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Computer speakers1. A speaker is a term used to describe the user who is giving vocal commands to a software program.

2. A computer speaker is a hardware device that connects to a computer to generate sound. The signal used to produce the sound that comes from a computer speaker is created by the computer's sound card. The picture shows the Altec Lansing VS2221 speakers with subwoofer, an example of external computer speakers.

How does it work?

Speakers are made up of a cone, an iron coil, a magnet, and housing (case). When the speaker receives electrical input from a device, it sends the current through the causing it to move back and forth. This motion then vibrates the outer cone, generating sound waves picked up by our ears.

Evolution of the computer speaker

When computers were originally released, they had on-board speakers built into the chassis that generated a series of different tones and beeps. As technology progressed, onboard speakers moved to the computer's monitor and acquired the ability to produce voices, music, and other sound effects. When computer gaming, digital music, and other media became popular, manufacturers began to make external speakers that produced higher quality sounds and improved base, required additional power.

Rating a speaker

Speakers are rated in Frequency response, Total Harmonic Distortion, and Watts.

  • The Frequency response is the rate of measurement of the highs and lows of the sounds the speaker produces.
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is the amount of distortion created by amplifying the signal.
  • The Watts is the amount of amplification available for the speakers.

3. With a computer motherboard, a speaker refers to the Internal speaker.

Also see: Audio output device, Frequency, Internal speaker, Mini plug, Output device, Sound card, Sound terms, Subwoofer, Tweeter, Watt