What are Speaker Drivers

What are Speaker Drivers

A speaker is a pretty straightforward device, it consists of a box (normally) enclosure to which the speaker drivers are attached. The round elements, which most people think are the speakers, are in fact the drivers. You can see these drivers on speakers without a face, or when you remove the face of the speaker.

The surface area of the drivers is called the cone or diaphragm. This cone or diaphragm moves backward and forwards to create the sound you hear.

How Drivers Work

As stated previously the speaker driver cone moves back and forth to create the sound that you hear. This back and forth motion creates changes in air pressure (or sound waves) which is interpreted as sound by your eardrums.

The cone is normally made from plastic, wood, or metal and is moved by an electromagnetic process. This process is caused by the voice coil at the base of the cone. Electrical impulses, which come from the amplifier inside the driver, drives the voice coil, which in turn drives the magnet which is also attached to the cone.

Drivers come in several different sizes (which we list below), but in most cases, the frequency response is lower with larger drivers. This is because higher frequencies require high and low-pressure sound waves close together. The higher frequency can only be created by a smaller cone that can move fast enough to keep up with the pressure changes. This is why you find that speaker drivers are designed for specific frequencies.

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Driver Sizes

As discussed previously, speaker drivers come in different sizes, depending on the required frequency response. You have the small tweet driver, the midsized midrange driver, and the large woofer driver:

  • Tweeter driver: These handle the high-frequency treble range (above 2,000 Hz).
  • Midrange driver: These handle the midrange frequencies (200 Hz to 2,000 Hz).
  • Woofer driver: These handle the low-frequency bass range (below 200 Hz).

As most speakers should be able to handle range of frequencies, most speakers have several drivers sizes.

Types of Speakers and Their Drivers

  • Two-way: A two-way speaker is very common and has a tweeter and woofer driver.
  • Three-way: A three-way speaker is very common and has a tweeter, woofer and midrange driver.
  • Electromagnetic: These speakers are normally used for stereo sound. As they don’t handle bass well you don’t want to for your home.
  • Planar-magnetic: These speakers are normally used for higher frequencies. You would also not want these in your home.


Generally speaking, you would want to buy a dynamic two-way or three-way speaker for your home. A great option is a tower speaker or a floor-standing speaker.

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