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Speaker Terminology

Speaker Terminology what's it all about, the answers to those frequently asked questions, we call it "technobabble".

Have you ever asked yourself what does it all mean? Well you're not alone, and we hope that this page lays your demons to rest and gives you the ammunition to not only sound like you know what you are talking about but to actually know!!!

So forgive us for its simplicity, we are only trying to demystify what is the world of sound.

Buzz words/phrases in alphabetical order.

5.1 surround sound is made up of 6 speakers, 1 centre channel, 1 front left channel, 1 front right channel, 1 left rear channel, and 1 right rear channel and the all important subwoofer

7.1 surround sound is made up of 8 speakers, 1 centre channel, 1 front left channel, 1 front right channel, 1 left side channel, 1 right side channel, 1 left rear channel, and 1 right rear channel and the all important subwoofer.

Amplifier takes the sound signal from the sound source such as TV, DVD or stereo system, makes it louder and sends it to the speakers.

Centre channel a centre channel speaker is positioned in front of you and has the main vocal sounds coming out of your television, it is usually made up of 2 drivers which both have the same sound being output and 1 tweeter, the 2 drivers ensure quality of sound.

Crossover frequency the main driver of a speaker carries the lower frequencies and the tweeter carries the higher frequencies, the crossover frequency is the point at which the tweeter takes over, or the driver takes over, its as simple as that. The frequency response gives you the frequency range.

Decibel frequently misunderstood, decibels are actually the measurement of loudness as a ratio comparing to no sound.

Driver just another word for a speaker.

Hertz represents the frequency, or number of times a sound wave is transmitted within a second and reflects the level of sound. The higher the hertz the higher pitched the sound.

Frequency range measured in hertz this measurement gives you the range of the whole speaker unit, including driver and tweeter. A normal range would be 40Hz to 20kHz.

Power handling measured in watts this measurement gives the maximum input the speaker can take from the amplifier. If the amplifier pushes out more watts than the speaker can take, you will be looking for replacements very quickly, so make sure you check this one.

Sensitivity represents the available loudness of the speaker measured in decibels. So the higher the sensitivity the louder the music, this doesn't necessarily mean the higher the sensitivity the better the sound though!

System impedence measured in “ohms”, measures the resistance within the coil in the speaker, basically the lower the ohms the better the efficiency of the speaker. However the key to this measurement is that you must, must, must ensure that the ohmage of your amplifier matches the ohmage to your speakers, otherwise something will go boom and not in the sound sense. Check your amplifier, some are quite clever and have different levels of output.

Tweeter a miniature speaker that outputs high frequency sounds

Subwoofer a speaker that gives only base frequency outputs, they make you feel the music, and are powered typically by a separate base amplifier which can be incorporated in the actual subwoofer.

Watt this is the power figure, calculated as I x V which is amps times volts but you don't want to go there! Just remember it as the power figure.