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Ribbon question
Ribbon question
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Old 13th February 2018, 11:12 PM   #31
lowmass is offline lowmass  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2016
Well youve got a lot of thoughts there. I can tell ya this much, nearly everything I thought years ago was humbled through experamentation and learning. Things are often not as tey seem

I would do some reading on how vibrational energy is absorbed and turned to heat.
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Old 13th February 2018, 11:20 PM   #32
hellokitty123 is offline hellokitty123  United States
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Connecticut
I have another question for you, how did your ribbon headphone experiments go? How was the sound compared to other technologies?
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Old 14th February 2018, 01:10 PM   #33
lowmass is offline lowmass  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2016
Originally Posted by hellokitty123 View Post
I have another question for you, how did your ribbon headphone experiments go? How was the sound compared to other technologies?
I dont have much experience with other manufactures headphones so do not have a way to compare, but, I built both ribbon and planer headphones.

That said it always surprised me how good a pr of simple ribbons strapped to your head in the crudest fashion sounded. The ones I built were 1 inch wide ribbons about 2 inches long. No transformer, just put a series 4 ohm resistor on them and hook them straight up to the amp. The most transparent sound I have ever heard. Deep fast clean exciting dynamic etc etc...

The headphone built this way also gives another way to judge different ribbon designs. IMO its a very transparent method that allows you to more easily hear the subtle differences between different diaphragms.

I remember at one point working to reduce the metallic artifacts from the sound so I was comparing foil only ribbons and laminated plastic backed ribbons. Eventually I wanted a reference that minimized the contribution of metal to the sound so I took apart a metal film capacitor and use that film to make a ribbon. The film was around 3 micron polyester film with a vapor deposited coating of aluminum so thin you could see through it. The 1 inch wide by 2 inch long ribbon was 5 ohms! no resistor needed. It could not handle any power as it would simply heat up and melt, BUT, there was still enough volume for headphone. I was shocked by how different it sounded than all the other ribbons. Even quite different than the 4 micron foil only ribbon diaphragms similar to what Raven and RAAL uses. The capacitor diaphragm was truly an "immaterial" sound and the pulse response showed this.

I also built planer headphones. These to my ears did not sound quite as convincing as the free swing ribbon. IMO this is largely to do with two things..
1- the damn drum-skin resonances are very difficult to control in a small diaphragm. The bass was louder and more power than the smaller ribbon , BUT not as believable. In fact the best one for bass was a heavy diaphragm with NO tension at all. This compared well to the ribbon but played louder and had more bass dynamic.
2- the free swing ribbon is a truly "open" construction. No magnet structure behind the ribbon. No matter how you taylor the FR, any structure behind the diaphragm seems to impacts the sound making it "brighter" even when EQed to flat.

Eventually I used a film that doesn't have a high tensile strength like mylar. It was a stretch packaging film so it had much higher internal loss than mylar AND it was much stretcher so it didn't build resonances the way the mylar can when its stretched. This diaphragm sounded very close to the no tension Mylar versions in the bass and had a smoother mid range as well.

Last edited by lowmass; 14th February 2018 at 01:14 PM.
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