Speaker Jargon Buster

Choosing a new speaker is a world of acronyms, jargon and technical language. Whether you’re buying a small portable model which you can take with you on holiday and use in the garden, or a soundbar for your TV, you’re going to face some words and phrases which leave you stumped.

So Appliance Reviewer have come to the rescue and compiled a glossary of what you need to know about home audio before you have a peruse of our top rated speakers.

2.0 Speaker System

The most common setup. Two speakers, without subwoofer and with limited bass. Works with PCs

2.1 Speaker System

Just as above, but with an additional subwoofer for a deeper sound

5.1 Speaker System

A surround sound setup. Common for use with TVs. Includes left and right front speakers, left and right rear speakers, a front center speaker, and a subwoofer, to create a 360-sound feeling

Speaker System

Amplifier (Amp)

A device which increases the signal level, voltage and/or current when delivered to the speaker

Analogue Signal

A electrical signal, often represented by a wave. Sound is a continuous wave


20 Hz to 200 Hz on the sound spectrum, which is the low deep sounds you hear. Perfect for any film explosions and other rumbling noises


A wireless technology which allows two devices to share data over short distances. For music, this may mean sending a song to a speaker for it to play


The enclosure which holds speakers in place. The amount of space and air behind the speaker helps determine the movement of the woofers, so design has a huge impact. Generally, the larger the cabinet, the better the bass

Centre Channel

The channel in a surround sound setup that is directly in front of the viewer. This is the main way of delivering the sound from a television, such as voices


How many speakers or devices are in the setup, for instance 5.1 has five speakers and a subwoofer

dBs (Decibels)

Measures the relative loudness of the sound. The scale starts at 0 dB, a normal speaking voice is 65-70 dB, but anything over 140 dB can damage hearing


The part of the speaker which moves to produce the sound

Digital Signal

An range which is usually represented by numbers. It has to be converted into an analogue signal to become sound


Anything which alters and reduces the quality of sound and signals

Dolby® Digital

One of several systems used for surround sound and 5.1 speaker setups.

Equalization (EQ)

The ability to manipulate the frequency in order to change the sound. You may wish to increase bass for listening to house music or watching movies, or improve the speaking voice for watching a drama or chat show. Often come as presets


One measure of a sound wave. The range for hearing is 20 Hz-20 kHz.

Frequency Response

The range an audio device can produce. Low frequencies (bass) range is 20 Hz to 200 Hz, midrange (voice) range is 200 Hz to 4,000 Hz, and high frequencies (treble) range is 4,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz

Hz (Hertz)

The measurement of frequency. One Hz represents one cycle per second, and 20 is 20Hz etc

Sonos Speaker


An input or output connector, for a microphone, another speaker or input device such as phone

Long Throw

A speaker which gives you greater sounds at longer distances

Speaker Cone

The conical-shaped part of a speaker that is partly responsible for the reproduction of sound. When electro-magnetic energy is sent from the voice coil to the speaker cone, it turns into physical energy with movement


A speaker driver designed to reproduce very low frequencies, such as those under 100Hz


A small, lightweight driver for reproducing the highest musical frequencies, generally over 2000Hz


A speaker that reproduces frequencies below a certain range, usually about 800Hz

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