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Old 15th February 2002, 04:10 PM   #11
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Location: Columbia, SC
--If beaming is such a desirable thing, I'm sure we'll see a tidal wave of new commercial designs next year based on this newly discovered 'benefit.' If it's all the same to you, I don't think I'll hold my breath.
--Yep, narrow drivers have better dispersion. The RD-75s do quite well in this aspect. But you can't build a practical ESL an inch wide. So then you end up making them wider, which increases the capacitance, which makes them a harder load to drive, which leads to sundry distortions on the part of the amplifier, which leads to...
Not to mention, the wider they get, the worse the dispersion gets. Since you seem to feel that this is a benefit, I guess that's all to the positive in your book. Me? Yuk.
--I go along with transformers when I have to, meaning that I usedthem for the tube amps I built, but that doesn't mean I'm blind to various non-linearities. I've been working off-and-on on an OTL amp for years. To have tubes, but dispense with that pesky transformer...now that's an idea that I can get excited about. In the meantime, don't delude yourself, transformers impose yet more tradeoffs.
--Regarding resonances, I suggest that you study up a bit on such things. But just to stimulate your thinking, consider a drumhead, i.e. a thin, tensioned membrane that vibrates like mad given the slightest impetus.
--Not all ESLs have these problems? Hmmm. Show me an ESL that:
a) Isn't a capacitive load
b) Isn't transformer coupled (yes, there have been a very few examples of tube-driven panels, but they're rare and often unreliable)
c) Has no resonances
d) Doesn't beam
and we'll have something to talk about.
--I don't exactly claim the descriptive term "golden ears" for myself, but I imagine that others might apply it to me--sometimes in the prejorative sense, I suppose. Nonetheless, whether my ears are made of gold or lead, I demand a lot from my system, and I expect it to produce. If it does, I'm happy. If it doesn't, I start trying to fix it. I'm honest about my system's faults, because I've heard better systems and I listen to a lot of live, unamplified music. Right now, my biggest bugaboo is getting enough channels of various sorts of amplification going that I can try some experiments on imaging. I'm satisfied with the quantity of bass I'm getting, and with the quality, but it doesn't go as deep as I'd like. I once had subs down to the mid 'teens, right now, I'm cruising along in the mid-to-upper twenties. I want that last octave back, and I want it <i>yesterday</i>. And a few other things that I've noted here and there--no need to repeat them all now.
There are very few people who will tell you their system's faults in detail. Until they do, don't trust them when they say something's good. They're probably not very careful listeners...

Grey
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Old 15th February 2002, 04:44 PM   #12
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Default Electrostatic drivers

Yep.... ESL and panel speakers have resonances, so do box speakers including some really nasty box resonances a lot of times. Room resonances are usually even worse.

Transformers are imperfect, so are passive crossovers containing non linear powdered iron or any magnetic material with high permability. (that is, non air core) And yet there are plenty of tube amps with tranformers that sound excellent.

Panel speakers beam. So do most dynamic box speakers to a degree. Also the wider the dispersion the more room modes you
excite.

There are a ton of trade offs in any speaker design. Go read Vance Dickason's Speaker Design Cookbook, Speaker Builder,
and Audio Electronics. And yet I can hear the difference between amplifier tweaks on my modified Radio Shack Lineam tweeter small speakers in my video system. Yes speakers are important but maybe not the top of the list of importance in a really good system. Garbage in, garbage out.

H.H.
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Old 15th February 2002, 10:38 PM   #13
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"...and I listen to a lot of live, unamplified music"

This line alway cracks me up!

Don't get me wrong I'm not picking on you GRollins. I respect your knowledge, it's just this line with out any clarification. Now if a person was there recording it direct to 2-track from the listening position...
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Old 16th February 2002, 02:20 AM   #14
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Have you ever seen a horse?
Would you recognize one if you saw it?
How?
Well, there's a certain..."horse-ness" about the critter, right? If you've only ever seen one horse--or, more to the point, only seen a picture (i.e. a reproduction) of one--you might get flustered and say,"But what if it's a different color? What if it's a Tennessee Walker instead of an Arabian? What if it's a colt instead of a full grown stallion?"
Get over it.
Once you see enough horses, you get to where you can recognize one, even if it's a breed you might not have seen before. You can distinguish one from the rear, from the front, from the sides. Up close or at a distance. At dusk or at high noon. That's a horse. Period. How do you know? Because you've learned what horses look like.
That's why it's important to hear live music. Only people who don't go to hear live, unamplified music have trouble distinguishing 'horses' from, say, 'deer.' Both have four slim legs, have relatively short coats of about the same colors, have elongated faces, etc. There's a lot of superficial similarity between a deer and a horse. And yet, if you actually take the trouble to get familiar with horses (and with deer) then you have no trouble distinguishing one from another.
The easiest way I know of to tell an audio-fool from an audiophile is to play something like a recording of an acoustic guitar. If there's a lot of <i>sreeek</i> as the musician's fingers slide over the wound lower strings, the audio-fool foams at the mouth and starts nattering about "detail" and "resolution" and "clarity." Inevitably, the audio-fool decides that the system is "transparent" and...wait for it..."accurate."
The audiophile frowns and starts trying to decide if the flaw is in the recording or the system, because he's heard a guitar and knows that it's not natural for a guitar to have that much finger noise.
To mock live music as a reference does not reflect well on your listening acuity. In the long run, it is the <i>only</i> reference.

