What Are Tweeters, and What Do They Do?

Speaker tweeter

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Tweeters are small speakers responsible for producing sound from the highest range frequency.

Their range goes from around 2,000 Hz up to 20,000 Hz, meaning they’re required to complement the sound other speakers can’t produce.

What sound do tweeters produce?

As I said above, tweeters do what the mids and woofers can’t, sound-wise. The sound they produce is often referred to as treble.

Think of cymbals, for instance. Do you know that “crash” sound they make or the piercing falsetto of Freddie Mercury? With tweeters, this sound is clear.

Don’t worry – there’s nothing caterwaul in the sound. If I have to describe the sound tweeters produce with words, crisp and clean would be two terms that work.

Q Acoustics-speaker tweeter
Q Acoustics Speaker | Make Life Click

Why are tweeters used for?

It’s important to keep in mind that tweeters, although fantastic parts of sound systems, are never used alone. These speakers are used to provide a better listening experience.

They improve the sound produced by two-way or three-way speaker systems. Also, they add more treble, meaning they improve the effect. In short, these small speakers are necessary for a better stereo image.

Tweeters’ pros and cons

Like everything else in the world, tweeters also have their own advantages and weaknesses. For sound geeks, the most important thing is that tweeters are necessary for getting the full spectrum of the sound.

On the other hand, many people are more into the bass, something I don’t fully understand because cheering for only one end takes away the quality of the whole.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of investing in high-grade tweeters.

Pros

  • Full-spectrum sound (excellent stereo image)
  • Clear and rich highs
  • Dumping ability
  • Small and easy to transport
  • Can be made out of various materials, so they’re available at different prices

Cons

  • Can’t produce low frequency
  • Have to be used with a speaker crossover
  • The sound quality may depend on the material used to make the tweeter

Types of tweeters

So, what are tweeters? We discussed these small speakers in the previous sections and their role in general. But now I’ll share some important details so that you can understand better how tweeters work. We’ll start with tweeter types.

There are numerous tweeter types, depending on the materials and shape. You should know that every speaker type produces a different sound. This means you’ll have to choose a tweeter that can give you the sound you’re looking for.

Speaker tweeters
Q Acoustics- speaker tweeter | Make Life Click

Cone tweeters

I started with the type that is commonly used for cars. Looks like a small version of a regular speaker, with the same basic design of a woofer. Cone tweeters are cost-effective because they’re usually made of cheap materials.

Dome tweeters

Another regularly used tweeter type is the dome. You can use this type if you want to spread sound in wider spaces. Given its ability to give you a larger space for optimal sound, the dome tweeter will most likely have a power rating higher than semi-dome or cone tweeters.

Ribbon

These tweeters are a bit different when it comes to producing sound. While the other types have a diaphragm, ribbon tweeters use a magnetic force and apply that force to a thin ribbon. The ribbon goes back and forth, and the sound is produced.

Materials

Since I can’t include all possible materials that can be used for making tweeters, here’s a list of multiple types that are commonly used.

  • Cloth – mostly silk
  • Mylar
  • Metals – aluminum, titanium
  • Ceramic-coated domes
  • Kapton (for planar and ribbon tweeters)
M Audio - speaker tweeters
M Audio – speaker tweeter | Make Life Click

Tweeter impedance

Say what? I don’t want to bother you with technical terms or electrical engineering, but speaker impedance is important for setting up your speaker system.

So, speaker impedance is measured in ohms (Ω), and it presents the resistance the speaker offers to the current supplied by an amplifier. Now, why is this important?

Well, impedance changes with frequency, meaning it will constantly change because music frequency varies all the time. Plus, crossovers, which are necessary for tweeters, are designed for specific impedance ratings.

If speakers’ impedance ratings are not matched properly, they will produce sound at a different volume. Tweeters can have different values of impedance, such as 4 Ω, 8 Ω, etc.

What are crossovers, and are they necessary?

Crossovers are components placed between the amplifier and the speaker and are used to direct frequency to a particular speaker. When we talk about tweeters, the crossover is crucial to lead high frequencies to the tweeter and block low frequencies from going to it.

This is very important because if a low frequency is directed to a tweeter, the speaker can distort and may be damaged. So, the crossover protects the speakers, and that’s why it’s an important part of the system.

Q Acoustics Floor standing - speaker tweeters
Q Acoustic Concept 40 Speakers

In the end, what are tweeters?

Well, I hope that this article managed to give you the answer to at least that one question.

There’s so much to tell about these small speakers that I will need more space to elaborate in more detail.

Be as it may, the important part to keep in mind is that these speakers don’t work alone. However, they’re necessary to get the full spectrum of frequencies and improve the overall sound experience.

When buying tweeters, make sure to check all the specifications and follow the manufacturer’s manual for installation.

A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.


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