A megaphone, also known as a bullhorn, is a hand-held and cone-shaped device used to amplify the human voice and other sounds in a particular direction. It was invented in the 17th century by Samuel Morland and Athanasius Kircher. It was augmented in 1878 by Thomas Edison to aid people with hearing problems.
The narrow end of the megaphone is where the sound is introduced, which is then amplified through the wide end. Additionally, the sound amplified by the megaphone follows the direction to which the wide end is pointed.
Megaphones have been amplifying human voices for thousands of years. Over time, they have evolved to include more features, some of which are present in a specific type.
- Range. Megaphones are capable of being heard from a hundred feet distance, even with low wattage. The width of the horns determines its range. Narrow horns concentrate sound waves to a more extended range, while wider horns amplify sound to a broader range.
- Alarms. Megaphones also come with a louder alarm system that can alert a crowd.
- Recording. Some megaphones are also capable of playing back short recordings, which is handy for giving instructions.
- Batteries. Some megaphones are battery-operated so that they can be used even if there is no electrical energy.
- Detachable microphones. The horn of a megaphone may block your face when making announcements. Some megaphones come with detachable microphones that allow you to direct your voice in a specific direction even without looking there.
Why Use a Megaphone
Talking to a crowd could be very tough, especially when you are not gifted with a solid and loud voice. Your voice can only be heard by about 20 to 30 people nearby. Since the megaphone works as a microphone and loudspeaker simultaneously, you can use it to deliver your message to an open area. Specifically, you can use it in rallies, sports competitions, and other public gatherings.
Hence, it is convenient to use a megaphone if you want to catch the attention of a larger crowd from a farther distance. Add to this convenience, the megaphone is efficient and easy to use. You can choose from a variety of megaphones to see what is best for your needs. For wiser decision-making, read this handy guide to megaphones.
Types of Megaphones
Megaphones come in different models, which can be classified according to their specific features. Generally, megaphones are categorized either as acoustic or powered. The acoustic megaphone is just a funnel that projects voice. Meanwhile, the powered megaphone consists of other components, including a microphone, amplifier, loudspeaker, and funnel.
Nowadays, megaphones are classified according to what features they highlight. Below are the different types of megaphones.
- Hand-held megaphone. A hand-held megaphone is the most classic type of megaphone with a pistol grip that holds the entire device upright when used. It is ideal for directing your voice in a specific direction when making public announcements in open spaces but has the drawback of covering your face.
- Shoulder-type megaphone. This type of megaphone comes with a strap that secures the device to the user’s shoulder for a more comfortable operation. You can use its detachable microphone without covering your entire face.
- Battery-operated megaphone. This type of megaphone operates on rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs or alkaline batteries. It is best for making announcements outdoor, where electrical energy is not readily available.
- Strobe megaphone. Strobe megaphone highlights a strobe light feature that is handy for making public warning signals. It is commonly used for ensuring public safety with its additional features such as siren, recording, and whistle.
- Wand megaphone. This handy, wand-shaped megaphone is also designed for safeguarding public safety. Its wand could have either a steady or a flashing red light. It also has a whistle for giving safety warnings.
Megaphones can also be classified according to their range, namely short-ranged, mid-ranged, and long-ranged. Short-ranged megaphones are suitable for audiences composed of at most 50 people within a 100-yard radius. Mid-ranged megaphones could reach up to 900 yards, which makes them ideal for larger crowds. Lastly, long-range megaphones are designed for disaster risk management, with a sound reach that could range up to one mile. Add to this, long-range megaphones are weather resistant and durable, so they can be efficiently used during calamities.
Megaphones are handy devices that allow you to make public announcements and safety warnings. Over the years, megaphones developed to include more features such as longer and wider range, alarm systems, recording, and batteries. Megaphones have different types, depending on what features they highlight.