Do You Know the Elements of a Sound System?

Posted on: 28 March 2019

Audio speaker systems are made up of multiple components that work together to produce the sound you hear. In order to design the best possible audio speaker system, you must first understand the components that they're made of and what each one does. Here are the main components that every system has.

The Source Component

The source component is where the data that's transformed into sound originates from. The component may be a CD player, turntable, MP3 sound file, or (in the case of live music) microphone. Some sound systems have a single source component, while others use multiple.

The source component chosen should be of the highest possible quality, for the sound produced by an audio system can only be as good as the data that the system is given to work with. A bad record, for example, can't be turned into beautiful music no matter how good the system is.

The Preamplifier

The preamplifier is where you select the source component that's to be played, set the volume, and adjust the balance. The functions aren't exciting, but they are essential.

The build of the preamplifier is important because any level of distortion is passed through the rest of the system, where the distortion is magnified. The quality of this component should at least match that of all the other components chosen.

The Power Amplifier

The power amplifier adjusts the speakers so that they play the chosen music at the selected level, and with no distortion into the sound. This is what most people mean when they refer to an "amp."

Every power amplifier can only go so loud without introducing unwanted noise, but some have extremely high limits. The ones used at concerts, for instance, can produce many decibels without issue.

A power amplifier should be chosen based on where the audio system will be placed. The amp should be able to fill the space, but it doesn't need to be so powerful that the sound is heard outside the desired area.

The Speakers

The speakers are what actually transform the electrical signals carried through the other components into sound. There are several different types of speakers, but they fit into three primary categories:

  • Woofers, which carry low-frequency notes
  • Tweeters, which carry high-frequency notes
  • Midrange drivers, which carry midrange notes

The exact speakers that are right for your system will depend on the size, shape, and acoustics of your listening area.