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Old 2nd January 2010, 11:11 AM   #1
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Default Do you want to learn how to build a better ESL?

In my opinion if we really want to learn how to build better electrostatic speakers then getting to the bottom is not an option but a requirement. There are too many unsubstantiated claims and dogma and blindly repeating (not accusing anyone in particular) going on, and it is my new year resolution to step up the plate and demand more.

Call it the 'ESL Myth Busting thread'

I would like to propose the following approach:

0. Identify an item (claim) that needs scrutinization
1. find a plausible explanation (model)
2. come up with (and possibly agree on) a test to verify the claim / model
3. perform the test (preferably more than one person) and share the data
4. interpret the results


Some tests will be cheap, fast and simple, others will require time, money, sweat, perseverance and sleepless nights. But in the end we will have learned something. Something that can be relied upon, serve as a reference in future discussions and most important guide us in the right direction.

Some people prefer to just leave it at 'voicing opinions' and discuss things to no end, and that's fine. In this thread you can expect your claims to be challenged and if you're not prepared to go all the way then walk away now.

This does not mean you are not allowed to think out loud. I encourage you to think freely, but if you do so make it clear. Don't state your thoughts as facts.

So who's in?
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Old 2nd January 2010, 12:10 PM   #2
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I'm in for sure.

Wachara C.
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Old 2nd January 2010, 12:13 PM   #3
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Yes!Hope to learn more about ESL Myth!
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Old 2nd January 2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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As an owner of ESLs, and a DIYer of a few sets of speakers including sealed (CB), ported (BR) and transmission line (TL) (and an expert at none of them, although more experienced with TLs) I am RELUCTANTLY in.

But... as a musician who has never (as of yet) heard ANY speaker that REVEALS as well as an ESL I am definitely in.

Expect my input to be (at first) of the very general sort,
ie; GENERAL questions and comments, but will try not to derail or uselessly complicate the thread to the best of my ability.

Great idea for a DIY thread, Cheers!
Steve
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Old 2nd January 2010, 02:42 PM   #5
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I'm in, good idea!
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Old 3rd January 2010, 09:13 AM   #6
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Great!

Now we will start to make a list of things we would like to confirm or bust

First I'd like to declare: anything that has not been tested by us in a proper way, and is not completely obvious from solid ESL theory, qualifies as a Myth. So you can start right now by thinking about those things in your head that you think you 'know', but are actually myths. I will give an example.

Some time ago there was a discussion going on on DIYaudio. The question was if a diaphragm that is not exactly centered between the stators raises distortion or not.

I put that to the test in this thread.

Something else we all know from certain books and web sources is that a coating with a resistance of 1E7 is high enough. In the above mentioned thread the data showed that it is not, and we actually need a resistance of about 1E10. Myth busted.


Here are my suggestions for myths we can test:
  • non-uniform coating causes frequency anomalies, distortion and possibly resonances
  • optimal stator open percentage is around 40% (popular recommendation: 3mm holes with 4mm spacing is 51%). What are the compromises?
  • for an electromagnetic bass to match with an ESL it needs to be a dipole.. this is going to be a hard one

If you have any myths, suggestions, would like to take on one of these, let's hear it!
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Old 3rd January 2010, 09:45 AM   #7
mavric is offline mavric  United States
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I am readind this thread, I am in, however I am no expert in this field, I am fasinated by the desighn os ESL and would love to learn more about the stator and the effects, like i said, I would like to learn. ClarlieM, has spoken with via phone, his stuff looks nice, so what about his achievemnts? His pics do denote dipole, but difusing the rear wave with the cabinet that he posted pics(links) of. Can anyone post pics of their projects here and as far as testing, what program will be the "contol" something everyone uses as a testing device?
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Old 4th January 2010, 12:58 AM   #8
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Talking Standard measuring

Hey Mavric, I have looked at Charlie's ESL build, and it looks great, but I also don't know how his "beam splitter" sounds, or how it effects overall ESL sound,

Anyways, I do agree that a standard measurement system should be established so we are working apples to apples.

A system like PRAXIS is great (which I use) but any of them is OK ie. LEAP CLIO etc. any one that is accepted as a true
measurement tool should be OK

Any comments?
Steve





Steve
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Old 4th January 2010, 01:18 AM   #9
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Hi Arend-Jan,

May I propose that we do a test on the comparison of asymmetric alignment of the stator holes? I think this is where you left off a few months ago. It would be interesting to see the differences in efficiencies and distortions between the perfectly aligned stators versus the asymmetric ones.

Wachara C.
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Old 4th January 2010, 02:30 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Liquisonic;2034026]Hey Mavric, I have looked at Charlie's ESL build, and it looks great, but I also don't know how his "beam splitter" sounds, or how it effects overall ESL sound,

Anyways, I do agree that a standard measurement system should be established so we are working apples to apples.

A system like PRAXIS is great (which I use) but any of them is OK ie. LEAP CLIO etc. any one that is accepted as a true
measurement tool should be OK

Any comments?
Steve

I was curious about the effects of the beam splitter myself so some months ago I took one of the stat panels out and placed it in free air beside the cabinet (next to the woofer). It sounded different but neither better nor worse-- no discernible difference in clarity or definition that I could tell, just a different ambience that I suspect had to do with the backwave having a different path to the nearest walls before reflecting back to my ears from different angles and distances than before. I was relieved that I did not hear an appreciable downside to the beam splitter. Of course, my impressions are totally subjective, since I have no equipment to make any objective measurements. I would probably not ever build two sets of speakers the same way (always wanting to try something different). If I were to build another set of hybrid ESL's , I would probably build something similar to Roger Sanders' newest hybrids, which use a really nifty compact transmission line bass with the woofer under the stat panel but it's not a beam splitter.

Mavric, I'm only an hour's drive from Statesboro and you are invited to drop by for a listen any old time. In any case, best of luck with your project.
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