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does low mass (electrostatic) in a speaker help it resolve very quiet details?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Addict
 

does low mass (electrostatic) in a speaker help it resolve very quiet details?

Hello,

I have noticed that condenser mics can capture very quiet details (whisper level) better than dynamics. I am thinking the mass of the dynamic's diaphragm is too heavy for very low energy sources. If it is too quiet, the dynamic mic simply ignores it... the physics of the heavy mass of the diaphragm is not overcome, and no diaphragm movement occurs. I think this is part of the reason that condenser mics output way more millivolts-per-pascal than dynamics (I don't really know... I'm not an electronics expert).

I equate magnetic cone speakers to dynamic mics, and electrostatic speakers to condenser mics. That being said, do electrostatic speakers do a better job than cones in terms of reproducing extremely quiet sounds? I'm thinking that the mass of the electostatic element is very light, so it can do quiet playback better. Magnetic cones speakers are comparitively heavy, so super quiet sources are not going to overcome the mass inertia of the cone.

A lot of peole are interested in low-distortion loud playback. I'm interested in high-resolution quiet playback.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 

electrostatic transducers

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
do electrostatic speakers do a better job than cones in terms of reproducing extremely quiet sounds?
they certainly do.

ask an old geezer that has heard the KLH 9 or original Quads.

not reliable nor do they reproduce at a decent playback level.

Last edited by cathode; 2 weeks ago at 09:07 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
To extend your mic analogy:

The low-mass equivalent of a standard dynamic mic is a ribbon. Same conductor-in-a-magnetic-field principle, but the much lighter conducting element means it can respond much more quickly, and have fewer self-resonances than a dynamic (or even most condensers)... bottom line, be "flatter".

"Too quiet" isn't the issue. If there are no magnetic interference sources, the only noise a dynamic or ribbon generates by itself is down at thermal levels. The problem is more often the noise floor in the preamp, masking the pickup, and/or losses in the transmission between element and first preamp stage because of impedance mismatches.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
You should seek out somebody who has Magneplanar speakers and ask for a visit to hear them.

They are well regarded as audiophile speakers, and sound magnificent, but I can't vouch for how well they'd work as studio monitors.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Magneplanar speakers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbo King View Post
You should seek out somebody who has Magneplanar speakers and ask for a visit to hear them.

They are well regarded as audiophile speakers, and sound magnificent, but I can't vouch for how well they'd work as studio monitors.
well regarded,
low efficiency,
and not electrostatics.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
I use magnaplaner 1.7 with a sub as an alternative to my nearfields (HS80M).

They sound wonderful, so much detail. There are drawbacks

Power. I did not want to spend the cash on Bryston amps so I went for a pair of 500 watt mono blocks from Emotiva. Also those speakers don't go below 50hz. You will want a sub. Those speaker can easily eat up 2K watts each without blinking.

Space. Those speaker don't work well in a small room. My main room is about 1200 sq ft and the 1.7's don't have enough room to breath.

Low volume details, any kind of details......yes. they work great for that.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Martin Logan that builds very good ESL speakers has switched to air motion transformers for their lower cost speakers. They emulate the transient details the ESL panels can produce. I use them in my Golden Ear monitors and Emotiva tower TV room speakers. Even my Jeep Wrangler has 4 of them fitted.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
If they're able to reproduce quieter sounds I'm not so sure the cone mass has anything to do with it. If the heavy cone can produce loud sounds at a certain power level, then just reduce the power to go quiet. The threshold of hearing will just occur at a different power level.

In my mind, the lighter diaphragms dramatically reduce phase shift, since they couple directly with the air, as opposed to dynamic drivers which rely heavily(no pun intended) on cone mass to achieve flat response and control cone travel at low frequencies. Dynamic drivers operate at above resonance, relying on the cone mass to reduce excursion at high frequencies to achieve flat response. Operating in this way means there will be varying phase across the audio spectrum.

Another advantage of electrostatic speakers is that they drive the diaphragm evenly at all points, so things like cone-cry(standing waves in the cone) and cone breakup are dramatically reduced.

These advantages may help more details(ones that are quiet relative to the rest of the music) to be heard.

The disadvantage of them of course is their tendency to distort(and not nicely) when pushed hard(it's difficult to get a high-intensity electric field that's linear over enough range for high excursions),narrow dispersion as compared with dynamic drivers, and huge size if one want to get any kind of bass out of them. And as one poster before me mentioned, low efficiency.

Last edited by u87allen; 1 week ago at 01:55 AM..
Old 6 days ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
well regarded,
low efficiency,
and not electrostatics.
I didn't design them, or even buy them. I just listened to them. So I'm have no interest in, nor reason for, disputing any of this. I just don't care enough.
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