Top Speakers Articles
How to Weatherproof Speakers
When your occasional outdoor activity or party requires music on the patio or in the yard, placing your stereo speakers outside the door or in an open window is simple enough, although a bit inconvenient. If you want to install speakers outside permanently, though, you'll need either to buy expensive units designed for outdoor use or adapt a set of loudspeakers you already own. With some planning and simple weatherproofing techniques, you can protect outdoor speakers from the elements so they'll last for many years.
How to Fix the Mesh on a Speaker
Torn speaker mesh isn't the end of your sound system. Don't get out the duct tape or a needle and thread if your cover fabric is torn. Speaker mesh is also called "grill fabric" and it's widely available online and in fabric stores. It's easier to replace the whole fabric cover than to apply patches, and your sound quality will be better with new fabric than with a patched-up cover. Vintage grill mesh fabrics are available online if you want to replace the mesh with something more decorative than basic black.
How to Amplify Speakers on a Bookshelf
Getting the best sound out of your bookshelf speakers is, in part, about getting the right signal to them, but it's also about where you sit in relation to the speakers and how far the speakers are away from reflective surfaces. You can get more volume out of your bookshelf speakers, but it's often at the sacrifice of sound quality.
DIY Suitcase Speaker for IPod
When putting together your own iPod suitcase speaker, you can spend as much or as little money as you want to create something that will work for you. If you want to get into cutting and wiring things, you can have ultimate control over the finished product, or you can bring together pre-existing pieces to customize something that truly fits your needs.
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Whether your Bose sound system or speakers were designed specifically with your iPod in mind or not, you should have no problems connecting them together. Bose SoundDocks can charge an iPod while it's docked in the system, and both the Bose SoundLink Air and Bluetooth systems offer wireless connectivity to Bluetooth or AirPlay-enabled iPods. Even if your Bose system doesn't offer these options for your iPod, you can always use an auxiliary cable to connect the two devices.
Surround sound speaker systems have at least five speakers but may often have seven as well as one or two subwoofers for bass. A five-speaker system with a subwoofer is known as a 5.1 system, while a seven-speaker system with two subwoofers is a 7.2 system. Before mounting your speakers, take a seat on your couch and make a note of your ear level to help determine where the ideal locations for the speakers will be.
Listening to music while you shower can help you keep track of the time and keep you from getting bored, but iPods can be damaged by exposure to water, and water damage is not covered by the Apple warranty. There are waterproof cases, sleeves and wireless speakers that allow you to listen to your iPod while showering without damaging it, and let's not forget using sound amplification from the hard surfaces in your bathroom.
Some of the electricity running through your home amplifier is converted to heat, and that heat needs to dissipate before it damages the amp. Most amplifiers have a safety switch that turn the unit off if the heat reaches a level high enough to cause problems, but it's best to never need that feature and just keep everything nice and cool.
It doesn't take much time wading in the pool of sound equipment to step off the deep end into mathematical equations and electrical diagrams. However, because speakers are among the simplest electrical appliances, you don't need to drown in the technical side of things. Learn the basics and you'll be able to confidently connect multiple speakers to a single amplifier.
In any multiple-speaker audio system -- whether or not it involves surround sound -- you'll have to connect rear speakers to make everything work as intended. The term "rear speakers" is often used as a catch-all to describe multiple speaker functions. For example, many receivers use the same output terminals for multiple auxiliary speaker outputs, with these jacks labeled "Speaker B," "Zone 2" or "Surround." There are many ways of getting sound from these jacks, including the use of wireless options if necessary.
Most speakers are either 4-ohm, 6-ohm, 8-ohm or 16-ohm speakers. Ohms are a measure of impedance, which represents the amount of power the speaker draws. Impedance is equal to voltage divided by current. This means that a 4-ohm speaker draws more current than a 6-ohm speaker; more current gives it more power and usually enables it to play loudly more easily. If you connect 4-ohm speakers to an amplifier that can only drive 6-ohm speakers, the speakers will draw too much current and the amplifier will probably overheat and shut itself off. You can measure the impedance of a speaker with a multimeter.
Many modern LCD and LED monitors include built-in speakers that enable you to use less desk space, and some of the integrated units produce relatively good sound for their size. Nevertheless, most monitor speakers can't compare to larger PC systems with surround sound and subwoofers. Consequently, if you want to play audio from your PC only on external speakers, you must disable the drivers inside the monitor. Depending on the type speakers built into the monitor, there are several different ways to accomplish this.
While CD players may see slightly less use in many households as people transition to digital music files, they remain an important staple of any home entertainment system. CD players come in price ranges from under $100 to units costing thousands, but they all connect to speakers in a similar fashion.
The Apple AirPlay feature allows you to quickly share content from an iPod to a nearby TV or set of speakers. Using AirPlay, you can stream photos, videos and music to a compatible device. You can also mirror the Safari app, which allows you to browse the Internet on a large screen. AirPlay works with an Apple TV or AirPlay-compatible speakers, and is a great way to enjoy your content with friends.
Whether you are installing, removing or repairing the speakers on a car stereo, you need to know which color wire goes to which terminal. If you are attempting to splice a wire harness for an upgraded sound system you need to know what kind of signal or current is running through which color wire. Installing an upgrade can be further complicated by the possibility that the speakers you are working on were installed by an aftermarket vendor or even a previous owner using home speaker wire or even lamp cord.
