Experiments with $100,000+ Speakers | Summary and Q&A

June 6, 2019
Physics Girl
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Experiments with $100,000+ Speakers


Experiments test the power of sound waves from powerful speakers, revealing resonant frequencies that can flatten flames, move body parts, and create standing wave patterns.

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Key Insights

  • 👋 Sound waves can have powerful effects, such as flattening flames and moving physical objects.
  • ❓ Resonance is a common phenomenon that can be observed in various situations.
  • 😘 The resonant frequency of the human body is too low for audible sound, but the chest area can resonate with frequencies around 25-50 hertz.
  • 💦 Experiments don't always work out as planned, but they provide valuable insights and learning opportunities.
  • 👋 The trashcan in the nightclub had the best resonance, with Oobleck showing interesting standing wave patterns.
  • 😃 Body parts like the eyes have specific resonant frequencies, but the speaker system wasn't powerful enough to create noticeable effects.


  • [Announcer] Thanks to CuriosityStream for supporting PBS digital studios. - [Diana] The flames were shaken so hard by the sound waves coming out of the speakers that the flames flattened out and became horizontal. I did not expect that. I'm having Adam sleep on 19 hertz to see if we can feel it in our eyes at all. But I don't know if the speaker ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the sound waves affect the flames from the candles?

The flames were flattened out and became horizontal due to the strong sound waves. It is unclear whether they were actually flattening or moving quickly that the camera couldn't capture it.

Q: What body parts were tested for resonance?

The stage and water bottle were tested, creating vibrations and physical movement in response to the sound waves. The body as a whole could not resonate due to the low frequency.

Q: What is resonance and what are some examples?

Resonance is a phenomenon where an object naturally vibrates in response to a driving force at the same frequency. Examples include breaking wineglasses with a loud note and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsing due to wind-induced vibrations.

Q: Why couldn't the whole body resonate with the speakers?

The resonant frequency of the human body is around 5-10 hertz, which is below the level of human hearing. The subwoofers used in the experiment couldn't play frequencies as low as 5 hertz.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The flames from candles were flattened out by the sound waves, showing the power of the speakers.

  • The speaker system was tested to see if it could make different body parts resonate, with the stage and water bottle responding to the sound waves.

  • While the whole body couldn't be made to resonate due to the low frequency, the subwoofer speakers were able to create resonant frequencies in the chest area.

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