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Old 1st September 2012, 12:01 AM   #1
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Default Enabling, MAOP on Markaudio drivers

Hi Guys,
The Alpair 10 MAOP is proving to be an interesting assembly project for Markaudio. 79 pairs will have been produced by the end of this month. Nearly all this production is destined for Japan, China and Singapore. Apologies that I've not been able to contribute much to the threads lately as we're short-handed in the factory and my bad back is still a feature of my working landscape. Anyone who's lugged cartons of magnets around will testify to the sweat and tears.

Since announcing the Alpair 10 MAOP, I've received to-date 57 emails on the subject. I'm asked about the differences between these 2 processes and of acoustic improvement. Due to time constraints, its not practical for me to answer all these emails in detail, so hopefully this thread will help.

MAOP and Enabling processes:
Briefly, MAOP is a electro chemical conversion process that changes the state of the surface layer of the substrate (metal cone material). In our process, as part of this conversion a fine crystalline structure is formed on the substrate. The overall mass + change is less than 0.24% on the current batch of converted cones and caps. Enalbing is an applied process (painted), usually coatings and a series of raised dots placed on the surface of the substrate. Some mass will be added (I don't know how much).

Effects:
Both process are reductive. They reduce the cone's emittance. In the case of MAOP, the fine pores in the converted layer absorb around 3% to 5% of the variance in the micro-resance pattern between 1.1KHz to 27.8KHz. Note the term "micro-resonance", referring to the sub-carrier signal patterns contained within primary mechanical signals passing across the surface of the substrate. Far as I know Enabling has only been measured in the primary signal form (frequency test). From what I've seen it produces a small change in the spectrum at this level of measurement.

Outcomes:
Both processes demonstrate measurable differences and have been reported by end users as audible.

Dave (Planet 10), Chris B and many Enabling end-users are firm believers that Enabling improves acoustic performance. Their claims are periodically disputed. Often the debates become very heated. As a driver manufacturer, I should make the following points (Apologies - long overdue)

1 - I encourage Dave et.al in their efforts to experiment and customise drivers to suite the needs and tastes of their customer base. This work is incredibly skilled painstaking and visually attractive. Such custom work deserves appreciation.

2 - As a maker, I can't automatically endorse the performance improvement claims made by any customiser. I didn't design Markaudio standard low-mass driver power-trains to take additional coatings and added mass. End-users selecting third party customised drivers will have to rely on the customiser for product performance warrantee and application issues.

3 - As a Maker of MAOP power-trains, I have explained in various posts over recent months the emitted difference between MAOP and standard versions. The skill required to assemble an MAOP power-train is very demanding and the MAOP process is very time consuming and expensive. Each driver pair is assembled by an skilled audio production engineer (not by 18 year old kids on a production line). When buying an MAOP matched pair of drivers, your money goes to support these efforts.

4 - MAOP drivers, like Enabling and other similar processes can't prove musical improvement, but can usually demonstrate a state change in output. For those who want to know what the changes sound like, posts exist in various places on the forum. I recommend you do a search. For me personally, I very much like MAOP for its "smoothing/soothing" effect. I've got allot of compressed music CD's that now sound allot better on MAOP. But I've got other CD's, excellent recordings that remain playing on standard drivers. I'm a fan of Classical music and nigh-time jazz on MAOP. If you're like me, I'm forever swapping in/out systems much to the annoyance of my partner.

5 - There's no single set of world-wide quantitative/qualitative agreed industry standards by which all drivers can be tested. In essence, nobody's come up with a comprehensive set of driver musical output standards upon which most can agree. Therefore any company, enterprise or individual who "claims" musical/acoustic improvement should be understood as given opinion, rather than stating a provable fact. In my case, I'm happy to stick to engineering principles. For example, many members asked me to improve the Alpair 12 by raising SPL and increasing bandwidth on the new model. This I've done. Its now up to end-uers to determine if the 12P is "better" than the old model. Judging from healthy sales, I'd say the 12P is heading in the right direction.

Hope this helps and apologies to emailers if I send a short reply and refer you to this thread.

Thanks
Mark.

Last edited by markaudio; 1st September 2012 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 1st September 2012, 06:04 AM   #2
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Mark, might I posit the theory that since "all the science isn't in" on the latter of the two, that there may be some similarities between the MAOP and EnABL process in terms of what is happening at the boundary layer/interface of the cone surface and the air into which it's working?

just a late night rambling - tonight's fuel was a nice & cheap Jumilla Monastrell

In any case, thanks for your gracious address to this often very partisan conversation.
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Old 1st September 2012, 10:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
Mark, might I posit the theory that since "all the science isn't in" on the latter of the two, that there may be some similarities between the MAOP and EnABL process in terms of what is happening at the boundary layer/interface of the cone surface and the air into which it's working?

just a late night rambling - tonight's fuel was a nice & cheap Jumilla Monastrell

In any case, thanks for your gracious address to this often very partisan conversation.
Hi Chris,
I think you're heading in the direction of Aerospace and Energy industries (the latter being my old stamping ground); With the partial reference to viscous non, or semi-non laminar flow for a body in contact with air.

The properties of Boundary Laminar flow are well explored with the advent of sub-sonic and super-sonic air travel. Laminar flow in the energy industries are also well understood in the transmission of gases and liquids. For the most part, the latter's research concentrates of the flow of gases and liquids over the surface of a fixed body.

Given the small amounts of converted energy involved, being able to demonstrate any state change from raised dots in relation to boundary layering on a cone surface that's clearly audible, would be a very significant challenge. More likely, Enabled coatings and dots have a restrictive effect on cones. That is the cone's flex ratio at points along its radii are changed, possibly less flex, hence increased dampening. Where a cone is low mass or ultra low mass, Enabling would likely have an increased dampening effect.

