When it comes to buying a pair of speakers, two terms that most buyers will come across are mid-range and full-range. These terms are conventionally used to describe the capability of producing the audio frequency range. And as their names reveal, a full range speaker obviously produces the wider range of audio frequency than a mid-range speaker.
But do you know the exact answer to these questions: “what is full range speaker?”, “what are the main components of a full range speaker” and “is a full range speaker sound good?”. Check this post to find them out!
Some speakers use a pair of separate drivers, namely woofer and tweeter, to reproduce low and high frequencies, and a device called crossover to split up different sound frequencies and send to the correct driver. Low-range frequencies are passed through to the woofer, while the tweeter is dedicated to the high ones.
However, there is a type of speaker that can handle both low and high frequencies with only one single driver and without the need of crossover resulting for more articulation and detail in the mid-range. That type of speakers is called full range speakers.
Main components of a full range speaker
To know in-depth about full range speaker, human hearing range is the first thing that should look into. It is generally accepted that the audible frequencies range is from 20Hz to 20,000Hz (20kHz), so a full range speaker is designed to be capable of reproducing this frequency range.
Nevertheless, it should be highlighted that most single driver systems fail to reproduce all the audible frequency range due to physical limitations. In some cases, a whizzer cone and other methods are put into effect to maximize the frequency range of these drivers.
Traditionally, a full range driver has the same design like other dynamic drivers, but the cone is a distinction between them, which is optimized for effective high-frequency performance. For instance, a small low-mass horn or whizzer cone is positioned to where the voice coil and diaphragm intersect enhancing high-frequency output. The cone is made of optimized material such as paper, metal (mainly aluminum), polypropylene, or ceramic/glass fiber polymer, and the paper cone takes up the majority.
A dust cap in speaker drivers is intentionally built to be relatively acoustically inactive. However, some manufactures replace it with a radiating dome which is acoustically active. Sometimes, dust caps are designed to resemble a small conical shape in order to improve dispersion at higher frequencies.
As stated in the second paragraph, full range drivers cannot reproduce the entire frequency range. In fact, they fail to handle the audio spectrum below 100hz. A separate subwoofer or a special cabinet designed is responsible for low frequencies reproduction.
To cover the entire audible frequency range, good sensitivity (for lower frequencies) with a light voice coil (for high frequencies) is a need. Sensitivity is improved by employing a large-size magnet in these speakers. Besides, using larger magnets not only decreases the power needed at low frequencies but also allows a lighter voice coil.
Because full range speakers eliminate the need for a crossover, the sound reproduced by them is unique. A crossover has a permanent disadvantage, that is, the sound will be changed because the crossover induces phase inaccuracy making the sound lack precision and depth. Without the appearance of a crossover, the sound reproduced by single driver is more natural.
The lack of the power and dynamic range of multi-driver speakers is compensated by the increased mid-range clarity in single driver speakers which makes them excellent speakers for more intimate genre and at moderate volume levels.
Full range speakers are most suitable for solo vocal, small group jazz, acoustic guitar, 18th century classical and chamber music. The classic rock reproduced by these drives is acceptable at a reasonable volume. Due to the design of full range driver, some limitations in sound reproduction of these driver systems occur including lacking bass and treble limitation. Consequently, playing heavy metal or symphonies at a concert volume through single driver will make you disappointed.
A full range speaker designed beautifully in a spherical enclosure
The applications of full range speakers can be found from daily multimedia such as television, radio, car stereo, inexpensive speakers to high-quality loudspeakers systems. Besides, full range speakers are widely used in commercial sound systems installed in retail stores and public places to play background music and make announcements to students, workers, visitors, etc.
The price of full range speakers depends on the manufacturer, materials, frequency range, size of the driver, etc. Consequently, models less than $50 or more than $1000 is not unusual.
Lowther, Goodman, Jordan, PHY-HP, Telefunken, JBL, Foster are some manufacturers who are famous for single driver production, and audiophiles often choose the product of Lowther and Foster.
So, you can see that a full-range speaker is far better than a mid-range speaker, especially in terms of the sound quality. Hopefully, this article gives you enough information for your best buying decision.
Which one will you select? Let’s us know by leaving your comment below. Thank you for reading!
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