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Old 10th February 2017, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default The Thrill is Gone.. S-ESL Build

Hello Everyone,
As the title suggests, the curved ESLs I built and have been listening to for the past few years have run their course as far as my ears are concerned, it's time for an upgrade.

I want to build a set of segmented ESLs to replace them, and I have done a lot of homework, however things are scattered all over and I'd like to focus on my particular set of circumstances/restraints.

This set of panels will be in my basement HT, and I have a height restriction of around 60", but I'd also like to produce as much SPL as possible, few questions:
Do the same rules of thumb apply equally to segmented vs traditional panels regarding SPL for given panel width?
Does making a segmented panel too wide result in mid/high frequency clarity suffering? What about boomines?
What would the gains/losses be between say a 14.5" (old panel width) vs an 18"?

Enough questions for now, as purchasing parts/wire would hinge on these questions being fleshed out.
I plan on using the same type of wire Charlie M used for his latest segmented build, unless a different type would be preferable for a larger panel such as the one I plan on building.

Any and all help/comments/counter questions, greatly appreciated.


Cheers
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Last edited by wreckingball; 14th March 2017 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 11th February 2017, 12:43 AM   #2
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Full range or a hybrid design?
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Old 11th February 2017, 01:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieM View Post
Full range or a hybrid design?
Hello Charlie, thanks for responding...
Definitely Hybrid ...meaning I just need the panels to be solid down to 200Hz.
I have a Transmission Line that will cover the lower octaves.

*edit* Unless, of course, you mean a hybrid ESL in and of itself, the answer is no.

Cheers
-Steve
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Last edited by wreckingball; 11th February 2017 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 11th February 2017, 01:29 AM   #4
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Segmented wire panels aren't as easy to build as the perf metal ones but there's a whole lot to like about them.

You won't have to worry about arcing, they're an easier load to drive, you'll love the smooth dispersion pattern, and they just look sexy.

Good luck with your project-- I'm sure Bolserst and Golfnut would chime in with answers to any technical questions and of course, I'm always here for immoral support :-)
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Old 11th February 2017, 01:41 AM   #5
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Gotta love 'Immoral Support'..what's not to like?

But seriously, thanks for chiming in, I'll have a lot more questions once imbedded into this project. (I'm writing things down as we speak)

Thanks again
-Steve
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Old 11th February 2017, 11:28 PM   #6
WrineX is offline WrineX  Netherlands
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you could go stacked esl if you want more spl. it is much more work and harder to build but it could work.
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Old 17th February 2017, 03:31 PM   #7
bengel is offline bengel  United States
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I'd be glad to share all the mistakes (and time suckers) I've made along the way :-).
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Old 18th February 2017, 09:14 AM   #8
Calvin is offline Calvin  Germany
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Hi,

Qo the same rules of thumb apply equally to segmented vs traditional panels regarding SPL for given panel width?

A: Yes, almost. What counts is the membrane area, the listening distance and membrane stroke.
Though the segmentation forms lowpass filters so that the part of the panel reproducing high freqencies reduces in active area, but leaving enough left so that it can easily cope with the possible SPLs at lower frequencies.
Almost all panels are restricted mechanically at the lower bandwidth limit.

Q: Does making a segmented panel too wide result in mid/high frequency clarity suffering?
A: No, it´s just that the imaging or staging may suffer.
The wider the panel, the larger the listening distance that staging develops.
Too close and its like sitting in a huge headphone.

Q: What about boomines?
A: That´s a matter of how close You drive the panel towards its base resonance.
Even fully notched out the resonance has a prolonged decay that might become audible.
Mechanical damping might may help.

Q: What would the gains/losses be between say a 14.5" (old panel width) vs an 18"?
A: Not much ... its rather a Q of how low You can crossover the panel.
The difference between 14.5" and 18" isn´t big anyway.
From experience I´d say You could xover 14.5" around 220Hz and the 18" around 200Hz.

