What is a Self-Contained Siren?

A self-contained siren refers to a noisemaking device where the siren driver and speaker are included in the same unit. This is not to be confused with a standalone speaker, which requires an added siren driver. A self-contained siren will typically require some output from the panel.

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Nearly every alarm system has some type of noisemaker. This is necessary alerting on-site occupants to a burglary or fire alarm. However, some users may want to have audible alarms occur in a second area. They may also want to increase the maximum volume of their system's noisemaker. That is where external sirens come into play. An external siren that includes both the speaker and siren driver in one package is referred to as a self-contained siren.

Many wireless alarm control panels actually come with integrated noisemakers that could technically be considered self-contained sirens. Most of these noisemakers rely on the logic from the panel to serve as the siren driver. Meanwhile, the integrated speaker serves its job as the sounder. However, these are not normally considered to be self-contained sirens.The reason is because self-contained sirens are usually recognized as external noisemaking devices. When they contain both a siren driver and a speaker, then they are self-contained.

It's important to understand that a speaker does not have all the required resources to produce an alarm sound on its own. Basically, a speaker lacks the knowledge or programming to produce an alarm sound. If you apply power to a speaker without a driver, you will just get a hissing sound. You need the siren driver to give the speaker the logic to produce the alarm tone. Once you run current through a speaker that is receiving input from a siren driver, you will get the alarm tone you expect.

Alarm Grid sells both self-contained sirens and standalone speakers. Most users end up going with contained sirens because they are easier to work with. Additionally, standalone speakers don't offer many major advantages, other than being able to customize and hand-pick the siren driver that is used. If you have a standalone speaker and you need a siren driver, the Elk 110 is a viable option. Remember, most sirens also require an external power supply and a power relay to interface with an alarm system.

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