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Physics of Headphones



Nowadays basically every teenage male and female carries a device capable of playing music portably, through small speakers or large, over ear headphones. Many companies now offer "noise-cancelling" devices, that divert any sounds from outside the headphones while they are playing, rather than the smaller, in-ear speakers that produce smaller amounts of bass and volume. Have you ever wondered how your earpod works?

In-ear headphones are small speakers that direct most of the sound waves into the ear canal, while the over-ear headphones create more movement and vibration, which translates into more bass and louder sound, over a larger area. The electronic signals from the mp3 file travel through the wires and are converted into sound energy with a small magnet in the speaker. These speakers will vary in size and strength depending on the quality of the magnet and the components that are attached to the magnet, like the diaphrahm, or cone. Most of the time these speakers are put into "boxes", that amplify the sound in a certain direction or magnitude, which is how the size or shape of the headphones come to be.

Size does not necessarily matter in the case of headphones either. Companies will promote their headphones as "bigger" and "better" than the next, which is not always the case. When purchasing your next set of over or in-ear headphones, remember to try them out and read reviews before purchasing, or build your own! Building speakers is a simple project, and requires little to no money invested. Below is a simple diagram of how a speaker works:



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