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Recent Speaker Design Articles

Loudspeaker Measurements Standard: Our Procedure for Objectively Analyzing Speaker Performance

Loudspeaker Measurements Standard: Our Procedure for Objectively Analyzing Speaker Performance

The presentation of loudspeaker measurements varies wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. This means that, without independent analysis, consumers are left comparing specifications that were obtained using completely different methods that yield different looking results. In an effort to alleviate this confusion, it is our goal to provide readers with consistent measurement information for each loudspeaker reviewed allowing direct comparison from review to review. As a part of this commitment, the Audioholics Loudspeaker Measurement Standard presented in this article provides the nuts and bolts of the techniques used to measure loudspeakers. Our measurements include : On-Axis Frequency Response, Sensitivity, Listening Window Response, Polar Response, Impedance & Electrical Phase and Distortion Analysis. We discuss how these measurements are conducted, including the test equipment and calibration procedure used in case the reader or manufacturer wishes to reproduce our results. Please feel free to share your comments in this articles related thread and be sure to watch our Youtube Video interview.

The Audioholics Loudspeaker Measurements Standard objectively measures performance of speaker systems. Frequency response, distortion, sensitivity, polar & listening window response, impedance, etc.

— March 10, 2014 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Do Loudspeaker Manufacturers Really Make Their Own Drivers?

Do Loudspeaker Manufacturers Really Make Their Own Drivers?

Among the many things with which audio aficionados use to evaluate the engineering and technical expertise of their favored speaker companies, one thing certainly stands out: Do they make their own drivers? The overriding thought is that a truly top-notch speaker company designs such sophisticated and specialized products that only custom-engineered and –manufactured drivers will fulfill the design’s requirements. This is usually not the case as you will find in this article from an Industry Insider's perspective.

Loudspeaker manufacturers often claim they make their own drivers that go into their products. This industry insider's perspective shows this is often not the case. OEM manufacturing is very common.

— August 12, 2013 12:00 in Loudspeaker Design

The Product Development Process: An Insider's Prespective Part II

The Product Development Process: An Insider's Prespective Part II

In Part I of our Insider's Perspective on Product Development we took a tour of the inner workings of a typical AV manufacturer's development process of a new product concept. In Part II, we will take you on a tour of the manufacturing process, discuss dealing with outside vendors, show you how pricing strategy/decisions are made and how to avoid last-minute catastrophes. We discuss how the ID [Internet Direct] cost model isn't much lower than the B&M [Brick & Mortar] one as some people may think. Why are cheaper parts often used, or necessary parts for product performance either compromised or left out? Well, you're gonna have to read the article to find out.

Part II of our look behind the scenes at the manufacturing and product development process typical of an AV consumer electronics manufacturer. Outsourcing, parts usage, tooling discussed.

— June 16, 2013 20:00 in Loudspeaker Design

The Product Development Process: An Insider's Prespective Part I

The Product Development Process: An Insider's Prespective Part I

Ever wonder about the manufacturing development and design process of your favorite speaker system, AV receiver or amplifier? This Insider's Perspective takes you on a tour of the inner workings from product concept to product development and manufacturing by no other than our very own Steve Feinstein. After a decades-long career as a Product Manager and Marketing Director at some of the industry's best-known speaker companies, Steve shares his experiences. Some of this is bound to surprise you. So have a read and enjoy the anecdotal stories and ponder hypothetical conversations that may be going on right now at your favorite manufacturer's facilities while developing their next series of AV products you're just clamoring to get your hands on.

Even wonder how products go from concept to design to production? Why crappy products are made? We peek behind the curtain at the new product development process in the consumer electronics industry.

— June 09, 2013 16:05 in Loudspeaker Design

Understanding Ohm's Law, Impedance And Electrical Phase 101

Understanding Ohm's Law, Impedance And Electrical Phase 101

Stuck on jargon like Ohm's Law, Impedance and Electrical Phase? Have you ever wondered what makes a loudspeaker “difficult to drive”? Do you wonder what’s so special about an amplifier that is stable into a 4 ohm load? If these are the kinds of questions that leave you mystified, this may be the article for you. Things are far more complicated than saying “Speaker X is 100dB sensitive, so you could power it with a potato!” Fortunately, there is nothing extraordinarily difficult involved in answering these questions: as long as you have rudimentary math skills and knowledge of the right equations, you will be able to look at a few basic measurements of a loudspeaker, namely the impedance curve, electrical phase curve, and voltage sensitivity, and determine what kind of amplification you’ll need to get the job done.

