Sound equipment is incredibly complex. All sound equipment deals intimately with physics, infinitesimal waves, and the relationship between sound and the human ear.
Fortunately for us, generations of people have already sorted out how to create excellent audio experiences so we don’t have to break down the physics. If you’re setting up as a music producer or sound editing professional it’s important to understand different types of equipment so we can engage with them meaningfully.
We’re going to look at some of the key aspects of professional sound equipment today, giving you a little insight into the main terms in the industry.
Hopefully, the ideas below give you a little more confidence the next time you’re dealing with expert sound equipment.
Types of Speakers
The first thing to understand is the distribution of speakers. For most applications, speakers have high, low, and mid components.
These components deal with different areas of soundwave frequencies. Hig, mid, and low speakers don’t relate to volume or decibel level, but rather the actual speed and depth of the sound vibration in question.
In cars, you see subwoofers, door speakers (pro audio mids, for example), and tweeters. Subwoofers deal with the low end of the spectrum, door speakers handle the middle-range, and tweeters optimize the high frequencies.
It’s difficult for a single speaker to deliver each end of the frequency range without blending, fuzzing, or blurring the sounds that emerge.
Amplification and EQ
We’ll continue with the vehicle example because it’s a simple way to understand how most speakers operate.
The instructions or data behind the music enter the vehicle via the radio, a CD, or an individual’s phone. That data is deconstructed by the chip in the stereo deck. We can use the stereo deck as an EQ (equalizer) that shapes the nature of the sound we experience.
For example, if you want to hear more of the high end and middle but less of the low end, you can make those adjustments on the stereo deck. Professional studios and sound experts almost always have technology that helps them shape sound frequencies.
The signal is then sent to the amplifier. The amplifier takes the signal and boosts it to the correct volume.
A good amplifier is essential if you’re interested in keeping the sound clear at high volumes. Once the signal is boosted, it goes out to the speakers.
We find microphones on the opposite end of the equation.
Instead of enjoying the sound of music, we’re trying to capture it. Microphones receive sound waves and convert them into electrical signals. It’s the exact opposite process of speakers which capture electrical signals and turn them into sound waves.
Various microphones optimize recording practices by capturing different elements of a room, unique aspects of sound, and much more. Ingenuity in recording is part of the reason we have such a beautiful array of music available to us.
Want to Learn More About Sound Equipment?
Hopefully, our look at the fundamentals of sound equipment was useful to you. A beginner’s understanding of recording and projecting sound can help a lot when you’re making purchases, listening to music, or recording audio.
There’s more to learn, though. Explore our site for insight into types of speakers, types of microphones, mixers, and a whole lot more.