A woofer or bass speaker is a technical term for a loudspeaker driver designed to produce low frequency sounds, typically from 50 Hz up to 1000 Hz. The name is from the onomatopoeic English word for a dog's bark, "woof" (in contrast to the name used for loudspeakers designed to reproduce high-frequency sounds, tweeter). The most common design for a woofer is the electrodynamic driver, which typically uses a stiff paper cone, driven by a voice coil surrounded by a magnetic field.
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The voice coil is attached by adhesives to the back of the loudspeaker cone. The voice coil and the magnet form a linear electric motor. When current flows through the voice coil, the coil moves in relation to the frame according to Fleming's left hand rule for motors, causing the coil to push or pull on the driver cone in a piston-like way. The resulting motion of the cone creates sound waves, as it moves in and out.
At ordinary sound pressure levels (SPL), most humans can hear down to about 20 Hz. Woofers are generally used to cover the lowest octaves of a loudspeaker's frequency range. In two-way loudspeaker systems, the drivers handling the lower frequencies are also obliged to cover a substantial part of the midrange, often as high as 2000 to 5000 Hz; such drivers are commonly termed mid woofers. Since the 1990s, a type of woofer (termed subwoofer), which is designed for very low frequencies only, has come to be commonly used in home theater systems and PA systems to augment the bass response; they usually handle the very lowest two or three octaves (i.e., from as low as 20 to 80 or 120 Hz).