Guide to Audio Basics

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Jan 21, 2010
There are still some notable corrections to be made here:

Speakers > Resonant Frequency

"That's the frequency that the object will sound, or resonate, when struck. A lightweight object will generally have a higher resonant frequency than a heavy object. The weight of the object, however, is not the only determinant of resonant frequency as the density of the object also contributes a role."

"This rating is important for speakers in particular for a couple of reasons. First, it is used to prevent a cabinet from ‘ringing’. If a note is played through a speaker and that note is at the resonant frequency of the speaker, the speaker cabinet will radiate that sound." -

"This parameter is the free-air resonant frequency of a speaker. Simply stated, it is the point at which the weight of the moving parts of the speaker becomes balanced with the force of the speaker suspension when in motion. If you’ve ever seen a piece of string start humming uncontrollably in the wind, you have seen the effect of reaching a resonant frequency. It is important to know this information so that you can prevent your enclosure from ‘ringing’. " -

Ringing is undesirable as it is a distortion. But not in the sense it goes fuzzy or blows itself a part. (although it is possible with enough power and no dampening." (Dampening tames, hinders, or weakens the movement.) Ideally frequency response should be flat (audiophiles demand this) without and distortions/colorization/boosts/cuts. Ringing is a sharp boost at the resonant frequency that makes it stand out, boosted above all others.

Speakers in general:

Modern: A subwoofer tends to cover everything that a vintage subwoofer or woofer would and is housed separately from the "channel" speakers. The channel speakers may have a mid-bass or just a midrange and a tweeter.

Vintage: A subwoofer covers the lowest of bass when present, a woofer handles the rest. Where no subwoofer exists, it's just a woofer, not a subwoofer, and it cover all of the low end.

There exists in addition mid-bass (which covers the upper part of the low end and mid-range,) mid-range, tweeter, and super-tweeter (extends the range of the tweeter for even higher frequencies.)

Speakers may have multiple woofers, mid-range, or tweeters. sometimes multiples, although there is a point where it is ridiculous and hurts overall sound. Woofers may have one or two per cabinet. One might even be what they call a passive radiator. (It looks like a speaker, but acts like a cabinet port to help improve low frequency response.) Sometimes subwoofers may be in the same box as a woofer.

Subwoofers and Woofers can be as large as 18" or as small as 3 or 4". The smaller the speaker though, the less air it moves, making it harder to hear farther away without being pushed harder.

(Historically, there are some speakers that actually were the size of the guitar amp's huge speaker in the movie "Back to the Future.")


Jan 29, 2018

Awesome!! Thanks for all of thos useful info. I now have a much clearer understanding of what needs to be observed, in order to obtain a favorable configuration, a safe and properly wired system, a well balanced set up for optimal sound, a satisfactory peace of mind, and happy listening ears to absorb it all! thanks a lot man...
Mar 22, 2018
This is great! Excellent guide! It helps expand my knowledge of how audio works. I will be bookmarking this!
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