Dampening. When a spring is stretched and released, it may go through one or more cycles of compression and expansion before settling back to it's original position.
When a string on a musical instrument is struck, plucked, picked, or bowed, it also goes through cycles of vibration. The string will vibrate less if it's dampened and will produce a shorter sustain and release portion of the amplitude envelope.
Dampening can also be a factor in speakers. When a speaker is excited by a signal it can react in four ways.
(1) The speaker can be overdamped, meaning that it'll return to it's equilibrium position without any dampening cycles.
(2) The speaker can be critically damped, meaning that it will very quickly return to the equilibrium position with very few oscillations.
(3) The speaker could be underdamped, meaning that it'll oscillate a while before returning to the equilibrium position, or...
(4) The speaker could be undamped, and actually oscillate at it's resonance frequency.
Most high-quality studio audio speakers are closer to being critically damped, while many cheaper consumer speakers will tend to be closer to underdamped. This means that especially bass notes, will sound more staccato (have a shorter amplitude envelope) when heard on studio speakers, and more legato (have a longer amplitude envelope) when heard on some consumer gear
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