Speaker Size

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RonGecan, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. RonGecan

    RonGecan Agent

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    Can anyone give me a semi-technical explanation for the effect of speaker size (ie, 6 inch woofers vs 8 inch, for example) on loudness, quality, etc? I'm sure "bigger is better" but what exactly does a larger speaker do that a smaller one doesn't? Clearly, a larger one will initially create sound waves over a larger area, so does the greater cross section mean louder or is it just richer or more enveloping??

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Ron---Generally a larger woofer will go louder and with less distortion than a smaller one. Generally.
     
  3. EricE

    EricE Agent

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    Also, the larger the woofer generally the lower it can go. That's why subwoofers are usually between 8"-15", while midrange woofers on the towers and bookshelves are only from 5"-8"max.

    Another thing to realize is that the bigger the woofer, the more mass it has. Because of that, it will have more inertia as it travels back and forth. Which basically means that as the woofer extends outwards, it takes more power (and typically more time) to stop it and turn it in the other direction. So smaller woofers are sometimes referred to as being faster, because when your audio is dictating that the woofer should be moving in towards the cabinet it better not lag and hang out there. But obviously we're taking millimeters or smaller and fractions of a second here.

    Please correct me if this is wrong though.
     
  4. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Eric---Big woofers have more mass but they also often (but not always) have much stronger motors (large edgewound coils in short, narrow gaps and huge magnets) and better brakes. The "brakes" (damping)are determined more by the design of the enclosure than the mass of the cone and the strength of the motor comes into play with damping too. In fact some big pro-sound drivers have such powerful motors that they're overdamped and have trouble making low bass unless in huge boxes. And for a given output and frequency the smaller driver must move farther. I think of a 15" prosound woofer like the Altec 515 as a Street-Hemi with Brembo brakes and a smaller "hi-fi" woofer as a Yugo; lighter but weak engine and poor brakes. Which wins the race? Especially if the Yugo has to go farther to boot? :)
     
  5. EricE

    EricE Agent

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    I totally understand what you're saying Tom with your analogy, but just out of curisoty what is a Street-Hemi with Brembo brakes?
     
  6. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Eric---A Street Hemi was a Chrysler muscle car of the mid-late 1960s. The engine was a 426 cubic inch V-8 rated at 425hp though the engines actually put out about 475-500hp. These motors were sold in midsize Plymouth Satellite and Dodge Coronet bodies and were really fast, I mean REALLY fast, they made a Pontiac GTO look like a Yugo. Acceleration was incredibly fierce throwing you back in the seat and giving your stomach the feel of the first dip on a big roller-coaster. Brembo is a maker of excellent brakes, some people fit them as aftermarket for improved braking and some cars, like the Mustang Cobra, come equipped with them.
     

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