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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I may be ready to give a ribbon a try. For this application, I do not have to worry about off-axis, as the listening position is absolutely fixed. It is not high level. Low distortion is the name of the game. Not going to waste my time on the sub $100 units, as they are pretty well understood as not worth the time or cost. Not going to jump to $500 off the bat either.

So, looking for recommendations. Fountek 3, Fostex FT7? Any of the planar types like the BG? This would be a 2 way satellite system sitting very close to a absorber panel front wall. Are there any jewels out there I may not have come across?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikieson /forum/post/16928246


What is the deal with ribbons being so expensive anyways? What makes them so great??

what makes ribbons good is complete freedom from breakup.


some reasons why ribbons are expensive:


1 - they require very powerful magnetic circuits ( neodymium is typically used )


2 - they come with a built in transformer ( copper costs money )


3 - they are a niche product so you also pay for exclusivity


let me put it to you this way. a tweeter such as scan-speak illuminator beryllium represents a pinnacle of development of conventional technology just like a Formula 1 car. but a Formula 1 car is NOTHING compared to an F15 fighter jet. that's what a ribbon tweeter is. a completely different type of technology taking performance to a completely different level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Neither an F1 car or an F15 would make a very good tweeter. Both have excess noise associated with them.

I would love to hear the SS dome. I have a lot of experience with Beryllium and consider it could be the optimum performing material. I wonder if the difficulty in manufacturing and the related very high price is justified by the difference in performance. That last 1% can cost a lot of money. Quite a lot of discussion if the difference between an SS 6600 and a 7000 is worth twice the price.


So, looking for something that has cleaner performance than the SS or Seas domes.

Raven R1 requires a pretty high crossover making mid-base selection a tad tougher. At about $250, I could try one. How does it compare to the small Fountek? This design would likely use a passive crossover at least to start, so a 3K LR-4 is a bit of a burden in finding suitable mids. No good if I swap upper mid raggedness and ringing for a cleaner tweeter. It is not too bad to buy three or four $50 tweeters to compare; buying three or four $500 tweeters is not in the hobby budget.

I am looking for:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Darn Tab function...


Looking for very low THD. So low my wife can listen to trumpets. ( she can listen live, but all but a couple of really high end speakers will send her out of the room)

Space and image, which I associate with phase coherency and room treatments.

"Clean" which I associate with stored energy and ringing, or lack there of.

Or should I just buy a pair of SS 7100's and see if they really are that much better than an HDS.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16928997


Or should I just buy a pair of SS 7100's and see if they really are that much better than an HDS.

why keep moving in the same direction if you're not sure which direction is right.


you can always upgrade your domes later if you decide that you are a dome person.


some people will have ribbons and nothing else. maybe you're one of them - maybe not.


domes are probably better for designing a system around. unless you have a preference for ribbon sound you should probably use a dome. but you won't know until you try it
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16928997


Looking for very low THD.

tweeters can create intermodulation distortion but harmonic distortion is not very important for them especially if you're using a high crossover point.


2nd and 3rd harmonic are considered tolerable so lets say you want to make sure your 4th harmonic is under control. also lets say you can hear to 18 khz. then 1/4th of that is 4.5 khz. with a 5 khz crossover almost all of the nasty harmonics will be in the ultrasound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I almost agree. 3rd is bad news, period. 5th is probably out of rangein a tweeter, but very important in a mid. Even order, (2nd or 4th) is more tolerable. I am not sure exactly what my wife can hear, but it is very clear to her. IM or odd. OK, with a 5Khz crossover. Now please identify a 6 1/2 mid that you would recommend any where near that high! 3K is usually pushing it. SS, Usher, Exodus, Peerless. That PA speaker you mentioned the other day looks interesting as all these use a sub so I don't need anything below 60 Hz. Box size is always an issue as I put speakers in my normal living space, not is a dedicated oversize HT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"domes are probably better for designing a system around. unless you have a preference for ribbon sound you should probably use a dome. but you won't know until you try it "


Problem with the comment "ribbon sound". Speakers should not impart any sound on the music. I am in the camp of "transducer" not "instrument". i.e. mosfets not tubes and so on. You are right, I know how to use domes. Never played with ribbons. That is the point. Thought I should play with them before my next serious design in case I am missing something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikieson /forum/post/16928246


What is the deal with ribbons being so expensive anyways? What makes them so great??

