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Types of Speaker | Understanding How Different Types of Speakers Work

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types of speaker

1. What is a PA Speaker?

PA speaker is a short form of the public address speaker system, and this type of audio components are generally used for announcements so that a large group of people can hear it. Although it would be wrong to say PA speaker is only used for the announcement or public speeches as nowadays many advanced PA speakers are also used for playing music in public places. The price of PA systems varies greatly depending upon its usage and capability. Small PA models cost around a hundred to two hundred dollars while high capacity models cost more than thousands.

High-end PA speakers are designed in such a way that they can be utilized in large music concerts so that it can project high-quality sound from instruments, an acoustic device, and voice. Always remember larger the wattage and size as well as weight, the higher will be the sound quality and volume level.

Generally, the PA speaker is accompanied by a microphone, mixer, and amplifier. The microphone is used to pour the sound that you want the public to hear while the mixer is used to process the sound by adjusting its effect and EQ so that it offers the best audio output. Whereas as the amplifier is used for amplifying the sound production.

There are different types of PA speakers (read about a few high-quality vintage speakers) available in the market starting from large heavy-weight speakers to all-in-one portable models. Large models are generally passive PA system that might have an inbuilt mixer, but it is easy to design a complex audio system in large concerts or halls. These system needs to be controlled by engineers with separate EQ. Active models, on the other hand, have a built-in amplifier, crossover, and EQ, so you just need the speaker to accomplish your task.

It simplifies your job, and it is easier to setup than passive models. Some models even carry inbuilt amps that automatically boost up the voltage depending upon your requirement.

2. What is a Subwoofer Speaker?

A subwoofer is almost similar to a standard speaker, but unlike the later, it is only used to reproduce the low pitched audio frequencies of music. Subwoofer speaker generally serves as a sound system that contains two stereo speakers or five stereo speakers along with a subwoofer.

It serves as one of the favorite music devices among audiophiles as it brings out the needed bass and low pitched music that a standard speaker fails to bring out. It is not restricted to single design type; instead, it is available in four different kinds which include bandpass, bass reflex, infinite baffle, and horn loaded subwoofer.
However, a subwoofer is available in the two types, and the usage entirely depends upon the situation and area where it is placed. Active subwoofer is commonly used as a subwoofer that carries an inbuilt amplifier and it can adequately utilize with any speaker system. Passive subwoofer, on the other hand, requires only comes with the driver, and it is devoid of an amplifier.

It is mostly used in large concerts where every speaker is connected to an external amplifier. Both types can comfortably play loud, low-pitched sounds without causing any distortion.
The frequency range that subwoofer can play vary from model to model as well as usage. Subwoofers that are mostly used in homes or small areas carry a frequency range between 20Hz and 200Hz. However high-end subwoofers that are used mainly in professional areas offer frequency below 100Hz. Having such low frequencies allows it to cope up with speed and transient response so that it can provide bass with good impact and realism.

3. What is a Full Range Speaker?

A full range speaker is a specially designed audio output system that holds the capability to reproduce all low and high frequency with a single. Moreover, it can also add detailing in the mid-range by that one driver. Neither it requires woofer nor tweet to produce low and high frequency and acts as an all-in-one device. Basically, it can reproduce al the frequency of audio needed that a human ear can bear without getting aid from separate drivers.

The audible frequency range lies between 20Hz and 20000Hz and standard speakers require an external driver to reproduce all the frequencies within this range. However, this speaker system can comfortably reproduce all the spectrum within this range and too with a single driver.
A full range speaker is generally composed of Whizzer cone, dust cap, magnet, and a unique cabinet. The Whizzer cone in this type of speaker is entirely different than standard cone as it can reproduce all high-frequencies audios.

The magnet used in this system is quite more significant than what will find in usual speakers which not assist it cover all the audible frequencies but also decrease the power requirement at low frequency. Unlike others, it uses a unique cabinet as this type of speakers often fail to handle spectrum below 100Hz, so the special enclosure allows it to reproduce the low frequencies.
However full range speaker can’t be used in all the environment or for all music genres as it doesn’t have multi-driver support and full proofed power. It oozes out an individual audio output, and the sound will provide you a natural experience without much depth and accuracy. But the clarity and depth it offers at mid-range are really unmatched.

