Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reasons why omni ribbon is hard to integrate

Last night read review of latest Magnepan 1.7 in The Absolute Sound.  There was much discussion of how pure aluminum ribbon tweeters don't integrate well with planar magnetic panels.  The new Magnepan 1.7 is said to be an integration champ because all of its drivers are quasi-ribbon planar magnetics (like ribbons, except the aluminum is bonded to plastic diaphram).

Now I'm having integration difficulty with omni ribbon tweeter and electrostatic speaker with characteristics similar to the Maggies.  Electrostats in general are considered to mate better with ribbons than almost any other kind of driver except for other ribbons.  But it's still not perfect.  Why not?

The first thing another audiophile might look to is the omnidirectional radiation pattern of the ribbon tweeters that I am using.  However, IMO, the omnidirectional pattern fits reasonably well with the figure 8 response of the electrostats, and may even be helpful in filling in the gaps that would otherwise be perceived as making the speaker sound beamy.

What I think about a lot is the possibility that the ribbon has much greater headroom than the electrostatic driver.  It can handle up to 500 watts, just in the range 10kHz-35kHz.  As a result of having much greater headroom, it sounds more open and adds an open "effortless" quality to the sound it augments.  However, as a result of having more headroom, it has less compression.

I'm beginning to wonder if part of the problem is that the ribbon tweeter is *too good*, and it doesn't fall back behind the panels sonically because it doesn't compress like they do.  The integration difficulty stems from the fact that the panels just aren't as good.

This almost suggests that using the supertweeter in "augmentation mode" (where there is no crossover on the main speaker) may not be the best way.  Perhaps the panels need to be crossover over for best integration.  (I am still not planning to do that.)

No comments:

Post a Comment