Online Shopping: Questions To Ask Before You Buy

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Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can now buy almost anything online: televisions, holidays, clothes…even food! The ability to do this from your own home and skip those pesky waiting lines is one of the main reasons that so many of us are choosing to do all of our shopping on the web!

But, while online shopping is incredibly convenient, it is also not without its downfalls. Most of us have probably had at least one online shopping disaster. Maybe the product that arrived wasn’t what you ordered? Maybe it was the wrong size, or maybe it didn’t arrive at all? When you’re not familiar with the website you’re buying from, the thought of parting with your money can leave you feeling uneasy. We want your online shopping experience to be a seamless one which is why we’ve put together a list of questions that we think you should ask yourself before you buy!

Is the website secure?

First and foremost, it is very important to check that the website that you want to buy from is a secure site. This will greatly reduce the risk of fraud and help to put your mind at ease if you haven’t purchased anything from that particular site before.To check if a site is secure, look for a tiny padlock icon located on the top left of the browser’s URL bar. Another thing to be aware of is the site URL itself. Secure sites begin with https:// while non secure websites begin with http://.

Is it the right product for your needs?

Consider what you need the product for. Are you planning on using the product for work reasons or personal use? Perhaps you travel a lot and need the product to be compact? All of these factors can have an influence on the type of product that is right for you.

Is the product compatible with what you want to use it with?

Make sure that the item that you are buying is the one that you need. For example, the Kenu Stance is a portable tripod for your phone that is sold in both Android and iPhone versions.

Do you know what you’re buying?

Be clear about what you are getting for your money. For example, you may be wondering if a specific cable or accessory is included in the purchase price. If it is not clearly stated in the product’s description, contact the retailer! Most online retailers have contact details listed on the website specifically for dealing with customer-related queries. Unlike regular shopping, online shopping doesn’t give you the opportunity to view the product before buying. Check to see if the seller has included any images alongside the product’s listing. This will help to ensure that there are no unwanted surprises once the product arrives.

Is the brand reliable?

Research the brand and the product. See what other customers are saying about the quality and durability of the item. Many online retailers now include customer reviews alongside each product. Real-life experiences from people who have already purchased the product can help you to decide whether or not you really want to buy the product.

Does the product seem “too good to be true”?

A rule of thumb for online shopping is that if the price of an item seems too good to be true, the chances are it probably is. Trust your extincts. If a website is advertising Apple watches for €100 when they normally retail for €500 then you know it’s most likely not a legitimate offer. Again, check customer reviews to see what others are saying about the website!

Does your order need to be signed for?

Perhaps one of the most inconvenient aspects of online shopping is waiting for your product to be delivered. If your product needs to be signed for, you may want to check if tracking is available on your order so you have a rough idea of when your item will be delivered. This helps to ensure that someone is available to sign for your order when the courier comes knocking.  If there is rarely someone at home, it might be worth considering an alternative delivery address for your order, such as your work address or a family member’s address.

Does the product include a warranty?

It’s good practice to check a product’s warranty information before choosing to buy. It might also be worthwhile contacting the seller before you make your purchase to clarify warranty cover and also to confirm the seller’s returns policy should any issues arise with the product after purchase.

What payment options are available?

Deciding on what payment option to use can be a daunting aspect of online shopping. Most websites offer various options including credit card, debit card,  Paypal and more. Where possible, try to use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have spending limits whereas debit cards do not. It is also easier to dispute fraudulent charges on a credit card then on a debit card. With credit cards you can also dispute a fraudulent charge without being out-of-pocket for the amount disputed. Third party payment processors like Paypal and Stripe are also a safer option. Paypal and Stripe handle the payment for you, helping to minimise the risk of fraud.

The next time you want to buy something online, ask yourself, ‘can I answer these questions?’, if the answer’s ‘yes’, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about!

Need help? Email us at: info@soundzdirect.com

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Speaker Terms- Need To Know

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So you want to buy a speaker but you haven’t a clue where to begin? What’s the best system set up for your living space, what is a soundbar, and what does a 5.1 speaker system refer to? We’ve broken down all of the unnecessary jargon and created a glossary of the most commonly used speaker terms to ensure that your speaker purchasing experience is a painless one.

Absorption: In audio terms, acoustic absorption signals a structure, object, or material, absorbing sound energy when sound waves collide with it, as opposed to reflecting the energy.

Acoustic Power Level The acoustic power level is the total sound energy emitted by a source per unite time. The unit of measurement is the acoustic watt, also known as sound power.

Amplitude Modulation (AM) Amplitude modulation is a method of encoding a signal onto a radio carrier wave by varying its amplitude.

Bottoming

If a speaker is being played beyond its natural volume levels, this can lead to bottoming. Bottoming occurs when the voice coil smacks into the back of the pole plate or the spider hits the top plate, resulting in a very unpleasant sound.

