Hi-Fi Woofers, Midranges & Tweeters: Car Audio 101 for a Musician


car audio systemsSo you love music and want to buy a top notch car audio system. That might seem like a pretty simple undertaking but it turns out that it is not exactly that simple. If you want high quality sound and a full musical experience, it helps to know a bit about the basics of car audio before you start looking for the right system for you.

Car audio systems are a bit more complicated than they might seem on the outset, but that doesn’t mean it has to be rocket science either.

There are a number of different components that comprise a standard car audio system. Which parts you need and what models will work best for you will be dependent on the car you drive, the music you listen to, and, of course, the budget you have to work with. These systems can range very widely in price from affordable to pretty prohibitively expensive.

different car audio system

As a musician, chances are you are a more discerning consumer of music than the average listener. You want to hear the intricacies and layers that compose each song. You want clear vocals, solid bass, and crisp guitar licks. This means you likely have slightly higher standards when it comes to what a quality music system entails.

There are three main components of a car audio system: . Each of these elements is crucial to the overall sound quality of the system. They all provide a different element of sound and there is a whole range of different options within these subcategories. If, for example, you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, you might want to invest in a higher quality woofer. Whereas, if you like classical string music, a top of the line tweeter is the better place to put any extra money.

A woofer is a car audio speaker that is designed to produce low frequency sounds. This means that woofers are where you get the deep, bass notes of the music from. These come in a wide range of output options, depending on the type of music you like and your budget. Often, they range from 20-5,000 hertz.

As the name implies, midranges are speakers that emit sounds from the, well, middle of the sound range spectrum. Sometimes called squawker, these speakers are cone based like a woofer but reproduce sounds in the frequency range of 250-2,000 hertz.

car audio system

This is the bulk of the sound spectrum that most music is played on so this is an important component to your car audio system. It is recommended that you place your biggest emphasis on the midrange speakers as they will be responsible for reproducing the vast amount of the sound spectrum.

A tweeter is a speaker that is best suited for reproducing high frequency sounds such as stringed instruments and voices. Tweeters are also used to help create a surround sound effect and allowing depth and layers of music to be easily heard within the car.

There are a host of different types of woofer, midrange speakers, and tweeters available that have a range of different levels of functionality, wattage, and output options. What specific model will work best for you is dependent on a range of things, but these are the three main parts of any car audio system.

Having a basic understanding of the parts in a car audio system will make it a little easier to choose the best options for you. As a musician, you have higher standards for music quality than the average listener and this understanding will make it easier for you to create the most dynamic, full-sounding car audio experience possible.

Hearing Protection & Musician’s Ear Pieces

Before we proceed in selecting the proper hearing protection for avoiding hearing problems, let’s first discuss how people hear and what causes problems in hearing.

How do People hear?How do People hear?

There are 3 parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Sound waves travel to the air much slower than light, but it can be measured in terms of Decibels. The part of the ear that we will discuss importantly is the inner ear.

So here is how sound travels. In our ear is a narrow canal from which sound waves travel (part of the outer ear), until they reach the eardrum (middle ear) where there are 2 bones that create the sounds. The sound waves cause vibration through the eardrum then travels to the inner ear where there are structures called the cochlea which contain tiny hair cells. These tiny hair cells are the one responsible for hearing which vibrates and sends the signals to your brain. People who can’t hear have a problem with the hair present in the cochlea. These hair cells are sensitive and may end up broken or bent or even die when you use high frequency or too loud sounds and they are irreplaceable. They don’t grow back unlike the human hair. People who have problems with hearing may have difficulty hearing high pitch sound or complains hear ringing or buzzing sound on their ears also called tinnitus.

Dangerous Decibels with Shooting

There are certain levels of sounds that are pleasant to the ears and there are levels of sounds that are devastating to the ear especially to the hair of the ears. Since sound levels are measured in decibels there is a normal level and a dangerous level. To prevent such damages you might consider to get ear plugs. You can check the latest ear plug models on http://www.wearplug.com.

According to research noise from guns are considered one of the most dangerous non-occupational noise that can expose people to.  It is said that a single shot from a gun which is heard by a person without proper ear protection can lead to sudden and permanent hearing loss.  It is often accompanied by ringing or buzzing sound (tinnitus), humming or hissing experienced by a person. It can either be a result of a long exposure to gun shot from an extended period of time or even from a single incident of gun shot fired at proximity.

Normally, noise heard at a certain range or amplitude level for a specific period of time like 90 Decibels for 8 hours. The permissible exposures of noise or level that can be tolerated and won’t damage the ear are about 115dB for about 15 minutes. Intensity duration and amplitude are both related how powerful a sound is that can lead to possible hearing damage.  It is really quite damaging to work in an industrial plant or continuously hearing gunshots for about 6 hours at a level of 90 decibels than listening to the same level of 90 Decibels for 30 minutes.

