How Headphones Produce Sound

Every time I went to a huge concert or a festival and heard music from giant loudspeakers, I understand that music is coming out of numerous speakers all around me. However, I tend to overjoyed with the idea to listen to the music intimately and quietly, while others cannot see what I’m listening too.

This is especially true when it comes to traveling because planes and trains are quite noisy, and I don’t quite enjoy without having one of the best headphones for traveling with me. Now, imagine what would be like that everyone has its loudspeakers, the noise would be immersive. However, the question still lies ahead of us: how headphones produce sound?

Headphones like loudspeakers

Headphones work the similar way as loudspeakers that we hear on concerts and that we have in our homes. It uses magnetism to create electrical energy and to turn it into a sound. The biggest difference between headphones and loudspeakers is the size. As we can see, loudspeakers need to create air moving inside the room so that you can hear the sound that it is making.

On the other hand, speakers in a headphone will create a volume and air moving inside your ear canal. That is why I liked them so much because they are quite a discreet and smaller than usual loudspeakers.

Most of them have two loudspeakers inside the strap that will firmly clamp over your head. Earbuds function similarly because they include magnet inside, the coil of wire and the diaphragm cone that creates sound. However, it is much smaller and efficient when it comes to enjoyment.

Engineers create speakers as the boxes, which means that you will get the speaker inside the enclosed that will amplify the sound and to keep them safe from any damage that could happen. If you look closer, you will find that speakers have openings on the back and at the front, so that you can move them without any additional problem.

The same things go for earbuds and headphones, which are two main types that you can find on the market.

When it comes to closed-back headphones such as Sennheiser, they have the seal on the back so that sound cannot leak in from the outside.

On the other hand, open-back headphones such as AKG are open to the air in the back, which will not reduce the outside noise.

According to audiophiles, the quality of sound is much better on open-back headphones, but the ambient noise can easily annoy you because it will penetrate inside.

How Earbuds Work

The best way to see how earbuds function is to dismantle them completely to check all wires and other disc holes that create sound. If you don’t have enough experience in disable things, you can ask an adult to make sure that everything is safe. You can also use old earbuds that you are not using anymore because that is the best way to understand how it creates a sound and how are headphones made.

When you open it up, you will see the wires that will run through the main case. You will need two wires to make a positive circuit: one carries it back to you while other carry current into the coil.

When you disable the front cover, you will notice that it features plastic disc with holes that will help you hear the sound to your ear. Behind that, you will find a small cone, which is flattish and a disc that is quite thin because it features flexible plastic.

Earbuds Consist Of

Back Case

The back case is important because it keeps and holds everything together. The wire runs through a hole at the bottom so that everything can work without any additional problem.

Front Case

This particular case goes right into your ear, and it features fabric pouch that will keep it hygienic and clean.


The seal features rubbery circle clips that will connect back and front case and hold it together.


They create and carry signal from the stereo to the speaker.


You will find the magnet at the back of the speaker, and it is the heaviest accessories of an earbud.


As soon as the electricity reaches and flows through earbuds, the coil becomes an electromagnet that moves the current.

Plastic Cone

The cone will move due to the electromagnetic perspective of electricity, and that makes a sound.

How Big Headphones Work

You probably can guess those big headphones function similar to earbuds, and they feature the more significant parts when compared with earbuds. The best way to determine how they work is to disable them, but don’t do it with the new headphones, because you will have to break the diaphragm cone.

It is important to break protective plastic so that you can see how the diaphragm and cone functions. You will also be able to see small holes in it that will create the sound out and provide the diaphragm with the possibility to move back and forth.

The next you should break open the diaphragm cone, and you will notice the red band (coil) fasten to a silver and gold permanent magnet. It is in the slot band and will run outside the magnet.

The way we hear sound is by converting electrical signals to sound waves. Therefore, music source will send the signal in the form of electrical current to the cable and drivers inside the headphones. The signal will go through the voice coil, and this will generate magnetic fields.

As we all know, voice coil includes fixed magnet around it, which will alternate the current and attract it from the magnet. The voice coil includes suspension materials, which will move, and oscillation, therefore changing air pressure and creating sound waves.


As you can see from everything that I have mentioned above, the principle of creating sound is similar among speakers and headphones. The main difference is in size, but the principle is the same.

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