Tag Archives: loudspeakers

German Physiks Borderland MK IV Loudspeaker

Ah, Germany. Home of Bavarian pretzels, Pilsner beer, finely crafted watches, and some of the best stereo equipment to grace an eardrum. Based in Maintal, in the State of Hesse, German Physiks approaches speaker design by rejecting the accepted solutions. GP’s chief designer Holger Mueller’s goal was to recreate live music by utilizing a driver resembling a point source, with the goal of conveying as much of the signal as possible while avoiding multi-driver incoherence, phase and time misalignment, and crossover issues. In other words, to create a wonderfully complex solution by Keeping It Simple, Stupid! 

A little history is in order. In 1978, purely as an academic exercise as he was not involved in the audio industry at the time, a German engineer named Peter Dicks decided to investigate the Walsh speaker (then being manufactured by Ohm Acoustics). He produced a computer model of the Walsh driver, which enabled him to see how it could be improved. After spending several years refining his model, he produced a series of working prototypes, which  he showed to a number of European loudspeaker makers. None of them displayed any interest. 

In the early 1990s, Peter showed the design to Holger Mueller, who was running a company in Frankfurt, Germany, called Mainhattan Acustik, making loudspeaker systems and also drivers for OEM use. Customers for his drivers included one very well-known U.S. high-end loudspeaker manufacturer and also one of the big German car manufacturers. Mueller had been a fan of the Ohm F and its Walsh driver and saw potential in the design that Peter presented. He then spent two years working together with Peter to produce a commercial product, and this became the Dicks Dipole Driver. The DDD used a cone made from 0.001″ (0.025mm) thick titanium foil. Mueller started a new company to produce loudspeakers using this driver, and in 1992 the firm launched its first product, the German Physiks Borderland Mk I. 

The DDD, used in all German Physiks designs, has been considerably refined over the years, and now uses a cone made from carbon fiber. Sonically the titanium DDD driver was extremely good, but the cone was also extremely fragile and difficult to manufacture. The current carbon-fiber DDD will resist a large amount of physical abuse and offers a wider frequency response than the titanium version.

Interestingly, Maintal is only a 13-minute drive from Hanau, Germany, the birthplace of Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, creators of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. I’m not sure what they have in the water in this region, but it has clearly resulted in some serious out-of-the-box thinking! 

The DDD resembles a very long pistonic driver mounted vertically. Although it operates pistonically at low frequencies, the majority of its nearly seven-octave range is generated through bending-wave and modal radiation. This is facilitated by the driver’s very low moving mass (less than three grams) and the extreme flexibility of its carbon-fiber cone. The outside of the driver cone is exposed and radiates in 360 degrees, with the magnet (generating around 1.2 Tesla of magnetic induction) housed at the apex, and the cone’s throat playing into a fixed-volume sealed enclosure. This design results in an incredibly wide frequency response of 190Hz to 24kHz from a stunningly small area of radiation, which stays phase-linear throughout its entire operating range. Its engineering complexity belies its simple appearance; the single DDD essentially functions acoustically as a four-driver system. 

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

Charney Audio Maestro Loudspeakers | REVIEW

  From my first exposure to Charney Audio speakers at a Capital Audiofest a few years back, I’ve remained somewhat smitten with the possibilities that exist in the world of well-designed single-driver speakers. The single-driver [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Sonus faber Lumina II Loudspeakers | REVIEW

The story of the Sonus faber Lumina II bookshelf speakers is also the story of “Yulunga,” perhaps my favorite reference track of all time. That old demo track from Dead Can Dance’s Into the Labyrinth [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Sonus faber Lumina V and Lumina II Loudspeakers

The popular Sonus faber Lumina collection gets updated with two exciting new models, rounding out the line. As you may have read Marc Phillips’ review of the Lumina III tower, and found that his enjoyment [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Work Pro Audio Launches Entar Loudspeakers

Work Pro Audio Entar Loudspeakers
Work Pro Audio Entar Loudspeakers

Valencia, Spain (June 9, 2021)—Spanish manufacturer Equipson’s Work Pro Audio brand has launched its new Entar Series, a range of two-way professional loudspeakers intended for the installation and live sound markets.

