Tips for Designing Quality Super Small Full Range Speakers

You need quality audio, but you don’t have a lot of space to fit the audio solution or speaker into. Maybe it’s going into a new car design, a casino game, or a room where it needs to be hidden away discreetly. Sound familiar? Challenges like these are presented to loudspeaker OEMs over and over again.

MISCO recently introduced a full range speaker that can fit in the palm of your hand and it sounds as good and can be as loud as a speaker that is much bigger. The speaker’s diameter is just 40mm across.

To arrive at a speaker this small but still this powerful requires careful design, the right amplifier, DSP programming, and exact testing. Here is how it all came together.

Experience Matters

Innovation often comes through an iteration of past success. MISCO began designing its small full range speaker by working off a larger design it created for a particular customer. 

Tip 1: Find a speaker manufacturer with a long track record and you will benefit from the many systems they’ve created in the past that could be altered to meet your needs.

Of course, audio requires the creation of soundwaves by moving loudspeaker parts, so the laws of physics apply and begin to present obstacles when you try to reduce a speaker’s volume (the three-dimensional kind). A small speaker will inherently struggle to create large enough soundwaves, generally. 

A tuned port enclosure is one way to get around this. Tuned port designs have been around since the 1960s and speaker manufacturers who’ve been working with them that long have gotten very good at incorporating them into systems to boost bass performance.

Additionally, tuned ports can take some of the back pressure off of the speaker and allow it to be played at a higher power level, but diverting mechanical energy from the speaker near its resonant frequency. This can reduce how far a speaker travels and allow for higher power handling, when compared to how the same driver performs in a sealed enclosure.

Tip 2: Use an enclosure with tuned ports.

HubSpot Video

 

With the help of the two tuned ports, MISCO’s 40mm speaker can handle about 70% of the audio band (from 150Hz up to 20kHz). It’s roughly the same size as a tweeter but can play a full octave lower than the typical tweeter.

The driver in this speaker has a powerful neodymium magnet which allows it to be smaller than a similar speaker with an ordinary ferrite magnet. It has a cloth spider, rubber surround, paper cone, and reinforced paper dust cap.

Adding a small subwoofer (also with a tuned port designed enclosure) to two of the 40mm speakers, MISCO created a 2.1 sound system that can provide exceptional stereo sound all the way down to 30 Hz in the right setting.

Incorporating DSP

Covering the full audio band doesn’t guarantee quality sound from a system. Your speakers must accurately reproduce each of the frequencies fed into it for that. That’s where DSP (digital signal processing) comes into play. 

Tip 3: Utilize an amplifier with DSP to fine-tune your system.

Think of DSP as a mini mixing studio that can boost or cut various frequencies to achieve a flatter response curve. Many of the amplifiers MISCO manufactures have DSP integrated into them, with the ability to adjust up to 10 bands of equalization with infinite adjustability.

For instance, an audio engineer can use DSP to select one individual frequency and either cut it or boost it by up to 12 dB. They can then adjust the slope around that frequency to further flatten the response curve. You can also set a high shelf or a low shelf and adjust all of the frequencies on either side of that marker up or down as well. 

HubSpot Video

 

DSP can also act as a safeguard for your equipment if you program it with a low-frequency high-pass filter to block any frequencies that could be damaging to any of the particular speakers in a system. 

Great Sound Where You Need It

Creating a sound system is a mix of art and science. Testing a speaker’s performance is critical to ensure that the components are performing the way they were designed to perform. MISCO uses a Klippel near field scanner that has the ability to predict how the speaker will handle a frequency in the place it will ultimately be used. This allows audio engineers to quickly make DSP adjustments and deliver a system tuned for a specific application.

Tip 4: Test with Klippel to expedite the process.

Sound quality is often sacrificed when you shrink a speaker (think of listening to music through your phone speaker). The trick to delivering a full range speaker that sounds great is utilizing design experience, technical know-how, and a can-do approach to solving problems in small spaces. If you need help with a similar application, please contact MISCO to discuss your project and sound goals.download the guide to custom speaker design, testing, manufacturing

Back to Blog

Related Articles

How Speaker Grills Impact Sound Quality [VIDEO]

In an ideal world, a speaker would be freestanding and not blocked by any other element whatsoever....

Audio DSP Crossover Solutions

If you are lucky enough to own a Ferrari GTO you probably put some thought into making sure it has...

How Speaker Grill Materials and Design Impact Quality

When you’re designing a new sound system, what components, materials, and design aspects should be...