Electrostats vs conventional drivers

Vikash

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-05-17 9:08 pm
UK
www.vikash.info
I was under the impression that conventional drive units were unable to produce transients comparable to that of electrostats, simply due to the inherent methods in which they produce sound. I never questioned it until someone in the forum wrote...

...distortion is low and these babies are faster than electrostatics

...Steve was comparing them with his beloved Bandor units, and of course he has a respected opinion, which opened my mind to whether conventional drivers can really be as fast as Electrostats?

My assumption was that conventional drivers were just easier to work with for the diy hobbyist which is why they're the subject of 90%+ of posts.

Any input to clear this up would be great.

Vikash.
 
This is only talk. You must listen and make your mind up.

I have Martin Logan SL3 at home and they are very OK but they sound not very inspiring in larger rooms like exhibition halls. In theory the transisent ability is maybe better but in real life?

They are also not very good as party animals, too soft.

Tempted to build?
http://www.ele.tut.fi/~artoko/audio/speakers/hybrid.html
 

SY

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-10-24 10:19 pm
Chicagoland
www.SYclotron.com
Here's a question to ask yourself: if electrostatic drivers have intrinsically better risetime than dynamics, why did Dayton-Wright have to tack on a piezo tweeter to their 'stats? Why did the Quad/Decca need a Decca?

The rise time of a 'stat depends on the motor strength and moving mass, just like an electromagnetic driver.
 
Well-designed thin membrane electrostatic loudspeakers have an extremely neutral and predictable mid range response, much better than the typical dynamic loudspeaker. At mid-range frequencies, most of the electrostatic force effectively operates directly on the air. The membrane mass spoils the fun at high frequencies, the membrane stifness does the same at low frequencies.

I have no idea if this answers your question...
 

Vikash

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-05-17 9:08 pm
UK
www.vikash.info
interesting point SY, but maybe thats related to something other than transient response - perhaps there are issues with electrostats and high frequencies (i have no idea - just a possiblity).

I see the relationship with force strength and mass which derives the acceleration factor. It's the inherent characteristics of an ES panel (mass/force ratio) that results in the fast rise times presumeably.

It would be interesting is if someone could quantify this acceleration factor for some ESL, so that we could compare it to some midrange driver. Assuming of couse that this is the major variable in measuring transient response. I may be way off...
 

SY

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-10-24 10:19 pm
Chicagoland
www.SYclotron.com
Vikash: The ESL has the additional complication of mass loading from the air; yes, that happens with conventional drivers, but the panel types have a much larger area. The results you get will depend on the drivers you pick- what I was trying to say is that there isn't necessarily any inherent rise-time advantage to ESLs and other panel speakers. Most of the issues of acceleration factor are treated in Peter Walker's papers and patents, and are also reviewed in the Sanders ESL book.

To forestall the obvious question, I use both.
 

Vikash

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-05-17 9:08 pm
UK
www.vikash.info
Marcel, dynamic bass drivers are mixed with ES panels due to size constraints. i.e huge pannels would be required to produce low notes which is generally not feasible. Please correct me.

But on the other end of the frequency scale, the same doesn't apply I assume. Since the panels are smaller then, does this not maintain the same ratio to 'effectively operate directly on the air'? Or have i just completely left the density of air out of the equation... hmmm (I should really go to sleep)

Stefano, I'd like to read any online sources you have that show the distortion effects. This is something i wasn't aware of.

Thanks for the feedback guys...
 
Stefano said:
I'm sorry to tell you that i've never listened to a elettrostatic loudspeaker, but i've readed some test with mesures and i've seen that they've got a lot of distortion


DISTORTION???????????????????????????:bigeyes: :bigeyes:
Caused by the amp that's attached to it! ;)

I'v had a few ESL's my self Martin Logan CLS I, SL3, Sequel II and Audiostatic's ES-100, ES-200, ES-300 and at the moment DIY ESL FINAL 1700 CLONE.

And all of them had some kind of defect. I repair them all and know what i'm talking about.
There is only one tweeter that can equal an ESL, and that's the Raven Ribbon tweeter :)

The weakness of Martin Logan is in the 12 micron thick MYLAR and the coating. I'v replace the foil's with 4 micron and they sounded better than ever.

IMHO, there is nothing that sounds faster than an ESL!

All the best!

Audiofanatic ;)
 
peranders said:
I have Martin Logan SL3 at home and they are very OK but they sound not very inspiring in larger rooms like exhibition halls.
Well, I have to admit that my "faster than a speeding electrostatic" Nonsuch 4s wouldn't inspire in exhibition halls either. Nor, to be honest, would they be adequate for the Millenium Dome or even a lower division football stadium. That's hardly the point anyway. They were designed specifically for living rooms and listening rooms.

I love electrostatics and when I grew up in hi-fi I visited the friend who had the original Quad ELS57s most often. That was the sound that I carried in my head through the design process. My aim was to design a speaker with the qualities of an electrostatic but with more bass slam and more room (and spouse) friendly.

Objectively, testing the loudspeaker's impulse and waterfall responses are pretty good guides to 'speed' (and I promise to publish some graphs once I get the time to fix up my pc so that it can take the O/S that will run the sound-card that I can use with my software and calibrated mike, blah, blah ...) - but that's not really the point either. As P-A says:
This is only talk. You must listen and make your mind up.
Here's the deal, Vikash. I notice that your posts are sporting the good old British flag and I suspect that you're not a million miles away. I'm hoping to set up a system at a friend's apartment in Putney. You'd be most welcome to come down and audition it. All you'd have to do is post a totally truthful account of your impressions on this forum. What do you think?

Steve
 
"Marcel, dynamic bass drivers are mixed with ES panels due to size constraints. i.e huge pannels would be required to produce low notes which is generally not feasible. Please correct me."

