Megaphones

Everything You Need To Know About a Megaphone

What do you do when you have to call a bunch of students or fans around field? You cup your hands around your mouth and shout. Well, that’s the homemade version of what a megaphone looks like. Have you seen the cone-shaped items with a stick-like thing emerging from the middle? The moment you say something from the pointed end, it makes a tremendous noise? That’s a megaphone. You may see these during school matches and even in the hands of the police to get the attention of the desired person.

How does a megaphone work?

First of all, megaphones go by a lot of names. If you didn’t hear the term megaphone before, you may have come across loudhailer, blowhorn, bullhorn, or speaking trumpet. All of them mean the same thing. A megaphone works when the loud sound amplifies due to the units shape. The cone amplifies your voice to make it sound louder. Here are a couple of reasons why this happens:

1. The cone shape helps to guide your voice to your target. As soon as you speak, your voice spreads into the cone, and it spreads it further. Only a part of the sound output reaches the direction in which you are speaking. For example, if you are in a field directing 50 marching band members, you can’t shout all the time. So, when you use a megaphone, your voice becomes louder, and it reaches everyone clearly. This happens due to the structure of the megaphone.

2. Apart from directing your voice to the intended audience, the megaphone also increases your volume output. You don’t necessarily have to shout on the megaphone to increase the volume. The best way to understand the increased volume level is saying hello like you normally do over the phone. Listen to the output. If it suits the audience, continue saying in that tone. Otherwise, you can increase your volume slightly. The megaphone will increase the sound level to a great extent and deliver a booming output.

If you want to make a dummy DIY megaphone at home to see how it works, you should use a funnel. Speak on the pointed end of the funnel. You will immediately see that the cone channels your voice and focuses it towards the audience. That’s how a megaphone works.

Physics behind megaphones

It is not like your voice automatically becomes loud for no reason. There are sound waves doing the trick. This is all pure physics. So, when you say something on a megaphone, you send sound waves through a narrow area. The sound waves travel through that narrow area and gets exposed to a wide open area. Sometimes you may feel a slight echo of your voice while speaking. This happens due when sound waves reflect back to the megaphone.

Everything happens so quickly that you usually don’t have time to understand how the megaphone works. The concept is simple enough. When sound waves travel through a narrow space and immediately encounter a vast open space, it transforms and becomes bigger. This is also the reason why you hear an echo while speaking through a megaphone. That is why your speech volume reduces slightly. Ideally, you should speak with a slow pace while using a megaphone.

Size of the megaphone

The size of the megaphone is another factor that determines the loudness of the output volume. A megaphone basically amplifies your voice, making it sound louder. But to amplify the voice, the megaphone also needs to be as long as your voice’s wavelength. You cannot expect a small megaphone to produce a booming sound. That’s because the size is not big enough to support the wavelength of the sound.

The wavelengths of human voices can extend to several feet. Of course, that doesn’t mean the megaphone has to be that long, but ideally, the longer megaphone produces more sound even if you whisper on it.

Not all the megaphones have the same size. Bullhorn, for example, is a relatively shorter version. You may see cheerleaders using bullhorns during a match to show support for their team. Don’t expect them to carry a 4-foot megaphone while cheering. That’s why they use a bullhorn. The shape, structure, and properties are the same; the only difference is the size.

Nowadays, you will find numerous electric megaphones. They also have the same structure, but the size is usually smaller. Since you are replacing the property of the cone doing all the hard work with an electric speaker, the size of the megaphone doesn’t matter here. They work on batteries. Even the smallest variant can produce enough sound that can reach the target audience clearly. Some of these variants can be really loud, with sounds crossing 90 dB.

Now that you know the properties of a megaphone, try to make one at home and surprise the kids.

Megaphones

Everything You Need To Know About a Megaphone

What do you do when you have to call a bunch of students or fans around field? You cup your hands around your mouth and shout. Well, that’s the homemade version of what a megaphone looks like. Have you seen the cone-shaped items with a stick-like thing emerging from the middle? The moment you say something from the pointed end, it makes a tremendous noise? That’s a megaphone. You may see these during school matches and even in the hands of the police to get the attention of the desired person.

How does a megaphone work?

First of all, megaphones go by a lot of names. If you didn’t hear the term megaphone before, you may have come across loudhailer, blowhorn, bullhorn, or speaking trumpet. All of them mean the same thing. A megaphone works when the loud sound amplifies due to the units shape. The cone amplifies your voice to make it sound louder. Here are a couple of reasons why this happens:

1. The cone shape helps to guide your voice to your target. As soon as you speak, your voice spreads into the cone, and it spreads it further. Only a part of the sound output reaches the direction in which you are speaking. For example, if you are in a field directing 50 marching band members, you can’t shout all the time. So, when you use a megaphone, your voice becomes louder, and it reaches everyone clearly. This happens due to the structure of the megaphone.

2. Apart from directing your voice to the intended audience, the megaphone also increases your volume output. You don’t necessarily have to shout on the megaphone to increase the volume. The best way to understand the increased volume level is saying hello like you normally do over the phone. Listen to the output. If it suits the audience, continue saying in that tone. Otherwise, you can increase your volume slightly. The megaphone will increase the sound level to a great extent and deliver a booming output.

If you want to make a dummy DIY megaphone at home to see how it works, you should use a funnel. Speak on the pointed end of the funnel. You will immediately see that the cone channels your voice and focuses it towards the audience. That’s how a megaphone works.

Physics behind megaphones

It is not like your voice automatically becomes loud for no reason. There are sound waves doing the trick. This is all pure physics. So, when you say something on a megaphone, you send sound waves through a narrow area. The sound waves travel through that narrow area and gets exposed to a wide open area. Sometimes you may feel a slight echo of your voice while speaking. This happens due when sound waves reflect back to the megaphone.

Everything happens so quickly that you usually don’t have time to understand how the megaphone works. The concept is simple enough. When sound waves travel through a narrow space and immediately encounter a vast open space, it transforms and becomes bigger. This is also the reason why you hear an echo while speaking through a megaphone. That is why your speech volume reduces slightly. Ideally, you should speak with a slow pace while using a megaphone.

Size of the megaphone

The size of the megaphone is another factor that determines the loudness of the output volume. A megaphone basically amplifies your voice, making it sound louder. But to amplify the voice, the megaphone also needs to be as long as your voice’s wavelength. You cannot expect a small megaphone to produce a booming sound. That’s because the size is not big enough to support the wavelength of the sound.

The wavelengths of human voices can extend to several feet. Of course, that doesn’t mean the megaphone has to be that long, but ideally, the longer megaphone produces more sound even if you whisper on it.

Not all the megaphones have the same size. Bullhorn, for example, is a relatively shorter version. You may see cheerleaders using bullhorns during a match to show support for their team. Don’t expect them to carry a 4-foot megaphone while cheering. That’s why they use a bullhorn. The shape, structure, and properties are the same; the only difference is the size.

Nowadays, you will find numerous electric megaphones. They also have the same structure, but the size is usually smaller. Since you are replacing the property of the cone doing all the hard work with an electric speaker, the size of the megaphone doesn’t matter here. They work on batteries. Even the smallest variant can produce enough sound that can reach the target audience clearly. Some of these variants can be really loud, with sounds crossing 90 dB.

Now that you know the properties of a megaphone, try to make one at home and surprise the kids.

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