Ribbon Technology

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November 21st Written by 


Loudspeakers are merely air pumps. The speaker with the greatest fidelity is the air pump producing the fewest errors (room interactions aside). Film drivers have the greatest potential for making the fewest errors given their low mass and virtually 100% driven diaphragm. This low mass and great diaphragm control can also produce the near absence of diaphragm resonance which is a major source of harshness and listening fatigue in cone and dome drivers.

The Newform Ribbons take film drivers to their next level by eliminating the well known old problems and taking advantage of new advances in our understanding of what constitutes true high fidelity to the human ear. Our new technology Ribbons improve on the classic Ribbon and electrostatic designs by representing high, purely resistive loads that any amplifier can drive to the best of its ability. At the same time, the sensitivity is higher, further reducing amplifier stress and allowing the greater dynamics of our systems to be exploited.

The Newform Ribbons provide extremely smooth and extended frequency response with unmatched horizontal dispersion. Why do our new designs compare so well to the classic electrostatic and Ribbon designs? Newform Ribbons have narrow (3/4"), tightly suspended diaphragms that inherently provide extremely good horizontal dispersion. As one of our kit customers pointed out, "Newform Ribbons simply store less energy than any other design I have heard". The less stored energy (released several milliseconds late), the cleaner the sound.

Once we have exploited the benefits of film diaphragms to create a superior sound wave, there is the question of delivering that wave with maximum integrity into the room and to the listeners ears. Aside from the obvious benefits that derive from being a Ribbon or film driver, there is the issue of diffraction. Our Ribbons have the smallest acoustic profile of any driver operating from 1 kHz up. When it comes to acoustic profile, the less you see, the more you hear. The entire structure is only 3 1/4" wide and 2 1/2" deep. (The Oval Ribbons are only 2" wide.)  It is heavily beveled at the front and the diaphragm is within 1/8" of the front of the structure. Given the narrow width of the diaphragm (dispersion is a function of diaphragm width and wavelength), there is very little to interfere with extremely even off-axis response. A critical consideration in producing a truly coherent soundfield in home theater.

Excellent and very even off-axis dispersion patterns are prime contributors to a deep and well-focused soundstage. The clarity, which is created by our narrow film diaphragm, is maintained by the absence of anomalies as the waveform moves beyond the loudspeaker structure and into the room. Once into the room, they will not be degraded by ceiling and floor reflections because as broad as our horizontal dispersion pattern is, our vertical dispersion is conversely limited.

This line source characteristic is of extreme importance to soundstaging focus and depth as well as to soundfield coherence in home theatre and intelligibility in public area installations. Conventional system manufacturers are coming to this conclusion as well as can be seen by the emergence of systems in the higher end featuring dome arrays and ever more ribbons. These arrays produce cancellation patterns which effectively reduce vertical dispersion. Newform Ribbons produce a naturally controlled radiation pattern which has no comb filtering in it. 

In the complex world of sound reproduction, design simplicity is the foundation of excellence. For a more complete discussion of our technology and its practical application, browse through our "Published Articles" section.


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Published in Buying Guide