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Types Of Loudspeakers Essay

986 words - 4 pages

There are two types of loudspeakers, Electrostatic and Electromagnetic these two loudspeakers have different aspects and qualities. The use of which on is based on the buyer but if not knowing what each ones pros and cons are buying one may be difficult.

Electrostatic speakers use a thin flat diaphragm usually consisting of a plastic sheet coated with a conductive material such as graphite sandwiched between two electrically conductive grids, with a small air gap between the diaphragm and grids. For this speaker to operate without distortion there needs to be a constant charge running through the speaker rather than a constant voltage.

The grids must be able to generate a stable electric field, while still allowing for sound to pass through the stator plates (Grids). To generate sufficient field strength, the audio signal on the grids must be of high voltage. The electrostatic construction is in effect a capacitor, and current is only needed to charge the capacitance created by the diaphragm and the stator plates. This type of speaker is therefore a high-impedance device. In contrast to the modern electromagnetic cone speaker is a low-impedance device, with higher current requirements.

Advantages of electrostatic loudspeakers include levels of distortion one to two orders of magnitude lower than conventional cone drivers in a box, the extremely light weight of the diaphragm which is driven across its whole surface. Since many electrostatic speakers are tall and thin designs without an enclosure, they act as a vertical dipole line source. This makes for rather different acoustic behaviour in rooms compared to conventional electromagnetic loudspeakers.

Generally speaking, a large-panel dipole radiator is more demanding of a proper physical placement within a room when compared to a conventional magnetic speaker. Electrostatics can also be executed as full-range designs, lacking the usual crossover filters and enclosures that could colour or distort the sound.

Disadvantages include sensitivity to ambient humidity levels and a lack of bass response, due to phase cancellation from a lack of enclosure. There is also the difficult physical challenge of reproducing low frequencies with a vibrating taut film with little excursion amplitude. Maximum bass levels cannot be augmented because they are ultimately limited by the membrane's maximum permissible excursion before it comes too close to the high-voltage stators, which may produce electrical arcing and burn holes through it.

The directionality of electrostatics can also be a disadvantage in that it means the 'sweet spot' where proper stereo imaging can be heard is relatively small, limiting the number of people who can fully enjoy the advantages of the speakers simultaneously. Because of their tendency to attract dust, insects, conductive particles, and...

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