All speakers and car stereos work on the same basic principles of direct current electricity, which requires both a positive and negative wire for transmission. General Motors cars all use the same color coding to indicate which wires provide what connection, though the color scheme changed with the 1989-90 model year. Even if you do not have automotive electrical wiring experience, it can be done safely if you disconnect the negative battery cable and secure it away from the battery and frame.
The sound of bullets whizzing past your head, the roar of a crowd or a spaceship flying by are all examples of how a properly installed surround sound system can enliven the home theater experience. To achieve the best results from your setup, consider a few things when it comes to choosing the main, subwoofer, center and surround speakers. Making the right choices here will result in an immersive, cohesive sonic environment, filling your home with great surround sound for years.
Your home stereo speakers may sound great, pumping as much volume into your listening space as you can tolerate. That doesn't mean that they work well or for long when used to reproduce amplified guitars or other instruments. Pro-grade speakers used in large environments like concert halls and churches use dedicated speakers, much different that the ones in your living room. If you're comparing the two types to determine which to use where, there are key differences to consider.
By definition, the surround speakers -- or rear speakers -- in a surround sound system are critical to proper immersion in the sonic environment. Although it may seem as though you can simply plop surrounds behind you someplace and get the desired effect, rear speakers require more specific placement. There are three main surround speaker types: direct radiating, dipolar and bipolar. The ones you select are based on seating considerations, and are installed differently.
A headset is an integrated system with headphones and a microphone. Logitech makes both headphones and headsets, and they're a handy computer accessory. Both headsets and headphones let you listen to music or the audio track of a video without disturbing those around you; the headset also lets you speak over Voice over Internet Protocol systems without having an external microphone. There are a variety of both headsets and headphone systems, meeting different needs.
After you purchase and install a new car audio amp, you need to connect either an existing set or a newly installed set of door-mounted speakers to the amp’s right and left front outputs. The more popular car amps drive four speakers: two front-door units and two backseat units generally mounted on the back deck under the rear window. With the front-door speakers’ wiring already pulled through the door and frame, all that remains is for you to connect the two positive and two negative leads to the amp.
You are planning on improving your boating experience this summer by adding a new dimension to your on board music system. The way you have chosen is to add a subwoofer to your speaker array. You should know that audio speakers in a marine environment require a bit more protection than those sitting in your living room or mounted in your car. Primarily they need to be water- resistant. If you are locating them in a sailboat that is exposed to saltwater and rough seas, waterproof speakers are a must. If you want to amplify your subwoofer you need to consider the exposure of the amp and power wiring as well.
Wiring is a necessary evil in any home theater or car audio environment. In larger systems, the task of running wire may comprise the majority of time taken within the overall installation. It is important to remember to protect the wire and the signals they carry as they pass through firewalls, behind baseboards and in close proximity to power cables. By following these proven protocols, you can be sure the wire will be free from nicks and abrasions while carrying noise-free audio and video.
When Apple introduced its third-generation iPod, the company replaced its industry-standard USB connection with a proprietary jack called the Dock Connector. Microsoft's now-discontinued Zune also used a proprietary connector that was a different size and format from Apple's. In 2012, Apple introduced the new Lightning connector, changing the connector format completely. This means there's no universal dock for both iPod and Zune devices. However, you can find speakers that can play music from these and other MP3 players.
Rear-mounted stereo speakers enhance your musical enjoyment whether you are cruising or parked. They literally give the effect of filling the entire passenger compartment of any vehicle with sound. A pair of rear-mounted subwoofers can turn your vehicle into a mini-music hall. Wiring rear-mounted speakers to your car audio system requires a few hours of time but the result is well worth the effort.
If you want to listen to an old single-speaker monaural radio through stereo headphones, you'll need to install a headphone jack to do so. Choose either a 1/8- or 1/4-inch headphone jack and decide if you want the speaker to continue playing or not when you plug in the headphones, which dictates the selection of either an open or closed circuit headphone jack. After these decisions, the process is relatively straightforward.
Good, full-range PA speakers should deliver adequate bass for most performance situations, but if your sound places an emphasis on low-end frequencies, a subwoofer can contribute the "thump" you need. The downside to adding a subwoofer to your PA gear is its power needs, which may require a separate amp or a pricier active subwoofer. You may also need an external crossover to send only the frequencies you want your sub to amplify. The upside is that you'll usually need just one subwoofer to project the bass you need. Once you know how you'll run your signal chain, connecting the subwoofer is similar to connecting another speaker.
Pioneer is a well-known and versatile maker of car and home electronics. Pioneer is no stranger to audiophile-grade amplifiers and their specific wiring needs for both environments. Getting your Pioneer amplifier wired correctly brings years of quality sound and reliability whether you're relaxed in your easy chair or heading to work.
As a disk jockey, your ability to create a magical experience at a prom or wedding depends on much more than merely a mix tape and a boombox. While some DJs purchase all-inclusive standalone units, many buy individual components to assemble at each job location. Technology such as an mp3 player and a nice laptop are as critical for many DJs as a good turntable used to be. Modern DJs have a host of equipment options and prices from which to choose. When shopping online for this equipment, there are some important things to consider for the best shopping experience.
Speakers are a critical link in the chain for a gigging musician. Together with a mixer and amp, your speakers shape your sound for live performance and ensure your performance fills the hall. The right PA system is essential when you're ready to accept gigs in venues that don't have in-house sound systems. No one speaker is right for all artists or venues, but your speakers can positively reinforce your sound or have the audience running for the exits.
