The most sophisticated, high-tech surround sound system is nothing without speakers, and this article will define some keywords and help you understand everything you need to know about your options, including built-in speakers, speakers in the ceiling, home theater speakers and surround sound speakers.
So what is a speaker, exactly?
A speaker is basically a translation machine; It translates the electrical signal from a disc, CD or DVD to physical vibrations to create sound waves. A speaker consists of a driver, a membrane (also called a dome or a cot), a spider, a voice coil, a surround or suspension, a basket and a spider. Speakers also contain a crossover, which differentiates the sound in different frequencies such as high, low and sometimes mid range. There are three types of basic speaker drivers: woofers, tweeter and interleaver drivers.
As mentioned earlier, all speakers contain a voice coil, but you will find that some speakers have dual voice coils. The biggest advantage of double-speaker speakers over a single coil is wiring flexibility, and they tend to be a bit more expensive.
Some other terms that you're likely to encounter in your speaker search, whether you're watching in-ceiling, in-wall, home theater or surround sound speakers, are two way to three or even four-way speakers, dual treble handling, impedance, resistor, sensitivity, power management and frequency response.
Two-way speakers usually contain a tweeter and woofer, and often work well when combined with a subwoofer to handle the lower frequencies. Three-way speakers usually contain a treble, mid level and woofer. Four-way speakers include a tweeter, mid-range, a woofer and a dedicated subwoofer. Which style works best for you really depends on your budget, space, and overall system.
Whether you're thinking of walls, ceilings, home cinema or surround sound speakers, some other factors you want to consider frequency response, power management and sensitivity. Frequency response refers to the Hertz range (or Hz, which is a frequency unit) that a speaker can reproduce.
Power management refers to watts and helps you decide which type of receiver best suits your speakers and vice versa. Sensitivity, also commonly referred to as efficiency, refers to how efficiently the loudspeaker uses the power it receives from the receiver. Higher sensitivity means that the speaker will produce more volume without taxing your receiver.
Home theater systems generally consist of a center speaker, which delivers a lot of dialogue. front left and right speakers, which handle most special effects; and surround sound speakers. Surround audio speakers usually provide the surrounding sounds you hear when watching a movie or a TV show, such as falling rain drops, undercoat crush or leaf leaves. And finally, most systems also contain a subwoofer to capture and emphasize the lower frequencies.
All of these work together to create a dynamic theater-like sound experience. Bookshelf and satellite speakers are a good choice when looking for space efficiency in your home theater system. You can also consider in-wall or in-ceiling speakers depending on how you intend to use your space and personal aesthetics. The front grill of both the in-ceiling and the in-wall speakers can be painted to match your wall color so that they can melt into your interior.
The design of the speaker casing affects how all of these elements work together to create audio. Common containment design includes bass reflex, passive radiator and dipole design. If you work with an audio professor, he or she will understand exactly how these elements affect the sound experience and help you choose the best speakers for your space and usage.
When choosing the best roof, wall, surround sound or home theater speakers for your specific needs, consider the shape and make-up of the room where the speakers are installed and how the room will work. The shape and size of each individual speaker will affect the overall listening experience. Different types of speakers will project sounds in different ways.
With so many quality brands of speakers on the market today it is absolutely possible to find the perfect audio solution that suits your budget and lifestyle, whether you prefer to do the homework yourself or hire a professional to review the process. Working with a knowledgeable audio professional that evaluates your needs and helps you choose the right system for you means no guess on your part and helps you make sure you get what you're looking for the first time.