3D speaker title-reports.jpg (7248 bytes) 3D speaker


luz_roman.jpg (2481 bytes) AUTHOR: Roman M. Luz III
E-MAIL: luzman@mit.edu

MAIN FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENT:  Convert electric signal into audible sound.

DESIGN PARAMETER:  Loudspeaker (there are other types of speakers . . .)




Speaker Parts

Full View of Speaker Speaker Components

Typical speaker cones range from 1.5 to 18 inches in diameter.   Speakers of this size can consume from 0.25-250 Watts (W), resonate at a frequency of 16-4kHz, and have a sensitivity level of up to 95 Decibels (dB)

Magnet Structure -- Two pieces of oppositely oriented magnets that produce a radial field from the inner to outer magnet
Voice Coil -- Carries the current so that it is always moving in a plane perpindicular to the magnetic field; thus the force always acts on the same axis
Spider -- Vibrates rigidly with the voice coil and translates the mechanical energy to the cone
Cone -- Produces pressure waves from its surface due to the oscillation of the spider
Basket -- Holds the components together firmly, preventing motion in parts like the magnet structure
Dust Cap -- Protects the cone and circuitry from dust . . . a clean speaker is a happy speaker :)


Explanation Picture
**The waves propagating from the cone seen here only represent sound waves (real sound waves do not look like these)
Animation of Speaker Operation
  1. The electric signal passes through the wire in the form of an analog, sinusoidal (or other) wave
  2. The signal enters the voice coil, wrapping around the inner magnet (in the form of a solenoid)
  3. A force is exerted from the stable magnet structure to the free-moving voice coil
  4. As the signal's amplitude and frequency change, the force on the voice coil undulates back and forth
  5. The voice coil rapidly vibrates along  the axis of the magnet structure, thereby vibrating the cone
  6. As the voice cone vibrates, the air immediately around it is pressurized and rarified.
  7. The pressurized air molecules propagate as a wave -- this is sound


Variable Description Metric Units English Units
Pin Electric Power in wires Watts Horsepower
Pout Acoustic Power in sound wave Watts Horsepower
Ploss Power loss (in circuits and air) Watts Horsepower
V Voltage difference across the voice coils Volts Volts
i Current in coils Amperes Amperes
B Magnetic Field Farads Farads
Fmechanical Force exerted on the voice coil by the magnetic field Newtons lbf
vc Velocity of voice coil m/s mph
Dp Pressure difference across sound wave Pascals lbf/in2
A Area of pressure wave m2 ft2
vw Velocity of pressure wave m/s mph
h Efficiency --- ---

The speakers are powered by entering current and voltage:
Pin = V i
    **All speakers use amplifiers to add more current to the signal to produce louder sound
    **i is a function of time, i(t), whose average value is its maximum amplitude divided by the square root of two

The constant magnetic field acting on this current produces a force on the voice coil:
F = i x B
(where i and B are vectors)

The force accelerates the voice coil and the power is converted to mechanical power:
F = m a = m
P = F vc

The coils vibrate the cone, which produces a pressure wave that carries the acoustic power:
F = p A
Pout =
vw A Dp

or, another way of looking at the power exiting the system is:
Pout = Pin - Ploss = hPin
is from the definition for efficiency

Amplifiers are needed to boost the current source because the current originally carrying the signal
is too weak to render audible sound.  Amplifiers use transistors to allow a weak signal to depict the form of a much stronger signal.  In this way, the amplifier takes in a signal of a certain frequency and amplitude and puts out a signal with the same frequency, but much larger amplitude.

The way a signal corresponds to a sound is through its frequency and amplitude.  The frequency relates to how fast the cone oscillates.  A high frequency
(fast movement) produces a high pitch, and a low frequency (slow movement) produces a deep pitch.  The amplitude simply tells the cone how hard to push.  This "pushing force" corresponds to the pressure difference in the wave, which corresponds to the volume of the sound.


Loudspeakers are incredibly inefficient. They can only convert
0.5% to 2% of the power they consume into acoustic power.  Most of the energy lost is given off as heat emanating from the voice coil and other electric circuits inside the speaker.  In particular, one group of circuits, called the crossover, dissipates a large percent (how much?) of the energy.  The crossover is comprised of capacitors, resistors, and inductors, and it has the function of sending high frequency signal to the tweeter and low frequency to the woofer.  All of these circuit components take some electric power and convert it to heat.


None Submitted


Everywhere!  They are all around us -- in our TV's, computers, alarm clocks, cars, stereos, headphones, etc.

car speaker
Car speakers
TV speaker
TV speakers
general speaker
General speakers
horn speaker
Horn speakers


Interview: Niels Braroe, MIT Lecturer, January 13, 5:30PM, in the MIT Hobby Shop

Interview: Noah Bray-Ali, MIT Physics Major, January 12, 6:00PM, in Alpha Delta Phi fraternity of MIT

Electroacoustics: Microphones, Earphones, and Loudspeakers
; Gayford, M. L.; American Elsevier Publishing Company Inc., New York 1971


Complete Computer Solutions

How to Make Loudspeakers


Electrodynamic Loudspeakers

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