The 6 Best Megaphones
6. Pyle Bullhorn
5. Sugar Home
4. Outback Safari
3. AmpliVox Mity-Meg
2. Pyle Portable
1. Kestrel Blue Ocean
I'm Picking Up Good Vibrations
You may be aware that sound is a matter of vibration. Think of it as a minor atmospheric disturbance caused by the transfer of energy from one object in space to its surrounding environment.
If we dig a little deeper, though, another question presents itself: What makes it possible for one thing in an environment to transmit energy as sound?
The answer will likely break down your understanding of physics and the universe as you know it, so, get ready.
At the core of it all, of everything, is vibration. At the atomic level or the quantum level, this is a basic idea, and it's why those new age types are so keen on feeling your vibrations.
The reason you can put your hand through water and not through wood is that the atomic structure of wood operates at a higher vibrational frequency than your hand, and your hand operates at a higher vibrational frequency than the water.
Of course, these vibrations are measured in conjunction with the variable of time, which is why water can, eventually and under the right circumstances, permeate wood and even stone.
When we accept that time and space are essentially the same thing that is simply measured in two ways, we can see why a more powerful megaphone is needed to amplify the vibration of your voice enough to permeate a greater distance. It'd be like increasing the water pressure in an aquifer.
At any level of power, simply increasing the surface area of a vibrating source will magnify its ability to travel across space. It will seem louder and travel farther.
When you add the kinds of drivers to the mix that megaphones use (those are the little cylindrical pieces in the middle of the cone), the megaphone becomes a tripartite source: Mouth, driver, cone.
The more powerful the driver, and the bigger the cone, the greater your voice will carry.
A Megaton Of Options
At first glance, it might be hard to see any real difference between one megaphone and the next. They're all shaped basically the same, with a little removable handheld microphone, a long bell, and a handle.
Similarities, while reassuring to a certain extent, can make a product decision more difficult for lack of real comparability.
Fortunately for you, we've gone ahead and taken a lot of the sting out of your search by presenting you with the cream of the crop. You don't want all the cream, though, just a good spoonful.
Well, what's your taste in cream? Leaving the metaphor aside, what are you going to use your megaphone to accomplish?
Are you rallying fellow students in a crowded and boisterous gymnasium? Perhaps you're speaking truth to power at an Occupy rally wherever they might still be happening. In noisy, crowded areas, you're going to want as much power and are coverage as you can get.
Think of every other object in space as a potential impediment to the journey of your sound waves. Every fellow student or protestor, every colorful sign or well-made banner will dampen your efforts to reach the masses. You want a powerful driver and a big cone.
If this is a purchase meant for smaller venues and more amenable crowds, like keeping the kids in line as they prepare for a school day, a smaller megaphone would do you just fine.
There's also the possibility that you want to use your megaphone as a music player by hooking up your phone or MP3 player to it. Well, first of all, make sure that you can do that with the model you're eying, then check to see if it creates a clear enough sound to satisfy your tastes.
Binoculars For The Ears
There's some bit of controversy surrounding the actual invention of the megaphone as we know it today, and early designs were as much for hearing from great distances as they were for projecting one's voice. They were like binoculars, or telescopes, but for the ears.
You might remember seeing images of Beethoven, who, sadly, went progressively deaf as he aged, operating a small, coiled hearing device that looked like a miniature version of the speaker on an old record player.
These early hearing aides were smaller versions of the first megaphones, which were meant to send as well as receive, a feat made possible by the fact that they weren't electric. It was a simple trick of acoustic physics.
The first developments of those acoustic megaphones reach back into the 17th century, with Edison coming along some 200 years later to advance the design.
In the 1970s, much like Bob Dylan a few years prior, megaphones went electric. Since then, electric models have come to dominance in every arena save the cheer-leading floor. They've gotten more powerful with time, but they have also, for better or worse, lost their ability to receive.