Is there a real difference in a speaker's "patented/exclusive" driver materials

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dylan, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. Dylan

    Dylan Extra

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    I'm wondering if there are sound scientific principles behind various company's speaker technology/materials and whether a speaker that doesn't have this patented technology (i.e. Kevlar for the cone material in B&W speakers) will sound inferior to one that does, all other things being equal. For example B&W have their patented Nautilus technology, the use of Kevlar materials for their drivers and the golf ball dimples to reduce excess sound energy. Paradigm uses a mixture of paper and metallic particles for their driver cone materials, i.e. ICP (injection-molded co-polymer polypropylene), have a "high-pressure die-cast aluminum or glass-reinforced injection-molded polymer (GRIP) chassis [to] eliminate vibration, ringing and flexing..." [from their brochure] and some of their speakers have a PTD (pure titanium dome). Some speakers, like Def Tech, have "ferrofluid damped moving coil aluminum tweeters" It has been said that speakers with pure metallic domes are superior to paper. Sonically I can see why. But what about Paradigm's paper-metal hybrid? Or Def Tech's ferrofluid damped aluminum tweeters? Has anyone done tests on the sonic differences between titanium vs. aluminum vs. ferrofluid damped aluminum vs. Kevlar? How much is sound science and how much is overeager marketing? Is this a hopeless request? Is this another case of apples and oranges? This goes to the heart of the paradoxical question about performance differences between different speakers. Is the proof in the pudding?
     
  2. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Better is always in the ear of the listener. These companies patent things that they feel differentiate their product from the competition. Does that make it better? No, not necessarily.
     
  3. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I aggree with Mark. With the advantages some of those exotic materials impart, they also bring different disadvantages. For example metal cones are great up to their break up modes. If the crossover doesn't keep those drivers from getting their break up mode frequencies then you'll get a terrible sounding speaker.

    Some of the best speakers out there still use a resin reinforced paper for their cones.

    The dimbled port thing of B&W is just a gimic. The dimples work great when the air flow is in one direction and relatively constant. But in a port you have a slug of air that is moving back and forth many times a second. In this situation the dimbles don't gain you anything.
     
  4. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    But dimples gain you bragging rights. [​IMG]
    "been said that speakers with pure metallic domes are superior to paper."
    What paper dome speakers are we talking about?
    Anyways here are some notes on cone/dome materials I made after reading an article by Bob Stout. I believe that there are some materials that perform better in every aspect than others. This is strictly talking performance wise as sound quality is pretty much subjectable and there are so many other factors regarding a speaker's design.
    I think companies are making the right move$ in patenting innovative designs, and no I don't think they just use driver materials for "show and sell".
    1. Paper: Light and stiff, many high end drivers use treated paper to affect sound and prevent deterioration. Also low end drivers use paper because it can be so cheap. (Types: Slitted Paper, Carbon Fiber Paper, Polyglass reinforced, Kevlar reinforced.
    2. Polypropylene: Also very popular and easy to make with thermo or injection molding. It is semi-rigid, with high internal damping, and it's immune to moisture unlike paper. Can be reinforced/impregnated like paper with mica, talc, carbon black, acrylic, Miraflex (fiberglass), and Kevlar.
    3. Carbon Fiber: A bit more exotic and difficult to manufacture carbon fiber can be more brittle and stiff than Polypropylene. It can have excellent stiffness when woven, formed or used as a coating.
    4. Kevlar: Common in bullet proof vests, ballistic shelters, pressure vessels, etc. With strength and light weight it's only weakness could be that it can resonate and ring like a bell (similar to metal drivers)
    5. Aluminum: Features low distortion and coloration with excellent group delay characteristics. The penalty, as noted above, is undamped resonances and severe breakup modes in the upper stopband. (Good for woofers)
    6. Magnesium is lighter than aluminum and just as stiff. It is however more expensive but has less internal damping than aluminum.
    7. List of combination driver materials:
    Carbon Paper
    Carbon fiber reinforced Polypropylene
    Ceramic
    Damped Polymer Composite
    Fiberglass
    Expanded foam
    HD-Aerogel (HDA)
    Hexacone
    Neoglass
    Nomex/Carbon Fiber Honeycomb
    Polykevlar
    Polyglass
    TPX
    W sandwich
    XPP
    Dome materials:
    Fabric (Silk) - High internal damping, often hand treated.
    Aluminum - High stiffness/weight but poor damping which is why companies often treat them.
    Titanium - Heavier than aluminum but a lot stronger
    Beryllium - Expensive and exotic, it is the stiffest metal/weight known to man.
    Polymide
    Kevlar
    Ceramic - Depending on the technology ceramic can do very well.
    Ceramic Composite
    Jeeze it's cold in here (School computer lab)
     
  5. Jonathan K

    Jonathan K Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, you forgot those Diamond tweeters! How is that done? [​IMG]
     
  6. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Might I also add that the crossover (what order slopes used, component quality, how it compensates for specific driver characteristics etc) and cabinet design often play a more integral part to how a speaker sounds than the actual drivers used. A clever speaker designer can make even cheap drivers sound good, but it is easy to make a poor sounding speaker from good quality drivers. Of course, for best sound, it is hoped that good-quality drivers are used, whatever material the cone is made from. [​IMG]
    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  7. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Mike makes an excellent and very valid point. The heart and brain of any speaker is it's crossover.

    Well unless you get into full range drivers, but I'm unaware of any full range driver that performs great on all material.
     
  8. Heck, even full range drivers need a baffle step compensation circuit.
     
  9. Patrick TX

    Patrick TX Stunt Coordinator

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    It's all marketing hype next to VideoStage5!
     
  10. Mark R O

    Mark R O Stunt Coordinator

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    Geez, I thought my Titlest 4's had dimples to reduce port chuff! I've been had by the marketing hype again! Well, my sales guy assured me that my new B&W sub with port dimples will cure my slice, so at least there is still SOME credibility left in product claims...
     
  11. Mark R O

    Mark R O Stunt Coordinator

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    Geez, I thought my Titlest 4's had dimples to reduce port chuff! I've been had by the marketing hype again! Well, my sales guy assured me that my new B&W sub with port dimples will cure my slice, so at least there is still SOME credibility left in product claims...
     
  12. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    >>But dimples gain you bragging rights
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  14. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Chris,
    GREAT reply...
    But you didn't Address Magneium Midranges or Diamond Hardended
    Titanium Domes..
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    (Am I the only one who tears his speakers apart just to see
    how the drivers are constructed???) I really should be a DIY'r!
    [​IMG]
    Ohh and Klipsch has that near Copper/Ceramic Mix which is
    also interesting..
    Hey I like exotic materials.. If I wanted treated Paper I
    woulda bought Bose.. (Plus it has Video Stage 5 !!) [​IMG]
     

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