Loudspeaker Failures and Protections (Part 1)

In this article for audioXpress magazine, Mike Klasco and Steve Tatarunis explore what causes loudspeakers to fail. A new generation of effective and powerful speaker protection technology, using literally all the capabilities and power of pro sound rackmount loudspeaker management processors, is now being designed into mobile audio products that use very small loudspeakers. The implications are that mobile consumer electronics are going to play louder and sound better than ever.  But to optimize speakers this way, we need to understand what causes loudspeakers to fail, typically for either mechanical or thermal reasons. There is an invisible line where above a certain frequency band, the voice coil’s heat causes failure modes. Below that frequency band, damage can also occur due to excessive physical movement. The loudspeaker’s size generally indicates where the failure mode transition is located. Excursion issues usually begin at a higher frequency in smaller loudspeakers. Many failures are actually a byproduct of a loudspeaker operating at too high an excursion level, which results in high temperatures that compromise the integrity of the parts and adhesives. This article was published originally in audioXpress, August 2013.

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