What every newbie should know

Shugarra
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Okay, I just recently did some research on sound systems for a college class. Nothing particularly indepth but I found it pretty interesting anyway. This may be common knowledge, and if it is I'm sorry, but I just learned it and it really put a lot of things into context and I thought it could probably help out those who are just beginning the hobby and trying to understand the fundamentals.

The Birth and Death of the Audio Signal :p

When a cd player reads a disc it reads the length of the ridges within a disc. This information is processed and converted into a 16 bit binary number, and then shipped off to the digital to analog convertor (DAC) to be processed into voltage. The 16 bit number can represent 2^16th different voltage ratings--everything from zero to the max output voltage of the head unit. Each of these ratings represent a little nuance of sound. Just as an example, 4 volts could represent the very highest peak of a bird chirp and .0345 volts could represent the initial strike of a drum stick to a drum.

Once we have a voltage rating it is either sent to the decks internal amplifier or shipped off via RCA or balanced cables to an external amplifier where the signal is boosted and sent to the speakers.

Speakers have a coil of wires, within a magnet, through which the voltage is passed. When you pass electricity through a coil of wires that are within a magnet you form an electromagnetic field. Because the voltage is alternating current (AC) the electromagnetic field (formed by the magnet and wound coil) is always changing polarity and either pushing or pulling the cone of the speaker, which, in turn, makes sound waves representative of the voltage being passed through.

This explanation is by no means comprehensive but, hopefully, gives a good idea of how sound is made.

 
you were right until you got to the speaker part //content.invisioncic.com/y282845/emoticons/smile.gif.1ebc41e1811405b213edfc4622c41e27.gif , it's ok though.

The first thing that may be confusing you is the type of current, voltage is not AC current, current is totally seperate from voltage, they simply work together to produce wattage. An audio output wave is in AC voltage (you were correct there) but it is actually the current and voltage combined that move the speaker. The wattage (current x voltage) is passed though the voice coil (coil of wires) on the speaker and the magnetic field created reacts with the magnet to push or pull depending on the charge (positive or negative). The more wattage the stronger the push or pull.

 
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Shugarra

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