Speaker baffles have a variety of functions that go beyond their outward appearances. There are a lot of speculations on the practicality of them. But do they perform as expected, and are they worth it? In this article, we seek to explore reasons why they are worth it and even more.
But first, let’s answer the question that probably brought you here. Do speaker baffles work?
Speaker baffles do work. They help improve your speaker’s sound quality by preventing phasing cancellation issues, leaving you with a clean, loud, and quality sound output. And they also help improve the speaker’s frequency response and make it reproduce sound accurately.
How Do Speaker Baffles Work?
Speaker baffles are essentially enclosures that we mount speakers on. Speaker cones are fixed into baffles, and the baffles serve a very important purpose.
But before I explain how they work, you need to understand how speakers work. We have an article on the blog that explains, in detail, how speakers work. Feel free to check it out. But for the purposes of this article, let me briefly explain how they work.
Speakers have an important component known as the voice coil, and this coil is usually made of copper. The voice coil receives audio signals in the form of an electric current from the power amplifier. This electrical current basically turns the voice coil into a magnet. I’m sure you recall this concept from basic high school physics.
Once the voice coil becomes a magnet, it attracts and repels the speaker’s permanent magnet, and this causes the speaker cones to move back and forth. The back and forth movement of the speaker cones is what causes the speakers to produce sound, basically.
But here is the problem
The back and forth movement of speakers produces two sound waves – one at the front-facing side of the speaker and the other at the back of the speaker. These two sound waves are similar but out of phase.
Without getting too technical, when two sound waves are out of phase, they tend to cancel each other, leaving you with a sound output that is either not too loud or of low quality. And you certainly don’t want that.
This is where speaker baffles come in.
Speaker baffles help prevent phasing issues. But how exactly does it do that? Its purpose is to absorb the sound waves from the back of the speakers, leaving you with only the sound from the front of the speaker.
This prevents the sound wave from the front and back of the speakers from colliding, which could potentially lead to phasing issues. And it leaves you with a clean and quality sound output coming from the front of the speakers.
Although this is generally the main purpose of speaker baffles, it also has other benefits. And we’ll talk about it later in the article.
Speaker baffles are made from metal, wood, plastic, or other similar materials as the speaker enclosures. They could be made thinner than the other parts of the enclosures as well. This provides a clean, less bulky, and tighter fitting for a more professional appearance, which generally affects the speaker’s performance.
Do Speaker Baffles Improve Sound Quality?
Speaker baffles improve sound quality. Speaker baffles primarily help to manage phase cancellation issues that result when sound waves from the front and back of the speakers collide. This way, the sound output from the speakers becomes loud and high quality.
Phase refers to the difference between the time and amplitude of two sources- the front and rear of a speaker cone.
Sound waves are heard at slightly different times and levels from the rear and meet those from the front. Sound wave signals are boosted when both their positive and negative parts (in a complete cycle/phase) are lined up.
But when they are out of alignment, cancellation occurs —the negative part ‘cancels out the positive part. This is what speaker baffles reduce significantly, thus improving sound quality.
Speaker baffles also help improve the speaker’s frequency response. This means it helps it produce all sound frequencies in audio more accurately. This leads to a better listening experience.
All of these and more help improve the sound quality of your speakers.
Do Speaker Baffles Reduce Bass?
Yes, speaker baffles do reduce bass output. This is because they restrict cone movement in the bass region, thus reducing the bass output.
Here, when baffles are used, they act like small enclosures and restrict the speaker’s full bass response. This is especially true in situations whereby the baffle is too small for the speaker.
Thus it is imperative you choose the appropriate sizes of baffles for your speakers, which would not compromise on the bass delivery of the speaker. Some people also cut out the bottom parts of their foam speaker baffles while leaving the top portions intact. This aids in the improvement of the bass quality
Other Benefits of Speaker Baffles
Speaker baffles protect speakers from water from rain and snow, which tend to cause the rusting of speaker components. They also protect speakers from dirt, as well as other environmental substances and conditions which ultimately may decrease the speaker’s lifespan. Also, they form tight mounting seals around speakers to minimize panel-to-frame resonance.
Best Speaker Baffles
There are several types of speaker baffles you could choose from. An example is the
NVX XBAF65 Silicone Speaker Baffle
The NVX XBAF65 Foldable Silicone Speaker Baffle (on Amazon) is one of the most sought-after speaker baffles you can find. This is a silicone rubber-based baffle designed for many different speaker sizes. NVX has a 6.5″, 5.25″, 6″ x 8″, 6″ x 9″ and an 8″ version of this speaker baffle, made for different speaker sizes.
It is foldable and creates a tight and waterproof seal around your speaker to further enhance sound quality. It is designed to last for a very long time and comes with an egg- crate foam, which helps it absorb. It is easy to install as well and reduces door panel vibrations significantly.
XTC Speaker Baffles
Another great choice is the XTC 6 “x10” Speaker Baffles (also on Amazon). They are made from waterproof foam and also create a tight seal around your speakers for optimal sound output. It is able to compress and conform to the shape of several speakers.
It is specifically designed for 6 “speakers (XTC has different products for other speaker sizes such as the XTC 12″ Speaker Baffles, for 12″ ones), has a maximum mounting depth of 3″, and also greatly reduces door panel vibrations.
Are Speaker Baffles Worth It?
Speaker baffles are definitely worth it. They minimize mechanical vibrations and the diffraction of sound waves to create a more honest reproduction of sound and improve off-axis frequency response. The baffle also prevents the speaker’s front and rear waves from colliding and canceling each other out.
They offer protection for the speaker, the drivers, and the other components such as the tethers and the cables associated with them, thus protecting the owner’s financial investment for a long time. There are speaker baffles available for almost every speaker size, and they are great investments you could consider for your speakers.
Speaker baffles offer great sound quality improvement, protection for the speakers as well as increment of the lifespan of the speaker. They are worth investing in. However, bass quality may be compromised to an extent if they are too small.