Let me be clear, I am not a technological guru – I’m just someone like you that has an interest in gadgets. In the past I simply looked at a speaker as one unit that produced the sound I was looking for. It turns out things aren’t that simple; a speaker is actually made up of various components, including different drivers that produce different tones in order to create the sound you’re looking for. Once you know how it works it’s actually quite straightforward, but it’s an eye-opening lesson nonetheless.
Essentially, there are three different types of speaker drivers that your Bluetooth speaker may include. These are tweeters, midrange drivers, and woofers. They all produce very different tones and it’s the combination of all of these drivers that reproduce a song as it’s meant to be heard.
Tweeting Those Higher Tones
I remember watching the classic Sylvester and Tweety cartoons as a kid and there are a couple of things about those cartoons that really stand out for me – one in particular is relevant to our discussion here. Tweety was a bird and birds tend to create a higher-pitched sound; that’s exactly what the tweeter does. These drivers handle the high-frequency sounds or treble – they’re at the higher range of human hearing and generally include anything above 2000 Hz. Depending on how good your hearing is, you may not notice a lot of difference when adjusting the treble.
There are a lot of great songs that don’t include many high-pitched tones, or low tones for that matter, in those songs midrange drivers are particularly important. These drivers handle midrange frequencies, which much more closely resemble normal speech patterns. These tones are typically found in the range between 200 Hz and 2000 Hz.
Bring the Bass
Personally, I’ve always found tracks with those deep bass sounds very appealing. There’s nothing like cranking up a tune and listening to a great drum solo as it drives a song forward. There are certainly songs that don’t include bass sounds, but they don’t normally rate at the top my list anyway – to each his own. These bass tones are produced by a driver called a woofer, or sub-woofer, and are typically low frequency sounds below 200 Hz.
Understanding How the Different Tones Are Produced
To understand how these different drivers produce these different tones you need to understand a little bit about how sound works. Sound, as you may know, is a wave and as it moves it bounces off objects, creating a vibration which is detectable to our ear. Tweeters are the smallest drivers; they cause the sound waves to move back-and-forth across the driver much more rapidly, creating a higher-pitched sound. Essentially, the larger the speaker the deeper the tone. That’s why sub woofers are normally much larger.
Bringing It All Together
Whether you’re a lover of the bass or you prefer when a singer hits those high notes, you still need all of these drivers to create the range of sound that produces a truly musical experience. None of them alone can produce sound across all frequencies, so if you leave one out there’s always going to be something missing. This is definitely detectable to the human ear and will normally create a sound that’s less than pleasurable.
The best speakers will include two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and a woofer in order to cover the full range of sound. Unfortunately, many cheaper Bluetooth speakers do not include this type of setup, so if you’re not willing to compromise on the quality of sound you want to listen to you have to be careful when purchasing a Bluetooth speaker. You may think you’re saving a little bit of money, but if you don’t like the sound you may just end up going out and replacing it anyway.
It’s Ear Opening
As you can see a speaker is far more than just a simple box – there is a lot going on underneath the cover. By understanding what drivers are and how sound works you’ll be better able to choose the right speaker for you. At the very least you’ll know why your speaker sounds the way it does.