This is correct. Full-range electrostatics can still fit in the average living room, but they are certainly not small.

"But on the other end of the frequency scale, the same doesn't apply I assume. Since the panels are smaller then, does this not maintain the same ratio to 'effectively operate directly on the air'? Or have i just completely left the density of air out of the equation... hmmm (I should really go to sleep)"

According to a colleague of mine who is designing and making his own DIY ESL's and who has studied all the theory rather thoroughly, at high frequencies, the force needed to accelerate the membrane mass becomes greater than the force driving the air. The only thing one can do about this is using extremely thin membranes or correcting for it electronically. With 6um thick Mylar membranes, the resulting upper cut-off frequency is in the order of 17.5kHz if the size of the part of the ESL radiating the high frequencies is much greater than the wavelength. However, to avoid excessive beaming, the area radiating high frequencies has to be restricted. When you take this into account, you end up with 15kHz or so for a 6um membrane.
 

Vikash

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-05-17 9:08 pm
UK
www.vikash.info
Steve,

Yeah that's something i'd be interested in. Let me know when and where.

A friend of mine has a pair of ML Ascent's, and they're transiently amazing. I've listened to familiar tracks on them and was struck by the subtleties that were completey dulled out before. A new experience for me. Now if you're saying that this can be achieved with dynamic drivers...

There was a downside of course. I found them very un-involving and lacking weight and warmth - perhaps overly analytical. But there are so many variables in the equation that I don't want to say it was the ESL's especially. No speaker seems to sing well in his room (a large square room with a low ceiling and one wall completely glass - right where the ESL's are placed no less)

I sometimes feel more engaged listeneing to my old £300 TDL RTL 3's, albeit not in his room. I mean if the overall satisfaction factor is the final say...

Anyway, the above blather is neither here nor there, I'm still after opinions on whether dynamic drivers can achieve the transient capabilities of ESL's. I haven't heard any that I could say do. But then I haven't auditioned any dynamic drivers regarded as high end (Maybe after I hear Steve's...). Perhaps those who've experienced both worlds could oblige me.
 
Stefano said:
I'm sorry to tell you that i've never listened to a elettrostatic loudspeaker, but i've readed some test with mesures and i've seen that they've got a lot of distortion
Try to listen at least one time in your life. I like them and even my wife does! They have also good WAF (at least Martin Logan SL3).

Anybody who can guess what my avatar is?
 
peranders said:

Try to listen at least one time in your life. I like them and even my wife does! They have also good WAF (at least Martin Logan SL3).

Anybody who can guess what my avatar is?


Hi Peranders,

Your avatar looks like a rock that you picked up at ayers rock.

If you'r SL3's ever stop working, consider the 4 micron Mylar.
My Sequel II and the old SL3 sounds much relaxing and with better mid's due to thinner membrane.

Audiofanatic ;)

P.S. (Nice avatar BTW) Looks like a .............:devilr:
marble that's cut in the middle.
 
Audiofanatic said:
Your avatar looks like a rock that you picked up at ayers rock.
The avatar is(EDIT: was...cactus flower now when I wrote this) a Lithops, living stone from South Africa. I'm also a Lithops nerd :cool:
http://www.mesembs.com/lithops/index.htm
http://home5.swipnet.se/~w-50719/kaktus/lithops.html

I have no plans right now to change membrane but now I have some traces left from butter. My daughter put pie paste into the speaker (both sides!) in order to get attention...she got it :att'n:

I cleaned up the speaker with patience and a straw.
 
One of our cats pissed against one of my ESL63's a few months ago. The cat is fine, but the ESL sometimes produces soft clicking and sissing noises... I still have to see if I can repair it.

By the way, regarding ESL's and distortion, according to all the literature I've read on the subject, symmetrical ESL's with a high-ohmic membrane usually have an exceptionally low distortion compared to dynamic loudspeakers.
 

wrl

Member
2003-01-07 11:01 pm
USA
E-stats versus dynamic

Well, just my humble oppinion. I heard a $50k + audio system at the local high end shop. B&W nautilus line powered by two krell monoblocks. Hard to describe exactly, but I think that these speakers definitely sounded more powerful than any estats I have heard, but there is just something more, I don't know, maybe "graceful" about electrostats. That and I still haven't heard a tweeter that can reproduce that kind of sound.

Although I should mention that I spend the majority of my life thinking about/ building e-stats and while I may admit that a specific speaker sounds different, I would be hard pressed to say it sounds better!

Anyway, estats definitely have a characteristic sound. It just up to personal taste whether you think its better.

Cheers,
Wes
 

sasha

Member
2002-08-07 6:14 am
Canada
Hi guy's!
My humble advice is: buy or even better build a pair of estats and you will never go
back to anything else. You will be hooked on instantly. With estats I finally can
HEAR the music. And of course don't forget about powerful and current capable
amp. You don't need monster amp, just something decent. My 60W Audiolab is
more than enough in mid sized room. If dynamic is first on your priority list then this is not speaker for you, but for everything else they have the goods.

Believe me, I don't think about speakers any more. What a relief !!!
:cool:
 

Coolin

Member
2003-04-07 8:14 am
Holland
I dont agree,

imaging with my homebrew electrostats was very nice and large but also kind of transparent. Although i must admit my amp, a musical fidelity A100 was not as good as my gainclone is now. I have a combined dynamic and horn system now and i prefer this much more. Its Much more dynamic and has a full sound. The instruments are almost phisical in presentation. I have been doing some testing with open baffles and i get the same kind of sound as with my electrostats. I think this has alot to do with the cancelation of the waves front to back, and this is not only in the bass.

BTW i still have my Sowter step up transformers 1:50 available for anyone interested.

CO