SB Acoustics has some interesting marketing tactics, I can't tell if they're geniuses or morons

SB-acoustics-sb23cacs45-8:


Why Ceramic?
Ceramic cones offer smoothness and harmonic richness unavailable from conventional paper cone material. Ceramic materials also offer significantly higher stiffness numbers and slightly better internal losses than typical metals such as titanium or aluminum. Compared to polymers, paper, and other soft materials, ceramics provide:
  • Significantly higher stiffness to weight ratio.
  • More consistent performance over a wide range of temperature and humidity. For example, polypropylene's performance changes dramatically with temperature, while paper can be significantly affected by humidity.
  • Superior immunity to UV light and sunlight.
  • Superior immunity to water and salt water.
  • Superior immunity to combustibility

They're highest "satori" line Satori-wo24p-8:

FEATURES
  • Hard paper cone for improved piston operation (made in-house)


\I guess that "marketing" makes sense since I've never heard people complain more about the sound a premium line of woofers more than the Satori line. Low BL, high mms, low compliance suspension; what do you want, but still?

John "Zaph" (the great) Krutke stated -- "The 7" Satori probably has the best performing motor in the business, as shown by the class leading harmonic distortion plots." -- http://zaphaudio.com/blog.html --
Okay, got it Zaph the great. AND this is the smartest guy in audio in the USA.
When I walk around and observe my surroundings it's all starting to make sense now.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Account Closed
Joined 2018
Simply put, every human's hearing ability is like their DNA - it's their own personal version.
And with that stated, every human has their own opinions, preferences, which naturally vary, like eating habits and tastes.
So things like "reviews" are many times not going to be what "you" might like.
Plus, marketing tactics, for whatever reason, season the opinions like allspice.
A bit of judicious common sense helps, as does trial-and-error.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
There need not be any conflict in the two sections of the OP. The former, about ceramics, details some advantages of this material; it doesn't claim these to be the optimum for all applications. The latter is about specific drivers, for which the materials etc chosen were considered most appropriate to those particular design goals.

Though of course there is inevitably still some marketing tendency. The ceramics section quoted in the OP doesn't mention their disadvantages, for example.

The design of any driver by any manufacturer is full of compromises, which they have negotiated in producing it. Those may or may not be what any individual buyer might prefer, which is partly why some manufacturers offer variants with different materials, parameters and price points.
 
SB-acoustics-sb23cacs45-8:

Why Ceramic?

Ceramic cones offer smoothness and harmonic richness unavailable from conventional paper cone material. Ceramic materials also offer significantly higher stiffness numbers and slightly better internal losses than typical metals such as titanium or aluminum. Compared to polymers, paper, and other soft materials, ceramics provide:
  • Significantly higher stiffness to weight ratio.
  • More consistent performance over a wide range of temperature and humidity. For example, polypropylene's performance changes dramatically with temperature, while paper can be significantly affected by humidity.
  • Superior immunity to UV light and sunlight.
  • Superior immunity to water and salt water.
  • Superior immunity to combustibility

They're highest "satori" line Satori-wo24p-8:

FEATURES
  • Hard paper cone for improved piston operation (made in-house)
I'm probably missing something, but I'm guessing you think there is an inconsistency between the statements made re the CAC and Satori ranges.

There doesn't look to be one as far as I can see. The bullet pointed list for the CAC, if a mite exaggerated ;) are all factually correct as far as I can see, notwithstanding the fact that the CAC units are not pure ceramic TTBOMK.

The reference in the latter is to a hard paper cone (as in relative to a softer pulp mix type), which assuming equal quality design will certainly make for improved rigidity in the nominal piston band (i.e. from Fb, through the acceleration / rising response region, and up to the nominal VC point source corner). 'Nominal' is the operative word there since few paper cone units are entirely pistonic across this band, with harder pulp based types having a better chance of remaining so.

\John "Zaph" (the great) Krutke stated -- "The 7" Satori probably has the best performing motor in the business, as shown by the class leading harmonic distortion plots." -- http://zaphaudio.com/blog.html --
Okay, got it Zaph the great. AND this is the smartest guy in audio in the USA.
When I walk around and observe my surroundings it's all starting to make sense now.
I've no idea what you're trying to say here (?). At the time John measured it, the MW16P did have about the best performing motor for a driver of its type, and it's still very good quite a number of years on.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Neurochrome.com
Joined 2009
Paid Member
I'm no speaker designer but the verbiage strikes me as the usual marketing quest for advantages. I'm sure some are rooted in science. Ceramics are less combustible than paper, plastics, or (some) metals. Is that relevant for speakers? Probably not, but it's "an advantage".