In many vehicles -- irrespective of price -- the speakers in the stock audio system get short shrift. However, the aftermarket is filled with every level of quality and price point you can imagine, allowing you to wire new speakers in your car or truck. Although nearly every vehicle has thin speaker wire running to the doors, this too can be upgraded to offer a fuller sound and greater power transfer. When these improvements are complete, your vehicle retains its factory look while offering vastly improved sound.
Crossovers are active or passive components that govern which frequencies pass to the various drivers in a speaker system. In a speaker cabinet, the woofer, tweeter and midrange all receive different ranges. Active crossovers however send signals from a certain frequency up or down from that point, depending on speaker size and bass capabilities. Wiring multiple speakers to these devices correctly ensures everything sounds as it should, while protecting the various drivers in the system.
The iPhone's ubiquity means there's an entire ecosystem of products professionally designed to amplify and shape its sound, and you can connect your device to a stereo system using only an adapter cable. However, sometimes DIY is the most satisfying way to go. Building custom iPhone speakers is really a matter of determining your needs and resources. Decide whether you want to spend money and time assembling a stereo amp and hi-fi speakers, or keep it simple with items you find around the house.
In an age of commercial-free digital music, streamed around the clock over the Internet or a cable TV feed, transistor radios might seem as outdated as the eight-track tape. In truth, they're still a practical, low-cost way to listen to music, local news or other programming. They also remain a useful part of any emergency kit, using battery power to keep you informed or entertained during a blackout or natural disaster. If you live in an area where reception is poor, you can improve your signal with a simple wire antenna.
Component car speakers differ from coaxial speakers in a few significant ways. From the separate tweeter to the upgraded crossover, component speakers mimic high-end home audio bookshelf speakers. Wiring these speakers into your vehicle offers an instant sonic upgrade over existing factory units, offering superior imaging, bass response and longevity.
Although the speakers in your vehicle may provide clear and crisp midrange and high frequencies, the sound is probably lacking any significant bass. Subwoofers counter low-frequency losses incurred from road and engine noise, using their larger cone diameter to move more air than small dash and door speakers can. Using the right amplifier, a new subwoofer adds depth and impact to your music, creating a richer sonic experience. When the amplifier and subwoofer combination is chosen after matching impedance and power considerations, wiring the speakers is a fairly straightforward matter.
Biamping a speaker is the process of setting up two separate amplifiers to drive different frequencies: one for the bass portion and another for the midrange and treble portions. Because the low and mid/high frequency sections of a biamp-capable speaker are separated on the crossover board, using a pair of amplifiers instead of only one pays dividends in terms of bass quality and dynamic range. When you've completed this easy project, you should notice increased clarity and power from your speakers.
Most stereo subwoofers consist of a large box with a single driver or speaker. However, some high-end subwoofers use two individual drivers to distribute signals and produce balanced bass tones evenly in a larger dispersal pattern or area. Connecting and using a dual-driver subwoofer is essentially the same as using one with a single driver. The method you use to wire the subwoofer to your receiver depends on whether the dual-driver speaker system is an active or passive type.
If you listen to audio in only a single area of your living or listening room, you may need nothing more than the remote to control volume. However, if you listen to audio from your home entertainment system in multiple rooms or a large room, you may want the ability to control volume for individual speakers. Most receiver or A/V remotes allow you to control volume only for the amplifier and not the speakers connected to it. To be able to control the volume of each speaker in an audio system individually, you can install in-wall volume controls that attenuate the signal sent from the system amplifier or receiver.
Single and dual voice coil subwoofers are the most common types of subwoofers in existence today. A special type of subwoofer, the quad coil, is used to provide even more wiring flexibility for larger and more powerful systems. Wiring these is not any different from wiring a pair of dual voice coil subwoofers, including considerations for total system impedance and amplifier capabilities.
The desire for powerfully loud sound in a car or home audio environment often involves deploying multiple speakers. No matter the environment, you need to make the proper choice of when to wire the devices in series or parallel. Amplifier capabilities and speaker impedance play a role in this decision. In either case, proper wiring allows you play music and movies at whatever volumes you and your equipment can handle, while maintaining amplifier stability and longevity.
The tweeter is the speaker in any car stereo component system that aids air and life to playback. Filtered by a crossover, these small drivers reproduce the high frequencies produced by cymbals, guitar and the most audible portion of vocals. Tweeters are commonly added to systems already featuring a pair, raising the sound stage on the dash to create a more lifelike presentation. Whatever your system goals, wiring a tweeter is a necessary step in finishing your audio system.
Subwoofers deliver rumble, depth and muscle to any recording. Car audio and do-it-yourself home subwoofer builders alike are faced with a few choices as they plan their subwoofer wiring project, including single or dual voice coil, woofer impedance and amplifier power. Proper subwoofer wiring contributes to amplifier stability and solid performance, with improper wiring, in contrast, offering unsatisfactory bass performance and potential equipment damage.
Audio speakers supplied as factory-standard equipment for your car frequently leave much to be desired. Primarily consisting of paper and foam, they often lack the ability to handle real power and are not constructed to resist ultraviolet rays and moisture. Aftermarket speakers of all shapes and sizes are ready to come to the rescue, putting quality audio into your vehicle. These speakers often fit easily in the factory speaker location, improving clarity and lasting longer for your daily commute.
