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Old 27th June 2012, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default tweeter choice: dome or ribbon?

Right off the bat, i should state that this thread isnt to compare each genre of tweeter. That subject has been beaten half to death already.
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Old 27th June 2012, 05:54 PM   #2
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Well without knowing the application how are we to make an informed decision? Having said that though it seems you are aware of the technical limitations and advantages of each, so providing the application fits both, all it really boils down to is if you want to use a ribbon or not.

Some people prefer them, some people don't, at some point you're just going to have to try one for yourself and see if you're one of them.
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Old 27th June 2012, 06:02 PM   #3
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I have just received a pair of neo3.5h ribbons. Eagerly i unpacked them and hooked them up using a 12ohm resistor to attenuate them sufficiently, and used the HP filter from the dome i had in the box, the design is in my sig. The filter is 2nd order so hardly optimal for the ribbon.

The frequency response of both tweeters is similar although i will check this in boxsim to be sure. The dome resonance is more obvious to me now, otherwise the two tweets are quite close. There is something about the ribbon.

Listening, left me with a dilemma. Which tweeter do i use?
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Old 27th June 2012, 07:08 PM   #4
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Well at very least you need to optimise the crossover for each of the devices before you can make a valid comparison.
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Old 27th June 2012, 07:45 PM   #5
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haha yes, 5th I agree.

Just ran the sims and woah! Ill have to build the 4th order I planned in order to get it close to the G20sc and compare them on equal terms. Strangely perhaps, the audible change wasnt as extreme as the plot sim revealed.

There is something I like about the Ribbons which I cant put my finger on. Maybe its the slight horn loading?

Hopefully it isnt THD
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Old 27th June 2012, 07:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mondogenerator View Post

There is something I like about the Ribbons which I cant put my finger on. Maybe its the slight horn loading?
Could be...
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Hopefully it isnt THD
You've been reading Zaph's site too much...
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Old 27th June 2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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Well at some point I am going to make sure that I use a ribbon, not sure when though! For what it's worth I love wave-guides, so it's easily possibly that some mild horn loading could be contributing to what you're enjoying.
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Old 27th June 2012, 08:46 PM   #8
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Could be...

You've been reading Zaph's site too much...
Could be....

He does generally loathe ribbons doesnt he? I had never heard one before today, not knowingly at least.

I dont know. Theres some kind of 'ease' with which they produce sound, with 10 Ohm plus to pad them down, they just sound like theyre working alot lot less, in comparison to the domes.



Maybe that IS the horn loading. Even with a asqewed up /screwed up 2nd order(!!!) HP the lower ranges sound different. But nice, the domes sound a bit brash, even though I they should be very flat (in room different i grant thee).

Once I have a break from listening for a day or so, Ill get a reasonable crossover done, rather than an eager botch up!
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Old 27th June 2012, 08:52 PM   #9
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Well at some point I am going to make sure that I use a ribbon, not sure when though!
Well I bought these NeoCD3.5H for ~40 euro each, worked out exactly the same near enough, in 'sss including the delivery to the UK.

I wanted to try the Mivoc magnetstat or the Visaton MHT12 (too much ), but this was (i think, and will probably run off to check) the cheapest option, and the FR is good so....I rolls the dice.
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Old 27th June 2012, 09:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mondogenerator View Post
Could be....

He does generally loathe ribbons doesnt he?
He seems to yes. I'm sure you've seen the non dome shootout on Zaph's site where he rips into them. To be fair, a couple of those cheaper ribbons aren't that good, and not all ribbons are created equal, however the better ones really aren't as bad as he makes out.

Basically he's saying they have higher distortion than a good dome tweeter which is generally true, the problem I have is with his statement that anybody that prefers the sound of a ribbon must prefer it because the distortion is higher...

Distortion of a good ribbon is still well below the threshold of audibility unless you're overdriving them or crossing them over too low. A lot of his testing was at 2Khz, which is frankly far too low for any small format ribbon, so comparing them at that frequency is a bit pointless, a bit like comparing the distortion of different midrange drivers at 100Hz!

Ribbons generally need a higher crossover frequency than domes, that's part of the tradeoff, so they're often not a drop in replacement for a dome design.
Quote:
I had never heard one before today, not knowingly at least.

I dont know. Theres some kind of 'ease' with which they produce sound, with 10 Ohm plus to pad them down, they just sound like theyre working alot lot less, in comparison to the domes.

Yep I know exactly what you mean by them sounding relaxed and "at ease". I have a pair of Aurum Cantus G2 and the same characteristic is apparent.
Quote:
Maybe that IS the horn loading. Even with a asqewed up /screwed up 2nd order(!!!) HP the lower ranges sound different. But nice, the domes sound a bit brash, even though I they should be very flat (in room different i grant thee).
I think the main differences between a ribbon and a dome boil down to two things - almost complete absence of cone breakup, and directivity control. (In the case of a waveguide ribbon)

On my G2 the only resonances it has is a minor one at the fundamental resonance around 1.3Khz, and a slight cavity resonance at 15Khz from the padded cavity behind the ribbon, (which I correct with a 1dB notch) other than that the waterfall plot is free of resonances.

Cone breakup through the sibilance region is I think what causes many dome tweeters to sound "brash" as you describe it, even if they measure fairly flat.

The other thing is the directivity control of the waveguide - most ribbons seem to have waveguides, and I have to wonder if some of the characteristics of ribbons are simply the directivity of the waveguide. (I haven't heard one without a waveguide)

You can get ribbons that don't use waveguide loading (raven makes at least one model) but they're generally much lower in sensitivity and would have even higher distortion, so I wouldn't buy a non-waveguide ribbon. Personally I think the directivity of the waveguide / ribbon combo is an advantage, not a disadvantage... and as well as the directivity itself the waveguide raises the sensitivity as much as 6dB over a non-waveguide ribbon, and increases the maximum SPL and dynamic range by a similar amount.

Some ribbons (I don't know about yours) have a broad rise in response at the top end so you may need to shelve that down slightly in the network for the most natural response, not doing so may lead to an artificial amount of "air" which can sound impressive and hyper realistic at first but ultimately causes the sound balance to lack "body" and sound a bit thin.

Good luck with the design, keep the crossover frequency for the ribbon above 3Khz, and 3rd order electrical or above and you should be fine.
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Last edited by DBMandrake; 27th June 2012 at 09:37 PM.
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