Stereo Loudspeakers

Loudspeakers are the Single
Most Important Element of Any
Audio or Home Theater System...


Grammy award winning songwriter and producer Aldo Nova knows great sound. Nova uses the Axiom Epic 80 in his home theater, and the award-winning M3s, M2s and M22s in his studio, where he has written and produced for Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, and many others. Most recently, Nova wrote and produced Dion's mega-hit, "A New Day Has Come".

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Without speakers, you wouldn’t hear a musical sound in your room unless you or someone played a musical instrument live!

Stereo speakers convert the varying audio signal voltages from your receiver amplifier (and your CD player, tape deck or turntable) to actual sound waves that mimic—to a greater or lesser degree—the sounds of musical instruments, singers, choirs, rock bands, orchestras, and jazz groups.......and that’s why a speaker is by far the most important component in any stereo system...



Loudspeakers are the link between our ears and the digitally encoded sounds on a CD, or the magnetic patterns on a tape. Indeed, a speaker makes sound by moving a diaphragm. In some loudspeakers this is achieved by an aluminum cone or a tiny titanium dome--moving rapidly back and forth, creating actual pressure waves in the air. These 'waves in the air' duplicate the sound waves generated by real instruments and voices.

To create, say, the illusion of a jazz group playing in your room, speakers must reproduce a staggering range of musical sounds — from the lowest tone of a grand piano (28 Hz) or electric/acoustic bass (41 Hz) to the delicate harmonics of a cymbal (15,000 Hz and higher). This range of frequencies, designated in Hertz (Hz) extends from 20 Hz (pipe organ, bass drum) to 20,000 Hz (20 kHz).

Ideally, that’s the range that a loudspeaker has to accurately reproduce if we’re going to find it convincing. How accurately and smoothly a speaker approaches that goal is called the frequency response.

The elements that determine a loudspeakers sound quality, realism and so on are many, but suffice it to say that it comes down to excellence in design and engineering.

Stereo speakers come in all sizes, from compact “bookshelf” models, to larger floor-standing or Tower models that use multiple pairs of drivers to achieve very clean sound at loud volumes.

Every stereo speaker with claims to high fidelity uses at least one “woofer” for the deep bass tones, usually a cone about 4 to 8 inches in diameter, and a “tweeter”--typically a titanium dome barely an inch in diameter--for the high frequencies.

Other things being equal, the larger the diameter of the woofer and the bigger the box or enclosure, the more deep bass the speaker will deliver.

Compact speakers have definite lower limits in bass output, but the better ones will do a good job of delivering bass to about 40 Hz.

If you want ultra-deep bass sounds (bass drum, pipe organ, bottom octave on a piano), you have to go to a bigger floor-standing speaker or add a subwoofer, a large separate speaker dedicated to just producing the bottom few octaves of deep bass tones, from about 25 Hz to 100 Hz. Bigger floor-standing speaker will do a convincing job of generating deep bass tones to below 30 Hz.

In recent years, many consumers buy compact bookshelf or “satellite” speakers and combine them with a subwoofer (for deep bass that the small satellites can’t deliver). The subwoofer can be put away in a corner out of sight because deep bass is non-directional, and the satellites are less intrusive in room décor, a practical solution especially for home theater surround sound applications, which necessitate five satellite speakers for main left and right front, a center channel for dialog, and left and right surround speakers for soundtrack ambience and effects.

A tweeter has an aluminum cone or a tiny titanium dome -- it moves rapidly back and forth, creating actual pressure waves in the air. These duplicate the sound waves generated by real instruments and voices. To create, say, the illusion of a jazz group playing in your room, speakers must reproduce a staggering range of musical sounds — from the lowest tone of a grand piano (28 Hz) or electric/acoustic bass (41 Hz) to the delicate harmonics of a cymbal (15,000 Hz and higher). This range of frequencies, designated in Hertz (Hz) extends from 20 Hz (pipe organ, bass drum) to 20,000 Hz (20 kHz). Ideally, that’s what a speaker has to accurately reproduce if we’re going to find it convincing. How accurately and smoothly a speaker approaches that goal is called the frequency response.

Bigger floor-standing speakers will do a convincing job of generating deep bass tones to below 30 Hz. It is best to have a smaller cone as a midrange driver as well, for added clarity and voicing.

Once you have the right sound system in place it is definitly time to Shake, Raddle and Roll!

It will make a world of difference... Take it from me! (Alan Lofft)

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