Updated: 05/14/2017 by Computer Hope

A speaker may refer to any of the following:

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 initially 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 bass. These external speakers require 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.

Why do we need computer speakers?

External speakers are connected to a computer or other device to give the sound more amplification (make it louder), add more bass with a subwoofer, or with enough speakers create surround sound. If you have a laptop, smartphone, or another device with built-in speakers you do not need external speakers unless you need louder sounds, more bass, or surround sound.

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

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