Running lengths of speaker wire from your dashboard-mounted car stereo unit to the speaker mounting ports in the front doors of your car takes few tools and a short time. When you're installing new speakers in doors that have never had speakers in them, you need to remove the quarter panels, select your speaker placement and cut the mounting holes in the door sheet metal and the panel before you begin. If you are replacing factory-installed speakers the process is even easier and less time consuming. You will want to replace the factory speaker wire with a higher quality, heavier gauge wire to improve sound quality and longevity.
For many discerning listeners and audiophiles, the stock speakers that ship with receivers or home entertainment systems seldom provide the acoustic range, clarity and musical neutrality needed to satisfy their listening needs. Of course, you could buy a better pair of speakers to add to your audio system. However, not everyone can afford the price tag of a set of high-end commercial speakers. If you're handy with some basic hand tools, you can build your own premium loudspeakers and save a considerable amount of money. Before you wire your new speaker boxes, lay some groundwork. proper design and planning of the cabinets is essential to ensuring optimal sound and avoiding potential wiring or phase issues.
The mobile environment is a potential audio refuge, allowing you to create your dream system with few constraints. There is no shortage of speakers to choose from for your new system, with options for filling the entire vehicle with lush sound. Different-sized speakers may occupy the front and rear of the cabin, with two or three-way component and coaxial speakers as viable options. Understanding what those options are and how to chose them is part of the required homework when planning your new setup.
Many entry-level home stereo systems and home theater audio systems use RCA connections for their speaker wires. This practice eliminates the possibility of users reversing the wires when they set up the stereo, which impairs the sound and can lead to unhappy customers. If you want to upgrade the speakers at some point, you'll probably need to make custom speaker wires with RCA connections on them. Usually this process requires soldering, but retailers such as RadioShack offer inexpensive solderless connectors for those who lack the tools or experience with soldering.
Whether you are using a single or dual voice coil subwoofer, the amount of sound pressure produced by the sub increases at one ohm. While this sounds enticing, it also creates damage if improperly used. Wiring a single subwoofer to one ohm requires electrical considerations at all stages, including the vehicle's charging system. The method of wiring these speakers dictates the final impedance and power output and must be undertaken carefully.
The center channel in a full-blown home theater does far more than many people realize. The center channel comprises more than 60 percent of everything heard during a Dolby Digital or DTS movie. In addition to anchoring dialogue on-screen, the center channel handles music and effects mixed to the middle. Comparing center channel speakers to themselves and to similar-looking soundbar speakers is therefore one of the more important tasks you'll undertake when shopping for surround sound speakers.
When determining which laptop best suits your needs, it's vital to consider how you'll be using the device. Otherwise, it's impossible to determine which one offers you the best value. Whether you plan to deploy it for gaming, blogging or business, getting the most out of a laptop depends greatly on purchasing one that seems to have been designed personally for all of your needs.
Guitar amplifiers are part of performing guitars on stage; they amplify the sound of the guitar, and are essential to making an electric guitar work at all. They're still part and parcel to acoustic performance, though they behave somewhat differently there. There is a small amount of confusion about stereo and mono guitar amplifiers; the equipment is largely the same at the amplifier level, but the other equipment needed to make an integrated whole differs. Stereo guitar amplification has dominated professional music since the early 1960s.
One of the most universal DIY audio/video projects consists of attaching an RCA connector -- sometimes called a "phono plug" due to its origins on record players -- to a length of wire. In some cases, it's because a piece of audio equipment uses the RCA connection for its speaker output and you can't connect upgraded speakers without it. You can also use speaker wire with RCA connectors as a custom-made patch cord to connect between your audio components. It's the simplest of soldering jobs, and is both inexpensive and useful.
Unlike home stereo speakers, which are designed to make music sound as good as possible, studio monitors are designed to make recordings sound as honest as possible, revealing flaws in your music so you can fix them. The studio monitors you choose are dependent on your budget, your room and your ears, but what's even more important is how you use them.
Connecting speaker wire isn't an especially difficult project, but still requires some planning and care if you want to get the best sound possible. Bare speaker wire is used for connecting to binding posts or spring clips on receivers and speakers. "Bare" refers not to the entire length of wire, but simply to the ends of the wire. Bare speaker wire doesn't use connectors, as opposed to wire with banana plugs or spade connectors. Even if the wire is insulated, it's important to disconnect the power from all devices when working on any wire. Even speaker wire can carry an electrical charge.
Speaker wires carry music to your speakers in the form of an electrical signal. Like any other electrical wiring, speaker wires have a positive and a negative side. If your speakers use an RCA plug or headphone-style jack, those connections will always have the right polarity. However, if each wire has its own single plug, or if you're using bare wires, you'll need to ensure that the positive and negative wires go to the correct speaker terminals.
Adding a subwoofer to any home or car audio system provides punch and low frequency enhancement. Wiring an amp to a subwoofer correctly, however, is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, with amplifier channels and number of subwoofer voice coils adding critical variables to the equation. A powerful amplifier driving a capable subwoofer provides an element of sound very difficult or impossible to replicate using smaller satellite or door speakers.
If you're having problems with the speaker on your iPhone, there are several things you should check yourself before assuming the iPhone needs repair. The solution is often as easy as turning on the volume switch. However, obstructions in the speaker or receiver mesh may be a problem. Another thing to check is the headphone jack. Obstructions in the headphone jack may make the speaker unusable. Should you determine there is a problem inside the phone, bring it in for repair. Opening the iPhone yourself not only voids your warranty, but also it can cause even more damage to the device.
