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A practical approach to teaching loudspeaker cabinet tuning and testing

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The appreciation of the basic relationship between loudspeaker cabinet design and driver Thiele Small parameters is essential for an understanding of the low frequency performance of a given loudspeaker system. Ideally, a pedagogical methodology for this function would include design, model, build and evaluate, allowing the student to gain experience in the creation and modeling of a solution. The build and evaluation phase supports the learning opportunity by verifying the validity of the emulation exercise. When cabinet design is only a small part of a complete curriculum, teaching can be hindered by the physical limitations of construction. The barriers presented by the construction and cost of building prototypes being prohibitive. This results in the teaching of the principles of loudspeaker functionality being restricted to theoretical explanation supported by the testing of existing loudspeaker units. An approach has been developed that utilises an adaptable loudspeaker cabinet. The cabinet is a fixed size with an interchangeable tuning panel that is bolted in place. This allows devices such as ports and ducts to be proposed and added to the design for evaluation and testing whilst retaining the majority of the cabinet structure. From a time and cost perspective, this has offered considerable advantages over an option of a complete cabinet fabrication and has improved the teaching methodology for the subject.

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