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Home Theater Handbook
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Glossary

A   B   C   D   F   H   I   K   L   M   O   P   S   T   W

A

acoustically matched
When using a number of different loudspeakers in a home theatre system they should be of a similar timbre match, such that when a sound is panned between them there is no change in the sound characteristics.

amplifier
The system used to increase the signal driving the loudspeakers. It can take the form of a single integrated amplifier or maybe a two box pre-amp and power-amp.

B

Bass
The low frequencies. (also see frequency & frequency range)

Bass Drive Unit
A drive unit specifically designed to reproduce bass frequencies only. Can be described as a bass/midrange in a two-way speaker arrangement. Sometimes referred to as a woofer.

Bass Reflex
A loudspeaker design which uses air-flow from a port in the cabinet to help reproduce low frequencies.

Bi-Amping
A separate amplification source is used to drive each speaker unit. A pair of speakers would require two separate stereo amplifiers with two lots of cable to each speaker.

Bi-Wiring
A cheaper alternative to Bi-Amping. The speakers must be equipped with two sets of inputs and split crossover design. Two lots of cables are then run from each set of speaker terminals back to a single amplifier. (Remember speakers using this type of crossover design are usually supplied with some type of shorting pin or plate. This must be removed before using your amplifier in this way.)

C

Cables
Speaker cables can be ‘solid core’ or ‘multistrand’. Some cables are directional which maybe indicated on the outer sheath. Good cables or copper may be described as LC-OFC (linear crystal, oxygen-free copper)

Coloration
Any move away from the natural rendition of the musical piece. Coloration is an unwanted – ‘booming’ bass, ‘nasal’ midrange or ‘screeching’ treble, for instance.

Crossover Network
The electrical circuit used to split the signal up into the different frequency bands. For example the crossover in a two-way loudspeaker design would split the signal into treble and bass.

D

Decibel (dB)
A logarithmic scale that measures the change in sound pressure or electrical power. A 1dB change is just audible, whereas +10 dB would sound as though the original sound had been doubled in volume.

Diffraction
The re-radiation of sound waves at the speaker cabinets extremities. This time delayed wave interferes with the original wave causing peaks and troughs in the frequency response which in turn smears the transient response.

Digital
Sound streamed as a series of digits (0s and 1s). Used as a method of storage on DVD, CD, DAT and MD for example.

Distortion
The unwanted signals or changes to the signal added by your Hi-Fi or Home Theatre system.

DVD
Digital Versatile Disc. The format for large capacity video reproduction with state of the art sound and picture quality approaching that which would be seen at the Cinema.

Dynamic Range
The range, in dB, between the smallest and largest reproducible signal by Hi-Fi or Home Theatre system.

F

Ferrofluid
A liquid containing magnetic particles in which the moving parts of a bass/mid/treble drive unit.are submersed to provide cooling of the voice coil and damping.

Frequency
High pitched sounds have a higher frequency than those of low pitched low frequency bass. The audible frequency range of a human is around 16Hz to 20kHz.

Frequency Range
The audible band of frequencies start with low bass at 20Hz through to the midband at around 1kHz then on up to the treble at 3kHz and above to the upper limit of the human ear at 20kHz.

H

Hertz (Hz)
The unit of frequency. 1 Hz means a signal of 1 cycle per second.

HF Unit or High Frequency Unit (Tweeter)
The small drive in a speaker array designed to produce and disperse high frequencies or treble.

I

IDG
Inverted Driver Geometry. This is where the tweeter is positioned below the main driver in a two-way speaker array. Mission pioneered this arrangement with the introduction of the award winning and critically acclaimed Mission 700 back in 1980.

Impedance
Electrical property. A low impedance draws a high current flow from the source amplifier; high impedance draws little. Therefore speakers with a low impedance (lower than 6-8 ohms) are more difficult for an amplifier to drive.

K

Keraform
This is a true ceramic material impregnated into a fibre matrix and then oven cured unlike the so called ‘ceramic’ hardening applied to aluminium cones.

L

LFE
Low Frequency Effect. Most home theatre A/V amplifiers are equipped with an LFE output which allows the low frequency effects you hear and feel during car crashes and explosions to be fed directly to the subwoofer.

M

Midrange
A speaker drive unit specifically designed to produce those middle band frequencies approximately 300Hz to 4kHz. The midrange signals are received via the crossover network.

O

Ohm
The unit of electrical impedance or resistance to current. The lower the impedance of the speaker, the greater the sound pressure that will be achieved from a given amplifier, but at the expense of drawing more current.

P

Power handling
The maximum safe power handling of a speaker. Be aware that its often easier to damage loudspeakers through using under powered amplifiers driven hard than one with too much power driven economically.

S

Sensitivity
The measure of sound pressure level produced at a distance of 1 metre for a given input voltage of 2.83V (equivalent to an input power of 1 watt for an 8 ohm load).

Shielding
Protects other equipment from interference derived from the drive units magnet.

T

TFCT
Transverse Folded Cabinet Technique. Missions unique method of cabinet manufacture which gave the ability to produce the beautifully crafted edges that adorned the late 75 series and later the 78 series.

Treble
The high frequencies.

Tweeter
The high frequency or treble handling driver. The tweeter receives its signal via the crossover network.

W

Watt
The unit of power. More watts means more power, but how loud a system will sound also depends on the speakers sensitivity and the room size.

Woofer
The biggest of the speakers drive unit array that produces bass frequencies.




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