The Entar Series includes passive and active speakers in a variety of sizes, all manufactured from high-density plywood, making them suitable for light PA duties, use as stage monitors, side fills and so on.

The Entar Series has four two-way passive loudspeaker models, offering a choice of 8”, 10”, 12” or 15” woofers. Power outputs range from 400 W to 600 W. The series also includes three active models equipped with Class D amplifiers and either 10”, 12” or 15” woofers.

Work Pro Arion Line Array Series Expands

Each of the loudspeakers has a controllable DSP that includes EQ presets, location presets (Pole, Monitor, Bracket), selectable HPF filter, Shelving EQs, limiter and front LED mode (on, off, limiter). Active models also include a volume knob and line/mic and link/mix switches. All loudspeakers in the Entar Series are finished in black and have black steel grilles.

Equipson SA is an international manufacturer, distributor and exporter of technological products for the worldwide entertainment industry. Work Pro products include lighting control solutions, networked audio management systems, sound reinforcement and processing, and lifting equipment for the stage management industry.

Equipson • www.equipson.es

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Q&A with Jack Sharkey of KEF

What ignited your interest in high-end audio? Did it come from the music side or the electronics side? 

I come from a musical family, so that was the spark, but as I got more involved in music, I became more and more fascinated with sound and eventually the physics of sound. Sound has always been a means to enjoy the art of music, but I do admit that it’s the noise music makes that really interests me.

What do you consider to be your first high-end system?

After college I saved for a little JVC receiver and a turntable from JC Penney, but the crowning jewel was my pair of Acoustic Research AR-18 bookshelves. I went to the shop down the street once a week for three months to listen to them. It was a great start to the journey. There was something very satisfying about putting together the best system I could afford at the time, and I’ve never forgotten the feeling I had the first time I listened to my humble little system.

What kind of education did you receive?

I started school doing audio engineering, and finished my schooling on the 10-year night-school plan in electronics engineering and computer-hardware design.

What differentiates high-end audio from other forms of audio?

The experience. You have to be looking for the emotion and passion only music can provide in order to really “get” high-end audio, whether you approach it from a passion for the art or the science. Music is not a passive experience—you have to be engaged with it even if you’re simply sitting in your living room—so the greater the detail in the performance or the playback, the greater the passion and emotion in your heart and soul.

KEF is placing increasing emphasis on wireless/active loudspeakers. Is this where the industry is going?

Because streaming is the future of music and because the available technology makes super-high-performing active systems affordable, there is a definite trend in that direction. But systems made of separates are always going to have a place in the market.

What interesting fact, philosophy, or aspect about KEF might surprise audiophiles?

The level of engineering we do to make our speakers. We attack our design process from the physics level, with a ground-up approach for every product line. It’s the principle the company was founded on, and we’re privileged to still be able to work that way today.

Looking in your crystal ball, where do you see the high end in the next 10 years?

I think we’re entering a new audio renaissance, so I believe more people will come to appreciate high end. The first 15 years of this century were kind of a low point in music appreciation because we were all so fascinated with convenience over quality, but I think we’re beginning to see that was all just a fad. Whether its food, wine, or music, people crave the best possible sensory experience they can get their hands on, and technology has made it possible for music lovers and audiophiles to get amazing audio reproduction that is also convenient beyond anything we thought possible even ten years ago.

What challenges are the high-end industry facing?

Technology is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s hard to know what will be expected of a product in even three or four years’ time. Couple this with the fact that the digital infrastructure on the consumer and provider’s ends are stressed to saturation, and you’ve got challenges that were unheard of until recently. Right now, bandwidth is the biggest tech hurdle, and re-introducing consumers to music that sounds great is the biggest market challenge.

Outside of audio, what do you do for fun?

I ride motorcycles (I’m currently on an Indian), and I’m trying my hand at gentleman farming, but I never really find myself very far from music or audio in some fashion. That’s what’s fun about riding (or cutting hay)—I go without a radio or sound system and just connect with the machine and the surroundings. It’s very liberating and relaxing.

What inspires you about your work?

