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Asian Academy of Film and Television

Thesis project on
Loudspeaker and Audio Monitors

Guided by

Submitted by -

Mr. Rajinder Gandhi

Name Vaisakh S. Kurup

Mr. Avneet Grewal

Roll no. DPP/ I-1

Batch Diploma in Post ProductionINDEX

Acknowledgement

Loudspeaker

4
Types of Enclosure

Subwoofer

Woofer

Tweeter

Loudspeaker System Design

Studio Monitors (Audio Monitors)

11

History

12

Monitor v/s hi-fi speakers

14

Conclusion

18

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Rajinder Gandhi (senior faculty for
sound recording and radio production), for providing me with all the necessary
material and timely encouragement, required for the completion of my thesis.
I place on record, my sincere gratitude to Mr. Avneet Grewal for providing all
necessary practical knowledge regarding the thesis work.
I also place on record my sense of gratitude to one and all who directly, or
indirectly have lent their helping hand in this venture.

LOUDSPEAKER

A loudspeaker is an electro-acoustic transducer; a device which


converts an electrical audio signal into a corresponding sound.
The loudspeaker serves four primary purposes of Communication,
Sound Reinforcement, Sound Production and Sound Reproduction.
Dynamic Loudspeaker Principle

A current-carrying wire in a magnetic field experiences a


magnetic force perpendicular to the wire.

An audio signal source such as a microphone or recording


produces an electrical image of the sound. That is, it produces an
electrical signal that has the same frequency and harmonic
content, and a size that reflects the relative intensity of the sound
as it changes. The job of the amplifier is to take that electrical
image and make it larger large enough in power to drive the coils
of a loudspeaker. Having a "high fidelity" amplifier means that you
make it larger without changing any of its properties. Any
changes would be perceived as distortions of the sound since the
human ear is amazingly sensitive to such changes. Once the
amplifier has made the electrical image large enough, it applies it
to the voice coils of the loudspeaker, making them vibrate with a
pattern that follows the variations of the original signal. The voice
coil is attached to and drives the cone of the loudspeaker, which
in turn drives the air. This action on the air produces sound that
more-or-less reproduces the sound pressure variations of the
original signal.
Types of Enclosure

The production of a good high-fidelity loudspeaker requires that


the speakers be enclosed because of a number of basic properties
of loudspeakers. Just putting a single dynamic loudspeaker in a
closed box will improve its sound quality dramatically. Modern
loudspeaker enclosures typically involve multiple loudspeakers
with across over network to provide a more nearly uniform
frequency response across the audio frequency range. Other
techniques such as those used in bass reflex enclosures may be
used to extend the useful bass range of the loudspeakers.

Speakers are typically housed in an enclosure which is often a


rectangular or square box made of wood or sometimes plastic
where high quality reproduction of sound is required. Multiple
loudspeakers may be mounted in the same enclosure, each
reproducing a part of the audible frequency range. In this case the
individual speakers are referred to as "drivers" and the entire unit
is called a loudspeaker. Miniature loudspeakers are found in

devices such as radio and TV receivers, and many forms of music


players. Larger loudspeaker systems are used for music, live
shows, in theatres and concerts, and in public address systems.
The term "loudspeaker" may refer to individual transducers
(known as "drivers") or to complete speaker systems consisting of
an enclosure including

one

or

more

drivers.

To

adequately

reproduce a wide range of frequencies with even coverage, most


loudspeaker systems employ more than one driver, particularly
for higher sound pressure level or maximum accuracy. Individual
drivers are used to reproduce different frequency ranges. The
drivers

are

named subwoofers (for

frequencies); woofers (low

very

low

frequencies); mid-range

speakers (middle frequencies); tweeters (high frequencies); and


sometimes super-tweeters, optimized for the highest audible
frequencies

Subwoofer

A subwoofer is a woofer driver used only for the lowest part of the
audio spectrum: typically below 200 Hz for consumer systems,
below 100 Hz for professional live sound, and below 80 Hz in THXapproved systems. To accurately reproduce very low bass notes
without unwanted resonances, subwoofer systems must be solidly
constructed and properly braced; good speakers are typically
quite heavy. Many subwoofer systems include power amplifiers

and electronic sub-filters, with additional controls relevant to lowfrequency reproduction.

