From the tiny speakers in our iPhones to the massive amps at a heavy metal conference, there are many different types of speakers in the world, but they all use the same basic acoustic principles to fill our world with music. If you’ve ever wondered how they work, this incredible animated visualization by Jacob O’Neal is the place to start.
Almost like a vintage How Stuff Works infographic turned into a stunning stream of animated GIFs, the “How Speakers Make Sound” visualization walks you through all the parts, pieces, and principles that let us reproduce sound.
In essence, every speaker is just an electromagnet moving a diaphragm back and forth, causing air molecules to vibrate, but O’Neal goes into far greater detail than that, explaining how speakers do things like play the sound of two different instruments at once by firing off thousands of quick treble vibrations, laying different frequency sound waves on top of one another.
It’s an incredibly good data visualization that distills what seems like a master’s class on acoustics down into a series of easy-to-understand GIFs. Nor is it the only such visualization O’Neal has created: his website, Animagraffs, is filled with animated explainers on subjects ranging from the anatomy of tarantulas to how to Moonwalk. It’s a better website than most to lose an hour of your life to.