It mostly suitable acoustic session, chamber music, regular vocal session, etc. One shouldn’t use it play orchestra, metal or symphony as it is not ideal for this genre and won’t offer you that bass.

4. What is a Tweeter Speaker?

The tweeter speaker can be described as a unique speaker or driver whose main job is to reproduce all the high range frequency in audio that woofers and other drivers can’t reproduce. It contains a driver and a flexible cone that facilitates its fast movement, and it gives rise to highly detailed high pitch sounds with good crispness.

The dispersion coverage of tweeter is quite specific as well as accurate, and it is neither comprehensive nor narrow so that it can offer an enjoyable listening experience. It saves the listener from getting affected the limited sound position or too much surround sound.
A tweeter is generally smaller than woofer as well as other types of drivers, but its size is intentional. High-frequency sound requires fast vibration of the cone, and a large driver can’t offer more rapid movement and this the reason it has kept small. This electromechanical loudspeaker contains small cone, magnet, voice coil, dome assembly, suspension, and cover.

You will be surprised to know that tweeter doesn’t have a single type; rather it comes in five types so that it can be tagged with different speaker systems These five types are cones, electrostatic, piezo, dome, and ribbon.
A high-quality tweeter also carries a crossover, and due to its inability to produce bass when you play music, it will distort. So high pass crossover is installed in tweeters, and it acts as a filter that blocks low-frequency signal thus allowing the tweeter to produce smooth audio. Surprisingly the usage of tweeter speaker is only limited car stereo speaker system and home audio.
In addition, tweeters nowadays also used in professional sectors as they can comfortably enhance their music listening experience.

5. What is a Satellite Speaker?

Satellite speaker is small sized speaker system that utilizes a subwoofer to offer music comprising all the frequency range. They are often termed as a 2.1 subwoofer system, but in reality, they are little smaller size when compared to any stereo system with subwoofer. Unlike standard speakers, they are designed with optimum aesthetics so that they can blend with any decor especially home. They don’t possess much power to deliver loud audio; rather it is designed to produce a room-filling sound with good quality.
The satellite speakers are designed in such a way so that it only handles the high and mid-range while its subwoofer reproduces the low-frequency range. This type of speaker system is widely popular in homes as they are easier to place, aesthetically pleasing and cheaper than other models. In addition to the music system, they also serve as an excellent companion to TV, PC, and laptop.
According to experts, you can even utilize satellite speakers as a part of other speakers that will allow you to create a surround sound system.
Despite being an affordable speaker system, satellite speakers are geared with many modern technologies so that it can offer high-quality audio and convenience at the same time. Some models often come with hidden cameras, which serves as an effective security solution.
Remember with an increase in quality and technology the price of the speaker also increases. However, this doesn’t case with lightweight models as there are high-end models that might weigh less, but it won’t ever allow you to question its sound quality.

6. What is a 2-way Speaker?

A speaker system that uses a tweeter and mid-range cone (woofer) to deliver a high-quality sound covering all the frequencies from mid to high. The two-way speakers are often called coaxial speakers and both the driver mostly come in a single unit. In this speaker system, the tweeter handles the high-frequency range starting 2KHz and going all above 20KHz.

While the woofer handles mostly the mid-range lying between 100Hz and 3Khz which is more than adequate to offer you ear soothing quality with decent bass. Moreover, by splitting the sound waves, this type of speaker is able to reproduce the sound in a better manner.

A 2-way speaker also contains crossover which serves as the filter, and it assists the speaker in sending the specific audio signal to the right driver. However, there are many standard 2-way speakers often fails to deliver an optimum sound quality with good bass as its woofer can’t handle a wide range of frequencies.

However, you shouldn’t underestimate this speaker system as it can produce much better sound than a single speaker system and some 3-way speakers. The woofer can deliver a decent amount of bass with adequate room filling so it can be a good choice for people who are particular with their music.
2-way speakers are mostly used in cars and small rooms as they can offer a good music output in the small surrounding. Moreover, 2-way speakers are light, compact and easy to install so many house owners prefer to use them as they can easily store them after use.