Woofer

A woofer is a driver that reproduces low frequencies. The driver


combines with the enclosure design to produce suitable low
frequencies. Some loudspeaker systems use a woofer for the
lowest frequencies, sometimes well enough that a subwoofer is
not needed. Additionally, some loudspeakers use the woofer to
handle middle frequencies, eliminating the mid-range driver. This
can be accomplished with the selection of a tweeter that can work
low enough that, combined with a woofer that responds high
enough, the two drivers add coherently in the middle frequencies.

Tweeter

A tweeter is a high-frequency driver that reproduces the highest


frequencies in a speaker system. Since high frequency sound
tends to leave the speaker in narrow beams. Soft-dome tweeters
are widely found in home stereo systems.

Loudspeaker System Design

Used in multi-driver speaker systems, the crossover is a subsystem that separates


the input signal into different frequency ranges suited to each driver. The drivers
receive power only in their usable frequency range thereby, reducing distortion in
the drivers and interference between them.
Crossovers can be passive or active. A passive crossover is an electronic circuit
that uses a combination of one or more resistors, inductors, or non-polar capacitors.
These parts are formed into carefully designed networks and are most often placed
between the full frequency-range power amplifier and the loudspeaker drivers to
divide the amplifier's signal into the necessary frequency bands before being
delivered to the individual drivers.
Passive crossover circuits need no external power beyond the audio signal itself.
Passive crossovers are commonly installed inside speaker boxes and are by far the
most usual type of crossover for home and low-power use. In car audio systems,
passive crossovers may be in a separate box, necessary to accommodate the size of
the components used.
An active crossover is an electronic filter circuit that divides the signal into
individual frequency bands before power amplification, thus requiring at least one
power amplifier for each band-pass. Passive filtering may also be used in this way
before power amplification, but it is an uncommon solution, being less flexible
than active filtering. Any technique that uses crossover filtering followed by
amplification is commonly known as bi-amping, tri-amping, quad-amping, and so
on, depending on the minimum number of amplifier channels. Some loudspeaker
designs use a combination of passive and active crossover filtering, such as a
passive crossover between the mid- and high-frequency drivers and an active

crossover between the low-frequency driver and the combined mid- and high
frequencies.

Enclosures
Most loudspeaker systems consist of drivers mounted in an enclosure, or cabinet.
The role of the enclosure is to prevent sound waves emanating from the back of a
driver from interfering destructively with those from the front. Hence, without an
enclosure they typically cause cancellations which significantly degrade the level
and quality of sound at low frequencies. A sealed enclosure prevents transmission
of the sound emitted from the rear of the loudspeaker by confining the sound in a
rigid and airtight box. Techniques used to reduce transmission of sound through the
walls of the cabinet include thicker cabinet walls, lossy wall material, internal
bracing, curved cabinet walls.
However, a rigid enclosure reflects sound internally, which can then be transmitted
back through the loudspeaker diaphragmagain resulting in degradation of sound
quality. This can be reduced by internal absorption using absorptive materials.
Such as glass wool, wool, or synthetic fiber batting, within the enclosure. The
internal shape of the enclosure can also be designed to reduce this by reflecting
sounds away from the loudspeaker diaphragm, where they may then be absorbed.
One of the most common uses of loudspeakers in the home environment is
as home theater speakers. These speakers often are synchronized so they produce
a surround sound effect and are often referred to as surround speakers. This is
especially useful when watching movies, where the audio is often meant to be
played on a surround sound system.

The quality of the loudspeaker greatly depends on the weight, and therefore the
size, of the magnet inside the speaker. The larger the magnet, the more powerful
the speaker will be. The weight of the magnet should be listed on the specifications
of any good loudspeakers. However, it should be noted that some weigh the entire
magnet system and not just the magnet itself. This could affect the power and
quality of the speaker and deceive some into buying something other than what
they thought they were purchasing.

