Updated: Mar 17, 2020
The term "loudspeaker" may refer to individual transducers (known as "drivers") or to complete speaker systems consisting of an enclosure including one or more drivers. To adequately reproduce a wide range of frequencies, most loudspeaker systems employ more than one driver, particularly for higher sound pressure level or maximum accuracy. Individual drivers are used to reproduce different frequency ranges. The drivers are named subwoofers (for very low frequencies); woofers (low frequencies); mid-range speakers (middle frequencies); tweeters (high frequencies); and sometimes supertweeters, optimized for the highest audible frequencies. The terms for different speaker drivers differ, depending on the application. In two-way systems there is no mid-range driver, so the task of reproducing the mid-range sounds falls upon the woofer and tweeter. Home stereos use the designation "tweeter" for the high frequency driver, while professional concert systems may designate them as "HF" or "highs". When multiple drivers are used in a system, a "filter network", called a crossover, separates the incoming signal into different frequency ranges and routes them to the appropriate driver. A loudspeaker system with n separate frequency bands is described as "n-way speakers": a two-way system will have a woofer and a tweeter; a three-way system employs a woofer, a mid-range, and a tweeter. Loudspeakers were described as "dynamic" to distinguish them from the earlier moving iron speaker, or speakers using piezoelectric or electrostatic systems as opposed to a voice coil that moves through a steady magnetic field. Individual electrodynamic drivers provide optimal performance within a limited frequency range. Multiple drivers (e.g., subwoofers, woofers, mid-range drivers, and tweeters) are generally combined into a complete loudspeaker system to provide performance beyond that constraint.
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