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We need to purchase a new speaker for audio ERP study, so the sound should be played in lowest possible latency with lowest possible jitter. I have seen quite a few suggestion on the OS/driver/sound card part, but it seems that there is less information about how to choose the proper speaker.

What is the common latency between the the time point when the sound card actually start sending out signal, and the time point when the speaker actually start vibrating? And are there any point that we should take care when choosing the speaker?

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  • $\begingroup$ Just a curious question, but how does speaker relate to psychology? $\endgroup$ – Ooker Jan 9 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Ooker I believe technique questions are on-topic here as a stack intended to be geared towards scientific professionals, and stimulus presentation is a key part of many neuroscientific studies. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jan 9 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Cloudy Have you tried methods sections of papers in your field? I've done rodent auditory work so our concerns are usually with speakers that have good characteristics in the ultrasonic frequencies so I can't suggest anything in particular for human work, but it's pretty standard in our field to describe the equipment used for stimuli in quite a lot of detail. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jan 9 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Cloudy Without creating an unnecessary extra answer, speakers who's cone is larger than 8 inches are not considered high fidelity by purists, as the larger the cone the greater the phase-lag in the low frequencies. This may or may not be relevant to your situation. $\endgroup$ – We are Monica. Jan 10 at 1:19
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There is generally an intervening stage between the sound card and the speaker, the amplifier. From the output of the amplifier to the speaker, there is an electrical signal traveling at like 0.01C that then drive the speaker via an electromagnet. The transmission and transduction time is essentially zero. Further, you can safely ignore any jitter.

For powered speakers, or amplifiers, there are all sorts of models. Some might have some built in filtering that could introduce a delay, but it is probably negligible.

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