Subwoofers add impact and depth to your favorite music. Adding to the cosmetic appeal in many installations involves inverting the subwoofer, showcasing the basket and magnet. Many manufacturers purposely place quite a bit of aesthetic attention to the parts, understanding that in many car audio systems it's not just about the sound.
Although most people investing in quality audio and video systems love the performance of the gear, they don't always love its look. Audio and media storage cabinets solve this dilemma by offering glass or wooden doors, hiding the equipment from view. Other audio racks are purposefully designed to showcase the equipment, using an open design and glass shelves. Whichever you prefer, issues of proper ventilation, capacity and the ability to control the equipment are all common factors.
Speaker wire evokes a surprising amount of controversy, fueled by manufacturers' claims about how the type and quality of wire affects the sound of your radio, CDs and movies. Speaker wire is governed by the same principles as any other electrical cable, with variances based on gauge, composition and shielding. Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that although wires may indeed affect the sound in certain ways, it's usually when they're improperly selected and installed.
Sony is one of the oldest and best-known names in consumer electronics. In addition to their award-winning televisions, the company also makes a wide array of surround sound receivers and speakers. To enjoy these sound systems to best effect, you need to complete the wiring of your home theater system by properly connecting the speakers and subwoofer.
Universal factors govern the wires chosen for any given application, whether selecting speaker wire to rewire your speakers' internal connections or making the link between amplifier and speaker. Proper gauge, shielding and terminations universally affect performance, longevity and trouble-free amplifier operation. Speaker wires need not be expensive at their most basic, but that doesn't mean the cheapest option is the wisest when making wire-purchasing choices.
Binding posts are commonly used for connecting speaker wire to receivers and other audio equipment. These multiuse posts work with a variety of speaker wire connections, but the procedure differs depending on the way the speaker wire terminates. Speaker wires may terminate with bare wire, pins, banana plugs or spade connectors. Banana plugs are the simplest connection, but bare-wire connectors are commonly used when cutting specific lengths of wire.
The multiple individual transducers comprising a speaker system are called drivers. Each driver reproduces a section of the audible frequency range, but the full-range signal from the amplifier to the speaker must first be divided for accurate sound and to prevent driver damage. Crossovers are active or passive electronic networks, separating the signal into high, mid and low frequencies. Wiring from the terminal plate to the crossover and on to the individual drivers requires wiring, necessary in transferring the electrical information through the signal chain.
Wireless audio reduces or eliminates the need to pull wires around your home and inside walls. In many environments, such as lofts and older plaster-and-lathe environments, this means distributed audio and surround sound without exposed wiring. Although the consumer electronics industry as of 2012 lacks a unified standard for wireless audio, WiSA aims to change that, featuring prominent backers and manufacturer support.
Occasionally lost in the excitement of purchasing new home theater or stereo speakers is the reality that speaker wire is not included. The extensive options and claims made by speaker wire manufacturers potentially cloud the issue, making what should be a simple task more complex. Although sound quality differences between various iterations of speaker wire are largely subjective, core elements such as using the proper gauge wire, terminating the cable, and metal materials used in the construction all have an impact on performance.
A conventional home theater featuring five, six or seven speakers plus a subwoofer adds impact and dimension to movies, games and television programming. However, all those speakers take up space and remain visible even if they're small or recessed. Arguably the most critical of these speakers is the center channel, providing nearly all of the onscreen dialogue and special effects steered to this speaker. Sound bars are combination speakers featuring the center channel, left and right speakers and other drivers used to simulate virtual surround speaker positions. Although a sound bar and a conventional center channel are placed similarly, they are quite different.
Speakers make the biggest change in any audio system. Even with the best components, stereo and home theater systems featuring poor speakers will not perform as expected. A variety of different types of speakers exist to reproduce sound from home, car and computer audio systems. Architectural audio speakers hide in walls and ceilings, while bookshelf and floorstanding speakers offer quality sound from solid enclosures. Even mobile audio systems feature multiple types of speakers, depending on your vehicle's configuration and your sonic goals. Learning about these different iterations will help you make a proper determination for what works best for you, given your audio environment and tastes.
Although at first glance, microphones and speakers appear to be very different kinds of devices, they are in fact closely related. Speakers and microphones are both transducers -- components which transform energy from one type to another. A speaker turns electrical currents into sound waves; a microphone converts sound into electrical energy. The main differences between them lie in the way audio designers have optimized each to perform its particular task efficiently.
Advances in modern technology have made even inexpensive speakers decent. However, some speakers just don't sound good without some assistance. Problems such as inadequate enclosures, poor power handling and low-end components on a crossover all team up to make your favorite music sound boomy and rough around the edges. By making a few changes to the speakers and your listening habits, you can make even the most dissonant speaker sound good, tiding you over until your audio budget allows improvements.
The built-in speaker on the Apple iPhone may be fine for phone calls, but it hardly offers a powerful audio experience. If you want to listen to music on an iPhone without wearing headphones, connecting portable speakers to the device is easy to do. You can connect speakers directly to the iPhone or connect them wirelessly using AirPlay or Bluetooth. Prices vary widely, depending on the quality of sound and any other features the speakers may offer.