7. What is a 3 way, Speaker?

A 3-way speaker is traditional speaker types which depict that it can offer three different sound range from three separate drivers. A 3-way speaker is made up of tweeter, mid-range and woofer driver and each of the drivers provide proficiency in reproducing sound from three different frequency range. The tweeter handles all the high range frequencies while the mid-range covers all the frequencies starting from 160Hz and going all the way up to 5.2KHz. The woofer, on the other hand, handles all the lower end frequencies which result in a good bass.

The clarity offered by a 3-way speaker is quite ecstatic, and this is because the drivers are optimized to deliver different frequency range which results in top-end quality with clarity. The woofer in the 3-way speaker system is the largest one, and the dimension of this driver varies from five to twelve inches.

It mainly handles all the low-frequency range which reproduce bass part of any music. It depicts the thunder, drums, explosion, bass part of the music, etc. thus allowing you to feel beats properly. Primarily it delivers a strong sound vibration which isn’t offered by the mid-range or tweeter.
The tweeter is the smallest one in the driver list, and it generally measures around 0.5-2inch. Basically, it reproduces the treble part of the music which are usually the high-pitched sound of a melody. A tweeter offers high clarity of music of concerts as it brings out the exact quality from flutes and cymbals. The mid-range might look like a woofer, but it doesn’t go over 8-inch in size.

It handles all the midway frequencies, and these ranges mostly include instrument parts as well as vocal of music. Lastly, all the drivers are equipped with crossover feed, and it distributes the frequencies to the exact drivers.

8. What is a 4-way speaker?

A 4-way speaker which is also known as a quad axial speaker is quite similar to a 3-way speaker, but it contains an extra sound driver. Like the former, it carries a woofer, mid-range, tweeter and a super tweeter which is not usual in standard models. The super tweeter handles mostly the extra high-range frequencies which the conventional tweeter can’t thus offer the entire sound range audible to the listener.

Although it doesn’t provide a significant impact on the overall quality still it provides those high pitched sound which standard speaker can’t produce like crashing of a cymbal.
You may compare its sound quality and clarity up to certain level, but if you play a piece of full-range music then the 4-way speaker would perform better bass and loudness. Many people often consider 4-way speaker better than other models as the wiring is entirely straightforward and it doesn’t take much space. Moreover, it doesn’t require any crossover to split up the frequency into different drivers.

The usage of this kind of speaker is not only restricted to the automobile as many households and professional sectors use them. However, some user avoids using a 4-way speaker as car audio as it takes a lot of wire for installation and the wiring is quite tricky.

9. What is a Speaker Crossover?

A speaker crossover is basically a filter in the form of an electronic device that is present in almost every speaker except full-range models and speaker that uses the software. It is a crucial filter that receives an input audio signal and then signals out two or three output. The filtering process separate bands like high range, low range and mid-range frequencies to its respective drivers.

For example crossover signal out the low range to the subwoofer, while woofer is fed with mid-range and tweeter gets the high-range frequencies. It acts traffic whose main job is to direct the audio signal to the respective audio driver and nothing else.

Apart from speakers, crossovers are also used in the receivers and amplifiers where it separates the signal for the subwoofer and other drivers. It plays a crucial role in many audio devices because without this device, the audio signal will get messy and you would hear poor audio.
If the signal messes up, then your subwoofer will try to produce high-range notes while the tweeter will work to handle low-frequency notes. So when a driver receives a wrong audio signal, it will not only waste time trying to play the note but will also give rise to distorted sound.

This is the reason crossover is found in almost every speaker in the world whether you are using a single portable speaker or a large loudspeaker. In many high-end models, the crossover is also divided into a high and low-pass filter, and they just offer better filtration process. The high pass filter is similar crossover only allows the high-range frequencies to pass through it and bars any lower frequencies from entering any driver. However high pass filter maintains a specific threshold point for cut off, so it doesn’t filter out all lower frequencies. Low pass filter acts as an opposite of high pass filter where it only passes mid-range and low range frequencies.

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