Capacitor A capacitor is a passive electronic component that consists of two metallic plates, separated by dialectic.  It is used to store electric charge.

Class A

The Class A amplifier is the most commonly used power amplifier configuration. In a Class A amplifier, the output device is always “on” so that it provides output current during the complete signal cycle (over a 360 degree interval).

Class B

Class B amplifiers only amplify half of the input wave cycle, and as a result, create a large amount of distortion. However, their efficiency is hugely increased and is much better than Class A. Class B amplifiers are also favoured in battery-operate devices like transistor radios. Class B has a maximum theoretical efficiency of almost 80%. This is because the amplifying element is completely switched off half of the time and so it cannot expend power.

Clipping

Clipping is a type of waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver a current or output voltage beyond its maximum capability.

Crossover A crossover is an electronics device that takes a single input signal and creates two or three output signals consisting of separate bands of mid, high, or low range frequencies. These bands of frequencies feed the different speakers in a sound system.

Comb Filtering

Comb Filtering occurs when two identical audio signals are summated together with a small delay between them. The cause of the delay is usually due to a physical separation of operating speakers or drivers that are driven in the same frequency band.

Crossover

A crossover is an electronics device that takes one single input signal and creates two or three different output signals consisting of separated bands of mid, high, and low frequencies. These different bands of frequencies feed the various drivers in a sound system like tweeters, woofers, and subwoofers.

Current

An electrical current can be described as the flow of electric charge.

Decibel

The decibel (dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity of sound.

Diffraction

Diffraction refers to the bending of sound waves around objects, and the re-radiation of energy through an opening.  Diffraction is the reason that we can hear sound around corners and behind walls.

Diffusion

In acoustics terms, diffusion is the power at which sound is spread evenly throughout a given environment.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the difference in decibels between the overload level and the lowest acceptable signal level in a system or transducer.

Efficiency

Efficiency, not to be confused with sensitivity, is the percentage of electrical power converted by the loudspeaker into acoustical power.

Frequency

Frequency is classified as a periodic vibration whose frequency is audible to the average human. It is measured in Hertz(Hz) and is recognised as the property of sound that most determines pitch.

Frequency Modulation

Frequency Modulation is the process whereby the frequency of a carrier wave changes in according to the intensity of the signal. While this is occurring, the amplitude and phase of the carrier wave remain constant.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is the quantitative measure of the output spectrum of a system or device in response to a stimulus, and is used to characterise the dynamics of the system. It is a measure of the magnitude and phase of the output as a function of frequency, in comparison to the output.

Harmonic

A harmonic is a signal or a wave whose frequency is an integral multiple (1,2,3,4, etc.) of the fundamental frequency.

Hertz(Hz)

The standard unit used to measure frequency that equates to one cycle per second.

 IMG

IMG, which stands for “Injected Molded Graphite”, is a type of material used for speaker cones.

Impedence

Impedence is the measure of the opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied.

Inductor

An inductor is a component in an electric or electronic current which possessed inductance i.e. a coil of wire.

Loudness Level

Loudness level is defined as the sound pressure level of a 1000Hz tone that is perceived to be as loud as the sound being measured.

Modulation

Modulation is the process of varying an electric signal by superimposing the signal’s characteristics onto a carrier wave so that it carries the information contained in the signal.

Octave

Octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double of its frequency.

Ohm’s Law

Ohm’s Law concerns the relationship between the voltage and current in an ideal conductor. This relationship states that the potential difference (voltage) across an ideal conductor is proportional to the current running through it. The constant of proportionality is referred to as the “resistance”, R.

Power

Power is the rate at which electrical energy is transferred from an audio amplifier to a loud speaker. It is measured in watts.

Power response

Power response is the variation of sound power as a function of frequency.

Reflection (Surfaces)

This describes hard surfaces which do not permit sound to penetrate the surface. In this instance, nearly all energy is reflected back towards the source.

 Resistance

Resistance is the opposition to current flow. It reduces the number of electrons flowing through the conductor. In other words, the higher the resistance, the less current flow in the conductor. The Ohm is the unit used to measure resistance.

Reverberation

Reverberation is the collection of reflected sounds from an enclosed space, such as an auditorium.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity measures the amount of sound output derived from a speaker with one watt of power input from an amplifier.

Sound

Sound can be described as vibrations that travel through the air or another medium which become audible once they reach the human ear.

Sound Intensity

Sound Intensity is the sound power per unit area.

Soundbar

A soundbar is a special loudspeaker enclosure that creates a reasonable stereo effect from a single cabinet. They are much wider than they are tall, partly for acoustic reasons, but also so that they can be mounted above or below a display device eg: under a television or above a computer monitor.

Subwoofer

A subwoofer is a complete loudspeaker which is dedicated to the reproduction of low pitched audio frequencies known as “bass”. The typical frequency range for a subwoofer is 20-200 Hz for consumer products, below 100 Hz for professional live sound, and below 80 Hz in THX-approved systems.  Subwoofers are intended to heighten the low frequency range of loudspeakers covering higher frequency bands.

