Archive for the ‘Acoustic’ Category

When purchasing a new stereo system, the goal s to reproduce sound the way it was intended to be heard when it was recorded. In a perfect world, one could not tell a recording of a live performance from an actual live performance. Piano notes would be crisp and clear. Voices would sound as if the performer were in the room . Unfortunately, stereo reproduction of music still has a way to go to achieve that goal.

Loudspeakers are increasingly capable of reproducing the full spectrum of audible sound that can be heard by the human ear. Humans can hear, at best, sounds between about twenty Hertz and twenty thousand Hertz. Sounds falling outside of this range are inaudible to our ears. The range of music produced by a loudspeaker is called the frequency range.

Just listing the frequency range of a loudspeaker doesn’t really give you enough information to determine how it performs throughout that range. The specifications should also list a variance, such as plus or minus 1 dB. That figure describes the maximum variance either above or below the average level that you’d expect from the loudspeaker. In other words, in the example given, the loudspeaker would be no more or less than 1 dB (deciBel) louder or quieter than its average volume at any frequency.

This is an important specification because it is not unusual for loudspeaker to have areas within the frequency range where their output is particularly efficient and others where the opposite is true. For example, the lowest end of the range is typically an inefficient portion of the audio spectrum. Loudspeakers which reproduce sound unevenly will sound unnatural since we are not used to hearing things way in real life. Imbalances that occur within the vocal range are particularly noticeable since our ears are highly attuned to the human voice and can easily discern anomalies in it.

To some extent, an equalizer can correct for tonal imbalances in the loudspeaker. In other words, if a loudspeaker has to much output at a certain frequency, an equalizer can be set to reduce the output in that range. However, the precision of the equalizer may be less than required. Each of the equalizers adjustment knobs may cover a range of 1000 or more Hertz, while the speaker’s problem may cover a much narrower slice of the spectrum., so it is wise to use equalizer adjustments sparingly to avoid making the problem bigger rather than smaller.

Equalizers should not be used to correct for tonal imbalances caused by the room acoustics since these will vary from place to place within the room and the equalizer will change the sound in the entire room instead of just in the problem area.

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