Home theaters and audio systems have two primary methods of retaining high levels of sound quality while remaining visually discrete. In-cabinet speakers are raw-looking "box" speakers that install in custom finish work, cabinets or entertainment centers. In-ceiling speakers often team with these in-cabinet units, firing sound from above over a listening space. Although the form factors are very different, the ultimate goal for each is uncompromising audio.
The Apple iPhone has many features that enhance the convenience of making phone calls. One useful feature is the speakerphone. When this mode is active, the iPhone uses a loud external speaker to play the audio. This allows the user to set the phone down or perform other tasks while the conversation continues.
Aside from compact all-in-one stereos, few home audio or home theater systems include lengths of premade cables for your speakers. Letting you pick your own speaker wire helps manufacturers keep their costs down, and it also lets you pick the exact type and length of wire you want. You'll also need to think about how your speaker wire will attach to the speakers. Most speakers use either spring terminals or binding posts for their connection, and each type offers multiple options for connecting your wires.
Setting up a home-audio or home-theater system requires careful attention to speaker positioning, to achieve the best sound. Once the speakers are in place, you need to run speaker back to the amplifier to make your connections. Most speaker wire consists of two strands joined together side by side, encased in a tough insulating material. Outdoor speaker wire often adds a protective outer shield, as well. Before you can connect the wires to your amp and speakers, you'll need to separate and strip the ends.
The optimal choice for those seeking great sound and minimal visual intrusion, in-wall speakers visually disappear while filling a room with sound. Also known as architectural speakers, in-wall and in-ceiling products slide into a hole cut into the drywall using a template and may be painted to match. Selecting the right in-wall speaker means no-compromise sound, while offering a potential aesthetic improvement through removal of conventional speaker boxes.
Defined by separate woofers, crossovers and tweeters, component speaker systems offer top-notch sound and installation flexibility. Differentiated from a coaxial speaker with the tweeter mounted atop the woofer, the individual drivers in a component system are installed in places that elicit the best sound for any type of music. Traditionally positioned at the upper end of a car audio company's speaker offerings, component speakers or "separates" are used by car audio enthusiasts for whom mobile musical fidelity is paramount.
Amplifiers take weak signals from electronic components such as microphones, guitars, DVD players and mobile music players and change them into powerful signals that can drive large speakers to create robust music for a home theater or large audiences. To avoid speaker damage and poor sound quality, amplifiers must match the speakers they are driving. Amplifiers and speakers both have power and resistance specifications, expressed as watts and ohms. These ratings are a key factor in matching an amplifier to the speakers of your sound system.
Modern televisions such as Sharp's Aquos series have good-quality speakers built in, and provide decent sound right out of the box. However, speaker size and placement are limited by the size and shape of the television itself. That means you'll generally get better sound quality by attaching external speakers. Older TV sets often had speaker connections and built-in amplifiers, but Aquos models are designed with analog and digital audio outputs instead. The speakers must be driven by a separate stereo or home-theater amplifier.
If you wish to inject high quality sound into your living space, you need to consider the best stereo and speakers within your budget. Although this might seem daunting at first given the wealth of options in amplifiers, receivers and speakers, it isn't too difficult once you factor in room size, intended quality level and what certain audio specifications really mean. You can find excellent quality components without breaking the bank when you learn how components work together.
Wireless surround speaker systems are primarily designed to solve the problem of fishing wires from the receiver's location to the intended surround mounting spot, along with potentially reducing clutter. Although you still need to connect the wireless transmitter to the surround receiver and the surround speakers to the wireless receiver, wireless systems solve many problems when creating surround-sound in lofts or in homes built on a concrete slab. Using the same technologies found in Wi-Fi routers, wireless speakers maintain the ability to offer high levels of sound quality despite their increased ease of installation.
One of the most versatile connectors for audio and video use is the familiar RCA plug. It was originally developed by the RCA Victor company as a way to connect its record players and radios, and it is still used today for connecting audio components. Some manufacturers and hobbyists also use RCA plugs to connect speakers because of its convenience and ready availability. RCA connectors can be used with conventional, two-strand speaker wire or shielded coaxial cables.
Bluetooth technology allows the wireless transfer of data between two Bluetooth-enabled devices. This wireless radio technology pairs with the source device such as your iPhone, wirelessly sending the feed to the speaker, car stereo or headphones. For clutter-free desktop audio or a small bedroom system, there are many Bluetooth wireless speakers to choose from. To select a speaker, assess ergonomics, sound quality, price and aesthetics.
Most modern laptops integrate a webcam into the top edge of your LCD screen, but desktops typically do not. If your computer does not have a webcam, or you simply want a higher-resolution model, you can quickly add one through your USB port. The drivers for most USB webcams are automatically installed upon connection, but you may still want to install the packaged software for accessing advanced features.
How often have you been in a movie theater or pulled up next to a car at a stop light and felt the booming vibrations of the music or the screen action? What you have experienced comes from subwoofers, bass drivers operating at between 20 Hz and 200 Hz that literally create more feeling than sound. If you want to bring a realistic audio experience to your car or home theater, take a CD of your favorite big bass sound tunes to your local electronics store. Listen to several subwoofers before deciding. Subwoofer sound reproduction is very much a matter of individual taste.
Sound throughout the home or strategically around a home theater room may be music to the ears of music and movie lovers. However, while many speakers are attractive enough, speaker wiring rarely is. Solutions for hiding speaker wires include using channel molding kits and running the wires through walls and baseboards. Innovative products like thin flat speaker wires are nearly invisible when painted. Whichever method you opt for, the result is crisp sound without unsightly cables ruining the effect.
