sound bites | Back To Bass
Some of the 2.0 speaker systems reviewed here include connectors that allow you to add a subwoofer, but it’s not always practical to set up a bulky sub-woofer in a bedroom or office.
However, there are other ways of adding an extra bass boost to a conventional 2.0 system. Less expensive speakers, such as the Creative T30 Wireless may use a ‘bass port’ – a cavity built into the body of the speaker that acts as a kind of echo chamber and adds a little extra bass rumble to the sound.
The other option, favoured by more expensive speakers rivals such as Harman’s Nova, is called a ‘passive radiator’. This is a simplified driver unit that has no built-in electronics of its own, but which vibrates in response to the sound waves generated by the woofer (bass) driver and helps to enhance the bass sound produced by the woofer.
These techniques will obviously never match the ribcage-rattling deep bass frequencies of a proper sub-woofer, but they do allow even compact speakers such as the Audioengine A2+ to improve upon the weedy bass output that afflicted early generations of computer speakers.
You can see the passive radiator sitting at the back of Harman Kardon’s transparent Nova speaker.