When buying new speakers you’ll hear manufacturers talk a lot about the different parts of their speakers. They will mention things like a “polypropylene cone”, a “rubber surround”, a “ferrite magnet”, or even a “stamped steel basket”. These all sound nice, but they don’t mean much if you don’t know what they are. In this article, we are going to break down each part of the speaker so you can make a more informed buying decision.
Starting from the top of the speaker to the bottom, here are those parts and their responsibilities:
One of the most familiar components of a speaker, the cone helps to determine the frequency response as well as the overall sound quality of the speaker. Once activated by the voice coil, the cone pushes air back and forth to create sound waves for your listening pleasure. Polypropylene is amongst one of the most popular materials for speakers cones and you will frequently see it being used on speakers of all budget types. Some of the other materials you may also see on top of the line speakers are carbon fiber, pressed paper, and even kevlar.
A lining or soft ring that is glued to the speaker cone and basket, the speaker surround is crucial for determining how the energy through the cone gets absorbed. The surround flexes when the speaker is playing and is typically made of foam or rubber.
Dust Cap or Dust Cover
The dust cap, also known as a dust cover or dome, is mounted in the center of the speaker diaphragm and prevents dust, dirt, and other particles from entering the voice coil and other components. In addition, the dust cap does have an effect on the frequency response and the overall behavior of the cone itself.
A speaker spider is a type of suspension responsible for centering the moving parts of the speaker and preventing side to side movement. Without it, the speaker would move uncontrollably and would not function properly due to unnecessary vibrations.
The coiled wire that is attached to the apex of a speaker cone and functions as an electromagnet. Typically made of copper or aluminum, the wire is coiled around a magnetic piece of metal. The current that passes through the coil provides the necessary force to the speaker cone.
Front Plate (or Top Plate)
The front, or top plate of a speaker, is typically made from iron and looks like a large washer. The front plate, along with the magnet and yoke, is what completes the speaker’s magnetic circuit. The diameter, thickness, and gap all affect the efficiency, power handling, and overall sound.
One critical component of any speaker is the magnet. These are the driving force of the speaker and are responsible for making the cone move. These magnets and their magnetic fields create vibrations and ultimately the sounds you hear from the speaker itself.
Basket (or Chassis)
The speaker chassis, also called the basket, is the metal frame that is responsible for holding the speaker together. The chassis is then held in by the speaker case and helps prevent deformations and alignment issues and conducts heat away from the voice coil. Speaker chassis are usually made from aluminum alloy or thin steel, although plastics are also used on lower-end speakers.
The yoke is a heavy piece of metal at the bottom of a speaker that affects the efficiency of the magnet assembly, voice coil magnetic field and temperature, and power handling.
As you see, each part of the speaker serves an important role and helps produce the audio you get to enjoy. We hope this rundown improves your knowledge of car speakers and will allow you to make a better-informed decision when buying car speakers of your own!