How do speakers work? Passive speakers vs active speakers

How do speakers work? Passive speakers vs active speakers

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The loudspeaker is a staple of music. You’ll find them in every professional studio, and every bedroom studio thanks to the rise of digital music. But how do speakers work?

  • How does a speaker work?
    • How does sound work?
    • The parts of a speaker box
    • So, how do loudspeakers actually work?
  • How do passive speakers work?
  • How do active speakers work?
  • How do speaker amplifiers work?
  • What is the frequency response of a speaker?
    • Why is a flat frequency response important?

Studio monitors and headphones are a universal tool that music producers and recording artists utilise every single day. They’re the most vital component of any music production setup. However, how speakers work isn’t so widely known. And when we head out to a live gig or party, loudspeakers and PA systems draw the crowd in from the back of the dance floor.

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So, how do loudspeakers actually work?

Speakers convert electrical energy into motion – that is, electrical energy moves components within the speaker. Otherwise known as “mechanical energy”, this motion compresses air to convert the motion into sound energy/sound pressure.

You’ll often hear music professionals state that speakers and microphones are opposites to one another. This is true because while a speaker converts electrical energy into motion and then sound, a microphone converts sound waves into electrical energy!

As we mentioned above, sitting inside a speaker box is a magnet. And when an electric current travels through a coil of wire it produces a magnetic field. So, as an electrical current travels through the voice coil and produces an electric field – that electric field interacts with the magnetic field of the magnet behind the coil.

your microphone plugins into your audio interface. Your audio interface converts the electrical analog signal to a digital one. Then, this digital signal travels in and back out of your computer to your audio interface once more. Finally, your interface re-converts the digital signal to an electrical one and sends it to your active studio monitors.

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