Materials and Design: What Makes For A Good Portable Speaker?

Delivering amazing sound quality takes precise packaging, intricate detail, and most importantly a unique style that symbolizes the sound you desire to hear. Portable speakers have become a staple in modern homes and are especially popular for travel purposes. The ability to connect wirelessly to stream your favorite tunes doesn’t occur from osmosis, so how can you identify which portable speakers will make the best sound quality? Allow the following to direct your curiosity towards understanding the materials and design of great portable speakers.

speaker materials

General Consumer Design Requirements:

The reason there has been an increase in investment from electronics manufacturers is due to the change in market demand. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops contain the majority of one’s personal music collection and since these devices are very mobile the development of the sound system has transitioned to keep up with consumer needs.

The best portable speakers feature lithium polymer batteries, Bluetooth/WiFi wireless connections and maximize volume capabilities.

The use of lithium polymer batteries is to keep the devices playing longer since lithium polymers retain battery life longer than disposable alkaline counterparts. The use of lithium batteries signifies USB rechargeable units that can be used globally at any time. Bluetooth and WiFi wireless connections are the most essential design criteria for portable speakers. Using Bluetooth wireless streaming offers low power consumption to both portable speaker systems and mobile devices. WiFi exploits a larger bandwidth range for portable speakers that would remain primarily in the home. The most important consumer design criteria are related to overall sound quality. Sound engineers pursue the highest volume sound output while maintaining low battery consumption to make their speaker systems as efficient as possible.

Portable Speaker Technology:

Achieving the aforementioned consumer requirements for a modern portable speaker is important, but the most important feature of any speaker system is sound quality. There are five major components that contribute to a portable speaker’s sound output. Using this information about speaker technology will assist in making the right decision on an affordable portable speaker system.

The speaker’s diaphragm is the primary device that pushes air and generates the sound quality heard. Large diaphragms move greater amounts of air, therefore, creating larger amplitudes to carry sound further. Small diaphragms generate a better high-frequency response. The concave surface of the diaphragm can be designed with either aluminum or paper composite. For the best sound rendering, aluminum diaphragms are chosen with filters attached.

The Class D amplifier is most commonly used on portable speaker systems. These devices are highly efficient and interface well with Bluetooth receivers. It can be assumed if you are deciding to purchase portable speakers, the design for the Class D amplifier will not vary much between manufacturers since these devices have a set responsibility as a transmitter of signals.

The passive radiator is a device that isn’t found in all portable sound systems but those who desire the most out of their music experience will choose a system that contains this device. Passive radiators are similar to the speaker’s diaphragm except they are not connected electronically. These devices move additional air into the speaker housing and generate a better quality low-end sound response. Imagine hearing your favorite song through headphones and then listening to the same song on a portable speaker device that features a passive radiator. There will be distinct differences that you may not have heard from a standard set of earbuds because they may not carry the same capabilities as a radiator. If possible before purchase, sample demo versions of portable speakers with songs you know to signify the importance of the passive radiator.

The speaker housing is the molded encasement that contains all of the electrical and mechanical systems of the portable speaker. Usually composed of plastic or other composites, the speaker housing is designed for durability, style, and function. The speaker housing must be acoustically efficient with an airtight design. Consumers should understand the more airtight the design of the portable speaker housing, the greater vacuum is created. Larger vacuums equal more air being pushed through the speaker’s diaphragms and passive radiator, thus optimal sound quality. Most portable speaker systems are efficiently packaged, but browsing various models will reveal the best designs.

The final component important to portable speaker design is the grille. These serve a greater purpose than cosmetically adding flair to the design of the speaker, the grille protects from dust, debris, and foreign air stream objects disrupting the delivery of sound. Choose speaker systems that have the finer mesh grilles, for they offer greater speaker protection.