points will help you understand the factors that contribute to sound quality, which should enable you to differentiate between the good and the bad audio devices like a pro!

The Treble

Be on the lookout for hard, brittle, metallic, or edgy sounds because they affect the audio quality drastically. If you have too much treble, the outcome will sound flat and unintelligible. On the other hand, if the treble is too soft, it will sound lifeless and monotone to you.


The human ear can only perceive frequencies that range from 20Hz to 20kHz. Some sound systems can go beyond this number, which is inaudible to most of us, except for some audiophiles who claim they can listen to higher frequencies than most. If you want to measure the frequency response, you need to do it in an echo-free space for the most accurate results.

Output Power

The devices we use to listen to audio affect our experience in a way we never knew was possible. You should understand the speakers’ output power and how they work to be able to differentiate between a good quality one that will deliver the sound as it is and those who distort it. A device’s output power is the number of watts a speaker can receive without being damaged. The higher the power, the louder and more intense the audio output will be. This can lead to hearing damage, and eventually loss if you are not careful; it’s generally recommended that you keep the audio level between -10db to -20db, and place your speaker 1-2 feet above ear level for an immersive and safe listening experience.

Another factor that affects the loudness is audio impedance, which is measured in ohm and represents the amount of current resistance. The lower the obstruction to the flow of power, the better the outcome will be, as no sound waves will be lost in the way. This means that you will receive the sound just like it was initially made.  Be sure to check out this option as well.


The distance between the source and the listener plays an important factor in how the music is received. This is called an audio perspective, which is affected by the quality of the recording itself as well as some of the playback components. If the sound is pushed forward, you will feel the presence of the instruments as if you are physically surrounded by actual waves. On the other hand, a laid-back presentation will give a sense of distance and as if the musician is playing at a distance further away from you.



In most advertisements, the companies promote their products by saying that their ‘bass performance’ is strong. However, powerful bass doesn’t necessarily indicate high-quality. Just because your ears rumble when you turn the music on doesn’t mean that your device is of high quality; you should be able to identify every instrument used to assess the quality of the sound.


The difference between the noise levels produced by different components in a sound system is called dynamic range. It is very important in the overall experience because it has the power to involve the listener. There are two types of dynamics; the first one is called macro-dynamics and represents power, slam, and bass. If these things are off-balance, the audio will sound compressed. The other type is microdynamics which doesn’t have a huge apparent impact but affects the overall quality in more subtle ways. Both types are essential to truly bring the music to life.


Musicians don’t agree that there is a good or bad bitrate because it differs in every situation. The right bitrate depends on how you want to use the sound system. To put it simply, high bitrate results in higher sound quality, which appeals to those who like to listen to loud music with intense instruments. Good hardware is essential because none of the above will matter if the delivery medium is of poor-quality.

Sound quality is a complicated concept, one that requires in-depth studying to be able to fully assess and understand. The above guide should help you measure or judge the quality of any device or audio file. You should research more to fully comprehend how sound systems work and which components affect the final quality of the audio outcome.