Q: I plan on using the same type of wire Charlie M used for his latest segmented build, unless a different type would be preferable for a larger panel such as the one I plan on building.
A: look for H05VU PVC insulated wire.

jauu
Calvin
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Old 18th February 2017, 02:17 PM   #9
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Thanks WrineX, bengal, Calvin, Charlie. Your replies are greatly appreciated.

Well, with Calvin clearing up quite a few questions I had, I think I can start putting together a list of design criteria, and a list of general assumptions.
That being said, sometimes I get so wrapped up in this-or-that detail, I overlook something simple or obvious (just the way my screwy brain works I'm afraid ).
So if any of you see me about to make a mistake... Please stop me!
Special thanks to Charlie for e-mailing detailed plans for his stretching jig. I was able to zero in on certain elements of it and print them, scaling to my panel size is the next step, but at least I have a reference.

This will likely be a long process, as I still work about 50 hours a week, and need time to unwind between work and this project. I'm determined though..

Thanks again!
Cheers
-Steve
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Old 18th February 2017, 09:04 PM   #10
golfnut is offline golfnut  New Zealand
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Hi,
Just to expand on Calvin’s comments a bit…

But first let me clarify – make some assumptions
1. I assume the ‘traditional’ ESL you refer to is a square panel that does not extend from floor-to-ceiling. Depending on listening distance and dimensions, it may behave as a point source or line source. Because line sources and point sources have a different frequency response, the traditional ESL can only be equalised to have a flat frequency response at one listening distance.
2. Segmented ESLs are ideally floor-to-ceiling so they behave as a line source for all frequencies. The RC transmission line in that case gives the same, very nearly flat frequency response for all listening distances.

Now to the questions…

Q: Do the same rules of thumb apply equally to segmented vs traditional panels regarding SPL for given panel width?
A: Crudely, yes. The maximum SPL from any ESL is determined by its area and the lowest frequency to be reproduced. More precisely, for a segmented ESL, max SPL is determined by width and lowest frequency to be reproduced. As Calvin indicates, both limits assume that the stator-membrane spacing is sufficient to accommodate the membrane movement at low frequencies.

Q: Does making a segmented panel too wide result in mid/high frequency clarity suffering?
A: No. The traditional DIY ESL (rectangular panel) suffers very badly from a narrow listening position, perhaps as little as plus or minus 1 degree off-axis, which makes then extremely sensitive to setup and the head in a vice problem. If you move further off axis then you will also find phase reversals and zeros – places where some frequencies are not reproduced at all. Segmented ESLs expand the listening area to plus or minus 10 degrees or more, and completely eliminate the phase reversals and zeros.

Q: What about boominess?
A: In both cases, there will be a membrane resonance probably in the range from 40 Hz to 200 Hz depending on the area of the membrane sections and the membrane tension. Think of drum skin effects. If the segmented ESL is carefully designed, the resonance can be used to extend the ESL frequency response downwards about 2.5 octaves (in the same manner as bass reflex cabinets), but the resonance will need to be damped. Woven monofilament mesh such as screenprinting cloth is ideal and available cheaply off aliexpress with many different thread counts so that the damping can be tweaked. Usually it is glued close to the rear stator and over the whole panel. If you are planning a hybrid, then this is not so critical

Q: What would the gains/losses between say a 14.5" (old panel width) vs an 18"?
A: SPL max better or frequency response a bit lower, off axis response slightly narrower. Segmented designs work well up to about 500 mm wide.

Q: Which is easier to build.
A: not much difference for the stators. In either case, there is a type of conservation of agony principle – you can’t do easy AND cheap. The build is either a lot of work (wire stators) or pricey (PCBs). Actually, both are quite a bit of work and not cheap.

I would say that anything the traditional ESL does, a segmented panel does better. For example, segmented ESLs present a friendlier load to step up transformers, and can run easier at higher step-up ratios, but so do smaller ESLs and ESLs with a higher cutoff frequency. Making a good transformer for a large full range panel is a real challenge. Much easier with a hybrid – off the shelf transformers will do.

best wishes
Rod
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