Over the last few years, it has gotten quite popular to have a home sound system. The post-pandemic culture has shifted people’s minds towards an in-home experience rather than going to theaters or clubs.
This shift has brought more interest in sound systems by the public. Thus, subwoofers have gotten their popularity in the general public as well.
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Why Are Speakers Not Enough?
It is quite fair to question the need for a subwoofer when one already has functional speakers. The speakers are able to transmit a wide frequency range, which is why they are sometimes deemed to be the only essential required.
As much as the speakers are important, they fail to process the deepest bass frequencies. They are not built in a way where they can handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs).
Without a functioning subwoofer, a speaker will not be able to reproduce these low frequencies. Even if they happen to play them, the sound will be distorted.
What Does A Subwoofer Do?
The very low frequencies, which are not played by the speakers, are played by a subwoofer. The complex design of a subwoofer allows it to provide a deep bass which is also very clean.
The extra effects produced in movies usually demand a subwoofer to handle frequencies that range between 20Hz-100Hz. This deep bass, played by a subwoofer, is further complemented by speakers to provide a complete sound experience.
What Are The Components Of A Subwoofer?
The sub-woofer is composed of two main parts. A suspension sub-component and a motor sub-component. The motor component of a subwoofer is simpler than the suspension component. Even though it is simpler, it forms the most integral parts of a subwoofer.
The suspension system requires force to be able to move its components. This power is generated by the motor system which then enables the suspension system to perform its functions.
The motor system comprises a voice coil and a magnet. The voice coil is made up of a very thin copper wire. Magnets are placed in the motor system as well. These magnets direct the magnetic flux towards the voice coil.
Once an electric current flows through this system, a magnetic field is created. This magnetic field moves the voice coil to fill a magnetic gap. This upward and downward movement of the voice coil, created by a constant push and pull, produces sound.
The suspension system of a subwoofer is far more complex than the motor system. The most basic component of this system is the basket.
The job of the basket is to hold everything together in its entirety. Since a subwoofer generates a large amount of heat, the basket also functions as a vent for all the trapped heat. The basket is followed by the surround.
A long-lasting surround is a key to having a long-lasting subwoofer. The job of this surround is quite stressful since it has to be flexible and elastic at the same time. If the surround loses its elasticity, the movements of the cone can put a lot of stress on the voice coil and eventually damage it.
Most high-quality subwoofers have a surround that is made up of rubber or foam. The combination of these synthetic materials makes the surround strong enough to withstand heavy forces.
Another highly important component of the suspension system is the cone. The cone is often termed as a diaphragm. This cone is not just a very useful suspension component, but also very useful for the subwoofer itself.
The cone is required to vibrate the air to create sound, thus rigidity and lightness of the cone in its weight are very critical for the overall design of the subwoofer.
To maintain the functions of both the cone and the voice coil, a different component of the suspension system works; this component is termed as the spider. The spider is also responsible for preventing any dust particles from reaching these crucial areas.
In order to connect the voice coil to the speaker lead ports, thin wires are used. These thin wires are named as tinsel leads and they are also a part of the suspension system.
The subwoofer receives the signal as an electrical current via an audio receiver or an amplifier. The low-frequency signals are then converted into sound by the sub-woofer. This conversion is achieved by the vibration of the cone which is facilitated by the magnetic coil, as mentioned above in detail.
Where To Place A Subwoofer?
It is very important to learn about the acoustics of a room before you install a sound system into it. If your room has an issue with standing waves, you must first treat your room.
When installing a subwoofer, it is recommended that one either uses acoustic equipment to measure the distances of the subwoofer from the speakers and the listening position or one uses an experimentation method.
In this method, you have to spend a lot of time placing the subwoofer at multiple places and crawling with it to understand the most perfect place where the voice and the bass are as clear as they can get.
Modern music and movies have a lot of effects. These effects are not entirely captured and reproduced by conventional speakers. Thus, the installation of a subwoofer is important when one designs a home theater or a personal sound system.
The sub-woofer will be able to handle frequencies as low as from 20Hz-100Hz. This will enhance your listening experience by clearing out and deepening the bass. The sub-woofer has a complex structure which is also explained in the article.
Proper placement and installation of a subwoofer are far more underestimated than it actually should be. If not properly installed, a sub-woofer is good for nothing, as it not only fails to deliver the special sounds but in some cases, makes it worse.