When buying a speaker, you will mostly have to choose between regular and full range speakers. Regular speakers have multiple components and use separate drivers to produce low and high-frequency audio signals.
They usually come with a tweeter for highs, a woofer for low frequencies and a crossover circuit to direct the signal.
On the other hand, a full range speaker is a speaker that has a single driver element, capable of producing all the audio signals audible to the human ear.
That eliminates the need for a crossover to direct the signal or other additional equipment to boost the sound. Compared to other speakers, they offer more detail and articulation in the mid-range.
The improved mid-range clarity makes these speakers excellent for subtle music like chamber ensembles or jazz.
That makes them great specialty speakers, but they lack the dynamic range and power of a multi-driver speaker. Keep reading to learn more about full range speakers.
Components of a Full Range Speaker
A typical full range speaker features multiple components put together innovatively to give out a full stereo sound.
Depending on the design, it may feature different types of sound drivers in a single driver element. For instance, a speaker may have a wheezer cone attached at the point where the diaphragm and the voice coil meet.
That will thereby maximize the high-frequency performance and improve the sound quality.
In some designs, the manufacturer may couple the diaphragm with the voice coil with a compliant bond.
The bond ensures that high-frequency signals move the wheezer cone, instead of transmitting them. This technique is a mechanical application of audio crossover.
Since a full range speaker needs to have both high and low-frequency response, it covers an extended audio spectrum compared to other speakers.
For high-frequencies, it may include a light voice coil and a unique cabinet design for low frequencies. It may also feature different drivers to give you improve your listening experience. These drivers include:
Bass Drivers or Subwoofer
Popularly known as woofers or bass speakers, bass drivers produce the lowest audio frequencies in a speaker. They are popularly known as subwoofers.
For a full range speaker, the sound driver is responsible for producing signals from about 40 Hz to 300 Hz. That allows you to hear the notes created by kick drums, bass guitars, and other bass orchestral instruments. However, some regular speaker systems can go as low as 15 Hz.
The bass drivers are usually made of some sort of paper material, forming the most significant component in any given speaker. In full range speakers, these essential components work with the midrange drivers to create an excellent stereo sound and create a strong bass without distortion.
In a standard three driver speaker, the midrange driver produces the mid-level frequencies, ranging from 300 Hz to 2 kHz. That’s the level where the human voice can be heard clearly. The midrange driver is also responsible for producing sounds created by musical instruments.
In full range speakers, the midrange driver is a cone-shaped component made of paper material. The frequency range of these drivers is maximized by the use of a Whizzer cone (tweeter).
Though most speaker systems come with the bass and midrange sound drivers, small full range speakers only have a single driver. This audio component is known as the mid-bass driver. It’s responsible for handling both the midrange and bass frequencies.
Full range speakers with mid-bass drivers usually cut off the sound at around 100 Hz. That means that the bass is not as deep as speakers with a dedicated bass driver. However, it works perfectly with the midrange frequencies.
Quality full range speaker systems feature a dedicated tweeter, a component responsible for producing high-frequency signals. These vital components of a speaker system can create sound signals at a range of about 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz. However, some may even go higher.
Tweeters are typically the smallest components of a speaker. They can look like a small film sheet, a rectangular horn or a small dome protected by a mesh/grill. Tweeters are the exact opposite of subwoofers. Check out our comparison of tweets vs subwoofers.
Why Choose a Full Range Speaker?
Having in mind that you may have to sacrifice the bass performance, you may be wondering if a full range speaker is worth buying.
However, this type of speaker may be all you need to make your home lively. It offers a listening experience that most multi-way speakers can’t match, giving you the illusion of a live concert.
Moreover, they give you a fantastic midrange and allow you to enjoy an excellent soundstage experience.
For big units, the bass performance is incredible, but you will have to compromise on the higher frequencies.
However, they produce a sound that can challenge most multi-component speakers on the market. In general, the clarity of these speakers is quite lovely while working within the limitation of their designs.
If for whatever reason you want to strip out or highlight various frequency ranges, you can use 2 way, 3 way or 4 way speakers. To learn more, check out our comparison of 2 way vs 3 way speakers and 2 way vs 4 way speakers.
Understanding Human Hearing And Full Range Speakers
To fully understand what a full range speaker is, it’s essential to learn about sound. Sound frequency is measured in hertz (Hz), or the number of times that the audio signal rises and falls within a second.
Quality speakers are built to produce both high and low frequencies at a level that is audible to the human ear.
The human ear is capable of hearing all sounds ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. To help you understand this concept, speakers can produce a heart-thumping bass at 20Hz and a piercingly high-frequency signal at 20,000 Hz (20 kHz).
A full range speaker is capable of producing most of these frequencies, within the limitations of its physical constraints. That means that the speaker’s design can influence the sound quality of a full range speaker.
Full range speakers offer a great sound experience and the quality of sound is better than that of most multi-way speakers.
The elimination of a crossover gives these speakers more power to provide a delightful listening experience, with more clarity and detail in the mid-level tones.
However, commercial full range speakers may be expensive and are rare. In some cases, audiophiles may have to assemble their own units.