How to Measure Sound Quality of a Speaker | Watts, dB, FR, & THD

How to measure the sound quality of Bose Soundlink micro Bluetooth speaker: One of the best Bluetooth speakers

One of the most confusing things is the assessment of the speaker’s sound quality. Several factors make you judge or measure the quality of a sound from a speaker. You have to know the aspects to look at an assessment of the speaker’s sound quality.

Speaker makers have a way that they attempt to make high-quality speakers. These are the speakers that end up producing the best sound quality. You also have to be deliberate about getting the speaker that will deliver the quality sound.

Before we embark on the true measure of sound quality, we have to know what a high-quality speaker consists of. These can be Bluetooth speakers for parties, events, indoor use, or even wired speakers. We all know that a high-quality speaker will deliver the best sound.

Qualities of a high-quality speaker

Wood make up

A good speaker will have the best wood, which must have the best resonance. Most makers will prefer to have the MDF material makeup. You are, in this case, sure that the bass and other things will also maintain good quality. A combination of the bass and the trebles is the best when you have the proper wood make.

Woofers

The woofers will also have very good quality. You need to ensure that you get the proper drivers that will drive the best sound for the woofers to produce. The size of the coils and the kind of cables used must be great too.

Design of the speaker

The speaker’s design is also something you need to have clarity about. The shape and the placement of the speakers have a large impact. If the speaker has adequate space, then it will have better quality. You also need to assess the joints so that they are firm. If not firm, the chances of having sound distortion get higher.

Sound production

The best speaker must be able to produce the biggest sound and maintain the quality without distortion. Some models have sound distortion even without getting to the highest volumes. A good model is perfect at maintaining the best sound quality both at the lows and the highs.

You also need to ensure that when you have not done balancing, there is quality. It means that when you have balanced the sound of all knobs, the sound will be great.

Method of streaming

The speaker also has a great influence on the sound quality. Bluetooth streaming means that the speaker will have external control. The quality of the speaker will either be great or deliver a substandard quality. The best speaker will maintain quality even with external streaming.

Measurable aspects of sound quality

There are specific features that determine the sound quality. These are the same aspects that you will need to measure the sound quality. The text below has the aspects that you need to consider when measuring sound quality.

Power output

The initial thing you need to have a good understanding of is the power output. In speakers, it is the amount of sound that the speaker will produce. The measuring is done in watts.

However, each manufacturer has its way of measuring the power output. Some use the RMS instead of wattage. RMS is an abbreviation for Root Mean Square. It represents the power that the speaker receives continuously and the one that it will produce.

We have peak power and continuous power. Peak power is the amount of power that the speaker can manage without getting damaged. It is also the power that the speaker manages when the volume is at the highest. Continuous power is the one that the speaker manages when it is in continuous use for a longer time.

When measuring the power output, we have to watch out for a few things. High RMS or wattage means that the speaker is at the highest volume. The speaker’s loudness has the decibel abbreviation, which also increases with the increase in the speaker’s power output.

One rule you need to be watchful about is the increase of the decibel and the loudness. The loudness or the volume of the speaker increases by double when the decibel value increases by 10. The biggest volumes have a negative impact on the body and will cause some hearing problems.

You have to ensure that the volumes are at a balanced end or even the lower end. The quality is best when the power output is in the middle and not very high.

Frequency response

Frequencies also apply when using the speakers. Under frequency response, you have to understand the representation of the hertz.  The production of the frequencies must always range between 20Hz-20kHz. This is the spectrum under which the human ear must operate.

When the frequency limit is low, the ear experiences difficulties in listening. Proper charging is something you need to have a clear focus on to have very good performance. You need to be watchful about the ear first and then manage the sound that the speaker can deliver.

Measuring speaker sound frequency is something that you can always do. The challenge comes in taking the real measurements as they pose to create a bigger challenge. These measurements take place in a special anechoic chamber which is located at the microphone.

After the recording, the test results go through the analysis. A curve representing the frequency response is used to measure the frequency level, hence delivering a superior outcome.

If you get a PC system, you will have an easy time taking the measurements and having the measurements. The problem is that they will not be as accurate as the measuring source.

Signal-to-noise ratio

Here comes the relationship between the speaker’s sound quality and the background noise. It is also measured in decibels. You have to know the speaker’s level and volume and then assess it against the sound that the speaker produces.

When you release the sound to the speaker for playing, you will get specific sounds that sometimes become noisy. The work of the driver is to convert the signal that it receives to sound. The problem comes with the internal components, which multiply their noise with the speaker’s sound, making it noisy.

SNR is the abbreviation for the value of the noise you will get from the audio you get. If the SNR is 100db, then the noise level is lower than the sound signal level.

Total harmonic distortion

You also have to measure the distortion level. Distortion is how bad the sound can be or is. It is the original signal that comes from the device that is producing the sound. It can be a phone or a music player.  The measure that defines it better is the THD and is measured in percentages.

The cause of these harmonic distortions is the imperfections that come from the driver. The only person with the solution to this problem is the maker of the speaker.

Eliminating the noise is also difficult because no driver comes with 100% perfection. All the existing drivers have imperfections, and they keep developing imperfections that lower the sound quality.

