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Audio Tech Image Gallery

Speakers take electronic signals and turn them into sound. See more ­audio tech pictures.

In any sound system, ultimate quality depends on the speakers. The best recording, encoded on the most advanced storage device and played by a top-of-the-line deck and amplifier, will sound awful if the system is hooked up to poor speakers.

A system's speaker is the component that takes the electronic signal stored on things like CDs, tapes and DVDs and turns it back into actual sound that we can hear.

­In this article, we'll find out exactly how speakers do this. We'll also look at how speaker designs differ, and see how these differences affect sound quality. Speakers are amazing pieces of technology that have had a profound impact on our culture. But at their heart, they are remarkably simple devices.