Anything considered to be above 85 dB for long period of time exposure are considered dangerous to the ear without protection, but it can also be hazardous even with a  single loud gun shot fired in just a short time.

Based on research it is proven that permanent damage hearing can happen when exposed to noises above 140 decibels without protection.  Firing guns in a place that is closed where sound waves can bounce off will create even make it noisier and will further increase the possibility of hearing loss. It is imperative to wear ear protection every time you fire a gun to avert hearing damage even with the use of a .22 caliber handgun which can produce 140 dB levels. Without protection, your tiny hairs at the ear will die and remember, once it is damaged, it will never grow back or renew.

Read the types of musical instruments post.

Types of Musical Instruments

Types of Musical Instruments

Music has been with humans for a very long time. They used it for many reasons, for example, intimidation, imitation of animal sounds, and communication. People love music so much, and they are willing to create anything that can create the music.


The first musical instruments were human bodies; clapping to create percussion sounds and vocals from their voices. These instruments have evolved into things like drums made from animal skins, and flutes made from bamboo stems used in the earlier days to pianos in this modern world.


Today musical instruments are grouped into 4 broad categories; string, woodwind, percussion, and brass.


With the need to create more artistic effects, there are some instruments that cross the lines. For example, the American Banjo may fall under the string category as well as the percussion category. Another of these is the piano. It has got hammers that produce sound when struck and strings that produce sound by vibrating.
Then computer developed synthetic sounds do not fall in any of the categories.


However, most instruments seamlessly fall into these categories, and they include:

Woodwind Instruments

These are in 2 subcategories; flute and reed instruments.


They create music by making the air within the pipe to resonate. Examples include:

  • Piccolo – This is a small, high-pitchedwind instrument.Woodwind Instruments
  • Recorder – it is a small wind instrument



They create music by causing the reed (a small, flexible wooden piece that is usually near the mouthpiece) to vibrate the air within the pipe. Examples include:

  • Oboes – it has got a double reed.
  • Clarinets – It has got a single reed.
  • Bassoon – It is a large instrument that has got a double reed. It can play rather low
  • English horn – it has got a double reed.


In both subcategories, the resonating air is then released from the instrument at a particular pitch. That gets controlled by the openings in the pipe.

These piped instruments have been with us for a very long time, close to 10, 000 years or more.



Percussion Instruments

Percussion InstrumentsPercussion sounds have filled the air as long as humans have been around. These instruments produce sound when they get hit. Clapping is one of the ways that such sounds get produced. They include:

  • Cymbals – You have to bang or hit them to make sound
  • drums,
  • tambourines,
  • Xylophones – these have rows of bars and are played using a mallet.
  • Chimes,
  • timpani,
  • tam-tam
  • Wood blocks


They are then divided into instruments that do not produce a distinct pitch and those that create musical notes.


Seeing that instruments that fall in the percussion category are not difficult to find, it is little wonder that they followed in the steps of human voices to create musical instruments. That has also led to an immense breakthrough in percussion instruments such as the birth of steel drums in Caribbean music.


String Instruments

In these instruments, one has got to move a string to produce vibrations that create sound. These include:String Instruments

  • Cello – it is a large string instrument.
  • Electric guitars –electronically enhanced stringed instrument.
  • Harps – they have very many strings
  • Violin – it is also called a fiddle and it a small string instrument
  • Ukulele – It is a small string instrument that has got four strings.


There are many instruments that fall in this subcategory hence providing a wide selection for any player. The strings are made to vibrate in many ways; plucking for a guitar, and using a bow for a violin. The first instrument of this kind is a lyre.


Brass instruments

Brass instrumentsThese are of brass or any other metal. They produce music or sound when one blows air into them. The player’s lips should buzz against the mouthpiece then air reverberates inside the instrument to produce sound.

These include:

  • Trumpet – When you play this instrument, your lips vibrate
  • French horn – it has got a long tube
  • Bungle,
  • Cornet,
  • Trombone – it has got a long makeup

Even the saxophone falls in this category.



However, sometimes the saxophone is looked at as a family of its own. The instruments under this category include

  • Basssaxophone
  • Tenor
  • Baritone
  • Soprano
  • Sopranino


Explore these instruments to appreciate the beauty of music.

How to Become a Musician

An artist knows more than hitting a few notes here and there. Do you want to become a great musician? Then you ought to learn how to get that instrument that suits you and make music. Being a musician is more than just a hobby or talent. It takes practice to build your skills. Here are some nuggets in that line: 

Choosing An Instrument

Choose your ideal instrument

Types of Musical InstrumentsYou need to pick an instrument because it appeals to your interests but not because everyone or your favorite musician plays it. As you select this instrument, you should think about what you want to become in future. For example, the guitar that an upcoming rock musician picks is not the same that a future classical musician picks.


