SO, NOW YOU KNOW: Distorted speakers

Ever wonder why speaker manufacturers don’t list distortion as one of their measured parameters? Me too.

To my knowledge, there’s not even a standard by which to suggest acceptable distortion. Yet, try that with the electronics that drive those speakers and howls of protest drift up through the rafters.

Do we not care what level of distortion our speakers make?

As we work to build the new PS loudspeakers we are in constant communication with the driver manufacturer. Each of our drivers is designed from the ground up to our specs which include maximum loudness as a function of distortion. I am guessing we are not the only engineering company to request these numbers but apparently, by the head scratching on the other end of those requests, it is a rare one.

Maybe because we’re electronic designers we look at the world of sound reproduction differently than engineers whose careers have been spent designing speakers.

Maybe it’s time for a fresh look.

Paul McGowan

One thought on “SO, NOW YOU KNOW: Distorted speakers

  1. I totally agree Paul. Distortion figures are incredibly important! As a mechanical engineering student in the UK and a budding loudspeaker designer, this is one of, if not the most important characteristics of a loudspeaker/driver. Have you thought about presenting it as a waterfall plot, where instead of volume (dB y-axis) you would have %distortion, perhaps THD? And where time would be (z-axis) you would have volume (dB). That way you can represent distortion data across the frequency spectrum for different volume levels (1m distance (anechoic or 2pi space perhaps). A waterfall plot may not work entirely since it requires continuous data, but some form of 3D plot would definitely represent the data well. Just food for thought.

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