Different speaker drivers are made with different materials. Each driver is always the holy grail (says the marketing team). So you end up with some contradictions across drivers for the same manufacturer.

Who chooses a driver based on the marketing babble anyway?

Tom
 
Neurochrome.com
Joined 2009
Paid Member
There are a few metal cone FR that do a really good job of controlling the top, and often a simple mod can help ameriolate the ringing.
Some have fancy patterned creases/ridges that seem to control the motion of the driver vs frequency. I'm thinking of the Uni-Q drivers from KEF as an example. I'm thinking that's hard to do with a polypropylene or paper cone.

Tom
 
frugal-phile™
Joined 2001
Paid Member
hard to do with a polypropylene or paper cone

I am sure i have seen poly cones with ribs, the Alpair 7p mentioned above does (which i am sure is what sets its voicing quite different than the A10p or A6.2p, both of which are relly smooth.

The Atomix FE103A class driver also has ribs but they work well in that driver (top of the heap, along with a good holey basket Coral).

There are so many degrees of freedom in any driver design it is hard to directly associate a feture to an issue (or a strength). It is possible to find counter-examples for almost everything.

dave
 
Ceramics smoother than paper? What paper, there are a zillion receipes.

And it has always been my understanding that stiff (like ceramic or Al)materials tend to pay for the stiffness with significant ringing in the higher frequencies,

dave
Right; assuming they're designed for pistonic operation over a limited BW, then for best results in that sense, you usually need to cross well below the stopband breakup modes -typically < the amplified 3rd order product of the first main resonance to avoid problems. So if for e.g. the first main cone mode is at 6KHz, then purely in that sense & ignoring other factors, you'll want to be crossing < 2KHz where HD3 will be peaking. Potentially even lower -depends what the HD4 & HD5 products look like.
 
Some have fancy patterned creases/ridges that seem to control the motion of the driver vs frequency. I'm thinking of the Uni-Q drivers from KEF as an example. I'm thinking that's hard to do with a polypropylene or paper cone.

Tom
KEF actually first used a reinforced, ribbed, structure in their poly cones, not the metal ones. They've even a patent detailing the process.

SB Acoustics have little ribs in some of their metal/ceramic drivers and these work exceptionally well at suppressing the harmonic distortion products typically associated with stiff cones.
 
Yeah, "harmonic richness" comes across as a bit vague, perhaps even chocolatey.

I can understand how ceramic might not make the top though. Years ago, I built a 2.1 system with Accuton mids and tweeters + sub, but never got it quite right. That system is about due for refurbishment so I'm thinking of making a separate longish post about them. But in a nutshell:

They had great "accuracy" (with air quotes), where it's possible to pin-point the precise location of the drivers based on echo location, and it was difficult to get any stereo illusions. I put that down to a combination of factors. A very clean radiating pattern from the ceramic, but also some naive design choices on my part, which resulted in higher distortion than what I would be able to achieve today.

Class-AB amplifier? It seemed like a solid decision at the time and wasn't that bad, but now I would rather lose 2 zeroes in the THD% in exchange for lower global NFB and higher output impedance. The customer kind-of hates dinosaur tubes, but likes MOSFETs, so for the refurb a couple of single-ended MOSFET channels are definitely going in, but he may insist on push-pull for the mids and bass.

Fully active XO? A nice idea for multi-amping and reducing some sources of IMD, but some passive components can also reduce distortion. The customer wants a common-drain push-pull amplifier, so, that will have an effect on the output impedance and I think for best performance a passive 1st order low pass filter + notch would really help, while still using active filters for baffle step and maybe increasing the filter slopes a little.

---

If I had gone for drivers with nice paper cones, some of the above issues would never have come up, or would have been milder in nature. Like the self-damping to reduce break-up modes or unwanted interaction with the amplifier. Or copper shorting rings (mixed bag if you ask me). The Accutons didn't use copper, AFAICT, which could be a good thing if you know how to deal with it, but it's probably a bad thing with less experience because the results won't match the top-end price!

Many "base model" Faitalpros don't use copper shorting rings, the Mark Audio CHN-50 & Alpair 5 & MAOP (afaict) : no copper, but most of the mid-priced drivers do have it.

Hence, it's possible to get "sleepers" that just require a bit of work.