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Types of Drives


A woofer is a driver that reproduces low frequencies. The driver works with the characteristics of the enclosure to produce suitable low frequencies (see speaker enclosure for some of the design choices available). Indeed, both are so closely connected that they must be considered together in use. Only at design time do the separate properties of enclosure and woofer matter individually. Some loudspeaker systems use a woofer for the lowest frequencies, sometimes well enough that a subwoofer is not needed. Additionally, some loudspeakers use the woofer to handle middle frequencies, eliminating the mid-range driver. This can be accomplished with the selection of a tweeter that can work low enough that, combined with a woofer that responds high enough, the two drivers add coherently in the middle frequencies.

Mid-range driver

A mid-range speaker is a loudspeaker driver that reproduces a band of frequencies generally between 1–6 kHz, otherwise known as the ‘mid’ frequencies (between the woofer and tweeter). Mid-range driver diaphragms can be made of paper or composite materials, and can be direct radiation drivers (rather like smaller woofers) or they can be compression drivers (rather like some tweeter designs). If the mid-range driver is a direct radiator, it can be mounted on the front baffle of a loudspeaker enclosure, or, if a compression driver, mounted at the throat of a horn for added output level and control of radiation pattern.


A tweeter is a high-frequency driver that reproduces the highest frequencies in a speaker system. A major problem in tweeter design is achieving wide angular sound coverage (off-axis response), since high frequency sound tends to leave the speaker in narrow beams. Soft-dome tweeters are widely found in home stereo systems, and horn-loaded compression drivers are common in professional sound reinforcement. Ribbon tweeters have gained popularity in recent years, as the output power of some designs has been increased to levels useful for professional sound reinforcement, and their output pattern is wide in the horizontal plane, a pattern that has convenient applications in concert sound

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