Headphones are a rapidly-expanding category, with more options in design and high sound quality spanning an enormous range of prices, from a few dollars into the thousands. Avid music and movie watchers, along with heavy users of portable devices, need to consider all of the features available to them to maximize the personal audio experience.
As we spend more time working from home and accessing the Internet, the need to have quality audio on our desktops increases. Computer speakers are an increasingly relevant category in consumer audio. Computers offer large storage capacity and quality digital sound, making them attractive options for media storage and playback. Desktop audio options span the gamut from simple to high-end stereo speakers all the way to full surround packages. Depending on your needs, these speakers allow for critical music listening, accurate monitoring of multimedia projects or simple background sound.
Wireless speakers untether your sound from speaker wires, giving you flexible placement options. The hallmarks of good wireless speakers include sound quality, wireless range and other options like weather resistance. Choosing wireless speakers with good performance and longevity ensures that you'll be happy with your investment years down the road.
Spending time in front of a home computer is spending time in front of a powerful multimedia device. Computers play and store thousands of songs and incorporate DVD and Blu-ray disc drives. As a result, attaching a set of speakers helps to maximize the computer's potential. Whether you want basic sound, are a gamer or consider yourself an audiophile, there are multiple options for you.
There's no shortage of speaker wire brands, design and engineering philosophy. Solid core and stranded speaker wires comprise the two predominant cabling types, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Solid core wires, also known as Litz wires, are not as common but have very specific electrical advantages. These properties cause many audio enthusiasts to choose solid wire over more common and typically less expensive stranded cabling alternatives.
Nothing interrupts a listening session faster than static or electronic noise. If you use your iPod for the majority of your listening, you may be using a dock to integrate the device with your speakers. If your docked iPod seems to be the source of your music and your interference, you can take steps to troubleshoot and isolate the real culprit.
Apple has made no secret that it's equipped the Mac to be an artistic tool, and popular artists, including Foster the People, T-Pain and The Killers have recorded music on Macs. All MacBooks and iMacs feature an internal microphone, and many models also include a line-level input that doubles as a digital audio in. Every Mac ships with QuickTime, which records and plays simple audio, as well as Garageband, a multitrack music and podcasting app. While recording sound on the Mac is usually a matter of plug-and-play, understanding its sound input features will help you record better audio and resolve issues when they arise.
You make numerous phone calls on your iPhone each month. In some of those cases, it makes sense to use the speakerphone option on the device. Accessing the speakerphone on your iPhone is a one or two taps away during or prior to placing a call. The external microphone and speaker on the iPhone enables you to perform other tasks while the phone is on your desk, such as looking up directions or accessing a favorite recipe.
The amazing images presented by today's high-definition video displays often overshadow the emotional impact of the audio half of the equation. A carefully chosen and installed surround sound system is critical to get the most out of the soundtrack. The center, mains, surrounds and subwoofer work as a collective whole, placing you in an immersive environment. Even in oddly shaped rooms, sonic nirvana is achievable.
Speaker cable has a straightforward job: to transfer power from a receiver or amplifier to a speaker. However, making poor choices in speaker cabling can impact audio performance in key ways. Speaker cables vary from basic wires on a bulk spool to esoteric models costing thousands. Understanding the physics behind speaker cables will help you make an educated decision.
Windows' Sound Recorder offers basic audio capture, so you can narrate text, capture external sounds and record lectures. Before using the program, verify that you have a microphone. Laptops generally have an integrated microphone, but desktops rely on an external microphone attached to their sound card. Once confirmed, you may have to enable the device or turn up the recording sensitivity for optimal results.
For most users, sound is a vital component of a computer system. Whether you enjoy listening to newly purchased MP3s while working or like to crank up the volume while playing the latest game, sound helps immerse you in the computer experience. When the audio stops working, it can be a nuisance, but you can take steps to diagnose and correct the issue. In most cases, there's a system configuration, conflicting program or hardware issue causing the problem.
Surround sound systems envelop you with your favorite movies, television shows and music. These speakers are found nearly everywhere, from specialty electronics stores to larger retail stores. That makes choosing the right system for your environment that much harder. Sound quality, warranty and power handling are a few of the many items you need to consider when making a potentially large audio investment. Speakers make the greatest overall impact in your audio system, so taking your time to decide is important.
Stereo speakers often form the nucleus of a surround sound system, anchoring on-screen effects and soundtracks. Stereo speakers are found in many shapes and sizes along with multiple finish options. Choosing which speakers to purchase is usually a matter of deciding between looks, sound and size. Getting all three elements to agree with your goals, however, is not always easy.
Standard computer speakers deliver only a fair listening experience for PC gamers, audiophiles and movie buffs. A stereo receiver's greater audio power and larger, better-quality speakers offer a marked improvement over a typical computer setup; this is especially true for laptops, whose speakers are tiny. By connecting an adapter cable to your PC and a stereo receiver, you will unleash the computer's full audio potential. A cable is all you need to accomplish this and costs only a few dollars.
Windows 7 contains a utility for setting up your microphone. To be honest, this utility isn't that effective for setting up your microphone, because it doesn't make any changes. However, it's a great tool for testing your microphone and it will make recommendations if no sound is picked up. If you receive a "No Audio Input Device Found" error, you know the microphone is either not present or disabled.
