When buying or making a sound system, it’s important to understand everything about the rudimentary components, including how they work, the materials they are made from, how they affect the audio, and the difference between audio toroidal transformers and laminate transformers.
A quality speaker can recreate sounds without colouring them across a broad frequency range. Typical set-ups consist of separate subwoofer, midrange, and tweeter speakers, whereas most home systems utilise combined speakers in shared enclosures. This distinction means that stand-alone and combination speakers have different power requirements and frequency responses and should be factored accordingly.
The type of material used to make the speaker cone also affects the quality of the sound. Speakers with less rigid materials can flex, leading to audible distortion, and even the way the speaker has been wired and glued can negatively colour the sound. The shape of the speaker enclosure is also important; its dimensions should be commensurate with the size of the speakers because enclosures that are too wide can create internal reverb. A more comprehensive guide to speaker construction can be found at TechHive.
A good amplifier is one that can efficiently power the speakers without causing distortion and provide an accurate recreation of the original signal at increased levels. Most home sound systems typically feature combined amplifier and speaker set-ups with uniform power requirements. Separate speakers all have different requirements, so it’s necessary for a good amplifier to be powerful enough to power any chosen combination of speakers comfortably. A useful guide to amplifiers can be found at Audioholics.com.
Amplifiers are ranked on their efficiency to distortion ratio. A-grades produce the least distortion but are more inefficient then B-grade amplifiers, although A/B types are also available with middling capabilities . One main factor affecting output efficiency and distortion levels is the choice of transformer. A good transformer should be able to accurately reproduce the signal without colouring or adding distortion. The most common types of transformers are laminate ‘EI’ or toroidal shapes. Laminate transformers are cheaper to buy and manufacture whereas audio toroidal transformers like those from sigatransformers.co.uk cost more but offer reduced distortion and increased efficiency.
Speakers and amplifiers are two integral elements of any sound system and it’s always worth remembering the effect that parts quality and manufacture can have on overall sound.