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Old 9th July 2011, 12:30 PM   #1
markusA is offline markusA  Sweden
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Default Curved Vs. Flat ESL panels?

I've been in contact with a shop that can make me curved panels cut to size but the same week that I mailed in my order they went on vacation.

Then I happened on a youtube clip with Sanders having a monologue about why he's building flat panels instead of curved ones.
Now, Sanders being somewhat of a reference when talking about esl's makes it kind of interesting.

I know Calvin is building curved panels but most other people seem to go for flat ones?
How would you describe your experiences when comparing curved vs. flat panels?

Myself I've already orderd my curved panels but it would be interesting to hear what you all think.
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Old 9th July 2011, 01:43 PM   #2
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I've been in contact with a shop that can make me curved panels cut to size but the same week that I mailed in my order they went on vacation.

Then I happened on a youtube clip with Sanders having a monologue about why he's building flat panels instead of curved ones.
Now, Sanders being somewhat of a reference when talking about esl's makes it kind of interesting.

I know Calvin is building curved panels but most other people seem to go for flat ones?
How would you describe your experiences when comparing curved vs. flat panels?

Myself I've already orderd my curved panels but it would be interesting to hear what you all think.
I've heard both and I agree with Mr. Sanders' assertion that flat panels project a superior image-- but that's only at their focal point. The physics of their differences makes this so. But there is a price to pay, as the same physics makes a flat panel's sweet spot very pronounced and only about as wide as the panel itself. The effect is a very focused image but the treble energy falls off a cliff within inches as the listener moves out of the sweet spot, where the sound then becomes bass-heavy. This makes flat panels all but useless for party speakers, as the sweet spot is only wide enough for one person (two if she's sitting in your lap). A curved panel trades off some of that magical imaging for a wider, less pronounced sweet spot and better frequency balance outside of the sweet spot.

I have flat panels myself and they sound great but I have to admit that whenever company comes over I find myself wishing for a wider sweet spot.

Unfortunately, there's no way to have it all.... there are only compromises and we must choose which compromises are less objectionable.

I think if you are going with curved panels, you could help mitigate the negative effects of their wider dispersion by placing sound absorbing materials where their first reflections would strike room surfaces-- as you would do with conventional speakers.

Last edited by CharlieM; 9th July 2011 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 9th July 2011, 04:33 PM   #3
markusA is offline markusA  Sweden
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Very interesting to see that you agree with Mr Sanders.
I was sort of expecting to hear it was just a sales pitch because flat is easier and cheaper to manufacture?
If indeed his thoughts have merit it's a choice of taste more than any thing else.

There is one thing I would like to adress a little bit extra though.
He claims the flat panel sound outside the sweet spot is on par with regular speakers but the sound in the sweet spot is so amazing that the percieved differece leads you to think the off axis sound is "bad".
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Old 9th July 2011, 05:07 PM   #4
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Yes,I have to agree with Charlie and Roger Sanders.
My first listen was a set of ML's and when I built my first panel's 9"X22" ,I also found that they seemed to be more detailed than the ML's that I had first heard.
Although I was quite impressed at first listen.

One thing that I did notice is that my smaller width panels seem to have less of the beaming effect than the wider panels did hence a wider sweet spot for the higher frequency's although without the more pronounced lower end that the wider panels had, for obvious reasons.

Once I get going I will do more of a A/B comparison with some measurements between my two original panel sizes,But for now I have alot to get done until then.

It is because of this I tend favor my little panels but we will see once I get the bigger ones rebuilt.

The wider the panel the narrower the dispersion angle as the frequency goes up, Hence the beaming effect.
There have been many many discussions on this and I am very curious to find out the effects of using a segmented stator compared to a non-segmented stator of the same deminsions.

I have three sets of tig wire stators made that would be a good canidit for such an experiment and I could very easily to whip up another set so that I have a pair of each.

Anyway keep the idea's comming I am off to work on those 8' subs at the moment!


Keep on DIYin' !!!! jer
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Old 9th July 2011, 07:43 PM   #5
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Or you could do something that is sort of best of both worlds & use multiple flat panels arranged in an arc ala Sound Labs or Acoustat. Downside is that you can end up with a very wide speaker & potentially a venetian-blind effect.
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Old 9th July 2011, 08:57 PM   #6
Kontra is offline Kontra  Russian Federation
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Originally Posted by CharlieM View Post
Unfortunately, there's no way to have it all.... there are only compromises and we must choose which compromises are less objectionable.
Is there a way to do what you want. The acoustic lens in front of a high-ESL. It works well. I've tested. Laser cutting of metal elements of the lens. Layout work.
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Old 9th July 2011, 10:14 PM   #7
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Is there a way to do what you want. The acoustic lens in front of a high-ESL. It works well. I've tested. Laser cutting of metal elements of the lens. Layout work.
I think Sanders' point is that a flat panel gives superior imaging precisely because it beams sound like a laser-- such that at the focal point the listener hears a single coherent wavefront. By comparison, a wide dispersion speaker sprays sound all over the room-- such that the listener hears only a small portion of the direct radiated sound from the speaker along with a large portion of reflected/time-shifted sounds bounced off room surfaces-- and it's these reflected/phase-shifted sounds that degrade the imaging, frequency response (comb filtering) and perceived transient speed.

