Far from the popular opinion, a speaker isn’t just a simple plain box as it appears. There is a lot more than meets the eye, and things aren’t that simple as they seem on the surface. I may not be a technological expert but trust me, you want to know what I discovered out of my curiosity for these gadgets. Journey with me as I gradually let the cat out of the bag without killing it.
What is a speaker driver?
Sounds simple HM? Well, that’s not it. A driver is an individual element that produces different tones to create the sound you want to hear. They are basically the cone or horn-shaped elements that most people refer to as actual speakers. Still, not getting it? A driver is a transducer that converts the electrical audio to a sound wave. They are enclosed in a speaker.
Now that you know you have been misinformed all your life let’s try to understand what it is these drives do, how they affect the sound you hear or how they work.
Does the number of drivers matter?
You probably have already guessed your answer. Yep, that’s right! The number of drivers matter as far as sound frequency is concerned. There is not a single driver that is designed to handle all the sound frequencies. In that light, more than one drivers are used to cover the full spectrum. In the market jargon, you will come across works such as two-way speakers and three-way speakers. Don’t get confused with these technical words. They are merely multi-driver speakers with crossovers. The cross over split the inbound signal and distribute them to the appropriate drivers so that the sound is clearer to listen.
The reason for having speakers with crossovers is because of the number of drivers matter. Sometimes, you may encounter a speaker that can handle the full frequency. They are called full-range speakers.
Does the Size Of a Driver Matter?
Yes. The driver size matters a lot. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the many different sizes. Generally, drivers are available in different modes and sizes, and they are designed for the specific audio frequency range. A large driver is designed for low frequency while a small driver is designed for low frequency.
The drivers are designed such that the diaphragm moves according to the signal frequency. A small cone’s membrane can move back and forth faster creating a high and low pressure hence it is designed for high frequencies. On the contrary, a big cone can’t put up with fast movements. Its diaphragm is designed to move slowly back and forth creating a low, loud sound pitch.
How Many Different Drivers are There?
As mentioned earlier, the driver is available in different modes and sizes. However, you are most likely to find these three types of drivers that produce different kinds of sounds.
The tweeters are the smallest, and they handle the highest frequency. They deal with a sound frequency above the range of 2000Hz. Take for example a high-pitched sound like the one produced by a bird. If you were to convey such a tone, you would definitely require the tweeters.
Woofer drivers are the largest of the drivers. They vibrate slowly the diaphragm movements are slower than others. They produce loud sound with low frequencies in the range of below 200 Hz. Sometimes sounds with deep brass are so refreshing and that is where these particular drivers come in. To give you that deep refreshing sound.
Not surprisingly, their name gives us a hint of what they do. The mid-range drivers cover part of the spectrum between the tweeters and the woofers. They are medium-sized and handles frequencies in the range of 200 Hz to 2000 Hz. Imagine all the great songs and the awesome sounds neither have a low tone nor a high-pitched tone. In that case, the mid-range drivers are particularly essential with frequencies that resemble normal speech.
Sometimes, the drivers are enclosed in a single speaker to form the crossovers. Examples of multi-driver speakers are the two-way and three-way speaker which comprises(woofer and tweeter)( woofer, tweeter, and mid range) respectively.
How Does Each Driver Work?
The working mechanism of drivers is quite straight forward. The drivers are made of either papers, plastic or metal. The materials move back and forth creating a sound wave that reaches your eardrum which causes you to hear the sound. A voice coil generates an electromagnetic process which moves the diaphragm. As the electrical impulses travel from the amplifier to the voice coil, they consequently cause the coil to interact with the magnet attached to the cone.
The way each driver works isn’t much different from the overall mechanism. Tweeters sound different since they are small and are meant for high notes. Additionally, woofers, on the other hand, have a low sound because they are huge and vibrate slowly. More importantly are the mid-range drivers as they deal with all the uncategorized frequencies like regular conversations.
Some speakers are used for specific purposes and are more expensive. Examples include the electrostatic speakers which are limited to how and where you use them. They are used for stereo audio listening, and most can’t handle brass. The other example is the planar magnetic speakers which are only used for high frequencies. Just like the electrostatic speakers, they are not suitable for home theaters.
To produce excellent sound experience, you need all the three drivers. Whether you prefer brass or high notes, using all the three drivers will give you true musical pleasure. In conclusion, speakers are not just plain boxes as most people presume. To have a pleasurable experience, consider buying a speaker which includes at least two of each driver to cover the full range of sound
At the very least, you are now in the know of why your speaker sounds the way it does. By understanding what drivers are and how they function, you can comfortably choose the right speaker for you
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