Grey
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Old 16th February 2002, 10:19 AM   #15
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"TRYING to decide if the flaw is in the recording or the system, because he's heard a guitar and knows that it's not natural for a guitar to have that much finger noise."

I guess what I'm trying to say is, which guitar with which strings,natural room reverb? what mic or mics, mastering... who's ears. Just want to take the above line out of the process.
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Old 16th February 2002, 03:16 PM   #16
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Default The old Grey mare ain't what ......

A horse is horse, of course of course..... Grey noboby disputes that live music is the reference. My wife plays in the Dallas Wind Symphony. She listens to live music a lot. She has a good ear. She does't proclaim to be a loudspeaker designer though! I think what evoked the response was that after endless techno-speak you pulled out that old favorite "live music" fallback. Anyone worth his salt uses live music as a reference when designing. Even the reviewers (the last one's to know what's going on) talk about equipment in terms of musicality and realism now a days. It is interesting to read interviews with the best designers and hear them talk about the fact that we still are not there for reproducing the sound of real instruments playing in a real acoustic space. I wrote to Paul Klipsch when I was a student in 1976. He ended a letter once telling me that he was "going to the symphony that weekend to get his ears recalibrated." I never forgot it.

H.H.

P.S. I found this great picture a Wilbur and Mr. Ed studying a Dynaco Stereo 70 manual.
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Old 25th February 2002, 12:52 AM   #17
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ds21,
You can't tell the difference between room and artificial reverb?
Back to the concert hall.
For a truly horrible example of digital reverb to the max, check out the scene in <i>The Empire Strikes Back</i> where Darth Vader has chopped off poor Luke's arm, and he's hanging on with one hand. Vader tells Luke to join him. Luke screams "Never!" It's a nasty, ripping noise, completely unnatural. Start with that, then work backwards to more subtle examples.
The less reverb is used, the more difficult it becomes to tell what sort they used, but natural reverb (i.e. the sound of the room) is generally pretty easy to distinguish from any of the artificial kinds.
Live room echo, meaning the sound of the concert hall, isn't too hard to find. 'Artificial' room reverb, the sort created by placing a speaker in one end of a concrete room and a microphone in the other, then adding in a bit to the dry sound, is extinct. Spring reverb is still around, but is on the endangered list. Good examples of spring reverb can be found on '60s era studio recordings--or play with the reverb knob on an old Fender Twin.
You're on the fringes of an old philosophical argument, to wit: How do you know when you know something? You can branch from there into solipsism or perhaps decide to become a gnostic. I considered being a philosophy major for a bit back in school until I came to the rather unsettling realization that not once in the history of philosophy have they ever settled one of the core issues. Not once. Ever. Me? I employed the Gordian Solution...I whipped out my sword and slashed the knot in two. Reality is the final arbiter. When trying to distinguish a horse from another animal, don't sit around arguing about it, go out and look at a horse. All else is window dressing. Endless pulpit pounding and theoretical arguments don't impress me. I go out in the field and look at a horse. Then another. Then another. Until I understand the 'essence' of horse. People who want to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin are welcome to waste their time doing so. I'm on my way into the woods so as to understand the essence of 'deer.' Once I get squared away on what a deer is, I go in search of an elk, then a moose...
To throw up all the various elements involved in recording an album as putative evidence that you can't know what you're hearing is silly. Honestly, I can't identify a Stradivarius by ear from other types of violin, but there are people who can. I haven't had the opportunity to hear more than three or four live in my life. I haven't seen enough examples of that sort of horse to be able to tell that species from the others. Perhaps with time, I'll get there, but SC is a poor state and Strads are in short supply around here. I've heard that there are people (professional violinists, for the most part) who not only can tell a Stradivarius from other violins, but can tell you <i>which</i> Stradivarius it is. There are only a few hundred left in the world, and they've all been given names over the years, and the true expert can tell you...ah, that's La Cathedral!
Harry,
Yeah, but which one's Mr. Ed?
I mean, really, we don't know what camera they used, or what gels were in the lights, or what kind of film stock was in the camera, and what if the film was left in the developing tank too long, or maybe...

Grey
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Old 25th February 2002, 04:53 AM   #18
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GRollins,

I don't even know what started this, I didn't go back and look, but you won't convince me that doing an a-b comparison of a live vocal or piano with-in seconds of being recorded is the same as knowing the "essence" of them, and I won't convince you, no argument about hearing someones voice on the telephone and knowing who they are, but does it sound as close to the real thing as posible? We are both looking for the same thing (I think) but in different ways, you use your memory and I use my studio, by the way have you heard the current sony reverbs? It's an unattainable goal but one that's fun to chase, so let's have fun

P.S. I think the picture, at least on my monitor, is a little too small too fool me...it's not a real horse.
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