June 25, 2016

What Does A Tweeter Do?

A tweeter is a speaker component designed to produce the highest sounds.  While it can not carry a tune, a tweeter adds depth to sound by hitting the high, treble notes.  A tweeter normally operates in the frequency range of 2,500Hz to 25,000 Hz.  Music would sound funny without notes from a tweeter.  It would sound dull and bland.  You should be happy that speaker systems come with tweeters because it gives us rich music that we are used to!

Tweeters Can Not Play Music Alone

While tweeters are necessary, they can not be the sole speakers in a speaker system.  If you only had tweeters, you wouldn’t hear a tune, you would only hear a succession of high pitched noises!  In fact, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell what song was playing if you only had sound coming from tweeters.  You may have realized that this is very similar to what a sub woofer adds to a sound system, only tweeters handle the opposite end of the sound frequency spectrum.  Speakers called mid-range speakers, or mid-range woofers handle the bulk of the tune carrying duty.  Not every speaker system has a tweeter (or tweeters) but many do, typically only lower end quality speakers will lack them.

Tweeters Produce Sound With Magnets

The intent of a tweeter is to turn an electronic signal into an acoustic signal (handling the high end of the frequency range).  Most do this with two magnetic fields, a fixed and a variable field.  A voice coil is suspended around the fixed field, and the voice coil has an electrical current put through it to created a varying magnetic field.  This creates acoustical waves as it acts against the fixed field and moves the coil and the diaphragm attached to the coil, according to the signal input.  As tweeter technology has advanced, new materials are being used to create tweeter diaphragms (domes).  Some are silk or polyester domed, and some are made from aluminum or titanium.

You Don’t Need To Purchase A Tweeter Separately

Unlike a subwoofer, it would be highly unusual to have to purchase a tweeter separately when you are building a sound system.  Most modern sound systems, like those manufactured by Sonos, include multiple speakers and tweeters in each speaker enclosure.  A Playbar, for instance, has 3 tweeters included within the bar.  Unless you were literally building a sound system piecemeal, you wouldn’t need to worry about buying tweeters.  They will come as a component with your mid range woofers.

Tweeters are an important part of a sound system, but they are the most overlooked.  While most people don’t think about the quality of high range tones when they shop for a sound system, they are equally important as the quality of bass.  As long as you are buying a system of decent quality today, you will not lack for tweeters.  If you have a cheap system, you will notice when the volume is turned up your tweeters will sound strange.  Do yourself a favor and buy a speaker system from a reputable brand like Bose or Sonos when you do buy because you won’t need to worry about the tweeters!