sound bites | Back To Bass

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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.

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