Components of a Studio Monitor
In this blog, we are going to talk about the major components that make up a studio monitor. These are the essential elements, though some monitors may have more (or fewer) features.
High-Frequency Driver (Tweeter)
The high-frequency driver takes care of the reproduction of the high and upper-mid frequencies (Treble). HF drivers are made out of various materials such as silk, aluminum, beryllium, and titanium.
Low-Frequency Driver (Woofer)
The low-frequency driver recreates the low-mids and low frequencies (Bass). The LF driver will be larger so that it can produce the longer wavelengths that are characteristic of lower frequencies. Because of the larger woofer size, it requires a bigger power amp to physically move the driver. LF drivers are typically made out of Kevlar™ / aramid, paper, or polypropylene.
The waveguide determines the horizontal and vertical coverage of the studio monitor. Waveguides come in all shapes and sizes and can be made out of a wide range of materials.
The acoustic port allows the inward pressure that is created by the drivers to leave the cabinet- essentially low-end extension. This lets the speaker work more efficiently because the LF driver is creating two sound waves instead of one. The size and shape of the port can be designed to enhance specific frequencies. The port will be on either the front or back of the cabinet. Some types of studios monitors may be port-less and fully sealed, or use a passive radiator design, like our HR Series.
Studio monitors come in either a passive or active design. Passive speaker means that the monitors will need to be powered by an external power amp. An active speaker has a power amp built into the speaker. These days a majority of studio monitors use an active design- this is great because you know that the amp and drivers are perfectly matched. Active monitors have also grown in popularity due to advancements in Class-D power amp design and digital signal processing integration.
The cabinet houses all of the components and gives a studio monitor its body. A cabinet is typically tuned to a specific resonant frequency, which is also excited by porting or with a passive radiator. In speaker design, the cabinet separates the forward motion from the backward motion mentioned in the Port section above. The cabinet can be made out of a wide variety of materials such as wood, plastic, metal, and composites.