Sound. Followed by music. I’m extremely privileged to work in an industry and for a company that shares my same passion. It makes it very easy to get up and go to work in the morning. I started fooling around with speakers when I was 14, and after a few career detours here and there it’s amazing to be right back where my passion has always been. 

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

DALI Rubicon 6 C Wireless Integrated System

The next time that audiophile catalog lands in your mailbox—you know, the one that’s been coming every month or so ever since you bought a gallon of record cleaning fluid sometime during the second Clinton administration—take a close look at the photos used to show off the equipment to its best advantage. A Spartan turntable sits on a tastefully distressed wood-plank table with three potted cacti looking on admiringly. A top-quality surround-sound system is displayed in a living room on a well-maintained oak floor with glimpses of an expensive-looking Persian rug and a contemporary Italian glass coffee table in the frame. A sleek equipment rack holding thousands of dollars worth of gear sits beneath an abstract watercolor. The presentation is intended to communicate that owning good audio gear demonstrates an appreciation for the finer things in life. But do the hypothetical inhabitants of these refined spaces only look and not listen? I ask because there’s not a cable in sight.

The idea of a wireless audio system has a lot of appeal, and not just because of aesthetic considerations. There’s the chance for a designer to optimally match amplification to a loudspeaker’s drivers and enclosure. There’s all the assets and angst spared by not having to deal with interconnects and speaker cables. Although most active loudspeakers are smaller models intended for desktop or studio use, the product class has been burgeoning lately, and there have been some recent high-profile successes with full-range models aimed at the audiophile market. Bruno Putzeys’ Kii Three, the Gayle Sanders’ Eikon, and several others have joined offerings from trailblazer Meridian Audio. In the loudspeaker game since 1983, Denmark’s Dali—that’s Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries—has decided to commit resources to this approach, as well.

Dali introduced two powered loudspeakers in 2017, the Callisto 2 and Callisto 6. The bookshelf Rubicon 2 C and the Rubicon 6 C floorstander considered here are the first instances of DALI taking an existing product (the Rubicon 6, at $5499 per pair, debuted in 2014) and building in the wireless technology of the Callistos. The Rubicon 6 C, with the DALI Sound Hub that serves as a streaming preamplifier connecting wirelessly to the loudspeakers, retails for a smidge under $8800.

The DALI Rubicon 6 C loudspeakers are handsome, if conventional-appearing rectangular boxes measuring 7.9″ (W) x 39.1″ (H) x 15.0″ (D). Each speaker weighs in at 45.8 pounds. The 6 C is a 2½-way bass-reflex system, with both its hybrid tweeter and two 6.5″ mid/bass drivers built by DALI in Denmark using European-manufactured parts. The high-frequency unit combines a 1″ soft dome, featuring a copper-clad aluminum voice coil, and a wide-dispersion magnetostatic ribbon. The complete tweeter assembly functions from about 2500Hz to beyond 30kHz. The mid/woofer has a wood-fiber diaphragm that’s both light and rigid, possessing an uneven surface that assures more ideal pistonic movement of the membrane. Perhaps the driver’s most significant design element is the Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) used to replace a key iron part of the magnet structure. As explained to me by DALI CEO Lars Worre, SMC is “a pulverized material consisting of very small iron particles, which are individually coated so that when you press them together into a form, none of the particles will—electrically—be in contact. Consequentially, there will be no electrical conductivity: SMC is around ten thousand times less electrically conductive than iron but has the same excellent abilities to conduct magnetism.” DALI manufactures its mid/bass driver’s pole piece entirely from SMC, enclosing it in a slitted copper cap. A measurable consequence of this design is the virtual elimination of hysteresis, a phenomenon resulting from the asymmetry of the magnetization/demagnetization process that introduces distortion-causing resistance to the voice coil. Despite that, by necessity the SMC pole piece is located close to the magnet gap. Worre said, “We don’t lose energy to the surrounding iron materials, and the result is a dramatic reduction in distortion, particularly with odd-order harmonics.”

