March 15, 2021
To find the right speakers, you need to understand certain information, like what do the numbers 2.1, 4.1, 5.1, and so on mean? It’s also important to know what the different kinds of speakers in a system are and what their purpose is. In this blog, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about the types of home speakers.
When we talk about speaker systems, we’re not referring to a single device. A system consists of various components that each have a specific function. Depending on the function, a component can vary dramatically in size and shape compared to another component.
The normal human ear has the ability to hear anything between 20 hertz (Hz) to 20 kilohertz (kHz). The lower end of the spectrum represents low bass sound, while the higher end represents high pitch sounds. Different components are designed to reproduce only a portion of that spectrum. This means some components are specialized to deliver low, mid-level, or high sounds.
In order to bring the full audio profile to your ears, it’s necessary for a speaker system to have components that are able to produce sound at each of these ranges. This is why surround sound systems come with multiple speakers. The more specialized a speaker is at reproducing a given sound range, the more refined the audio coming from the whole system is.
Now that you know why surround systems are made up of multiple speakers, let’s move on to identifying the different types.
As the name suggests, midrange stereos are the components that specialize in reproducing midrange sounds. They are capable of delivering the widest range of frequencies when compared to other components. As a result, these speakers are the main way to distribute sounds like music and dialogue. They are not designed to be able to handle high or low frequency notes.
Dealing with high frequency sound waves is the job of the tweeters. These audio drivers are typically small in size as they produce smaller-wavelength audio. Although they are limited to only reproducing between three to 20 kHz, they are crucial for adding crisp, detailed sound to your audio. However, there are such devices known as mid-tweeters and super tweeters that can handle more of the spectrum.
A standard woofer produces frequencies of 20 Hz up to 2,000 Hz (two kHz). They are responsible for delivering lower bass sounds. You can normally see standard woofers as part of a higher-end speaker set.
Think of subwoofers as a relative or variant to the standard woofer. These speakers consist of one or more woofers mounted inside a wooden enclosure. Subwoofers are only capable of producing tones lower than 200 Hz. Although we can only pick up on sounds as low as 20 Hz, hearing isn’t necessarily the point of subwoofers. The purpose of these speakers is more for feeling sound rather than hearing it.
If you ever browsed the internet for a new stereo system, then you’ve likely noticed that speakers are categorized using numbers. For example, you may have seen a 2.1, 5.1, 7.1, or even a 7.1.2 designation. Although it may seem confusing at first, understanding the meaning of this numbering is actually fairly simple.
The first number in the series refers to the number of floorstanding speakers you have in your system. So any speaker that sits at ground level is included in this number. The second number denotes the number of subwoofers in your system. Finally, if there is a third number, it indicates the number of ceiling speakers in your system.
At the WiSA Association, we work with over 60 manufacturers to provide high-resolution, multi-channel, low latency audio for TV, movies, gaming, and music. If your speakers have the WiSA logo on it, then you know you have the best in wireless audio.
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