The idea is their very low mass can mean low stored energy and easier to extend frequency response. In theory. They usually have a easy to deal with impedance as you are usually driving a transformer. Lots of "usually" and "in theory".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16929531


I almost agree. 3rd is bad news, period. 5th is probably out of rangein a tweeter, but very important in a mid. Even order, (2nd or 4th) is more tolerable. I am not sure exactly what my wife can hear, but it is very clear to her. IM or odd.

lower order harmonics are less irritating than higher ones


even harmonics less irritating than odd harmonics


IM distortion is NOT HARMONIC


3rd vs 4th harmonic - one is lower order but another is even. from what i know 3rd harmonic is LESS irritating than 4th.


apparently the more common a harmonic the less irritating it is. in other words if the brain "expects" it to be there - its not bothersome. 2nd harmonic is almost always present, the brain expects it and when its there the brain doesn't really mind. 3rd harmonic is also often present. 4th harmonic is only present *sometimes* so logic suggests that when it IS present it will sound irritating.


intermodulation distortion is the worst because the brain never expects it. the brain cannot expect that a piano note should intermodulate with a saxophone note - that kind of thing does not happen outside of audio systems. so when it does happen its impossible for the brain to overlook it.


the guideline therefore should be:


* minimize IMD to absolute minimum

* minimize all harmonics starting from 4th and up

* keep 3rd harmonic reasonably low

* 2nd harmonic is just a matter of taste


unfortunately its not possible to have a nonlinear system free of IM distortion. so regardless of which harmonic is your favorite you really just need a linear system anyway.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16929544


Problem with the comment "ribbon sound". Speakers should not impart any sound on the music. I am in the camp of "transducer" not "instrument". i.e. mosfets not tubes and so on.

that is a naive viewpoint. everything has a sound. even air has a sound. certainly a dome tweeter has a sound.


perhaps a beryllium scan-speak dome has only 5% of the sound of $5 mylar dome but it still has a sound.


the choice is not between a ribbon sound and no sound. the choice is between ribbon sound and dome sound.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16929531


OK, with a 5Khz crossover. Now please identify a 6 1/2 mid that you would recommend any where near that high! 3K is usually pushing it.

you can use this lower, it's not even a ribbon:

http://www.usspeaker.com/beyma%20tpl150h-1.htm


pair it with this woofer:

http://www.usspeaker.com/jbl%202206H-1.htm

http://www.jblpro.com/pages/pub/components/2206.pdf


with ~ 1.3 khz crossover. a perfect compact high-output 2-way.


i just realized something else ! the flange ( horn ) of that HF unit is perfectly square. you could make a 2-way monitor with the ability to rotate the tweeter for horizontal placement just like Genelec and JBL 3-Way monitors. should make for an extremely versatile speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I am interested in the AMT, and rumor is the Beyma is the one to try. Just not this time. A 12 inch woofer just won't fit in a 6 1/5 inch hole. You missed my requirement.


I agree that no transducer is perfect, so they all impart some sound, aka distortion, to the music. My point is that my goal is to minimize it as much as possible. This is in contrast to those who accentuate some form of distortion to "improve" the music sound. You know, tube lovers. Just a matter of choice. So it becomes a matter of tradeoffs. Which distortions are less objectionable to you, me, or my wife? I have not played with a quality ribbon, which is this point of this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"intermodulation distortion is the worst because the brain never expects it. the brain cannot expect that a piano note should intermodulate with a saxophone note - that kind of thing does not happen outside of audio systems. so when it does happen its impossible for the brain to overlook it."