The Rubicon’s enclosure is fabricated from MDF, with the drivers attached directly to a one-inch-thick front baffle. Strategic internal bracing is used to reduce standing waves and resonances. There are three available finishes, all priced the same—black and white gloss lacquer and walnut veneer. The mid/bass drivers are situated in two equal-sized internal compartments, each with its own rear-firing port tuned to 36.5Hz. The 6 C employs two identical, 250W, self-oscillating, “Eigentakt” Class D amplifiers; one powers the tweeter unit and the other the two mid/bass drivers. The crossover is a hybrid of active DSP filtering and passive analog topology with hand-off frequencies of 800Hz (bottom to top midrange/bass driver), 2.6kHz (top mid/bass to dome tweeter) and 14kHz (dome to ribbon.) The system’s DAC lives in the loudspeaker, a Burr-Brown 1796 chipset. This is a PCM-only device, so those devoted to native DSD may be disappointed. Lars Worre wasn’t exactly sympathetic. “From a radio transmission point of view, we could have quite easily decided to transfer a DSD stream with oversampling corresponding to the commonly used 2.8MHz version,” he told me. “But it would have called for another platform for D-to-A conversion in the speaker. We decided to stay with the rather good-sounding 24-bit/96kHz basic format, as the use of true DSD sources is so commercially marginalized that we believe it will never, in reality, be an issue for actual customers.”

On the rear of each Rubicon 6 C, where you’d expect to find the binding posts, are an AC connector for the supplied power cord, a rocker-type power switch, a USB service port, and an RCA input to allow the loudspeaker to get line-level input from an external preamp or processor instead of DALI’s wireless Sound Hub. Above these connections is a small screen that illuminates to guide the wireless pairing process, and above that is the critical Link/Connect button. Each 6 C is provided with two metal bars that fit neatly into recesses on the speaker’s bottom to create a stabilizing outrigger structure. Four supplied spikes can be threaded into the bars; rubber bumpers are an alternative. A single grille attaches with plastic pins to cover all the drivers. Like most loudspeaker grilles, it’s not completely transparent sonically, and should be removed for critical listening—though the same party who OK’d the speakers’ admission to a shared living space because of the absence of cables may balk at the prospect of exposed drivers. So, it goes.

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

Final Impressions:  The VIVID GIYA G1 Series 2 Loudspeaker

Ye Olde Editor: a portrait. Happy Valley, OR, 2020. (Photograph by David C. Robinson; image processing by David W. Robinson) It takes time for good things to happen. A child in the womb. A person growing to maturity. Creating art. Composing music. Writing. Fine photography. The aging of wine, whiskey, bourbon, tobacco. All are the... Read More »

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Original Resource is Positive Feedback

Sound Hub Denmark Adds Dynaudio

Jens Lynge Petersen, Dynaudio CTO (left), and Peter Petersen, CEO of Sound Hub Denmark, below one of four Dynaudio loudspeakers provided for Sound Hub’s central meeting space.
Jens Lynge Petersen, Dynaudio CTO (left), and Peter Petersen, CEO of Sound Hub Denmark, below one of four Dynaudio loudspeakers provided for Sound Hub’s central meeting space.

Denmark (May 12, 2021)—Sound Hub Denmark, which bills itself as a “world-class workplace and sound-and-acoustics growth hub for start-ups, freelancers, SMEs and corporates,” has gained a new member in Danish loudspeaker manufacturer Dynaudio.

Dynaudio, known for its loudspeakers for professional recording studios and high-end consumer use, has entered an active partnership with Sound Hub Denmark, where it will work in proximity to other companies, gaining access to and sharing knowledge with other industry partners and start-ups in the joint physical location.

Dynaudio Ships Core 47, Core Sub Studio Monitors

As a partner, Dynaudio will have access to test and meeting facilities, plus events and networking groups – and all the related benefits you have when sharing a location with brands from other parts of the industry. Other partners include Bang & Olufsen, Harman Lifestyle, GN Audio (Jabra), Scan-Speak, Aalborg University and Danish Sound Cluster.

Dynaudio CTO Jens Lynge Petersen noted, “Working with Sound Hub means we can bring our knowledge and skills to new and exciting projects. Our team members will be physically present on a regular basis and can’t wait to get started with our cooperation’.

