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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Acoustic Guitar Amps

4. Speaker Types

The acoustic guitar’s extremely broad frequency spectrum presents a special challenge to loudspeaker designers. Whereas the electric guitar sounds we have come to know and love are partly the product of speakers that are very poor by hi-fi standards, acoustic guitar amplifiers aim to reproduce the entire spectrum evenly.

Multi-Way Speakers

To this end, many acoustic amps take the same approach as most hi-fi speakers and PA systems - the signal is split into two or more frequency bands with a separate speaker for each, the typical
ArrangementSetting of a piece of music. An arrangement can add details omitted by the composer, or may replace those originally notated and be merely based on the original work.
arrangement
involving low, mid and high-frequency units in a single
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinet
. As with PA and hi-fi speakers though, there is generally a trade-off between
Flat ResponseTerm which refers to equipment that does not colour the frequency spectrum of a signal passed through it.
flat
response and
PhaseIn audio and signal processing in general, phase describes the relationship between one or more signals and time. If two signals are identical but one is delayed by less than one complete wave cycle, the difference is described as a phase difference. This is normally expressed in degrees, with 360 representing a full wavelength.
phase
coherence, because each frequency band of the signal must pass through different circuitry, and the variously sized
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
employed each have different response times.

BroadbandA form of telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. The term has become synonymous with the fast internet connection speeds of ADSL.
Broadband
Speakers

BroadbandA form of telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. The term has become synonymous with the fast internet connection speeds of ADSL.
Broadband
speakers aim to reproduce the entire spectrum with a singe
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
driver
, and are commonly found in televisions and car hi-fis. The simultaneous
PresenceThe ability of high frequencies in a sound to 'cut through' a mix. Presence controls usually boost frequencies between 3-5kHz.
presence
of deep
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
and high treble frequencies often causes
DistortionIn most cases distortion is an undesirable alteration to a signal which occurs when a piece of equipment is driven with a input level that is too high for its operating level. Sometimes, as in the case of guitar distortion, this can be an intentional and desirable effect.
distortion
, and it’s difficult to design a single speaker that reproduces the whole frequency range well. The use of
BroadbandA form of telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. The term has become synonymous with the fast internet connection speeds of ADSL.
broadband
speakers in acoustic amplifiers therefore relies on particularly high quality components, but carries many advantages including improved
PhaseIn audio and signal processing in general, phase describes the relationship between one or more signals and time. If two signals are identical but one is delayed by less than one complete wave cycle, the difference is described as a phase difference. This is normally expressed in degrees, with 360 representing a full wavelength.
phase
coherence and reduced interference.
BroadbandA form of telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. The term has become synonymous with the fast internet connection speeds of ADSL.
Broadband
speakers are used by AER, a leading innovator in acoustic amplification.

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