Introduction to Loudspeakers - Bravo AV Introduction to Loudspeakers Definition Loudspeakers are electro-mechanical-acoustic

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  • Speakers V6.docx

    Introduction to Loudspeakers

    Definition Loudspeakers are electro-mechanical-acoustic systems. Another word for speaker is transducer. A transducer is a device that converts one type of energy or signal into another. While there are many types of transducers the ones most common to music lovers are the microphone and the speaker. The microphone is at the beginning of the process and converts sound waves into electrical impulses. A speaker is at the end of the process and converts electrical impulses from the amp into acoustic energy (sound.) A loudspeaker typically accomplishes this conversion by causing a diaphragm to vibrate and send vibrations through the air, thereby propagating acoustic waves.

    What kind of speakers do I need? Your AV professional can help you with your choice. An appropriate speaker system for a particular application would be one that fits the budget, interfaces well with the room size, design and acoustical properties. In addition, it should have sufficient headroom (question: does everyone know what “headroom” means?) for the demands made upon it with flat frequency response, low distortion and freedom from compression. It must accurately reproduce the audio signal sent to it.

    Stereo Playback diagram

    Speakers

    Sources Preamp Amp

    Speakers

    Bravo AV Design Philosophy In the Audiophile press and on various websites you see people arguing about which component is the most important and often people claim it’s the speakers. We have a different belief. We believe everything in the signal path is important. Therefore our designs focus from the source to the speakers and everything in between. Having said all that the three most significant aspects of a system are: room acoustics, speakers, and source material.

  • Speakers V6.docx

    At Bravo AV Consulting we take a holistic approach to the design of audio and video systems. We do this by carefully listening to the client’s wants and needs. We then develop a solution that contains the features and benefits that best fit the client’s lifestyle. Since we carry no inventory and have over 50 brands to choose from we can use our creativity and years of experience to craft a system that offers tremendous performance and value for a given budget. During our holistic design process we select components of a similar performance level. We know that the weakest link will be the limiting factor in the systems performance. Therefore, we pay attention to every facet of the AV system: the things you see and the things you don’t see. We also look towards the future and make sure the system has the ability to evolve as new technologies emerge.

    The Myth of the Golden Ear and Audio An audio/video system is a vehicle for conveying the vast emotional and intellectual potential of music. The higher the quality of reproduction the deeper our connection with the music. Bravo AV Consulting sells products in which you can definitely hear the difference. It does not take a trained or “Golden Ear” to know what sounds good. If you have ever seen quality high definition TV you don’t want standard definition anymore. It’s the same way with a good audio system. Once you have heard quality audio and are moved by the music you don’t want to go back to mediocre sound. Because music is important, re-creating it with the highest possible fidelity is important. Many of us have a practical knowledge of things we like and can communicate our preference without possessing the technical knowledge or specific vocabulary of the true expert. We talk with you using straight forward non-technical vocabulary. Come in and have a listen.

    Speaker Types

    1. Freestanding Freestanding speakers do not go in or on a wall but “stand” on the floor. While free standing speakers are most often associated with traditional 2-channel stereo they can be used in surround sound environments.

    2. Architectural Architectural speakers can be classified by placement: on wall, in wall, in ceiling and outdoor

     In wall Are located in the walls. Speakers in this category must usually be less than 4” deep because the wall depth is usually 4”. However some stud depths are 6” allowing speaker manufacturers more freedom to design really great speakers.

     In ceiling Are located in the ceiling. Because the joist depth is often 8 or more inches deep, in ceiling speaker designers have more depth to work with and that lets them create a wide variety of speakers.

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     In wall and In ceiling characteristics o Size

    Round, rectangular or invisible. o Quality

    The quality of in wall and in ceiling speakers can be as outstanding as your budget allows. Long gone are the days when you had to sacrifice sound quality moving from a freestanding speaker to an architectural speaker

    o Invisible Modern invisible speakers sound as good as visible speakers in a similar price range and are very reliable. Invisible speakers are installed to mate seamlessly with the adjoining wall or ceiling and can be finished using the same materials as the surrounding surface including paint, texture, wallpaper or even wood veneers.

    o Open baffle vs. sealed enclosure Architectural speakers with open backs are usually less costly, and they can work well for background music in non-critical listening areas. Because there is no enclosure, sound can bleed into adjacent areas and become an annoyance. This result from the fact that as the cone (diaphragm) moves back to its neutral position it is putting sound energy into the wall stud-bay. This is very problematic if the common wall is shared with a bedroom or other room where sound leakage is a major concern. Also, open-baffle ceiling speakers can fall victim to settling construction materials, moisture, and critters. Sealed in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are generally more expensive, and they keep the sound in the intended room. They can also sound better due to the engineered enclosure, which eliminates the arbitrary nature of an open-back speaker. A sealed in-wall that is comparable quality to a freestanding speaker can sound as good if not better. The reflection off the wall behind a freestanding speaker does not exist in an in-wall, plus the in-wall can have a few dB more bass extension.

    o Cost A pair of speakers for multi-room application can run from $250 – $7000 a pair.

     On wall On wall speakers are designed to be mounted on the wall not in the wall. On wall speakers are useful when there is already something in the wall (like a pipe or HVAC duct) where you need to place the speaker

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     Outdoor There are two classes of outdoor speakers: rocks and on wall. Rock speakers look like rocks – they come in many shapes and sizes and are designed to be placed on the ground. On wall speakers are typically mounted on the side of the house

    3. The myth of wireless speakers. There is no such thing as wireless speakers in the truest sense of the word. Today what is typically referred to as a wireless speaker is an active speaker that requires an AC power cord plugged in to receive its musical information wirelessly. [The exception is relatively inexpensive battery operated speakers, but these speakers are typically poor sounding and chew through batteries.]

    4. Active vs. passive loudspeakers. A passive loudspeaker has no dedicated amplifier, and almost any receiver or amplifier can drive it. An active loudspeaker is mated to an amplifier that is optimized to the speaker -- and that may mean bi- or tri-amplification, protection and/or equalization. The cost of a comparable passive speaker and amplification compared to an active speaker system is usually a wash.

    Uses and Broad applications. One way to characterize the use of speakers is whether they will be used for multiroom audio or for surround sound audio.

    1. Multi Room Audio Speakers used for multi room audio are placed in many rooms throughout the house in order to listen to music.

    2. Surround Sound Speakers used for surround sound are placed in specific locations in one room and are used to recreate the sound track of a movie. Typically a media room has at least five (5) speakers plus a subwoofer. This speaker configuration is often referred to as 5.1 surround sound. These speakers are called: Left, Center, Right, and two side-surround speakers. In a theater two additional rear speakers are added on the back wall. This speaker configuration is referred to as 7.1 surround sound. In components and speaker systems, a channel is a separate signal path made up of the following:

  • Speakers V6.docx

    Center Channel: The center speaker in a home theater setup carries the primary amount of information and all the dialogue. Ideally, center speakers are placed within one or two feet above or below the horizontal plane of the left and right speakers and above or below the display device, unless placed behind a perforated screen. Left Channel: The left speaker carries the left audio channel information. Right Channel: The right speaker carries the right channel audio information. Side Surround Speakers: Speakers located beside the listener which reproduce the surround sound channels of surround-sound-encoded audio programs. Rear Surround Speakers: Speakers located behind the listener which reproduce the surround sound channels of surround-sound-encoded audio programs. Su