Peter Petersen, CEO of Sound Hub Denmark, added, “We’re delighted to have Dynaudio on board as a partner, co-worker and contributing sponsor. We see Dynaudio as a global ambassador for us, as well as actively supporting talented start-ups here. A fast way to get to quality sound experiences and enter into a dialogue with a knowable industry player can be essential to drive innovation. We also hope to inspire and contribute to Dynaudio’s corporate innovation in our matchmaking activities.”

Dynaudio • www.dynaudio.com

Sound Hub Denmark • www.soundhub.dk

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

View from the Top: Allen Sides, CEO, Ocean Way Audio

Allen Sides, CEO, Ocean Way Audio
Allen Sides, CEO, Ocean Way Audio

New York, NY (May 12, 2021)—Allen Sides may be most closely associated with the various Ocean Way Recording studios where artists and producers like Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Green Day, Beck, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Wynonna Judd and more recorded classic albums, but the famed audio entrepreneur started out by building loudspeakers at age 13. In fact, his first studio began as a garage (yes, located near the beach on Ocean Way) where he demoed speakers for clients. “I built the studio not so much because I intended to record music per se, but I wanted impressive sounding material to make my speakers sound good,” he says. “I ended up recording about 50 albums in that garage, but I sold a lot of speakers as well.” Fast-forward nearly 50 years, multiple legendary studios and more than 1,000 album credits later, and Sides is still in the audio business and building speakers as the CEO of Ocean Way Audio.

Ocean Way Audio has been designing monitoring systems for the last 10 years, initially starting out with “extremely huge speakers,” but today, the company has evolved to provide speakers in a variety of sizes that evoke the same sonic picture of those larger systems. Likewise, the company’s clientele has expanded beyond the realm of recording studios. “A very big direction for us are Atmos theaters; these are high-end and we do these all over the world—it is a very big market for us,” Sides says. “We also have a large audiophile clientele, and we do a lot of in-home recording set ups.”

The company still does a lot of custom work for clients with very specific needs and will manufacture a speaker for a particular project. “That is something we are always doing—just creating new products,” he says. “As far as manufacturing goes, we do all of our cabinetry in our own plant, then it all comes back here to our warehouse in Burbank, where everything is assembled, balanced and adjusted before it is packed and shipped out to customers.”

Flying Lotus Lands on Ocean Way Monitors

When it comes to design and engineering, there are three main figures involved: Bruce Marion, who has been the chief engineer at Ocean Way Recording for 36 years; Cliff Henricksen, chief designer and an MIT physicist; and Ernie Woody, director of Production Operations, who manages all the production and follow-through along with the sales team.

With the economy always changing, Sides says that currently his company’s biggest markets are residential home studios and theaters, though it also does a fair number of large-scale private theater installations. “We are making greater headway into the professional home and project studio environments and making even smaller high-performance speakers,” he says. “The premise of the smaller speakers was that we needed something even smaller than our HR5s, that you could just put next to a computer monitor. The idea is that you could wear them like headphones if you chose to. The crossover is so symmetrical that you could be listening from one foot away and not hear two separate components—there is one sound and the crossover is inaudible.

“But we are also doing larger Atmos projects. We just finished a 48-channel surround system at the Riviera Theater, which is at the center of the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The system features 11’ high and 7’ wide speakers and the front screen channels are +/- 1 dB from a 19 kHz to 20 Hz each channel. I don’t think anybody has done this before, and it is a revolutionary system.”

Whether Ocean Way Audio is creating massive or miniscule speakers, the key factor uniting all its products can’t be found in the hardware—it’s Sides’ insights, experience and first-hand knowledge, which informs each speaker’s creation and sound. “As an engineer, producer and studio owner, I understand what something should sound like from an engineer’s standpoint,” he said. “I think I have a different perspective than someone who is strictly technical, even though I am also technical. In the end, it is all about whether the sound is giving me something that I need emotionally and whether I am satisfied. Since I am so emotionally involved with the sound of our products, they have to sound great. I have no interest in mediocrity and I want our speakers to sound insanely good. That is my thing, and I guess that’s the essence of our culture.”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com