The traditional loudspeaker as we know it has been around since the dawn of electronic audio. Having said that, it has adapted and evolved significantly over the years, and can now be found in a range of shapes, sizes and variations to suit a wide variety of décors and applications.
The four main types of speaker found in the home these days are traditional loudspeakers, in-wall/ceiling speakers, soundbars and subwoofers. Each type of speaker serves a different purpose and is useful for different applications.
If you were asked to picture a speaker, a loudspeaker is probably what you'd imagine; they've been around for decades and are still considered the standard when it comes to audio reproduction as they are versatile with placement and application. In their traditional form, loudspeakers are most commonly found in pairs as floor standing or bookshelf style speakers, however, surround sound speakers are also just a slight variation on the classic loudspeaker.
A subwoofer is a loudspeaker that is dedicated to reproducing the low frequency band of your audio – such as the rumbling bass sounds in your movies and the bass guitar from your music. General loudspeakers don’t cater for these low frequencies, so a dedicated subwoofer is needed if you want to do justice to the full audio spectrum.
In wall/ceiling speakers
To preserve your room’s décor, you can also opt for in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. They work like a like a regular speaker but are mounted in a frame and set into your wall. These are great because they can still produce high quality sound whilst being hidden from view.
If all you’re after is a more dynamic sound from your TV without having to place speakers around your room or embed them in your walls, then a soundbar may be an adequate option for you.
Sound bars have a sleek design to complement most flat panel LCD, LED and plasma TVs, and usually provide a much better sound than the set’s in-built speakers. They can also imitate the experience achieved by 5.1 and 7.1 surround systems, as a soundbar contains several speakers in the one housing that are positioned to bounce sound off the walls and send audio around your room.
If you want to enjoy music in the garden or by the pool, there are purpose-designed speakers that can resist the extreme variations in temperature and humidity experienced outdoors, and can even withstand some exposure to water. Outdoor speakers come in robust cases, normally with metal grilles to protect speaker cones from environmental attack, and use polypropylene materials in their speaker cones, rather than humidity-sensitive paper pulp.