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Topic: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

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  1. #1

    Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    I've always been fascinated by technology, and by the way technology has come so far so quickly. But one simplicity that has always fascinated me even more is how a simple cone and magnet can produce an infinite array of timbre.

    If I play an oboe it sounds like an oboe. No matter how much I might change the shape and design of the oboe, it always sounds like an oboe, because I'm still using just the two reeds to blow through.

    The speaker is the same, it only always has the cone and magnet.

    How then can it sound like a trumpet one moment, and by a simple electronic signal change, sound like a xylophone, or a gong, or a fiddle? How does this happen? Does anyone know? Or is it just one of those mysteries of science? I know it has something to do with waves, but I don't see how the cone is capable of producing certain vibrations.
    Yours Truly,
    TubaJediMaster
    May the Fourth Be With You

    My demos:
    http://www.box.net/shared/ejtluyupfb

  2. #2

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    I think it is something like this:

    Your ear detects vibrations in a range of frequencies. Different vibrations are produced by different objects when forced to vibrate. Those vibrations have a number of characteristics including frequency (pitch) intensity (loudness) and pattern (timbre, character etc.)

    The speaker simply vibrates in a particular way to produce the appropriate pattern at the appropriate frequency and intensity. Combinations of patterns form more complex patterns for the speaker to emulate.

    Due to the shape of each of our vocal chords, mouth, muscle structure etc, we all produce a recognisable voice pattern - once again it is just vibration patterns.

    That's about it.

  3. #3

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    Sound is nothing more than variations in air pressure. The speaker just replicates these variations. The open cone is well suited to moving air.

    A musical instrument creates sound in a very specific manner. A speaker is fed an electrical signal which corresponds to the sound to be created. The original sound was captured by a microphone which converts the sound into an electrical signal. When this signal is fed back into the speaker, out comes the sound waves that the microphone originally captured.

  4. #4

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    i think about this all the time. i've heard it explained a billion times and i even understand it, but its still incredible that magnets moving back and forth can recreated everything from someone talking to an entire orchestra.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  5. #5

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    All waves (in this case) sound can be broken down into a series of sine waves added together. It is the combination of these waves and the volume of the waves that forms the sound.

    A pure sine wave sounds a bit flute like, add various levels of harmonics of this sine wave and you get more comples sounds. If you take your sine wave, add a third harmonic at 1/3rd the volume, a fifth harmonic at 1/5th the volume a seventh harmonic at 1/7 th the volume, and you eventually get a square wave.

    DO the same with all harmonics and you get a ramped wave form.

    First and fifteenth sound quite a bit like a violin and so on.

    Anything vibrating in such patterns will, if it can make the air around it vibrate, sound. You don't need a loudspeaker cone and magnets, anything will work. Think about a tuning fork placed on a piano, guitar or violin. This will sound.

    Old gramophones, the wind-up ones that played 78 rpm records, had no loud speakers, just a needle connected to a small steel plate at the end of a long tube. This is more akin to the vibrating column of air in your oboe.

    I think that loudspeakers with cones and magnets are used because they are more efficient than other constructions but they are definitely not the only way of getting sound.

    In theory, (but probably not in practice) you should be able to get any wind or brass instrument to play any sound.
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


  6. #6

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    Look at the example wave forms in the Wikipedia under "Fourier Series"
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


  7. #7

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    To me, what is even more fascinating, is the fact that the exact pitch of a low pipe organ, or a five string bass guitar playing an open B can be discerned through a 4 inch speaker, even it's octave is recognized.

    A fifteen inch speaker can faithfully reproduce this pitch with far more realism when compared to it's 4 inch counterpart, but ironically, the exact pitch is still evident even in the 4 inch speaker.

    Another stunning thing is the amplifier's responsibility to reproduce all the frequencies of an orchestra at the same time. When a tweeter reproduces the harmonics of a drummer's high hat, the tweeter's cone has to move forward and backwards around 15,000 times per second, just amazing.

    I'm with Keith, I understand how it works but it is still fascinating rhythm.


    Now,... to put all that technology to shame, how about our eardrums, and how THEY work. It seems to me that the designer of our ears knew far in advance that we humans would want to hear in stereo, (3D) and we would not want to be bothered by sounds below 10 hz or above twenty thousand hertz.

    That to me is a miracle!
    Dan

  8. #8

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    Now,... to put all that technology to shame, how about our eardrums, and how THEY work. It seems to me that the designer of our ears knew far in advance that we humans would want to hear in stereo, (3D) and we would not want to be bothered by sounds below 10 hz or above twenty thousand hertz.

    That to me is a miracle!
    Dan
    I wish we could hear a little higher:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myuceywaOUs&NR


  9. #9

    Re: Speakers prdocuning timbre...

    If you have access to an ocilliscope, like we did in the old days, where you can actually see the soundwave it might make the principals a little clearer.

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