  • If you only want to learn how to play an instrument, you could start with a piano, guitar or violin. Tutors for these instruments are in plenty, so you do not have to search far and near before you find a class to join.
  • If after some time you choose to play art music, classical or jazz, your ideal instrument would be one that falls in the classical string category, a percussion instrument or a woodwind brass. People that choose this direction dedicate a lot of their time to learn their instrument.
  • If your dream is to write songs or play pop music, you may want to choose a bass guitar, drums, or piano. While taking lessons is great, most folk and pop musicians learn on their own through books, videos, and trial and error.


Take time to learn the piano

pianoEven if your dream is not becoming a pianist, one of the proven ways to build a strong musical foundation is learning how to play the piano. That is because all the notes are laid out before your eyes. That is what makes it a favorite instrument for children and learners. It is also a versatile instrument because it is used to play various music styles.


While acoustic pianos are very expensive, digital pianos are not. So you can invest in buying one and start the journey.


Get to know about classical instruments

classical instrumentsThese get used in pep bands, jazz, concert music and other sheet music types played by instrumentalists. If you have a love for artistic, complicated music and history, you need to learn about these instruments.


Get to know about rock or pop instruments

These are used when playing a variety of sounds and styles even though most people consider things like drums, pianos, guitar when playing pop music or starting a band. If your style is not tuxedos, and concert halls but garage bands and tours in vans, then these are the ideal instruments. They include:

  • Bass guitar
  • Guitar
  • Drums


Play percussion

Percussion InstrumentsWhile most people think that percussion is usually in the background, it is not true. Talented percussionists steer the music forward irrespective of the genre. A percussionist that keeps time is a prized asset to any group of musicians.


The best thing about percussion is that without an instrument, you can start the journey of building your skills. If you have the capability to maintain a steady beat using your hands, and you have got an internal sense of time, add learning percussion to your to-do.


Consider learning how to play an electronic instrument

Ask any digital DJ or a synth master and they shall tell you that the definition of a musician is different today from what it was 5 – 10 years back. Music has become dynamic that at the push of a computer button, a lot gets achieved. More so, the laws that surround it have changed. Even operating valves on the trumpet is also now a little more artistic and dynamic.


Developing Yourself Into A Player


Constant practice

Even with your talent for a particular instrument, practice distinguishes a musician from a typical instrument player. Players devote their time and other resources to better their skills, learn newer techniques and learn more complex music on their instrument of choice.  You have to practice regularly and conscientiously to achieve that.


Develop good practice habits and routines. Practice using proper posture, warm up before practice and try to have your sessions go for 20 to 40 minutes every day.

Find a teacher

Not any teacher, but one that is willing to let you run as well as restrain you. It is not easy to learn music on your own, so seek help from a professional.

All the best in your journey

How to Choose a Digital Piano? – Buying Guide

Digital Piano

There are times when a digital piano is what works. For example, in terms of cost, a digital piano is more pocket-friendly than an acoustic piano. Another issue to consider is space. While an acoustic piano may take up a lot of your space, a digital piano shall not.

So, when looking a digital piano, what are those things that you need to consider? Here are some of them:


 Simple features

Look at the speakers; are they facing outwards or inwards? Can the piano make sound without an amplifier? Does it have a headphone jack? Are the ports compatible with your computer and amplifier? Make sure that the piano has all that you want it to have.


Number of keys

If you are not a digital artist or DJ, 88 keys are good enough for you. At least that is the standard number of piano keys. If you have got music that seems complicated because your piano has got very few keys to play, get a digital piano that can support your music instead of getting rid of the music.


Number of sounds or tunes

While there are pianos that have got over 3000 unique sounds, you may never use even half of them, not even when you toddler were to try. Besides, while a piano may boast of close to 1000 recordings, most of them are cheap material that is only to  make the box show you a 4-figure digit. That should not be what you focus on when looking for your ideal digital piano.

Put your focus on the quality of the few dozen sounds that you shall use.


If you get the chance of testing a digital piano near an acoustic piano, take the time to try out the bass notes on both instruments. Do both of them give you a rich and full sound? Try the digital keyboard setting, do the sounds come off as smooth and soft or brittle and whiny?


Sensitivity to touchDigital Piano

That is a tricky feature to assess. That is because piano manufacturers usually use terminologies such as ‘touch sensitive’ to hike the price by an additional $350 for a small improvement. Such pianos have lines like ‘the harder you hit the piano keys the louder the sound.’ The truth is that these pianos are still cheap and shall not do you any good.


