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Material matters: do different materials have a signature sound?

JRS

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I was delighted to see that BlieSMa is about to release it's new 3" dome midrange in 4, yes, 4 different flavors: paper, silk, Mg-Al, and of course Beryllium. They all use the same motor and with the exception of the beryllium, all cost about the same, which is to say a lot. And it gives a lot: 97dB, flat to 5K and beyond depending on material, and a very smooth FR with good to great distortion numbers.

I'm pretty sure that any of these would make an exquisite centerpiece in a three way. At the same time, I wonder what people think about the "sound" of different materials, not out of band resonances, but the sound that is felt by some to be inherent in the material used. If you read through to the end to the subjective impressions, you will find all manner of adjectives to describe the sound, paper is a liar, silk is oooh so sweet, but too soft, Aluminum too loud when it's time to shut up, and Beryllium which just drills it, yet truth is not always best, when unvarnished. Or words to that effect.

Check out the differences in dispersion--I am not surprised that there are differences, just wasn't expecting silk to be so far off the mark. Waterfalls are interesting as well, Beryllium rings like a BEll at 10K (reflection from enclosure?) and no where else. So by far the best behaved.

Obviously there are differences among these drivers: but do people believe that they all sound alike, assuming no breaks-up, within comfortable limits loudness wise, and well within the frequency range for all the drivers--lets sax 600 to 4.5K?

As for myself, I don't know, I've never heard four flavors of one driver. Nor am I sure which would I'd buy, leaning toward silk...., but the BE is textbook.

Oh if you have trouble with translating the article, Chrome will do it automatically, and google translate should work within other browsers.

 

Holmz

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….
Obviously there are differences among these drivers: but do people believe that they all sound alike, assuming no breaks-up, within comfortable limits loudness wise, and well within the frequency range for all the drivers--lets sax 600 to 4.5K?
…]

I suspect that it is all either cone break up or resonance… And the materials used affects both of those hugely.

Ideally the material selected is:
  • strong
  • stiff
  • damped
The Be maybe 2 out of 3.
 

thewas

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JRS

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I suspect that it is all either cone break up or resonance… And the materials used affects both of those hugely.

Ideally the material selected is:
  • strong
  • stiff
  • damped
The Be maybe 2 out of 3.
I have always thought so, but so many seem to believe that there are trademark sounds. Even the designer for this company which like Prifi is jst killing it, seems to embrace the notion, as does Troels Graveson, and J. Krutke to name a couple. And many more who had been around a while who have designed tons of speaker

But that's why I thought it was a great question to ask here, given that there is a more skeptical view taken generally in such matters.
May have to do it as a poll, given the poor showing so far.
 

Holmz

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I have always thought so, but so many seem to believe that there are trademark sounds. Even the designer for this company which like Prifi is jst killing it, seems to embrace the notion, as does Troels Graveson, and J. Krutke to name a couple. And many more who had been around a while who have designed tons of speaker

But that's why I thought it was a great question to ask here, given that there is a more skeptical view taken generally in such matters.
May have to do it as a poll, given the poor showing so far.

I dunno.

  • There are SsanSpeak, klike the 18wu, which is astounding.
  • The Acuton which are weigh honeycomb jobs with stiff cones.
  • The Vandersteen Carbon and balsa composite.
  • The purifi woofers
They all are low distortion. The firs and last address motor linearity.
The 2nd and 3rd are cone break up.
(#3 may also be Ing the wu18 motor so it is a bit of both)

I heard a small speaker based upon the Purifi woofer.
it sounded quiet, with little distortion, so I think that the (IMO) signature sounds that these speakers have is that they are transparent.

When they get good, then they are all sounding alike.
 

alex-z

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In a properly designed speaker, you won't hear the material effects. No sane designer is going to leave the cone breakup intact unless they have a corporate gun to their head. You can far more easily hear the differences in raw drivers.
 

Trouble Maker

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Is it usual for unit (raw driver) testing/analysis to do distortion like that, at fixed Voltages instead of fixed dB? Really hard to compare to each other let alone most usual complete unit (assembled speaker) standards e.g. 96dB
 

BenB

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For most applications I think I'd choose the aluminum. All versions have pretty much the same low frequency response, so the high freqeuncy response will be the deciding factor. The beryllium version pushes the resonance peak higher in frequency, but its dispersion isn't as broad as the aluminum version in the 3.5 - 6 kHz range. That means I could actually use the aluminum version higher in frequency than I could use the beryllium version. However, if one needed the extra sensitivity that the beryllium offers in the 1 - 6 kHz range, then that mighe be a deciding factor. Since these are high sensitivity, that probably wont be the case often, and the aluminum will offer enough sensitivy to meet the needs of the overall speaker design.
 
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JRS

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Is it usual for unit (raw driver) testing/analysis to do distortion like that, at fixed Voltages instead of fixed dB? Really hard to compare to each other let alone most usual complete unit (assembled speaker) standards e.g. 96dB
They are all within a dB of one another in terms of efficiency, so while not ideal, hardly makes it an apples an oranges comparison.
 
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JRS

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Here is a quick read, which may be of some interest.
Very good article IMO, thx for the link. As I said above, I have never had the opportunity to a/b or a/b/c/d different materials in the same motor and surround--at least I think it is the same. In any event about as close to a true test of the hypothesis that materials have a sound that is present even when well behaved as one will ever get.
 
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