Speaker Tech

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Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 23, 2023  |  0 comments
Mechanical drivers could become a thing of the past if xMEMS Labs has its way.
Mark Henninger  |  Nov 13, 2022  |  0 comments
The MoFi SourcePoint 10 is the latest speaker from the talented and prolific Andrew Jones, chief loudspeaker designer for MoFi Electronics. It's one of the most exciting product debuts from this year’s Capital Audiofest high-end audio show. After a relaxing and enjoyable demonstration that led me to conclude these 10-inch concentric-driver loudspeakers offer the best bang-for-the-buck in the building, I asked Andrew if he was up for an interview and here's the result.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 07, 2020  |  65 comments
Subwoofers are like the magic beans of audio, expanding a playback system's dynamic range in a way that dramatically enhances the listening experience. There's an attitude among some audiophiles that subwoofers represent, if not the spawn of the devil (there are numerous such spawns in audio lore), a bad compromise at minimum. But the truth is that adding a modest but well-designed subwoofer to speakers, even compact bookshelf models, can result in better performance than what you'd get from full-range towers that cost considerably more.
SV  |  Jan 28, 2020  |  9 comments
Patrice Congard, founder and CEO of U.K.-based Screen Audio Excellence, discusses subwoofer placement and the potential pitfalls of phase cancellation in the latest installment of an ongoing tech series, published here with his permission.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 16, 2018  |  8 comments
A recent product announcement from Amazon touted the launch of a “subwoofer” to supplement the response of Amazon’s popular Echo vocal assistant. Presumably it will work with the even smaller Echo Dot as well. But for me it raised a couple of eyebrows.

Given that the low frequency response of an Echo alone probably doesn’t reproduce any useful output much lower than 100 Hz (admittedly an educated guess), the Echo Sub certainly can't hurt. But given its size and its 6-inch driver, there's no way that such a product it can be considered a subwoofer...

Michael Antonoff  |  May 27, 2018  |  First Published: May 24, 2018  |  1 comments
The smart speaker is about to change the way you live. Are you ready?

It’s not every day that a new consumer electronics category comes along that has an adoption rate projected to be faster than that of any other device, including smartphones, computers, TVs, and radios.

Some 56.3 million smart speakers are projected to ship this year, nearly twice as many as last year and 10 times the number shipped in 2016, according to Canalys. In the first quarter of 2017, only 7 percent of U.S. households had smart speakers. By the end of 2020, 75 percent are expected to have them, according to Gartner and Edison Research.

Daniel Kumin  |  Aug 31, 2016  |  7 comments
What’s the Number One question demanded of self-styled audio experts like me? “How much power do I need?”
Rob Sabin  |  Jun 03, 2016  |  0 comments
Prior to a decade ago, having distributed music around your house usually meant calling a custom installer to put in hundreds of feet of cable, multiple pairs of in-ceiling or in-wall speakers, and racks of amplifiers. You’d get keypads on your walls that could control, just barely, your distant sources via IR. There was no metadata feedback to select a particular song; you might have been able to advance to the next track on your CD player or dial up a different preset station on your FM tuner, but not much more. The cost for this was, well, prohibitive. Multiroom audio, for a long time, was strictly a rich man’s game.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Aug 06, 2015  |  9 comments
Dolby Atmos, for you members of the unwashed and uninformed masses (yeah, you know who you are), enables film sound designers to treat individual sonic elements as virtual “objects” that can be placed and moved almost anywhere within the three-dimensional space of a movie theater. Two things are important about its adaptation for home theater. First, the soundfield—in its original, discretely encoded version, not an extrapolated one—is no longer limited to a two-dimensional plane circling around your ears.
Rob Sabin  |  Jun 27, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 28, 2014  |  13 comments
The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.

And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...

Brent Butterworth  |  Feb 24, 2014  |  2 comments
Five Subwoofer Masters Explain How They Work Their Magic

Subwoofer design has undergone a revolution. No, the physics of woofers, amplifiers, and enclosures haven’t changed. But new technologies have made it possible to push the bass-ic laws of nature to their limits, such that the best of today’s inexpensive subwoofers can outperform many of the top models from 15 or 20 years ago.

Affordable digital audio processing lets designers tune subwoofers in ways the engineers of the 1990s could only have imagined. High-efficiency amplifiers pound out powerful bass from boxes hardly bigger than a basketball. New speaker drivers use high-tech materials to produce sound levels that would have pushed older models way past the breaking point.

Since things are so different now, we thought this would be a great time to revisit some of the fundamentals of subwoofer design and examine how the old rules might have changed in the digital age.

SV Staff  |  Feb 24, 2014  |  0 comments
Brent Butterworth explores the art and science of modern subwoofer design through in-depth interviews with five experts for the feature article “Subwoofers: The Guts and the Glory”. Click on the link for the full text of each interview.
Brent Butterworth  |  Feb 24, 2014  |  0 comments
Chris Hagen is acoustic systems development engineer for Velodyne, a company that, despite its recent forays into headphones, has been primarily a subwoofer specialist since its founding in 1983. Chris has also worked as an engineer for the consumer division of JBL, and for M&K Sound. Excerpts from this interview appear in the feature story “Subwoofers: The Guts and the Glory.”

S&V: What’s the most important in a subwoofer: the driver, the enclosure, or the amplifier?
CH: Being a system engineer, I believe all of it’s important. A poor-quality part in just one of the areas can mess up the whole product. For instance, no sub with a leaky enclosure is going to sound good no matter what amp or driver you use. Or if you tune the sub in an environment [room] that’s not appropriate to tune in, it’s going to sound bad regardless of the components you use.

S&V: Do you have a preference for ported, sealed, or passive-radiator subwoofers? How do the design decisions differ among those three?

Brent Butterworth  |  Feb 23, 2014  |  0 comments
Tom Vodhanel is president and founder of Power Sound Audio, an Ohio-based company that specializes in subwoofers and sells direct through its website. Tom is also known as the “V” in SVS, another company that started out as a subwoofer specialist, and which he co-founded. Excerpts from this interview appear in the feature story “Subwoofers: The Guts and the Glory.”

S&V: What’s the most important in a subwoofer: the driver, the enclosure or the amplifier?
TV: You hit the big three. You can optimize any of the two, but if the third one is off you’ve got a problem. They maximize the capabilities of each other. Now with DSP [digital signal processing] available in so many of the amplifiers, you get more wiggle room. You can adapt an amp to a smaller enclosure and have it still work really well, and DSP allows you to do that adaptation better and much quicker than you could with analog. But if you miss any of those three, a really good design can turn into an average design.

Brent Butterworth  |  Feb 23, 2014  |  0 comments
Ed Mullen so impressed everyone with his subwoofer smarts (and even temperament) as a participant on Internet audio forums that SVS—a company that has mostly specialized in subwoofers, but is now putting equal effort into speakers—hired him. He now enjoys a rep among home theater enthusiasts as one of the guys to call for advice about subs. Excerpts from this interview appear in the feature story “Subwoofers: The Guts and the Glory.”

S&V: What’s the most important aspect of a subwoofer: the driver, the enclosure, or the amplifier?
EM: SVS takes a holistic approach to sub design. It’s very possible to use high-quality components that don’t work well together, and the results will not be optimal. We look at the end-user application, then develop a list of components for that application. You’ve got to match enclosure size, the form factor, the amplifier power, and the driver itself...