Introduction to Speakers

Updated: Sep 6, 2020

Loudspeakers, A complete illustrated guide to stereo speakers

Everything You Want To Know About Loudspeakers
Introduction To Speakers

Start here for everything Home Audio.


Loudspeakers are electro-mechanical-acoustic systems. Another word for speaker is transducer. A transducer is a device that converts one type of energy or signal into another. While there are many types of transducers the ones most common to music lovers are the microphone and the speaker. The microphone is at the beginning of the process and converts sound waves into electrical impulses. A speaker is at the end of the process and converts electrical impulses from the amp into acoustic energy (sound.) A loudspeaker typically accomplishes this conversion by causing a diaphragm to vibrate and send vibrations through the air, thereby propagating acoustic waves.

What Kind of Speakers Do I Need?

Your AV professional can help you with your choice. An appropriate speaker system for a particular application would be one that fits the budget, interfaces well with the room size, design and acoustical properties. In addition, it should have sufficient headroom (question: does everyone know what “headroom” means?) for the demands made upon it with flat frequency response, low distortion and freedom from compression. It must accurately reproduce the audio signal sent to it.

Stereo Playback Diagram

Diagram of Stereo Playback
Stereo Playback Diagram

Bravo AV Design Philosophy

In the Audiophile press and on various websites you see people arguing about which component is the most important and often people claim it’s the speakers. We have a different belief. We believe everything in the signal path is important. Therefore our designs focus from the source to the speakers and everything in between. Having said all that the three most significant aspects of a system are: room acoustics, speakers, and source material.

We help you understand everything about speakers
We will educate you on everything you need to know about speakers

At Bravo AV Consulting we take a holistic approach to the design of audio and video systems. We do this by carefully listening to the client’s wants and needs. We then develop a solution that contains the features and benefits that best fit the client’s lifestyle. Since we carry no inventory and have over 50 brands to choose from we can use our creativity and years of experience to craft a system that offers tremendous performance and value for a given budget. During our holistic design process we select components of a similar performance level. We know that the weakest link will be the limiting factor in the systems performance. Therefore, we pay attention to every facet of the AV system: the things you see and the things you don’t see. We also look towards the future and make sure the system has the ability to evolve as new technologies emerge.

To hear quality speakers you do not need a golden ear
You do not need a golden ear to hear quality speakers

The Myth of the Golden Ear and Audio

An audio/video system is a vehicle for conveying the vast emotional and intellectual potential of music. The higher the quality of reproduction the deeper our connection with the music. Bravo AV Consulting sells products in which you can definitely hear the difference. It does not take a trained or “Golden Ear” to know what sounds good. If you have ever seen quality high definition TV you don’t want standard definition anymore. It’s the same way with a good audio system. Once you have heard quality audio and are moved by the music you don’t want to go back to mediocre sound. Because music is important, re-creating it with the highest possible fidelity is important. Many of us have a practical knowledge of things we like and can communicate our preference without possessing the technical knowledge or specific vocabulary of the true expert. We talk with you using straight forward non-technical vocabulary. Come in and have a listen.

Speaker Types


Freestanding speakers do not go in or on a wall but “stand” on the floor. While free standing speakers are most often associated with traditional 2-channel stereo they can be used in surround sound environments.


Architectural speakers can be classified by placement: on wall, in wall, in ceiling and outdoor.

In Wall Are located in the walls. Speakers in this category must usually be less than 4” deep because the wall depth is usually 4”. However some stud depths are 6” allowing speaker manufacturers more freedom to design really great speakers.

In Ceiling Are located in the ceiling. Because the joist depth is often 8 or more inches deep, in ceiling speaker designers have more depth to work with and that lets them create a wide variety of speakers.

In wall and In ceiling characteristics

o Shape Round, rectangular or invisible.

o Quality The quality of in wall and in ceiling speakers can be as outstanding as your budget allows. Long gone are the days when you had to sacrifice sound quality moving from a freestanding speaker to an architectural speaker.

o Invisible Modern invisible speakers sound as good as visible speakers in a similar price range and are very reliable. Invisible speakers are installed to mate seamlessly with the adjoining wall or ceiling and can be finished using the same materials as the surrounding surface including paint, texture, wallpaper or even wood veneers.

o Open baffle vs. sealed enclosure Architectural speakers with open backs are usually less costly, and they can work well for background music in non-critical listening areas. Because there is no enclosure, sound can bleed into adjacent areas and become an annoyance. This result from the fact that as the cone (diaphragm) moves back to its neutral