STUDIO MONITORS (AUDIO MONITORS)


Studio monitors are loudspeakers specifically designed for audio production
applications such as recording studios, filmmaking, television studios and radio
studios where accurate audio reproduction is crucial. Whereas reference monitors
refer to loudspeakers generally used to gage what a recording will sound like on
consumer-grade speakers. Studio monitors are made in a more physically robust
manner than home hi-fi loudspeakers; whereas home hi-fi loudspeakers often only
have to reproduce compressed commercial recordings, studio monitors have to
cope with the high volumes and sudden sound bursts that may happen in the studio
when playing back unmastered mixes.
Among audio engineers, the term monitor usually implies that the speaker is
designed to produce relatively flat (linear) phase and frequency responses. Beyond
stereo sound-stage requirements, a linear phase response helps impulse
response remain true to source without encountering "smearing". An unqualified
reference to a monitor often refers to a near-field (compact or close-field) design.
This is a speaker small enough to sit on a stand or desk in proximity to the listener,
so that most of the sound that the listener hears is coming directly from the
speaker, rather than reflecting off of walls and ceilings. Also, studio monitors are
made in a more physically robust manner than home hi-fi loudspeakers; whereas
home hi-fi loudspeakers often only have to reproduce compressed commercial
recordings, studio monitors have to cope with the high volumes and sudden sound
bursts that may happen in the studio when playing back unmastered mixes.

The Yamaha NS-10, one of the most influential studio monitors of all time.
History
In the early years of the recording industry in the 1920s and 1930s, studio monitors
were used primarily to check for noise interference and obvious technical problems
rather than for making artistic evaluations of the performance and recording.
Musicians were recorded live and the producer judged the performance on this
basis, relying on simple tried-and-true microphone techniques to ensure that it had
been adequately captured; playback through monitors was used simply to check
that no obvious technical flaws had spoiled the original recording.
The first high-quality loudspeaker developed expressly as a studio monitor was
the Altec

Lansing

Duplex 604

in

1944.

The

604

was

relatively

compact coaxial design and within a few years it became the industry standard in
the United States, a position it maintained in its various incarnations over the next

25 years. It was common in US studios throughout the 1950s and 60s and remained
in continuous production until 1998. However, in 1959, at the height of its industry
dominance, Altec made the mistake of replacing the 604 with the 605A Duplex, a
design widely regarded as inferior to its predecessor. There was a backlash from
some record companies and studios and this allowed Altecs competitor, JBL (a
company originally started by 604 designer James B. Lansing), to make inroads
into the pro monitor market.
In a BBC white paper published in January 1963, the authors explored 2-channel
stereophony, and remarked that it was at a disadvantage compared with multichannel stereophony that was already available in cinemas in that "the full intended
effects is apparent only to observers located within in a restricted area in front of
the loudspeakers". The authors expressed reservations about dispersion and
directionality in 2-channel systems, noting that the "face-to-face listening
arrangement" was not able to give an acceptable presentation for a centrallylocated observer in a domestic setting. In the late 1960s JBL introduced two
monitors which helped secure them pre-eminence in the industry. The 4320 was a
direct competitor to the Altec 604 but was a more accurate and powerful speaker
and it quickly made inroads against the industry standard. However, it was the
more compact 4310 that revolutionized monitoring by introducing the idea of close
or "near-field" monitoring.
However, a backlash against the behemoth monitor was soon to take place. With
the advent of punk, new wave, indie, and lo-fi, a reaction to high-tech recording
and large corporate-style studios set in and do-it-yourself recording methods
became the vogue. Smaller, less expensive, recording studios needed smaller, less
expensive monitors and the Yamaha NS-10, a design introduced in 1978 ironically
for the home audio market, became the monitor of choice for many studios in the

1980s. While its sound-quality has often been derided, even by those who monitor
through it, the NS-10 continues in use to this day and many more successful
recordings have been produced with its aid over the past twenty five years than
with any other monitor.
Monitor v/s hi-fi speakers
No speaker, monitor or hi-fi, regardless of the design principle, has a completely
flat frequency response; all speakers color the sound to some degree. Monitor
speakers are assumed to be as free as possible from coloration. While no rigid
distinction exists between consumer speakers and studio monitors, manufacturers
more and more accent the difference in their marketing material. Generally, studio
monitors are physically robust, to cope with the high volumes and physical knocks
that may happen in the studio, and are used for listening at shorter distance than hifi speakers, though nothing precludes them from being used in a home-sized
environment. Studio monitors are increasingly self-amplified (active), although not
exclusively so, while hi-fi speakers usually require external amplification.
Whereas in the 1970s the JBL 4311s domestic equivalent, the L-100, was used in a
large number of homes, and the Yamaha NS-10 also served both domestically and
professionally during the 1980s. Despite not being a "commercial product" at the
outset, the BBC licensed production of the LS3/5A monitor, which it used
internally. It was commercially successful in its twenty-something-year life.
The archetypal studio near-field monitor, Yamaha's NS10M, is well known to have
(put politely) a characterful tonal balance. The general consensus seems to be that
it is uneven through the mid-range and too bright at the top (hence the commonly
employed trick of hanging tissue paper over the tweeters to calm it down).

