6 Loudspeaker cabinets

6.11 Distortion

Live sound loudspeakers are usually optimized for high sensitivity, ruggedness and high power. The downside of these requirements is the lower sound quality provided, especially when cost is also a factor. It's not uncommon for loudspeakers to produce 10% total harmonic distortion when driven within their specifications. While cabinet designers must observe the Xdmg parameter, they will hardly ever be able to stay within the driver's linear range, Xmax, at maximum power. The loudspeaker may already have poor linearity (and thus considerable distortion) of its own, but once Xmax is exceeded, distortion increases rapidly. This distortion is much like tube amplifier distortion, adding what is often referred to as "warmth" or "growl", and is sought after by many bass players.

© Joris van den Heuvel 2001-2009