Loudspeakers have a harmonic distortion of 0.1% and can go to as high as 1%. If the harmonic distortion gets too high, some manufacturers will prefer to have it as part of the speaker’s specification. You will have a clue about how clean the sound will be.

To get the best speaker, you have to know that the lower the harmonic distortion, the better the sound quality- this is a great measure! Suppose you want a speaker that has high quality and low harmonic distortion. The THD has to be lower than 1%.

Sensitivity

The speaker’s sensitivity has all to do with the speaker’s ability to convert the electrical input to the sound waves. Decibel is the measure that makes the sound quality of a speaker great. Sound pressure per milliwatt is the proper definition of sound quality.

The sensitivity of the speaker is a measurable factor. It is done in a non-echoic environment or in a closed room that does not have many echoes. If you use a room and the echoing environment, then the outcome will have a slight difference. In the room, the measure will be slightly higher.

The higher the speaker’s sensitivity, the louder it is. If you are using an average speaker, the value has to range between 88db and 90db. Anything that goes above that will result in low sound quality.

Impedance

Impedance is measured in ohms. It affects the level of the loudness of sound. The measure comes as a result of the resistance that the speaker has against the electric current. Some people will use the word resistance instead of the word impedance.

High impedance means that there is a common currency that is going through the speaker. The values for the best impedance are between 4 and 8 ohms. If the impedance value is too low or too high, the sound quality lowers as opposed to when there is a balance.

A speaker with an amp will deliver better performance because it will ensure a continuous flow of power. It means that the sound quality of your speaker becomes controllable.

Non-measurable sound characteristics

Sound has its non-measurable factors that also contribute to good or bad sound quality. Most reviewers will ignore the non-measurable aspects because they have little control over changing their functionality. Some aspects that you cannot measure for sound quality include.

Bass response- this is the amount of bass that you get from the speaker. It generally comes from the kind of balance that comes between the bass and the trebles. Good response amounts to sound quality. Bad response, on the other hand, brings about sound distortion.

Midrange clarity- you also need to have a clue about the midrange performance. When you have done the sound balancing and observed the volume and the range, you need to know about the sound clarity you get. A nice speaker will deliver outstanding performance with sound clarity. A poor one will deliver badly.

Treble response- you also need to have a clue about the trebles. The way we have talked about the bass response, the trebles must also be responsive. The better the response and clarity, the better the quality. If the response is poor, then the quality becomes discouraging.

Vocals- vocals are essential when it comes to sound quality. Sometimes you tune to the music, and the speaker cannot deliver the clarity that you want. A good speaker will ensure that you have got the best vocals.

Stereo separation– you may have noticed that there are speakers that separate the sound. You feel the bass on one side and the trebles on another part. Some speakers are effective such that the beat also plays differently from the others. Best speakers with good sound quality do a nice stereo separation.

Sound stage and imaging– imaging and sound stage seems to be important to the frequency response. When the speaker has high quality, the imaging and the sound stage are usually at their best. They are great determinants of user preferences and will make the sound quality even better.

When talking about the sound stage, we mean that the listener must have a mental performance stage which has to do with the imagination. For instance, the listener must relate to the music even when their eyes are closed.

For the case of imaging, the listener must be able to tell where each sound of the speaker is coming from. It has more to do with the placement of the speakers and their positioning so that they deliver a good sound. A listener must participate in the music and create an impression that the speaker has some good quality.

Acoustics are also things that contribute to having the best speaker sound quality and you can measure it. Interestingly, the speaker has to create virtual acoustics. They should have a quality that can easily compare to the use of acoustics.

Conclusion: How to measure sound quality of a speaker

Measuring the sound quality of a speaker is a very simple task. However, you will have an easy time if you do not know the areas to focus on. We have done a job that will make it quite simple.

Assessing the various aspects and how they affect the sound quality of a speaker is great. Knowing the measurements and the way to use the speaker for service is the best thing. You can however make wireless speakers sound better.

Speaker Sound Quality FAQs

How many watts is a good speaker?

To determine the speaker wattage, you need to check the environment and the number of users. This means that for home the best wattage for your speaker is between 15 and 30 watts. Almost every user will give you 20 Watts as the speaker wattage that is sufficient for their homes. For outdoor use with a large gathering, aim for between 50 Watts to 100 Watts.

What is a good decibel level for speakers?

The best decibel should be the one that can’t damage your ears meaning it should not be louder than 70-75dB.  Decibel (dB) is the intensity of a sound or the level of loudness at which it is heard. Using the wrong sound intensity can create the wrong ambiance since we know that music and sound control the mood of any crowd. 

How do I calculate speaker wattage?

To find the maximum wattage of a speaker multiply the amperage and the volts. For example, if the speaker has a voltage of 120V (120 Volts) with an amperage of 5A (5 amperes), then the wattage is 600 Watts.

Is a 500w speaker loud?

The higher the wattage, the louder the speaker. As we have described, 20 Watts is sufficient for most homes while 100 Watts is loud enough for a small gathering outdoors. Therefore, 500 Watts is loud for large crowds.

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