That is common among pianos with less than 76 keys and whose price is below $500. If there is no mention about how the piano reacts to touch, you need to avoid that digital piano. You also need to be on the look out for pianos that have ‘5 volume levels’ or ‘down/up switch for softer/louder’. That often implies that changing the piano volume is by the help of a switch.


That means that the keys do not have any special touch response. Acceptable pianos are those that allow you to adjust the volume though they have got sliders or dials for accuracy.

Maximum polyphony

That is the number of individual notes produced by a digital piano at a time. The best way to comprehend this feature is to go to a local piano store and find an eight-key keyboard. If you play a three-note chord, you may get sound from only one note. That means that its maximum polyphony is at one.


For your digital piano, you need a standard polyphony but you may not easily get perfection. When assessing your piano’s maximum polyphony, 32 and below is unacceptable, 64 is good enough, and 128 is amazing while 256 is a lie.



Digital PianoA good digital piano does whatever it takes to replicate the hammers of an acoustic piano. If you see the word ‘weighted’ on a digital piano, you know that it is a good one. However, if you see ‘partially weighted’, it is not good. Such a piano is not one you would want to take home.


Besides that, the best digital piano shall weigh the bass notes as well though a little more heavily. That copies the strings and large hammers that are in the piano’s lower octaves. It is these small touches that matter and makes a significant impact.



Although digital pianos are simply replicating what the acoustic pianos have, getting the best shall make learning how to play piano wonderfully. You can pick the best digital pianos on digital piano lab.


Guitar Buying Guide – What to Look For?


guitar typesAre you a beginner that is not sure which guitar to play? Let me start with some myths that cloud many people’s minds:

  • You ought to start with an acoustic guitar. That is because it is harder to play compared to the electric guitar. Therefore, it shall make your fingers stronger in no time
  • You ought to start with an electric guitar because it is easy to play



  • Get a guitar type that excites you

Your first experience with an instrument shall propel to learn more about it or dump it for another. Therefore, you need to pick a guitar that excites you personally and motivates you to get to play. Before zeroing in on a guitar, you need to ask yourself the kind of music you want to play, the guitar type that draws your attention, and the kind of guitar that you see yourself playing. The answer that pops up is the guitar you long to practice and play.

However, if your aim is just playing guitar, then let the budget guide your decision.

Acoustic guitars

  • Acoustic guitars have got heavier gauge strings. These call for stronger fingering and picking.

The reason as to why you need to pick the strings of an acoustic guitar with much more strength than an acoustic guitar is because the wood top of the guitar ought to vibrate before sound in produced.


This guitar type also has a rather large body compared to that of an electric guitar. Its neck is also usually thicker to support the tension of the heavier strings.

Nonetheless, some people love the accessibility of an acoustic guitar leaning against a stand. That is why they pick it as a guitar of their choice.


  • Electric Guitars are somewhat easier to play

Electric GuitarsThis fact is true if they are well fine-tuned and because they have got a thinner neck, smaller body, and the strings are lighter. For this type, most of the work regarding sound projection is done by the amplifier and the pickups. That means that a light touch coupled with light strings make playing easier.


You need to plug this guitar type into an amplifier (it requires turning on before one starts playing).


While some go for it because it is seemingly easy to play, others shun it because of the need to plug it into an amplifier that you also have to remember to switch on before playing.

  • Look for a guitar that matches your wallet

In as much your choice must be determined by the desire to play one over the other, your budget sets the realistic option.


An electric guitar is more costly because you need an amplifier and other items which an acoustic guitar does not need. If you had set your eyes on an electric budget but the wallet says otherwise, then you could give some more time to save up the funds you need. You can check and compare the best guitars on the market at www.guitarmesh.com


Otherwise, if your desire is to play guitar without problems of cost, you could opt for an acoustic guitar.


  • The most difficult guitar to play is that which you have little or no interest in learning

Most people want to know the easiest guitar type. However, while both have physical differences, what makes one easier than the other is your interest. If your desire is to learn how to play an acoustic guitar, regardless of its features, you shall remain drawn to it and not the electric type with its slim features.


  • As time goes by, the desire to play another guitar type shall come naturally

Choosing one guitar type over the other does not mean that you can never play another. Experience has shown that people that started off with a strong desire to play one type slowly began wanting to play another. Motivation changes with time, skills and desire to learn more. The chances are that you shall learn how to play both of them and enjoy the thrill of learning how to play a myriad of music genres.


  • Get a guitar that is fully fine-tuned for comfortable playing

Ensure that you have your facts right. How easy a guitar is to play usually lies in its playability and quality. Ask whoever is giving you that guitar about what he or she has been done to make it easy to use. Both guitars are relatively easy to play as long as they have been fine-tuned, and the size suits the player