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Old 21st January 2005, 09:11 PM   #1
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Default Ceramic Drivers

Has anyone out there built any projects with or heard any of the Accuton ceramic drivers? I am wondering what they sound like, compared to things like SEAS Excel, etc. I've seen them (online) on some very high end stuff, and am wondering if all the "hype" about ceramics being the "lightest and stiffest" material translates into better sounding speakers.

These things are pricey, probably due to the ceramic manufacturing process, so wondering about the "bang for the buck" factor.

Anybody?
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Old 21st January 2005, 09:31 PM   #2
Joules is offline Joules  United States
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Me too ... What He said?
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Old 21st January 2005, 09:54 PM   #3
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Two rigid cones of the same profile and mass will generally behave quite similarly before breakup, no matter what material they are made of. Inside the passband, the design of the motor is more important, IMO.

Also, metals like aluminum, magnesium, and beryllium (in order of popularity) are generally less dense than the ceramics used in speaker diaphragms. However, many ceramics have a higher modulus of elasticity.
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Old 21st January 2005, 10:00 PM   #4
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Default Two rigid cones of the same...

Thanks for the eloquent science but...the question was if you've HEARD these drivers, which is always the bottom line, no matter what the science says.

I'm guessing you haven't heard these, or you would have said so, so no useful info in your message!
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Old 21st January 2005, 11:10 PM   #5
Joules is offline Joules  United States
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Yea... but how do they sound
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Old 22nd January 2005, 12:13 AM   #6
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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I have a pair Mårten Design Mingus, which, as you may know, use ceramic drivers.

The two 7" drivers in the Minguses are said to cost about $1000. So, yes, ceramic drivers are expensive. Last I heard there was just one manufacturer that could make them. If that's Accuton I wouldn't know. Maybe it had to do with patents. They are said to be very difficult to make.

Lightness and stiffness make a difference. That's the reason Mårten Design's Coltranes have diamond tweeters. Martindesign.com has more on piston drivers.

I can only speak for my speakers, but it just might go for ceramic ones in general. I would call the Minguses analytical. I picked them because I think they work well with the slightly warm sound of the Arcam Delta 290 amp. Having that said, I don't think my speakers are better than equivalent Audiovectors or Dynaudios. I mention those because those were the ones I narrowed the selection down to. I think they have very similar characteristics -- pace, detail, etc. I think if you like one you like them all. (I think my decision eventually came down to design. Everything else was pretty much equal.) While I haven't heard the Coltranes, I got completely blown away by Audiovector's top-of-the-line speakers, S6 Avangarde Arreté. My point is that I couldn't say if whatever difference there is between these makers has to do with ceramics or not. I would think crossovers and box design make at least as big a difference. And probably the biggest difference between the three makers is the choice of tweeters. Especially the two Danes are famous for their tweeters, and Dynaudio uses soft dome tweeters. Not having heard the diamond tweeters (the other speakers in Mårten Design's line have ceramic ones), I think Audiovector has the best tweeters. And they charge you accordingly.

Sorry for getting longwinded. I guess I got overzealous being that this is something I actually think I know something about.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 04:29 AM   #7
sbolin is offline sbolin  Thailand
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I'm interested, too. Also the Eton ER-4 tweet. The Accuton is supposed to be one of the best tweeters you can buy, but precious few people have heard them, so I don't know how they got the reputation.

Thanks for the info, phn. If you compare the Audiovector (which use an AMT tweeter, similar to the Eton) with the Mårten Design Mingus (with the Accuton), which do you prefer? I know it is hard to specify which tweeter you like in these two designs, but what was your immediate impression? Few people have actually heard the Accuton's, so your first hand experience is invaluable.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 03:18 PM   #8
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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Unfortunately I never got to do an A-B-C test. The brands are sold by three different dealers where I live. But I think I prefer the AMT. (Which I just learned are soft dome tweeters.) If I would buy a pair of speakers today and money wasn't an issue (yet not going into fantasy figures) I would most likely have gone with the Audiovector Mi 3 Avangarde. I was probably wrong in my previous post. I think it was the S6 Avangardes I listened to, not the Arretés. What impressed me to no end about the S6s was that they sounded great even at VERY low volume. (This may go for all speakers in this price range.) Just about any bookshelves in the €500 range sound very good if you crank up the volume, but they tend to die at low volume.

I love my Mårten Designs and I'm looking forward to Mårten's new line, which will be introduced early February. But at the same time I'm very partial to the Danes. The Dynaudio Audience 52SE bookshelves are perhaps my current all-around favourites. They completely obliterated the twice as expensive Amphion Creon floorstands in my opinion. The Creons sounded soft and muddled in comparison.

So while I can't give you the perfect answer, I can say this. When the day comes to replace my speakers, ceramics will not be a factor. But I sure wouldn't mind the much too expensive Mårten Design Coltrane Altos. Except now we have entered fantasyland.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 04:11 PM   #9
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Default But I sure wouldn't mind the much too expensive Mårten Design Coltrane Altos...

Dear "PHN" -

Thanks for all your thorough and useful feedback - but hey - this is a DIY forum! You can buy all the drivers in those $50,000 (U.S.) speakers and build your own! Yes, the diamond tweeters retail for around $2600 apiece, but a pair of those will cost you only 10% of the Coltranes, or you could just stick with the ceramics all around for much less.

Although it may be difficult to approach the sound quality of a $50k set of speakers with a DIY project, given what goes into the x-overs, cabinets, etc., but with the same drivers I'm sure a skilled builder could come very close, and that's what we're all about here - we like to rise to such challenges!

Thanks again.
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Old 22nd January 2005, 04:54 PM   #10
markp is offline markp  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by phn
But I think I prefer the AMT. (Which I just learned are soft dome tweeters.)
The AMT tweeters are not soft domes they are AMT, air motion transformers. They are made famous by ESS in the '70s. They are pleated diaphrams that are held between two magnets and 'squeeze' the pleats together to make sound. Look up Heil AMT to get more details.
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