What is the next leap forward for me?

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Hi all

allow me to tell you where I come from w.r.t. loudspeakers...

The first "real" speakers I built were particle board closed boxes with no-name surplus woofers and tweeters haphazardly tossed in -- sounded like #!@ but I had them for 2 years when I moved and gave them away.

I then experienced a first "big leap forward" when I built a pair of Fostex full-range back-loaded horns -- very impressive speakers!

About a year ago I finished a long-running full-range ESL project and that was the second big leap in speaker quality I experienced. The Fostexes, nice as they are, just can't compete with them re imaging, low-level detail, and lifelikeness. BTW: never having been very impressed with ESL/cone hybrids, I conciously went for a full-range.

Now I'm wondering... although I'm very happy with my ESLs, is there headroom left for me for another "big leap"? Or have I reached the edge of the plateau where small tweaks are more in order? In other words, is there something "above" a wire-stator FR ESL that will perform strikingly better? Or am I better off perfectioning the FR ESL concept?

Plasma, ribbons, ...? A wire-stator ESL built after the Quad 63, like Tim de Weert has done?

If you've been in a similar position, I'd love to hear your ideas! If you haven't, well... I'm sure you'll state your opinion anyway :cool:


a ribbon project should be right up your alley? I have done ESLs, have a almost finished "apogee" project in the workshop and I am currently looking into ribbons.

I want a ribbon that have a broad frequency range, and looking into something with a 50mm wide ribbon of 1000mm length.

Unfortuneatly I am caught up in something called work so I only have time plan and ourchase - but not build :-(

As I see it - ribbons shows a great potential as the should be fairly easy to build, not necessary dependent of transformers or bias voltage or electrochemical properties. The fewer factors, the greater likeliness for success?

The same of course can be said about magnet driven planars, but still - ribbons is veeery tempting at this stage.

Then again...my theory..

well, yes there´s something that could be better than a FR-ESL.
Even though Your experiences with hybrids have not impressed You yet -which somehow doesn´t wonder me ;)- You shouldn´t exclude them from Your list right away.
If You want to add to the FR-sound a really good low bass instead of soft one-note bass, if You want to omit with the FR´s thin sucked out sound in the upper bass, If You want big-horn-like dynamics, if You want to add resolution, fine dynamics, linearity, a hybrid might just be the solution.
If done right, You´ll probabely never want to go back to FR again.

Sounds like you are having good fun.

The question is whether (1) you want to enjoy new and more challenging construction projects or (2) want to make your music more perfect?

Often, making a system better relates to extending the extremes. In turn, that relates to the very very soft "rule" about 400,000 (lower limit times upper limit). Not to be taken too literally, but do you feel your bass is as good as your treble?

For experimenting, this may seem odd, but I'd work on your room. It may be just as sophisticated to build a Helmholtz sound absorber as a speaker.

Or devote your efforts to making a system of measurement of sound (I am really thinking of myself here).
Hi all

thanks for the thoughts. Yes I'm having good fun :)

Room treatment is not feasible right now due to practical reasons but definitely something to keep in mind for the future. Makes a lot of sense.

A ribbon experiment could be fun... which freq range do they do?

@Calvin: it'll probably take a real 'eye-opening' experience before I attempt to build a hybdir. Also kind of turns me off that I can't build everything "from scratch"... but have to put in a purchased "subassembly"

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