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Old 11th January 2005, 07:27 PM   #11
Calvin is offline Calvin  Germany
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Simon, I started the same way Years ago
And though the result was really much better than I had expected, I now know, what lacked. The problem with ESLs is, that they are so far superior to dynamic drivers (in the mid-highs) that even quite "bad" ESLs sound much better. But having a really good panel the differences are breathtaking. One of my prime design-goals is efficiency. Like the dynamic fraction, ESLs sound much more lively and dynamic when efficiency is high. Therefore You have to get rid of the imo totally wrong fullrange thinking. Bass is the only region where dynamic drivers give better results than ESLs (when it is done properly), build much more compact and where You get the least problems with crossing over. As soon as You shift the working range of the ESL in areas where it doesnt need to move (basically above 100Hz) the sound becomes cleaner. But the really great advantages are:
-less D/s which risens the efficiency significantly
-lower voltages, polarising- and more important signal-voltage
-lower step-up-ratio, improving bandwidth, and dynamics as well as headroom and/or allows for simpler or cheaper construction

One of the biggest mistakes that a DIYer can make is to think that a lot of D/s-spacing is of any use. It kills dynamics, it costs efficiency, costs bandwidth, costs safety! Build Your ESL with a as small as needed (+ a little reserve for tolerances) D/s-spacing. As a rule of thumb. A panel with 0.3m, working from 200Hz on needs just 1.0mm and can give efficiencies of up to 90dB/2.83V/m with an ratio of 1:40 (depending on the polarizing voltage)
If You want to extend the frequency range down to 150Hz a D/s up to 1.5mm is useful (Id opt for more area than more D/s).
At 100Hz, 2.0mm and an area of min. 0.6m.
This way I build Panels with efficiencies around 100dB!! Imagine the outstanding resolution of an ESL partnered with the lively and highly dynamic sound of a big Horn!

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Old 12th January 2005, 05:20 AM   #12
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thnx for sharing the experience !

How did you solve the segmentation (beam forming) ?
1. More smaller panels
2. group stator wires

My full-ranges are somewhere on an attic. But i am planning to build hybrids some day. Your story supports my thougths. Smaller panels is the way to go !


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Old 12th January 2005, 03:43 PM   #13
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many thanks to all who have replied

But I'm still wondering about the cost... I don't know squat on how much it could cost (200?, 500?, 1000?). And especially: would I be better off starting these things from scrath or should I buy second-hand and mod?
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Old 12th January 2005, 05:09 PM   #14
Calvin is offline Calvin  Germany
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its quite difficult to give numbers as long as certain conceptual points have not been cleared.

e.G. Wire Stators. If You try to build a big one You might use ordinary cheap PVC-coated wire for home installation. Its labeled H07-VU. But You need a high polarizing Voltage and high signal voltage, which means You have to buy a very good and costly audio tranny (the transformation ratio should be around 1:100). Plastics for the Spacers are easy to get and very cheap too. Leaves You with the cost for a piece of diaphragm amd glue.
building smaller ones You can work with magnet-wire or Kynar-insulated wire which is more costly than PVC-wires, but gives higher efficiency. But watch out how much meter of wire a pair of panels really needs (can be several hundrets!).

Building perforated metal sheet stator the cost for the sheets and their insulation is relatively high. The polarizing voltage is lower (the power-supply probabely a little bit cheaper). Because You need less signal-voltage the transformer ratio can be lower and the panel may even work with standard off the shelf toroidal trannies (which reduces cost substantially, because the trannies are most often the costliest parts). Using plastic spacers the cost is low, using the 3M foam-tapes will cost more.

You can build ESLs for just a few Bucks or for thousends.
Best is to write down a materials List and calculate different possibilites. Start with known commercial ESLs. Try to figure out what they are made from and what it would cost You to copy such a thing. Ask Your local metal/plastic dealers, DIY-shops or internet to get Your numbers straight. Ask in Forums about construction/material-details etc etc. Youll quickly see what Your favourite concept could cost You.
But no one can tell You the cost like "And the solution is........... 13!"

so 200, or 500 or 1.000 are the correct numbers.
Modding/repairing a existing panel could be done without deeper knowledge about materials and theory. Building a panel from scratch You really have to get involved with the matter.
So You have to decide, how far You want to go and how much engagement You are willing to spend. Do you want to be an expert, or is the highly specialized user Your thing?

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Old 12th January 2005, 05:35 PM   #15
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You might want to check out ESP Project 105
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Old 13th January 2005, 11:34 AM   #16
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Hi all,

I'm currently building my first pair of ESL's. I'm finishing the panels and then I still have to do the electronics and the support frame.

Some thoughts:

* I built wire-frame stators, and it took A LOT of time!!!... I think if I ever build another pair, I'll do perforated metal stators. They'll be a bit more expensive, but they can be built in MUCH less time.

* Cost: In total the pair of speakers will have cost me about 800...900 Euros. But I had to buy some new tools as well, and I used expensive audio transformers (because it's a full range design). So I guess without the transformers and tools it will have cost me about 300...350 Euros

* I had some trouble finding certain parts or materials, e.g. adhesive copper foil. I found that sourcing all the necessary materials was the most frustrating about this project.

* Build time: several months' weekends work. Often you can only do a little work and then the paint or glue has to dry so you have to wait a whole day, so sometimes progress is very slow...

When my speakers are finished (still plenty of work to do ...), I'll post some text & photos on my homepage.

Happy building,
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