Best Speaker Parts
Audiophile loudspeakers come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes and configurations. These range from bookshelf or small speakers to more reference grade floorstanding speakers to in-wall or on-wall speakers to subwoofers to the new more HDTV oriented soundbar category. Depending on how you want your sound and how its supposed to look and sound in your room there are many ways you, the consumer can go.
The parts that make up a speaker stereotypically are as follows:
- A tweeter is a high frequency driver that makes up the "highs" or the highest frequency audio signals. There are many different types of tweeters from dome tweeters to inverted dome tweeters to folded motion tweeters to electrostatic tweeters to planar speakers that can go all the way to the top of the frequency range which is widely considered to be about 20 kHz.
- There is such a thing as a "super tweeter" and those audio transducers playback sound at frequencies that are well above the range that humans can hear. The idea is that these speakers can create sub harmonics that positively effect the frequencies that humans can actually hear.
- Mid-range drivers handle some very important audio information as the frequencies that they reproduce make up vocals, movie dialog and many of the most popular instruments.
- Mid-range drivers vary in size from 2 inches to 5 or 6 inches but there is no rule on exactly the size of the speaker or where it is crossed over. That's up to the speaker engineer.
Bass Driver (sub)
- Bass drivers are the largest speaker driver as they have the challenge of creating the longest soundwave meaning the lowest frequencies. These drivers are often crossed over at very low but still audible ranges such as 80 Hz.
- Subwoofers imply that they go below the 20 Hz limit that most people can hear. In fact most subwoofers extend to well above that frequency range and can be crossed over as the listener desires using the crossover controls of their preamp or controls on the subwoofer itself.
Other speaker parts include:
- The crossover network of a speaker is passive (sometimes active) electronics that helps define where the audio information goes in terms of sending the highs to the tweeters, the mids to the midrange drivers and the lows to the bass drivers.
- Speaker binding posts are where the speaker cables connect to the speakers. These come in various different configurations depending on the type of speakers. Here's a good example of varied types of speaker binding posts from Orb Audio.
- Speaker grills are frames that are often covered with fabric to protect one's drivers from potential damage. Today's speaker grills are often connected to the actual speaker with magnets.
- Otherwise known as loudspeaker spikes - these points help decouple the mass of the bottom of the speaker with the floor this creating a more tight sound.
To explore the best Audiophile speakers of all time check out this slideshow at AudiophileReview.com.
There are no right or wrong picks in speakers for the most part but the more you know the more informed of a consumer that you will become which is nothing but a positive.