How To Mic A Band - Types Of Speakers You Should Know About

A couple of weeks ago we talked about a few different types of microphones that can be used to mic a band (How to Mic a Band - Types of Microphones). Last week we talked about pick-up and polar patterns in microphones (How to Mic a Band - Pick-up and Polar Patterns). This week we dive into the some of the different types of speakers and what their basic functions are when it comes to the sound you are wanting to get. They each have a particular use.

Types of Speakers

* Woofer Loudspeaker:
Designed specifically to reproduce low frequencies (usually below 500 Hz). Woofers sometimes are used to reproduce both low frequencies and some mid frequencies (normally not higher than 1.5 kHz). Typically, cone-type drivers are used as woofers, measuring from 8 to 18 inches in diameter.

* Midrange Loudspeaker:
(Formerly called "squawkers," though this is an archaic term from the hi-fi world)- designed specifically to reproduce mid frequencies (typically above 500 Hz). The highest frequency reproduced by a midrange unit is usually not higher than 6 kHz. If a cone-type driver is used as a midrange loudspeaker, its diameter typically ranges from 5 to 12 inches; if a compression driver is used, its diaphragm diameter may range from 2.5 inches to 4 inches (with a few special units up to about 9 inches in diameter).

* Tweeter Loudspeaker:
Designed to reproduce the highest frequencies (normally higher than 1.5 kHz and usually above 6 kHz). If a cone-type driver is used, its diaphragm diameter usually ranges from 2 to 5 inches; compression driver diaphragms range from under 1.5 inches to about 4 inches.

* Full-Range Loudspeaker:
Integrated systems incorporating woofer and tweeter (and, if used, midrange) drivers in a single enclosure. As the name implies, they are designed to reproduce the full audio range (more or less). In practical terms, their range rarely extends below about 60 Hz.

* Subwoofer Loudspeaker:
Used to extend the low frequency range of full-range systems to include frequencies down to 20 or 30 Hz. Their range rarely extends above about 300 Hz. Cone-type drivers are used nearly exclusively, and typically measure from 15 to 24 inches in diameter, although a few special units are available with cone diameters approaching 5 feet.

* Supertweeter Loudspeaker:
Used to extend the range of full range systems in the highest frequencies (usually above 10 kHz). Typically, these are either compression drivers or piezoelectric drivers in professional sound systems, although hi-fi type systems use some more esoteric technologies.

* Monitor Loudspeaker:
Full range loudspeakers that are pointed at the performer on stage, rather than out at the audience. They are used to return a portion of the program to the performer, to help him or her stay in tune and in time, and are sometimes loosely referred to as "foldback." In recording studios, a studio monitor or control room monitor loudspeaker is a full range, high accuracy loudspeaker system designed to permit evaluation of the sound being recorded.

* Headphones:
Full range transducers designed to fit snugly on the ears. Some designs block out ambient (external) sound, while others do not. Headphones are sometimes used in sound systems as monitors for click-tracks, and may be used by engineers to check a live mix or a recording during a performance. Headphones also appear as components of intercom systems.

* Passive Crossovers:
Passive crossovers are simple networks that are designed to pass high signal levels. They are inserted between the power amplifier output and the drivers.

* Biamplified Crossovers:
A two way loudspeaker with an active crossover and two power amplifiers (or two halves of a stereo amplifier) each handling a different frequency band. They work at lower signal levels and are inserted before the power amplifier.

Next week I'll be posting some tid-bits on mixers and signal processors. Hit the subscribe button to make sure you get notified when it publishes.

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