Do you ever wonder what makes a loudspeaker "difficult to drive"? Do you wonder what's so special about an amplifier that is stable into a 4-ohm load? Audioholics looks to answer these questions here.

, — February 14, 2013 11:50 in Loudspeaker Design

Loudspeaker Sensitivity & Impedance Explained

Loudspeaker Sensitivity & Impedance Explained

Loudspeaker manufacturers sometimes exaggerate the specifications of their products to make them look better than they really are. Some are more honest than others in this regard. The focus of this article is on loudspeaker sensitivity and what to look for in this rating so the consumer can make a more educated purchasing decision when comparing products. We propose an ideal solution every speaker company every loudspeaker company can easily follow, giving all of us one very specific, agreed-upon, universally-recognized way of measuring and stating sensitivity. If all speaker companies did this, then consumers would have a reliable, transparent way to compare sensitivity ratings from different manufacturers, and reviewers would have a concrete benchmark against which to verify their test result findings against the manufacturer’s claims. But, alas, not everyone does—so caveat emptor!

The focus of this article is on loudspeaker sensitivity and impedance. Loudspeaker manufacturers sometimes exaggerate the specifications of their products to make them look better than reality.

— January 30, 2013 17:45 in Loudspeaker Design

Tip of the Day: Don't Be too Focused on Loudspeaker Specs & Measurements

Tip of the Day: Don't Be too Focused on Loudspeaker Specs & Measurements

The tip for today is NOT to get too bent out of shape on loudspeaker specifications and measurements. Measurements and specifications are important tools in the decision making process for purchasing audio equipment. They can help those with the knowledge to interpret them identify potential performance issues. However, not all measurements and specifications are created equally. In the end, what matters most is whether or not you are pleased with the sound emanating from your speakers in your listening space.

Loudspeaker measurements & specifications are useful only when properly evaluated and compared in a fair manner. They are no substitute for evaluating sound quality in your listening space.

— December 18, 2012 20:50 in Loudspeaker Design

Tip of the Day: Corner Loading a Small Sub for a Boost

Tip of the Day: Corner Loading a Small Sub for a Boost

Tip of the Day: Corner load a small but potent sub to take advantage of low frequency room gain. Keep the wife happy aesthetically while getting the deep tactile bass you desire. This can be accomplished with a small sub employing a HPF with a gradual rolloff. The EMP ES1010i is one example that works well in such situations. Check out the EMP ES1010i Subwoofer: http://www.emptek.com/es1010i.php

Tip of the day, corner load a small potent sub to take advantage of room gain to boost your low frequencies.

— November 29, 2012 21:40 in Loudspeaker Design

Sealed vs Ported Loudspeakers: Which is Better?

Sealed vs Ported Loudspeakers: Which is Better?

Sealed vs ported loudspeakers, which one is better? This is an age-old question one which sparks debates not only among consumers but designers themselves. There are certainly points on each side of the argument to consider. The debate of ported vs. sealed is intrinsically relevant and interesting, regardless of the arbitrary brand involved. This article provides a historical perspective on the genesis of the sealed loudspeaker design and how it compares with conventional ported designs.

Sealed vs ported loudspeaker designs, which one is better? This article provides a historical perspective and attempts to answer this age old question.

— October 09, 2012 18:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Comb Filtering, Acoustical Interference, & Power Response in Loudspeakers

Comb Filtering, Acoustical Interference, & Power Response in Loudspeakers

Comb Filtering and Acoustical Interference are two audio terms that relate to the manner in which two or more sound sources (such as two separate speakers or two drivers within a single speaker system) interact and affect each other. The importance and audibility of these phenomena are the subject of this article, and they are a source of a continuing difference of opinion among well-respected equipment designers and acoustic theorists/researchers. Dealing with potential acoustical interference issues of multiple drivers in the same loudspeaker cabinet is something any serious designer should be concerned about and not just brushed off as a measurement artifact that doesn’t have real world implications.

