Bandwidth A Range of frequencies. With audio recordings,bandwidth refers to the sound system's or recording's ability to capture the frequency-response range of the ensemble and soloists. With regard to a home playback system, it refers to the "audible" bandwidth the system should be able to reproduce, usually from 20 or 30 Hz up to 15 or 20 kHz. Bass The low-frequency range of the audible spectrum, running from 20 Hz (or a bit lower) up to anywhere from 200 to 500 Hz, a total of four octaves or more. Bass reflex A type of speaker enclosure that includes a "tuned" port or passive radiator to increase and extend bass response (by releasing some of the energy created by the inward movement of the woofer cone). Bass reflex designs are more power-efficient than acoustic suspension designs — they'll play louder than an acoustic suspension speaker when driven with the same amplifier power. But they may sacrifice some bass accuracy in exchange for the added bass output.
Bi-Wiring A method of connecting an amplifier or receiver to a speaker in which separate wires are run between the amp and the woofer and the amp and the tweeter. This can only be done when the loudspeaker has apassive parallel crossover ;if the crossover is of the series type, which offers significant advantages, the loudspeaker cannot be bi-wired.
Capacitor A component in crossover networks. Available at electronic supply stores. Capacitance is denominated in Farads. A cousin of a resistor, but presents a high resistance to low frequencies, and low resistance to high frequencies. Perversely, more capacitance means less resistance.
CEDIA Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association. A national dealer organization that requires its members to have at least two years experience and be licensed and insured. While not exactly a degree in home audio-video, CEDIA certification at least means that a dealer has some basic knowledge about audio and video. However, I have seen installations by CEDIA members that were much less effective than they could have been, probably because the customer was more interested in visual aesthetics than performance.
Channel In audio, a distinct path for a signal that is being recorded or played back. Standard stereo has two channels. Pro Logic-decoded audio still has two, but they carry two additional "matrixed" channels. Dolby Digital and DTS audio have five full-range channels and a subwoofer channel. In video, a signal transmitted at a particular frequency.
Clipping In audio, the result of an analog signal's being overdriven to the extent that its peak levels cannot be accommodated, and therefore are "clipped" off from the audible signal. Typical in smaller amplifiers, it is the most audible of common electronic distortions.
Coloration In audio, a subjective term to describe levels of audible distortion.
Cone The cone-shaped part of a loudspeaker driver that moves the air. Made of paper, polypropylene, or recently out of high-tech materials such as Kevlar and glass fiber.
Connectors There are several different ways to connect the cables from your receiver or amplifier to your speakers. Bare wire connections are acceptable, especially with "spring clip" terminals. Other popular connectors are Banana plugs will plug straight into the center of 5-way binding posts. They make a quick and convenient connection. The Double-banana plug which is the same as banana plugs, except the positive and negative banana connectors are both fixed in a molded housing that spaces them 3/4" apart. Pin Connectors will work with both spring clip and binding post terminals. This is probably the best type for connecting a thick, heavy-gauge wire (16gauge) to a small spring clip connector. On a 5-way binding post, this slender pin will also fit the hole that's back near the base of the central post. Crossover A component that divides an audio signal into two or more ranges by frequency, sending, for example, low frequencies to one output and high frequencies to another, you might say it works as a filter, allowing certain frequencies to pass through to the speaker while blocking others. . An active crossover is powered and divides the line-level audio signal prior to amplification. A passive crossover uses no external power supply and may be used either at line level or, more commonly, at speaker level to divide the signal after amplification and send the low frequencies to the woofer and the high frequencies to the tweeter, thus the term 2-way or 3-way speaker.
Home Audio Glossary of Terms created to inform and educate individuals interested in creating a home theater environment. This page defines audio terms beginning with the letter B or C, such as, bandwidth, bass, bass reflex, bi-wiring, capacitor, CEDIA, center-channel, channel, clipping, coloration, cone, connectors, banana plugs, pin connectors, and crossovers.