Thursday, 17 October, 2019

The ABCs of a Home Theater System or Sound System


Before purchasing a sound system for your home, it is important to understand the vocabulary and basic components that make up a quality sound system. For the average listener the vernacular may be a bit overwhelming. surround sound What makes up a sound system? What are the components and features of each? How does this relate to what I can hear? Let’s explore this further.

A typical sound system or home theater system consists of 3 major speaker components: subwoofer or bass speakers, mid-range or woofer speakers, and tweeters to bring out that full rich melody that sounds so wonderful when it reaches your ear. Each component is specifically designed to reproduce sounds within its respective design frequency range. Subwoofers reproduce very low frequencies called bass sounds while woofers are designed to reproduce mid range frequencies. Tweeters, on the other hand, reproduce high frequencies such as the tinkle of a bell. Typically there is an accompanying or built-in amplifier to provide the necessary power to run all the components. As stated above, all combined provide the listener with the very rich full range sounds comparable to what one hears at a movie theater.

Now, let’s put all this into perspective with what the human ear can hear: the name “tweeter’ and “woofer” originated from sounds that we so commonly hear on a daily basis emanating from birds (tweet) and dogs (woof). The human ear is capable of hearing sound frequencies in the audible range from 20 Hz (Hertz) to 20,000 Hz. A subwoofer has a range of 20 Hz to 200 Hz, thus starting at the low end of human listening. The large subwoofer size permits it to move air more freely during the sound process while maintaining that deep rich low bass sound that we can literally feel in the air. Woofers on the other hand, range from 40 Hz to 2,000 Hz mid range frequencies, and are smaller than subwoofers. Tweeters range from 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz, which places it at the upper end of human ear frequency response, and these are typically the smallest of the three types. All three speaker types combined cover the entire spectrum of the human ear listening experience while at the same time providing the clarity associated with each component.

The majority of the flat panel TVs being sold are limited in space allocation for their speakers thus affecting the quality of sound coming from the unit and, furthermore, are challenged by the manufacturer’s design efforts to produce a television as thin as possible. The quality of sound emanating from those units often leaves a lot to be desired and purchasing a good sound system adds significantly to the quality of sound being produced without having to spend a fortune.

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