THE SCIENCE OF SOUND
What is Sound?
If you paid attention in science class, you will remember that sound is a longitudinal wave. A longitudinal wave is an alternating progression of a compressions and rarefactions, which requires a medium to travel in.
As with most waves, sound is defined by frequency and wavelength. Wavelength refers to the distance between two peaks, while frequency refers to the number of times an event occurs per unit time. Bass notes have large wavelengths and low frequencies, while trebles have small wavelengths and high frequencies.
Electricity to Audio
In today’s world, most audio is stored in digital. Sound however, is an analog longitudinal wave. How an electrical signal is converted to an analog wave is explained by Fleming’s Left Hand Rule. This visual mnemonic shows the relationship between a magnetic field, current and thrust. Reduced to the simplest terms, inside a headphone, current is carried in a wire, and magnets provide a magnetic field. The interaction between the two results in the movement of a diaphragm, which results in sound being produced.