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Subwoofer Frequencies Pro Audio Speaker Drivers & Horns 

Speakers take an electrical audio signal and turn it into sound via a driver. They can be connected to a range of pro audio equipment such as mixers, public address (PA) systems, and more. 

They project sound out toward the audience, unless they are a monitor in which case they project sound to an audio professional within a studio setting, or a performer in a live setting.

A subwoofer is a speaker, or loudspeaker, dedicated to low-pitched frequencies, from 20Hz up to as high as 200Hz depending on whether the speaker is intended for home or professional use. 

  • 20-200Hz - a typical home usage range
  • 20-100Hz - associated more closely with professional and studio audio use
  • 20-80Hz - THX frequency range

Speaker drivers

A speaker driver is the moving part of a speaker that changes electrical signals into sound waves. It vibrates at the relevant frequency, in turn, moving the air which creates pressure waves that you can hear. You can see a driver move if you watch it in use.

There are two driver shapes available:

  • Cone
  • Dome 

Diaphragm materials include:

  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Metal 

Horn loudspeakers

Horn speakers us an acoustic horn to increase the efficiency of the speaker driver. A compression driver converts the electrical signal into sound waves that radiate outwards of the horn. 

Capable of very high efficiencies, horn-loaded compression drivers can operate at up to 10 times the efficiency of that associated with a cone speaker. 

Reasons to purchase a driver or horn

  • Building a speaker - either as a hobby, to save money or for the perfect customisation
  • Repair - replacing a damaged driver


  • Frequency response - the range of frequencies a speaker is capable of producing.
  • Nominal power - the minimum amount of power required to drive the speaker
  • RMS - which stands for Root Mean Square this is the power at which the subwoofer will be able to play continuously without sustaining damage
  • Peak power - the maximum power that the subwoofer can handle for a short amount of time before damage occurs
  • Impedance - stated in ohms, this is typically 4, 8 or 16 ohms. This is an important value in determining you do not blow your speaker and will depend on your system setup. Research impedance further if you are unsure
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