Regardless of where, how, and when you use your speakers – in your car, against your wall, on a stage, or beside your bed – nearly all speakers have magnets in them.
Knowing why speakers have magnets in them will help you understand your current speakers or assist you in purchasing your next set of speakers.
This article will address why speakers have magnets and how they work. It will also answer common follow-up questions about electromagnetism in speakers and provide information regarding different speaker magnets.
By the end of this article, you will know a lot more about magnets in speakers.
What are the Main Parts of the Speaker?
The permanent magnet is permanent because it is always magnetized.
The electromagnet is a free-moving coil wrapped around iron. This coil is only magnetized when an electric current is passing through.
The driver is the cone-shaped element of the speaker that has both the electromagnet and permanent magnet attached at the base.
Why Do Speakers Have Magnets?
The purpose of speakers is to produce sound. To do so, they need to be able to create and transmit audible vibrations. Magnets help them to do so.
Speakers have two magnets – a permanent magnet and an electromagnet – that work together within a speaker’s driver to convert and amplify the sound you hear.
They work by helping to produce vibrations when an electric current passes through the speaker and eventually transmits sound waves out into the air.
The following questions and answers will help you understand the functionality of these magnets more deeply.
How do the Magnets and the Driver Work?
The purpose of the driver is to act as a transducer. With the help of magnets, this process entails converting electrical currents or energy into mechanical wave energy.
In other words, this mechanism turns audio signals from a source, such as a car radio, into the sound waves you ultimately hear.
When the electrical current begins to flow through the driver, the magnets create opposing magnetic fields.
The electromagnet coil becomes both attracted to and repelled by the permanent magnet.
This reaction causes the coil to alternate between pulling and pushing towards and away from the permanent magnet, leading the coil to begin vibrating.
The vibrating coil, attached to the driver, then creates a vibrating effect on the surface of the driver – called the “cone” or the “diaphragm”.
Once the cone starts to vibrate, it then reproduces and amplifies the sound created by the original signal through these vibrations.
How Does Volume Control Influence The Magnets?
When you turn the volume up in your car, you are essentially increasing the electric current that can pass through the speakers.
This function then increases the strength of the magnetic force and ultimately increases the strength of the vibrations, thus the loudness of the sound.
What Are The Different Types of Speaker Magnets?
Different types of permanent speaker magnets may affect the size, frequency, and loudness of your speakers.
The most popular types of magnets are called neodymium, alnico, samarium cobalt, and ferrite.
Neodymium magnets have a greater magnetic force to size ratio, producing a bigger sound at a smaller weight than speakers with other types of magnets.
Neodymium speakers weigh 50% less than other speakers without differences in volume, tone, or sound quality. Since these magnets are powerful for their size, they are more popular than other types of magnets.
Ferrite magnets are made from ceramic material, so they are not metal.
One positive aspect of ferrite magnets is that they cost less than metal magnets. They also typically have better sound at higher volumes.
Additionally, ferrite has a great magnetism life, especially since these magnets hold magnetism at greater temperatures.
However, they are more likely to crack and weigh more than other magnets. This makes ferrite magnets a worse option for portable speakers.
Alnico is a combination of alloys and gets its name from this family – aluminum (Al), nickel (ni), and cobalt (co).
Alnico is a pricier magnet for speakers since they are less likely to crack over time. However, they do not have as long of a magnetic life.
Samarium cobalt withstands heat, erosion, and moisture better than neodymium, but you have to pay for this durability.
This magnet type typically costs a lot more than the more popular types.
Bonded magnets are not purely metal; manufacturers mold these magnets with other materials like plastic and resin. As such, manufacturers do not typically use them for nicer, bigger, or louder speakers.
But if there is a more simple function for a speaker, they may be used sparingly. For example, they are used in motors and sensors in toys.
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