How does a single speaker, headphones, make it sound like different noises are coming out at once?

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How can it play both a bass note and a high note at once and have it sound like two things are playing rather than merging into one note? Or does it merge into one note and we are able to decipher the mess?

In: Technology

> Or does it merge into one note and we are able to decipher the mess?

It merges into one waveform and we are able to decipher the mess. Think about it, sound is pressure waves in air, right? And can air be two pressures at the same point and time? Of course not! So when sounds interact they interfere either constructively (two peaks becoming higher peaks, two valleys becoming lower valleys) or destructively (peak and valley canceling out) to form a single wave. All the speaker needs to do then is reproduce that single complex wave.

Remember you only have one eardrum per ear so a speaker only needs one diaphragm to make it move as required.