Doppler Turntable

Two speakers, one at each end of rotating platform; beating due to frequency shift of speakers travelling in opposite directions.

What it shows:

Doppler shifting of sound to higher frequencies occurs when a source is moving towards the observer, and shifted to lower frequencies when the source is moving away. Here two sources emitting the same frequency when stationary rotate on a turntable. With one source moving towards you and one away, the Doppler shifted waves interfere to create beats.

How it works:

Two 1.5W 8Ω speakers are mounted at opposite ends of a 1.5m long wooden beam (see figure 1). The signal generator, based on an Intersil 8038 waveform generator chip and an LM386 audio power amp (see figure 2), sits in the central control box. It has adjustable frequency and volume, but sends the same magnitude of each to both speakers. The beam is itself mounted on a turntable, and can be set to spin in a horizontal circle.

figure 1. Speaker arrangement (side view)

doppler turntable

Setting it up:

Secure the turntable platform with a C-clamp to a cart away from obstacles. Choose a volume setting in keeping with the hall size.


As mentioned in Setting it up, you need the space to swing your speakers, so take into account which demos accompany this one onto the floor. Also beware of reflections off other nearby objects Rating **

figure 2. Circuit diagram for frequency generator.

doppler turntable