In two words, we should be looking for the 'neutral average' neither too bright nor
too dull. If the aspirations we have for our work are that it should sound tonally
acceptable on the widest range of systems out there, from hi-fi systems costing
many thousands to AM radio (or its low-bit-rate MP3 equivalent), then the
perceived tonal balance of our near-field monitor, which will be used up close and
probably with its back to the wall, should be as close to the 'population average' as
possible. The same is probably true of a hi-fi speaker, because in balance terms, the
hi-fi speaker is nothing but a monitor that's used a few stages down the line (ie. by
the consumer of the music you're mixing).
A neutral tonal balance, however, is not the same thing as a flat axial frequency
response. The perceived tonal balance of a speaker is the combination of the direct
sound from the drivers and reflected sound from nearby surfaces, and, as speakers
are directional devices (especially at high frequencies), a flat axial frequency
response doesn't mean that a loudspeaker will necessarily sound that way. But we
can work backwards, and predict generally how the axial response might look for
different types of loudspeakers if they are to sound neutral. Firstly, a hi-fi speaker
that's positioned perhaps four meters away from the listener and is mounted a little
away from the wall on a floor stand should have a subtly different response shape
compared to a near-field monitor that's maybe one to two meters away and
mounted on a wall. Where the near-field should demonstrate a slightly up-shelved
response at a few hundred Hertz combined with a slow roll-off at either frequency
extreme, the hi-fi speaker, unless it has been specifically balanced for use against a
wall, should probably be closer to flat.
Secondly, if a near-field monitor is to be used in a small room, where strong
reflections from the side walls will reach the ear within a few milliseconds, the
shape of the horizontal off-axis response is vital too. Wild variations between on

and off-axis responses are well-known to result in perceived tonal imbalances, so if


the monitor is not to sound unnaturally colored, its off-axis response should be as
close to a gently down-tilted version of the axial response as possible. This is one
very good reason why landscape-mounted near-field monitors tend to be a bad idea
the horizontal off-axis response from laterally adjacent drivers will almost certainly
display major discontinuities through the region where the drivers' outputs overlap.
Yamaha HS80m
The Yamaha HS80m studio monitor is the successor to the NS10, and tries to
replicate the philosophy behind the NS line. Featuring the same iconic white
woofer cones as the NS10, the Yamaha HS80m produces an accurate and pleasant
sound. Consistent and smooth audio make the Yamaha HS80m a no-brainer when
it comes to deciding which studio monitors to buy.

M-Audio Studiophile BS5 D2


M-Audio are famous for their music production equipment, but they also make
some great speakers. The M-Audio Studiophile monitor series are loved and
trusted by musicians and recording professionals all over the world. There is a
reason that the Studiophile series is one of the best selling monitor studios in the

world. M-Audio is a trusted brand and you wont regret purchasing a set of
Studiophile speakers.

JBL LSR 2325P


JBL has been in the loudspeaker industry for a long time and they know how to
create great audio equipment while still being affordable. The JBL LSR series is a
great range to look at when considering studio monitors. LSR stands for Linear
Spatial Reference, this technology takes your room shape and size into account to
produce the most accurate sound possible.

KRK Rokit 8

The KRK Rokit 8 is latest version of the very popular Rokit series. Instantly
recognizable with its yellow woofer, the KRK Rokit is the new-age standard for
studio monitors. Perfect for electronic dance music and acoustic productions, you
cant go wrong with the Rokit series.

CONCLUSION
Studio monitors are designed to reproduce audio signals that are as flat as possible
across the audible frequency spectrum. Unlike consumer stereo speakers that may
be tweaked to produce a strong bass response and sound punchy, good studio
monitors dont emphasize particular frequencies over others. A good monitor will
give you accurate, consistent response no matter the volume level. This allows you
to listen critically to how certain elements of the mix sound at different volumes.
They also capture fleeting musical transients that add subtlety and nuance to the
sounds they reproduce.