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Old 15th October 2002, 09:27 PM   #1
Ignite is offline Ignite  Canada
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Default tiny fullrange driver array idea

I was sitting listening to a pair of $20 headphones, listening to thier suprising sound quality. I got this idea:
What if I were to purchase a large amount of headphone-type drivers and make array speakers out of them? I would get reasonably good volume levels with large amounts of the drivers, and they tend to be very accurate. I would probably make dipoles and just cut the high frequencies 6db to yield fairly linear response down to the point where I'd xo to a monopole subwoofer.

This could be an inexpensive design, and although rather odd, might yield suprisingly good results.

Thoughts? Problems?
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Old 15th October 2002, 09:38 PM   #2
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Old 15th October 2002, 09:52 PM   #3
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Why is that?
All I expect is the same sound quality but at higher volume level.

This is enticing to me because the sort of drivers found in headphones can be found as surplus at ridiculously low prices. The small drivers tend to be very accurate but incapable of any decent volume level. If i have many, volume stops being an issue.

This sort of drivers uses a very thin polypropelene film, which seems to me capable of producing a similar effect as using mylar in electrostatic speakers.
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Old 15th October 2002, 09:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Thoughts? Problems?
I fear those tiny drivers just won`t have enough (linear) excursion for use as ordinary speakers.
The power rating and efficiency is supposed to be veeery low too.
You would need huuuuge amounts of them to get reasonable sound presssure level.....and then it is not so cheap anymore.
Better to make an array of minimum of 3-5 inch diameter fullrange units IMHO.
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Old 15th October 2002, 10:05 PM   #5
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I agree, there isn't much excursion.. I'd have to cross over to bass drivers at a fairly high frequency. Many headphone manufacturers boast 115dB SPL @ 1v rms though.

I suppose finding out the actual excursion for one of these drivers would help greatly in determining the actual SPL achievable from a single driver. This appears to be somewhat difficult
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Old 15th October 2002, 10:25 PM   #6
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Many headphone manufacturers boast 115dB SPL @ 1v rms though.
Ignite,

Yes, but probably at 20mm ear/driver distance and only a couple of cubic cm`s of "room"-volume.
How about at 1m distance and in a normal living room?
Determing excursion first sounds like a good idea
If they are so cheap, the easiest way might be to slaughter one and to throw a look at the voice coil and the magnetic gap height. After You have seen that miniature coil, likely You`ll reject Your idea anyway, I guess

Quote:
This sort of drivers uses a very thin polypropelene film, which seems to me capable of producing a similar effect as using mylar in electrostatic speakers.
And You know how big diaphragm area on electrostatics usually is. Just calculate how many of Your drivers You would need to keep up with average electrostatics diaphragm area. You`ll need
dozens of them
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Old 15th October 2002, 10:31 PM   #7
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The 115db at 1v is measured in the ear cavity. So is the frequency response. Move is 6-10 feet away and it's a different ballgame.

Take a pair of headphones, put them on and adjust the level to your preference. Now take the headphones off and walk 8 feet away. Notice that there is no bass and practically no lower midrange. Notice too, how quiet they are. I'll bet you've already tried this. Imagine the equalization you would need to do to get them to sound flat.

So let's say you crossed to bass drivers and have equalized the headphone driver array. You still have limited SPL even with a large array. And the high end will pretty much suck unless you add a properly crossed tweeter.

You would be much better off making a two way system with an inexpensive 6" woofer and one or two small Tangband drivers. And a couple of small Tangbands would be cheap too.

Nobody is trying to keep you from experimenting but many of us know where this is going to lead. But, if you try it, let us know of the outcome.
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Old 16th October 2002, 12:25 AM   #8
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I saw a picture of a line array somewhere on the Bottlehead
web page made by Grado from there headphones. I don't
remember any comments about how it sounded.

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bob12345678
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Old 16th October 2002, 03:07 AM   #9
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there have been similar designs (well, along the same philisophy anyway....) by genesis, nearfield acoustics, etc. basically, you make each driver do a little bit of work, and have a TON of drivers, so each one isnt being driven hard, and it really only has to do a tiny bit. this supposedly creates a great sound. however, i dont think it would be a good idea to use headphone drivers, they are just too small. ive seen it done with like 30 midranges. so you would almost need 300+ headphone drivers. even if each was $0.50, that's $300 for stereo in drivers. and you have NO bass :-) interesting idea though.
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Old 16th October 2002, 05:07 AM   #10
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John at Stryke did a similar project for PA kinda use with reasonable results and he has a little oval he sells for such beasts.

If you are interested in fidelity, you are likely to find it easier and a more sure thing to spend the money on a pair (or 4) more better drivers.

Not to say that a good line array can't be built, but an array of cheap drivers is still going to sound like the cheap driver.

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