Ed's AV Handbook.com
Home Theater & High Fidelity Stereo Audio
Batting practice for the audio/video pro and a primer for the novice
Index by chapter subject
Ed's AV Blog & NEWS
Chap 1 AV Terminology
Chap 2 Physics
Chap 4 Video
Chap 5 AV System Sequence
Chap 6 The Room, Speaker, & TV
Chap 7 Acoustical Strategy
Chap 8 Home Theater by Design
Chap 9 Sales Training
Chap 10 Business & Marketing
2 - 3 - 4 > next
The Microphone and the Speaker
Sound can be stored and reproduced for our convenience and pleasure.
This technological magic begins and ends with the microphone and the speaker.
Handbook Note: This chapter assumes you read chapter two page 2.
The MicrophoneA microphone is an acoustical to mechanical to electrical transducer. There are four popular types of microphones: dynamic, ribbon, condenser/electrostatic, and piezoelectric.
A dynamic microphone manages the acoustical-to-mechanical step via a light diaphragm that mechanically shadows-and-responds to the rarefactions and compressions of sound.
The mechanical-to-electrical step attaches a coil of wire surrounded by a magnet to the diaphragm. The shadow-modulating-diaphram-coil in the magnetic field produces a small voltage. This voltage is an analog of the original sound that can be amplified or recorded.
A ribbon mic places a thin aluminum film/metal element between magnetic poles rather than a dynamic mic diaphragm. As the dynamic mic, the modulating film and its magnetic field produces a small voltage. As the dynamic mic, that voltage is an analog of the original sound.
The acoustic-to-mechanical diaphragm of a condenser mic is essentially one plate
of an electric-static-charged capacitor. The mechanical-to-electrical stage places this diaphragm plate near a battery supplied electro-magnet backplate. Changes in the modulating distance between the diaphragm and the charged backplate creates an instantaneous voltage. That voltage is an analog of the original sound.
A piezoelectric mic uses an allmost all-in-one acoustic-to-mechanical-to-electrical transducer. This transducer uses a natural crystal that produces voltage when sound pressure is applied by a modulating diaphram. Piezoelectric microphones literally squeeze voltage from the crystal. Its voltage is an analog of the original sound.
A speaker is an inverted microphone. It's an electrical-to-mechanical-to-acoustic transducer. As the microphone there are four popular types of speakers: dynamic, ribbon, electrostatic, and piezoelectric.
The dynamic loudspeaker is the most prominent type of loudspeaker. The output
from an amplifier is connected to a coiled wire surrounded by a magnet. The coil is attached to a speaker cone. The voltage from an amplifier speaker-output modulates this assembly which in turn reproduces the original sound from a microphone or a recording.
A ribbon loudspeaker is the reversal of a ribbon mic. The electrical-to-mechanical mechanism is comprised of thin conductive wires attached to a thin ribbon of Mylar
film placed between vertical arrays of magnet strips. An amplifier modulates the Mylar
sheet which reproduces an analog of the original sound.
As the condenser mic an electrostatic speaker is essentially a large flat capacitor.
Similar to the condenser mic, a power supply creates an electro-static charged field. The electric-to-mechanical diaphragm is a graphite coated mylar film placed between charged corrugated grid stators. An amplifiers speaker output voltage modulates the diaphragm which in turn reproduces the original sound.
I did not refer to this speaker as a loudspeaker. This type of speaker is limited to the reproduction of high frequency sound in a high fidelity system --- it's a tweeter. This 'tweeter' is the reverse of a piezoelectric microphone element. In this case an amplifier's voltage is applied to the crystal. The modulating pressure/voltage squeezes the piezoelectric crystal, which modulates its surface and reproduces the original high frequency sound.
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Batting Practice for the AV Pro and a Primer for the Novice.
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288 Revised 2017