The speaker’s house pumps things up
But what about the box that all that stuff goes in? The way an enclosure is constructed has a huge impact on the quality of the sound. Often, physical compartments are built into speakers (called ports, seen in that pic up there), and these compartments take air produced by the speaker cones and amplify it to generate louder or lower frequency vibrations. This essentially adds depth and volume (read: a ton of bass from that tiny box) to transducers with more limited capabilities. And that’s important, because if you push a transducer past its capabilities, it’ll start to sound distorted.
Sound systems use fancy shmancy digital signal processing
To push sound even further, speakers employ digital signal processing (DSP). Freeman told us that Bose uses a special form of DSP called “dynamic equalization” in their new SoundTouch series to help your music sound as ear-catching as possible. Essentially, it adjusts the system’s equalization shape (the prevalence of its highs, mids, and/or lows) depending on the volume of the music. For example, since bass frequencies are less apparent to the human ear, when music is very quiet you might not even hear the bass under all those rich mids and highs. Dynamic EQ will automatically boost that bass at lower volumes to keep things sounding right. And that’s just one trick; Bose was notably tightlipped about their other DSP secrets.
Bose EQs are designed to sound as life-like as possible
For Bose, “natural, and life-like” is the name of the sound game. No need to overdo the bass on a delicate folk tune, ya know? The goal: make things sound crisp and clear. Freeman points out that the things we’re used to hearing are the ones that are most difficult to present realistically from a speaker, such as speech and acoustic guitars. These sounds are so recognizable to the ear that Bose spends a ton of time making sure they sound just like their real-world counterparts by employing the best equalization shapes, placing cones and transducers correctly, and using the enclosures to support it all. But that also brings us to their crazy speaker testing: