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ak_47_boy 11th May 2007 05:24 AM

Seperate panels for bass?
Is there any point in biamping/triamping diy electrostatic speakers?

I am going to build 8'-3' electrostatic loudspeakers.

My plan was to break up the speaker into three panels. A small high freq with a small spacing, a bigger mid with a bit bigger spacing, and the rest bass with a large spacing. I was planning on triamping this.
Pointless? What do you think i should do?

Question #2 What happens to your system if you just keep adding things. Eg. Whole bunch of amps, heil tweeters, electrostatic mid, woofers, etc.
What would happen to the sound?

Calvin 11th May 2007 06:55 AM


how itīll sound?

Probabely like a very low efficiency 3-way box with ESL-Top and sloppa bass.
Why 3-way when You can one-way?


enilsen 11th May 2007 08:51 AM

I suspect if you needed to build a very fast bass to complement an existing set of ESL speakers, why not.

The purpose of splitting up the panels would be because of placement issues else a FR design (single panel) would be easier.

I have also toyed with the idea of just building an ESL for bass only as dynamic speakers usually are too slow to mate up with electrostats.

Calvin 11th May 2007 06:38 PM


the impression of slowness has nothing to do with velocity!
The same sonic could happen with a ESL too. Since itīs quite difficult to control the Q-factor properly there is nothing pro for an ESl-Sub.
Dynamic subs are smaller, more efficient and when You use the right working principle outperform the ESl-bass easily!


enilsen 14th May 2007 11:42 AM

I tend to disagree with the logic that dynamic speakers can keep up with an ESL bass.

One of the key elements of using an ESL for bass is the huge membrane size that can be constructed to move the air. The actual travel the ESL has to make to produce sound is very small in comparison with a dynamic speaker. Sure you can build a bass array of dynamic speakers but that also has it own problems and can be quite costly in comparison to an ESL.

The choice for using dynamic speaker in the bass is to save on space and make placement easier. The quality of the bass produced is debatable as in most cases you are compromising on so many levels.

Listen to a large FR ESL and then you’ll understand how seamless the bass blends into the midrange. Try mating it up with a dynamic bass and you will soon realize that the two perform very differently.

At the end of the day your hearing will determine what sounds best and I suspect an ESL bass will come thru as clean and uncoloured as the original recording.

Bill08690 14th May 2007 02:24 PM

Full Range ESLs
A couple of problems to overcome will be resonances in the bass region and the large capacitance of the big array. On the high end capacitance will put a big load on the amp and possibly cause frequency response issues with the driving transformer. A two way setup with an 8" center panel for midrange/treble flanked by two 14" panels for bass might be good.

Good luck with your project.

ak_47_boy 2nd June 2007 03:40 PM

What frequency should i cross at?

Bill08690 2nd June 2007 07:37 PM

2 way system
Been a while since I worked with ESL, however, there is a frequency where the bass panels start to beam. I would shoot for a crossover point just before there and build treble panels to do the rest of the audio range.

Capaciti 6th June 2007 01:32 PM


i would not recommend to realise a real 2- or 3-way ESL-system.

1. I agree with calvin that it will sound like a 2 or 3-way system. You need to implement low pass crossovers for the mid and high Level panels - in result your step response will look like those filters !
2. I think it will be a never ending story, to develop 3 different stepup transformers, perfectly designed for each panel of the system.
3. Even if you damp the fundamental resonance of the mid-high by filters, your bass panel will cause interaction.

better to make a 1 - 1/2- system. Make two ESL panels with identical size and resonance. One of it will be the fullrange panel - in best case with electrical segementation to achieve a flat freqeuncy response. The second panel is just working in the lowrange. It will be connected to the first panel stators, by adding high value resistors in serie with the stators.

If your argument is efficieny, this is even the better way to go. Imo most fullrange ESL do not suffer for high frequency efficiency but in the low range. If you design specific mid an highrange panels, their membrane area won't add sound pressure in the lowrange.


tade 6th June 2007 03:00 PM

I am torn between using a horn and an ESL for my midrange though I believe that I am leaning towards horn because of SPL issues. still, i think a three way with a large maybe pro dynamic driver, sealed and LT'ed to 50hz up to 250hz where the esl panel can beam its perfect little square waves up until diaphragm mass roll off. then at ten khz or so add a ribbon super tweeter. I might even make the bass and midrange dipole at that point.

The point is I really like the idea of using esl panels and for that manner FR speakers as WR sound producers. A high crossover accommodates the inability of a sizeable midrange source to truely shine up high, and because the sound energy increases rapidly as you go lower especially in voices, a crossover much lower than 200 is trouble.

My spl solution as been to use a front horn loaded ten inch down to seventy hz, a large format compression driver for midrange and the tweeter I haven't decided upon yet.

I really believe that the keys to a nice system are low energy storage and dynamic capability. Distortion is actually mostly not noticeable because it is a comparative effect, whereas energy storage can be downright painful. An esl is distorting hugely at low and high frequencies and at high volumes but its energy storage levels across the band are very very low. that is why ESl loudspeakers sound darn good.

Phasing is bunk. I do not believe in phasing. the human ear cannot hear quickly enough to tell the difference in time arrival or absolute phase between sources. phasing leads to frequency aberrations and those aberrations are always negative. this leads to holes in the response which are hugely less noticeable than peaks. I pay no attention to phasing because whatever "synergy" i may have lost by having my midrange source six feet in front of my midbass source and my subs two feet behind my head on the couch, is vastly overshadowed by the fact that I can have niel pert warming up in my living room, which to me is way more desirable.

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