With a monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, webcam and other peripherals, computer components can take up a lot of desk space -- before you even consider where you need to place the speakers. However, speakers are a must if you want to enjoy all the features your computer and the Web offer. One way to clear up some space on your desk is to use a speaker bar instead of a multi-piece system. Computer speaker bars, or sound bars as many call them, attach to your LCD or LED flat-panel monitor and allow you to listen to audio on your system without all the clutter of normal speakers. Additionally, speaker bars designed for use with home TV can also help avoid the complexity and clutter of a full-fledged surround-sound speaker system in your living or listening room.
Modern computers have a wide variety of multimedia features, including audio and video playback. While most laptop computers contain built-in speakers, many desktop computers do not. External speakers can enhance the usefulness of a desktop computer and greatly expand the entertainment options. Several varieties of speakers are available. Entry-level speakers can provide basic audio playback at budget prices. More expensive systems are available with subwoofers, immersive surround sound and superior sound quality.
Even in the wireless audio age, speaker wire is still critically important for powering sound in your individual spaces. Gauge, distance, code compliance and wire types affect performance and safety, all major factors when selecting cable. In the sea of speaker wire selection, choosing copper, silver gauge and run distance all matter. Banana plug and spade terminal connectors dress up wires, making them easier to connect to your amplifier or receiver.
Stereo and home theater enthusiasts continually seek new ways to improve their systems. Realizing this, manufacturers and sellers of expensive speaker wire offer products using a combination of science and marketing. Unfortunately, sometimes the latter overtakes the former, creating a scenario where you may end up paying a premium for wire that does little to enhance your listening experience. Keeping a watchful eye on certain terms and myths will help you make a better purchasing decision and save money that you can invest in speaker and component upgrades.
Gone are the days when people used PCs primarily for typing letters and crunching numbers in spreadsheets. Today, the PC is not only a productivity tool; it's also an entertainment appliance. Games, media player applications and online music and videos allow you play and relax in addition to getting your work done. However, before you can immerse yourself in 3D games or zone out to your favorite tunes, you must connect speakers to your computer's sound card. Whether simple two-piece systems or more elaborate 5.1 or 7.1 surround-sound setups, modern computer speaker systems often produce sound that rivals many home stereo systems and hooking up and configuring them is something you can do in a matter of minutes.
To deliver quality music listening, movie watching and gaming experiences, some home computer systems feature audiophile-grade speakers. Instead of the small stereo speakers used with budget computers, these audio components feature woofers to reproduce bass sounds, midrange drivers for clear music and speech and tweeters for crisp, bright high frequencies. Some have a separate subwoofer for deep bass, adding realism to thunder, explosions and drums. You can tell if your computer has woofers or subwoofers by examining the speakers and by listening to them.
Using an external speaker adds life to business presentations and multimedia content such as games and movies. Dell soundbar-style speakers offer an unobtrusive way to add audio to your Dell monitor if it does not have internal speakers. These devices install directly to the monitor and connect to the audio output of the computer. Soundbar models range from the AY511 with virtual surround sound to the budget-oriented AX510. Mount the speaker underneath the monitor to reduce clutter.
While most antique radios don't produce the fidelity of modern sound devices, they certainly offer a charm and level of craftsmanship that is hard to find in today's digital world. During the early and mid-1900s, when radio production was at its peak, the radio was not only an audio device but also a piece of furniture often showcased in the home. Consequently, many antique radios are treasured heirlooms. If you have an antique radio with a blown or defective speaker, you can breathe new life into the unit by installing a new driver or wiring an external speaker box.
The Apple iPad gives you most features of a full-fledged laptop computer without the bulk or weight. With the iPad, you can take pictures, surf the Internet, read your favorite e-books and even manage your music collection with iTunes. Like the iPhone or iPod, the iPad supports multiple connection options for streaming music to an external player such as a car stereo. Regardless of the type of stereo you have in your automobile, you can connect an iPad and stream music over your car speakers in a matter of minutes.
Essential to the multimedia experience on any Dell laptop computer is high-quality sound. Increasing the sound volume and quality results in a superior sonic result when listening through the computer. While adjusting the sound, you should take this opportunity to ensure that your laptop's drivers are up to date, especially if you are having trouble optimizing the sound. Exploring both issues will help to unleash the full potential of your laptop.
While today's giant LCD and LED TVs certainly make movies and videos more life sized, they can also interfere with the placement of your home audio system’s surround-sound speaker system. Even if the TV is not in the way, placing speakers around your listening room can often create a cluttered look. If you do not have space for your speakers, or if you just do not want to notice them as much, in-wall speakers are the answer. In-wall speaker systems match up well with virtually any A/V receiver and fit into just about any budget. Most in-wall speakers have an open back face (meaning there is usually no rear panel or speaker “box”). Therefore, to get the most sound from your in-wall speakers, you should build an in-wall enclosure to enhance bass and higher level frequencies.
Adding a good subwoofer to an audio system can make your favorite music, movies and video presentations come alive with thunderous bass that makes audio seem more realistic and dynamic. All speakers, subwoofers included, have a power-handling rating usually indicated in watts, which indicates how much power the speaker can handle from an amplifier or receiver. If you have a subwoofer rated for 200 watts, it is capable of filling even the largest living or listening rooms with loud and dynamic bass. Getting the most out of your high-wattage subwoofer, though, requires that you properly match it with a suitable amplifier and satellite speakers.