Exotic Drivers: What Makes A True Exotic?

Exotic Driver: one with very low coloration, or sound of it’s own, added to the sound the driver is reproducing.

How is this achieved?

Either a perfectly stiff material, or alternately a totally flexible material driven linearly across it’s surface, but not anything in-between. This requires rare and unusual construction methods and materials with “space-age” properties.

A “motor assembly” (voice coil and magnet) coupled to a coneĀ  focusrite scarlett 212 review material that will start and stop on a dime, without any motion (continued vibration or “ringing”) after the signal or sound stops. This is harder to achieve, and thus more rare, than you would at first believe. Measuring the various types of distortion that you never see mentioned does a far better job of describing a speaker’s sound than the superficial “20 – 20,000 Hz.” claims that are often made. (How often do you see published specs that show speaker waterfall plots, the picture of their time domain response, or harmonic distortion? Most speakers perform so abysmally there that the manufacturer would never want you to know.) In the final analysis, a good pair of ears is the best judge. However, you can recognize a potential exotic with your eyes.

Traditional drivers

The drivers used in virtually all mid-priced speakers, and indeed nearly all high priced speakers, are merely small variations on the same principles and primitive construction. They are usually made of paper, hard plastic, or cloth. Most use dome tweeters, which may be either hard or soft, but are far too heavy and flexible for the rapid start-and-stop vibration required for high frequency reproduction. They cannot follow accurately the high frequency electrical signal from the amplifier, and “mush out”, causing many formsĀ dynamic studio of distortion. The usual paper or plastic mid-range drivers also bend and contort due to excursion requirements, adding their own chorus of (surprising loud) off-key sounds to your music. And they all tend to honk and bray at one or several resonant frequencies, making matters worse.

Various types of exotics

Ceramic drivers are very rigid. They will not bend at all, unlike standard paper or plastic cones, to distort the signal. They have a clarity and transparency, a “sweet” sound, which is immediately recognizable. Once you hear these drivers in a well designed system, you will be able to quickly recognize the dull sound of traditional drivers in other speakers.

Ribbon tweeters have only a tiny fraction of the weight (moving mass) of dome tweeters. They are therefore much better at following the high frequency nuances, and capturing the detail of a musical performance. They are fast, detailed, yet totally without the edginess or resonant problems of metal domes. Our ribbon is flat to 35 K with no resonant peak.