This article discusses comb filtering between multiple speakers in a room & acoustical interference between drivers sharing the same bandwidth in a loudspeaker system. Power response is discussed too.

— September 03, 2012 22:15 in Loudspeaker Design

Center Channel Speaker Design Additional Considerations

Center Channel Speaker Design Additional Considerations

This article takes a broad look at center channel design and discusses the prior two articles we've already written on the topic and compromises associated with horizontally arranging drivers. The subject of proper center channel speaker design is not a simple one. There are many considerations—price, desired coverage area, aesthetics, and others. A manufacturer has a daunting task trying to balance many seemingly conflicting requirements, while for the consumer, education and information are the keys. Being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the various design types gives the consumer the best opportunity to make the most satisfying choice.

This article explores the various center channel designs while also referencing past works on the topic. Horizontally mounting drivers can compromise off-axis performance but there are alternatives.

— April 12, 2012 17:15 in Loudspeaker Design

How to Listen and Compare Loudspeakers in a Retail Store

How to Listen and Compare Loudspeakers in a Retail Store

Shopping for and auditioning speakers can be a daunting experience for newcomers to home theater, and even some veterans for that matter. There are a myriad of brands, styles, price points, and plenty of people willing to give their opinions. For many, the most exciting part of shopping for speakers is sitting down and demoing them. We have to agree. Unfortunately, walking into a HiFi shop and asking to listen to some speakers probably won’t get you very far. Sure, the sales person will be happy to crank up some Pink Floyd from their iPod to ear bleeding volume levels and ask if it is the most amazing thing you have ever heard (yes, this happens quite often), but how do you know what you are hearing is because of the speakers and not the receiver, room, iPod, etc. This article helps weed out the variables in hopes to help you achieve a good demo experience on the showroom floor or in your own listening space.

Shopping for and auditioning speakers can be a daunting experience for newcomers to home theater, and even some veterans. There are a myriad of brands, styles, price points, and plenty of opinions.

— March 01, 2012 17:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Audioholics Subwoofer Measurement Data Compilation & Report

Audioholics Subwoofer Measurement Data Compilation & Report

By now you’ve seen the numerous subwoofer reviews we’ve published using our new Powered Subwoofer Test and Room Size Rating protocol. Audioholics.com has invested a great deal of resources measuring and analyzing subwoofers over the last few years. As a result we have created the industry’s most comprehensive testing procedure and database of tabulated measurement results. Our tests adhere to our strict testing methodology which is also compliant to the CEA-2010 Subwoofer Measurement Standard whenever practical. In this article, we will take you on a tour of our Excel Spreadsheet measurement results called “Audioholics CEA-2010 Subwoofer Measurement Data”. It is our hope that the reader can achieve a better understanding of what all the data means for a more informed purchasing decision by making objective apples-apples comparisons between various tested products.

This is a tutorial on how to interpret our subwoofer measurement data to make an apples-apples comparison between various products tested.

— January 13, 2012 16:25 in Loudspeaker Design

Loudspeaker Cabinet Bracing: A Detailed Look on Do's and Dont's

Loudspeaker Cabinet Bracing: A Detailed Look on Do's and Dont's

A recent Audioholics article about loudspeaker cabinet bracing posited that one measure of quality is in a well-braced cabinet. Poorly or improperly braced loudspeaker cabinets vibrate unduly, coloring the overall acoustic output and lowering fidelity. In this article, we will explore the reasons that a stiff cabinet is a desirable feature of a well-designed loudspeaker based on established engineering mechanics using Finite Element Analysis to illustrate modal behavior of a cabinet under load with and without bracing. We will also discuss how improper understanding of this subject matter and a limited amount of measurement of a test mockup could falsely lead one to believe that using fewer braces, thereby lowering the panel resonance of a cabinet, is desirable. Simply adding more braces to a cabinet may not be the most effective way to reduce vibration IF those braces are not stiff enough to force higher modal behavior in the panel under time varying loads, such as music. As you will see in this analysis, the stiffer the cabinet, the lower the resonances become which will greatly reduce unwanted colorations of sound.

This article does a detailed FEA analysis on loudspeaker cabinet bracing and its affect on reducing resonance modes and coloration of sound. The stiffer cabinet always wins as the analysis shows.

— January 02, 2012 16:30 in Loudspeaker Design