In the case of MAOP, the emitted state change is partly achieved by energy conversion in the porus converted layer of the substrate; A similar process to many acoustic dampening materials. In my research, I detected a 1.2C temperature differential in an Alpair 10 MAOP cone body at hour 5 being subjected to a single continuous signal, compared to its standard version. Testing both these cones was simultaneously on identical rigs to minimise external variables. The increase in the MAOP's cone surface temperature is indicative of energy conversion necessary to effect a dampening characteristic.

There's likely some trialled experimentation somewhere that explores the relationship between a boundary layer and a audio emitter's cone (moving body). I'd certainly be interested to see some specific comprehensive research.

Mine's Naked Grapes "Moscato'

Cheers
Mark.

Last edited by markaudio; 1st September 2012 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 26th December 2012, 04:44 PM   #4
StevenZ is offline StevenZ  United States
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Any chance of having some Alpair 10 MAOP sent to the USA? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to buy a pair of these.

Thanks,
Steven
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Old 26th December 2012, 06:12 PM   #5
golfnut is offline golfnut  New Zealand
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Hi Mark, others

Some thoughts about enabling...

I must confess, when I first saw this I thought what a load of crap. But there may be something to it. If one imagines the cone as a type of mechanical transmission line where a mechanical impulse provided by the motor propagates outwards from the centre of the cone to the surround. If there is not a good impedance match between the cone and the surround, then refections occur - and hence resonances exist. One way to supress refections is to muddy the point where the reflections occur, in effect creating many reflections of different phase that cancel each other out. The technique has analogues elsewhere including stealth technology and and most notably the foam wedges in anechoic rooms.

regards
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Old 26th December 2012, 11:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfnut View Post
Hi Mark, others

Some thoughts about enabling...

I must confess, when I first saw this I thought what a load of crap. But there may be something to it. If one imagines the cone as a type of mechanical transmission line where a mechanical impulse provided by the motor propagates outwards from the centre of the cone to the surround. If there is not a good impedance match between the cone and the surround, then refections occur - and hence resonances exist. One way to supress refections is to muddy the point where the reflections occur, in effect creating many reflections of different phase that cancel each other out. The technique has analogues elsewhere including stealth technology and and most notably the foam wedges in anechoic rooms.

regards
Hi Rod, (Guys),
I've been busy over the Christmas period. 1.5 tons of drivers left our factory on Christmas day (China doesn't have an official Xmas holiday)! Since returning to Hong Kong, I've been catching up with an email backlog, apologies to those still waiting for answers. Larger apologies to those who kindly sent me seasonal greetings emails, I will reply by end of first week Jan.

Regarding your comments on Enabling, I've highlighted part of the comment in green to indicate that its quite useful to think in these terms. The comment does a reasonable job of describing one part of the emittance process. Its following comment is highlighted red, indicating my uncertainty regarding your meaning. I think I sort of understand what your trying to say, but the relationship between a cone and its surround (front suspension) is in itself more complex. The properties of the front suspension, in relation to its operation with rest of the driver's power-train in suspensive, air sealing and damping terms is allot more complex.

Specifically on Enabling, I recollect Dave (Planet 10) telling me he places the dots at particular positions on the cone. I think Dave does allot of hands on listening and tapping of a driver's cone to determine the points at which it may produce greater emittance variance. I gather the dots add a control and/or damping factor. I've not been sent any specific measurements illustrating how the dots control/effect the cone's output.

Dave (et al. other Enablers) may have additional methods to further deal with the application and operation of this process. I've spent little time researching the original concept so please accept my apologies for any potential in-accuracies in my description of Enabling as I know it via Planet 10.

The benefits of Enabling remains a contentious issue. Others (including myself) have published frequency data indicating a marginal state of change from Enabled drivers. Im my opinion, its reasonable to accept that a small change in output will be noticeably audible for some listeners, therefore becomes an issue of personal choice/taste.

Dave's forum would be a good place to go into more depth on Enabling:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/planet-10-hifi/

Regarding MAOP, its a different process (see previous posts) in terms of its construction.

Hope this helps and save me a beer for my next visit to NZ!

Cheers
Mark.

Last edited by markaudio; 26th December 2012 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 26th December 2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenZ View Post
Any chance of having some Alpair 10 MAOP sent to the USA? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to buy a pair of these.

Thanks,
Steven
Hi Steve,
Feel free to email me direct for supply: support@markaudio.com

Thanks
Mark
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Old 26th December 2012, 11:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markaudio View Post
Specifically on Enabling, I recollect Dave (Planet 10) telling me he places the dots at particular positions on the cone. I think Dave does allot of hands on listening and tapping of a driver's cone to determine the points at which it may produce greater emittance variance.
With EnABL2 the driver tells you where to put the ring-sets. The tap test shows where the character of sound from the cone changes as you move radially up & down the cone. Some discussions with Mark indicate that there may actually be a correspondence between the cone shape and where the rings end up going. This has yet to be confirmed.

Mark's drivers are very well designed, very good straight out of the box, and no additional treatment is done than EnABL2 (except that a primer coat is done on those with raw paper cones to seal the surface before spots). Gilding the lily so to say. Some other drivers we do, need to have other remedial work done to tame certain issues that some people find objectional when in stock form.

dave
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Old 27th December 2012, 10:29 PM   #9
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Hi Guys,
For me personally, I like the "artisan" aspect to both Enabling and MAOP. I know Dave spends many hours working on coating cones, pain-staking work so that alone deserves merit. As do Evan Yu, Kitagowa san and Jeff Taniguchi san making MAOP drivers. Both processes require significant amounts of work dedication from all these guys.

It will be interesting to see how both these technologies (and others) develop in future years.

Cheers
Mark.
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