What is the technical term for the distorted, rumbly, windy sound headphones or speakers make when they are unable to properly play a high amplitude bass tone? The sound when the driver is not following the audio wave, but is instead skipping (or adding) sound wave peaks not in the input signal.
What you are actually hearing is square waves. What happens when a speaker is fed a signal that exceeds the amplitude it can produce is that the speaker coil projects the diaphram to the limit of how far it can travel. This results in an abrupt stop to the sound pressure and it stays pegged at the extreme end until the signal amplitude falls enough for it to move away from the extreme.
The term clipping is applied because the normal waveform exceeds the maximum amplitude and is clipped off at the maximum. It is worth noting that this occurs at any frequency of sound, but tends to be more noticeable on lower frequencies due to the power of lower frequencies and the fact that the speaker is pegged to an extreme for longer at a time. It generally takes on a more rattly sound at higher frequencies since the speaker is more rapidly thrust between extreme limits.
A number of terms can be applied:
- electromagnetically saturated
Also seen written on a repair tag at a major recording studio in L.A. circa 1975: "This VOT [voice of the theater] sounds like Vapid Schmooy"
"The loudspeaker is by far the poorest link in the reproduction chain for all forms of distortion, and this includes nonlinear distortion, frequency response distortion, phase distortion, and time distortion. Compared to the electronics of a system, loudspeakers are horrible."
Wiki on distortion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distortion
Also many electric guitar players will call less than desirable bass tone, "mud" or "muddy".