Sound Power Level

Sound pressure level is expressed in decibels (dB) and is a measure of sound pressure relative to the hearing threshold.

THX

THX is a high fidelity audio/visual reproduction standard for home theatres, movie theatres, gaming consoles, computer speakers, screening rooms, and car audio systems. It was implemented by Lucasfilm Ltd. to ensure that the sound you hear is almost identical to how it was produced in the studio.

Tweeter

Tweeter refers to the driver that produces high-frequency sounds in a speaker system.

2.1 Speaker System

A 2.1 speaker system combines two speakers and one subwoofer. This simple setup is ideal for enjoying music and movies while providing better sound quality than most built in television speakers, but with less wiring and fewer speakers than a 5.1 speaker system. A 2.1 speaker system is ideal for smaller spaces such as single rooms or apartments.

5.1 Speaker System

A 5.1 Speaker System is made up of left and right speakers, two rear surround channel speakers and one centre channel speaker to make a total of five main speakers and one subwoofer. A 5.1 speaker system is a slightly more complicated setup than a 2.1 speaker system, but the sound quality is superior as a result of the addition of the rear surround speakers. A 5.1 speaker setup is best suited to average-sized rooms and is ideal for those looking to create a home theatre system on a budget.

7.1 Speaker system

A 7.1 speaker system adds to additional back surround channels to a 5.1 setup. A 7.1 surround sound systems delivers more realistic and in depth sound thanks to the two extra back surround speakers. The overall result is a fuller and more immersive sound experience, suitable for larger home-theatre rooms.

Notice any that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!

 

Valentine’s Day gift guide: Him & Her

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’ve put together a no-nonsense gift guide for your loved ones, packed with cool and quirky gadgets that are guaranteed to last long after the chocolates have been eaten and the flowers have been smelt. Enjoy!

Him:

Marware Sportshell Convertible Armband for iPhone 5- Black

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The patented design of the Marware SportShell Convertible iPhone 5 case gives you four iPhone 5 case functions in one, transforming for work, the gym, Facetime or a night on the town. Just switch out the interchangeable back pieces and enjoy its versatile features: an iPhone armband for exercising; an iPhone 5 stand for hands-free viewing; a 360° belt clip/ iPhone holster case for the office; and a thin back shell for sleek style.

Amethyst The Mini Block Bluetooth Portable Speaker- Blue

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The Amethyst M3 ‘Mini Block’ speaker is one for music lovers. Portable and compact, it will give you up to six hours of on the go sound. The M3’s Bluetooth 3.0 technology makes it super easy to connect to your Smartphone, iPhone, or Bluetooth enabled device, plus it even has speakerphone capability.

Switcheasy Wrap Folio Case for iPhone 6- Black

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With its leather trimmed design, Wrap protects your iPhone 6 from scratches with style and ease. It’s handy kickstand feature means that you can look at your phone from a landscape view,  perfect for alternating between typing and watching movies.

 

Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Duro Performance Fit Sport Earphones- Red

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Yurbuds Ironman Series earbuds feature ultrasoft, medical-grade silicone enhancers that fit the contours of your ears, providing exceptional comfort for long periods of time. Patented Twist-Lock Technology guarantees that they will stay in your ears during rigorous workouts, even when you sweat or train in the rain.

 

Her:

Urbanista Oslo Earphones- Pink Panther

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Oslo are straightforward and multi-functional earphones designed to comfortably rest in your outer ear in such a way that you’re always aware of your ambient environment. Use the single button remote to control your music and calls. Also features a  built-in mic that allows you to take calls on the go!

Fitbug Orb Bluetooth Movement and Sleep Activity Tracker

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Perfect for any fitness-loving partner, The Fitbug Orb is a discreet, button-sized device that tracks your activity around-the-clock. From steps and aerobic steps to calories burned, distance walked and even your sleeping patterns, the Fitbug Orb sends all this data wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth Smart technology. You can then view all your progress in one place – on the Fitbug app, which is available to download separately on your smartphone or mobile device, or on the robust Fitbug member portal.

trtl Sleepscarf- Coral with grey velcro

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If your partner is a frequent traveller then the the trtl sleepscarf is a must. Cleverly engineered to look like a scarf when worn, the sleepscarf is the most comfortable way to the sleep on the go. And there’s no need to worry about bulk as it packs to the size of a tablet, letting you sleep painlessly for hours in an upright position.

UAG iPhone 6 composite case- Valkyrie

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UAG’s patented Composite design fuses a hard outer shell with a soft impact resistant core. The unique shape of the case also provides structural rigidity.Their crystal clear HD screen guard, soft rubberized screen surround and rear skid pads provide 360 degree protection from scratches and abrasions.

For more information on any of these products, visit our website