Since it's wide dispersion and resulting room reflections that degrade the sound reaching the listener, it follows that placing an acoustic lens in front of a flat panel to widen its dispersion (like Harold Beveridge did) would indeed create a much wider sweet spot... but, again, at the expense of trading off some of the pristine imaging and fidelity you'd otherwise get from a narrow dispersion speaker.

The only way to fully realize what Sanders is saying is to place yourself at the focal sweet spot of a pair of flat panel line-source electrostats and experience their magical 3D imaging, stunning clarity and power. Admittedly, you're head's in a vise listening to flat panel stats but you just can't get that same level of fidelity from any other driver that I've ever heard.

And, again, I'd be wishing for a wider sweet spot when company comes over!
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Old 10th July 2011, 03:05 AM   #8
beun is offline beun  United States
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There is another good reason to go with a curved panel except a wider listening field and that is mechanical stability. A curved panel is a lot stiffer than a flat panel and will have much less tendency to resonate. This is the biggest reason why I only built curved panels.
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Old 10th July 2011, 09:59 AM   #9
Kontra is offline Kontra  Russian Federation
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Default The acoustic lens can make the dispersion, so what you need.

CharlieM
Objection. Not wide dispersion, and that which is necessary, small. The acoustic lens is easily controlled. Аt the beginning meditate area "sweet spot", then just create a lens. Layout can make their cardboard, so as not to spend too much money. Dispersion achieved controlled too. Make small variance. To not use a vise, as in daggerotype photo to listen to the "sweet spot". The last argument by the allusion to the old joke - what more do you want, "the word" taxi "or drive a car?" Decide that you no longer like it - head clamped in a vise or some degree of freedom. All the energy that makes the speaker comes to you in the form of a narrow beam or a few dispersed in space. The lens adjusts the angle of radiation, as in optics. Make a simple experiment with plates made of cardboard, requires no money is spent only your mental energy and time. I think you're in a hurry. The experience that I offer worth the cost of mental energy. He, the experience is worth it.
Sorry for the clumsy English, the computer translates.
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Last edited by Kontra; 10th July 2011 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 10th July 2011, 12:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kontra View Post
CharlieM
Objection. Not wide dispersion, and that which is necessary, small. The acoustic lens is easily controlled. Аt the beginning meditate area "sweet spot", then just create a lens. Layout can make their cardboard, so as not to spend too much money. Dispersion achieved controlled too. Make small variance. To not use a vise, as in daggerotype photo to listen to the "sweet spot". The last argument by the allusion to the old joke - what more do you want, "the word" taxi "or drive a car?" Decide that you no longer like it - head clamped in a vise or some degree of freedom. All the energy that makes the speaker comes to you in the form of a narrow beam or a few dispersed in space. The lens adjusts the angle of radiation, as in optics. Make a simple experiment with plates made of cardboard, requires no money is spent only your mental energy and time. I think you're in a hurry. The experience that I offer worth the cost of mental energy. He, the experience is worth it.
Sorry for the clumsy English, the computer translates.
Greetings Kontra,
It would be interesting to see the lens you have in mind. I haven't seen your lens of course, and I assumed that it would work in a manner similar to the highly curved multi-element lens used by Harold Beveridge. The Beveridge lens creates a very wide dispersion-- much wider even than the dispersion from a Martin Logan curved panel.

To the extent that the lens deflects sound laterally and the speakers are near adjacent walls, there would be resulting reflections bounced off adjacent room walls, which would reach the listener delayed in time; thus confusing the imaging. I see no way around this effect when there is [both] wide dispersion and adjacent room walls to reflect delayed sounds to the listener.

Even so, there are studies that show that only the "early" reflections confuse the brain enough to destroy the spatial imaging perceived by the listener (I forget the exact number but I'm thinking "early" was defined as 2 ms delay or less). If that is so, I think wide dispersion speakers can sound still very good if placed far enough inside the room space (and away from adjacent walls) that "early" reflections would not occur.

I still believe flat panels sound better within their restricted sweet spot but I'm definitely not against curved panels or lenses. In fact, I am seriously considering building a pair of curved ESL's for myself. Then I could listen to my flat panel ESL's when I'm home alone and switch over to the curved panels when company comes over

(I'm not married so I don't have to worry about spousal approval for so many speakers in the room)
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