The Ins And Outs of Audio Speakers
Sounds produced by CDs or radio are almost inaudible themselves. In order to
hear the sounds at a comfortable level, they must first be amplified and sent to
a speaker system. The speaker uses the electrical current that is sent from the
amplifier to move the air in front of it, producing sound. Audio speakers can be
simple one driver units or complex systems.
The aim of audio speakers is to reproduce sound accurately. This is relatively
easy to do for simple sounds like the human voice. Music is much harder to
reproduce because it has a much broader frequency spectrum. Most high fidelity
speaker systems for reproducing music use a variety of drivers to cover
different frequency spectrums.
Audio speakers which are wide in diameter are suitable for reproducing
low-frequency sounds, and smaller speakers more accurately reproduce
high-frequency sounds. In order to reproduce the full frequency range, the sound
is divided into frequency bands, and each band is sent to a separate driver.
This frequency division is handled by the crossover.
Crossovers are integral components of multidriver audio speakers. They analyze
the signal received from the amplifier and divide it at predetermined
frequencies. It then sends the low-frequency signals to the bass drivers in the
high-frequency signals to the tweeters. This way, each component of the speaker
system is reproducing its ideal range of frequencies.
Low-frequency audio speakers are called woofers and high-frequency speakers are
called tweeters. Mid frequency speakers are simply called midrange speakers. A
typical speaker enclosure will contain two or three speaker drivers -1 woofer, 1
midrange and one tweeter.
Speaker enclosures (or boxes) have a special function and reproducing the sound.
They are specifically designed for the characteristics of the speaker drivers
they contain, and may contain ports or internal divisions for accurate sound
reproduction. Audio speakers must be housed in a rigid enclosure to avoid
unwanted residence effects.
Up until recently, the most common audio speakers were stereo speakers. These
were designed to be placed on either side of the listening area. New sound
technology has resulted in surround sound audio systems which place five or
seven speakers around the listening area. These are often used in home cinema
systems and can provide an exciting element when watching movies.
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