One of the most insightful comments you have made to date! It is all about fooling our brains to think what we hear is real. Psycho-acoustics.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16926642


OK, I may be ready to give a ribbon a try. For this application, I do not have to worry about off-axis, as the listening position is absolutely fixed. It is not high level. Low distortion is the name of the game. Not going to waste my time on the sub $100 units, as they are pretty well understood as not worth the time or cost. Not going to jump to $500 off the bat either.

So, looking for recommendations. Fountek 3, Fostex FT7? Any of the planar types like the BG? This would be a 2 way satellite system sitting very close to a absorber panel front wall. Are there any jewels out there I may not have come across?

Don't waste your time.


Ribbons in your price range don't extend low enough to have a good directivity match to a driver which plays loud enough down to sub-woofer frequencies. You need a 3-way or better with small mid-ranges.


I've never heard a 2-way cone + ribbon system which sounded natural. The Beyma driver vasyachkin pointed at might make an exception.


Distortion is worse than domes, especially IM/high order distortion, and especially when you get within an octave of where you'd really want to cross-over a 2-way.


I don't think 2-way non-coincident cone/dome systems with 3Khz cross-overs work well either.


John Krutke has things to say about ribbons here

http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/


with linked pages including both THD sweeps and a couple of IM distortion test points.


I liked these highlights:

Quote:
# Vifa D26NC55 ($29) - This cheap little dome tweeter outperforms everything here except for the B&G Neo3 PDR in the non-linear distortion department. It works well at 2kHz like the B&G, but has ever so slightly higher HD everywhere else. On the other hand, this tweeter beats the Neo3PDR in response smoothness and the resulting smooth CSD. (full results shown in the Tweeter Mishmash)
Quote:
Generally, these ribbons do not live up to their price and hype. This point is driven home by their comparison to the cheap little Vifa neo dome.
Quote:
I often hear people babble on about the shimmer, sparkle and air of ribbon tweeters. These tests show where these "special effects" are coming from - distortion. Ribbons do have a unique distortion profile that many will find enjoyable with some music. That's OK, and it does not have to relfect badly on your "golden ear" status. However, if accuracy to the original signal is what you are after, one of these ribbons may not be the best solution. Ribbons are certainly not the best solution if you want to build a high-value system. Those building line arrays may want to take a good hard look at one of the longer B&G elements.
 

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well the best 6.5" driver is:

http://www.madisound.com/catalog/pro...oducts_id=1563


Zalytron has traditionally been using Accuton midbass drivers with Raven ribbons in their kits. This driver with either Raven or RAAL ribbon would make an excellent speaker for music at moderate levels.


but not for loud music or home theater.


get your priorities straight - either you're doing a home theater system or you're using a 6" midbass.


i am giving you 3 options here:


1 - 3-way using 3" dome, a pair of Scan-Speak or Seas Excel woofers and Raven or Raal ribbon ( this will work for both home theater and music )


2 - 2-way using JBL woofer and Beyma AMT tweeter ( this will work well for home theater and probably be adequate for music )


3 - 2-way using accuton midbass and Raven or Raal tweeter ( this will only work for acoustical music )
 

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I have some experience with ribbon design.


my observations


the good


not many moving parts

very little distortion

simple design - (less to go wrong)

exceptional horizontal off axis frequency response (narrow ribbons)

linesource encouraged



bad

requies a very large manget to maintian reaonable senstivity

expensive

extremly fragile - thermal expansion of film is a major issue and leads to very bad distortion, pure conductor is a better solution, but even more fragile - think thin aluminum foil!

can not handle much power

if not used in a linesource they don't make much SPL and are prone to vertical polar response problems - they SHOULD be used in a linesource otherwise they even less practical - if you're doing a pointsource - honestly stick to dome tweeters or a nifty horn system (even better)



bottom line: if used in a linesource rib they sound exceptional but they cant do midrange, otherwise stick to a dome tweeter. Alternative: Planars offer far more SPL, handle far more power, excel in midrange, and are less expensive. They don't have as good horizontal polar response unless you find a narrow one and they don't extend much beyond 20k, but they maintain all the other benefits of the ribbon - low distortion, simplicity etc. imo, 20k+ extension is vastly overrated.
 
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