How Sound Systems Work

No matter where you buy your speaker, it’ll have these three basic components: an electromagnetic coil, a permanent magnet, and a cone. The electromagnetic coil is fitted in front of the permanent magnet. And the cone is in front of the coil, visible on the outside.

Whenever the speaker receives a signal from an aux cord or Bluetooth, it creates an electromagnetic field. Making the coil attract and detract from the permanent magnet. This vibration is then sent out through the cone, which amplifies the sound.

Other more complex systems use tweeters to improve high frequency sounds and woofers to play loud bass. For smaller, less expensive speakers buying these add-ons would help, but it’s not overly important. It depends on what kind of sound you want.

Ways to Customize Sound

There are a couple ways sound companies customize their products. They can alter the speaker design, change the cone’s material or tweak sound imaging and tuning.

A well-designed speaker, besides looking slick, will push out a clear sound. Allowing it to smoothly reverberate out. If constructed poorly the sound will bounce inside effecting the quality.

The cone also affects the quality. A cheap cone will flex at high-frequencies, distorting the sound. To stop flexing, sound engineers have tested many materials including plastic, aluminum, paper, and ceramics. There’s not one commonly used cone, each brand usually picks their own.

Sound imaging and tuning are more technical. It takes hours of tweaking and programming to change.

Imaging refers to how well a system can define each sound. A quality sound system can make it easier to pick out a specific instrument or voice. If someone is playing saxophone, it should be distinct and feel like the player is in the room.



Tuning is when a brand tweaks their audio balance to cater to s specific buying niche. Studies show that different countries tend to prefer different sounds. Japanese tends to prefer midrange sounds, North America more bass, and U.K more of a balanced. This has a huge impact on how listeners perceive quality. For example, Beat’s tune their products to play a wider range of bass.

How to Judging Quality

The number one goal of a quality stereo is to replay a sound just as It was recorded. With no change in frequency or volume.

Although controversial, a frequency response chart is a tool to test quality. A frequency chart measures how well a speaker can match every frequency that a human ear can hear. Some believe this is impossible and that measuring speak frequencies cannot be measured accurately.

Another method is to measure sound vibration. A quality speaker will match the exact vibration of the original sound. If the vibration of a frequency response chart is stagnant- not making any sharp increases or decreases, then it has done its job.