Plasma tweeters

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  • 03-04-2005, 04:14 PM
    topspeed
    Plasma tweeters
    A friend of mine who's a retired EE built a pair of speakers a long time ago that utilize plasma tweeters. I didn't know there was such a thing. I was wondering if any of you knew anything about these things. The specs on them are pretty impressive as they extend well into the ultrasonic range.

    Just curious.
  • 03-06-2005, 01:16 PM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Speed,
    Here are a couple of websites to visit on this technology. It is very expensive and difficult to design a plasma tweeter, but I have heard there is nothing like them for reproducing high frequencies.

    http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/...s/tweeter.html

    http://www.plasmatweeter.de/
  • 03-06-2005, 10:43 PM
    topspeed
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Speed,
    Here are a couple of websites to visit on this technology. It is very expensive and difficult to design a plasma tweeter, but I have heard there is nothing like them for reproducing high frequencies.

    http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/...s/tweeter.html

    http://www.plasmatweeter.de/

    Thanks Sir T,

    I wish I could read either an electrical schematic or German! What little I could comprehend was interesting though. I wonder why no one else has taken this technology further? What are the limiting factors?
  • 03-06-2005, 11:11 PM
    risabet
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    A friend of mine who's a retired EE built a pair of speakers a long time ago that utilize plasma tweeters. I didn't know there was such a thing. I was wondering if any of you knew anything about these things. The specs on them are pretty impressive as they extend well into the ultrasonic range.

    Just curious.

    Back in the late 70's or eartly 80's there was a company, damn I wish I could remember their name, that made a commercial version of the plasma tweeter. The speaker required a tank of helium gas which was used to form the plasma which glowed a wild shade of pinkish purple when subjected to the high voltage field that was modulated by the audio signal. Reportedly, this speaker had the best high-end response of any speaker available but never caught on (no s**t).
  • 03-07-2005, 06:06 AM
    kexodusc
    Oh, man...making sound...with FIRE...
    That's got my name written ALL over it!!!

    Topspeed, call the ambulance, I'm starting my next project...

    As for drawbacks, it's been a few years since I took my last chemistry course , but I remember one lab where we made plasma by basically electrocuting the crap out of some gas...took a pile of energy (heat) and was very volatile.
    Considering some people can't even get the polarity of their speakers right when hooking everything up, I'm not so sure the audio community is ready for B&W's brand of plasma tweeters.
  • 03-07-2005, 06:36 AM
    Pat D
    Ionovac & Plasmatronics
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by risabet
    Back in the late 70's or eartly 80's there was a company, damn I wish I could remember their name, that made a commercial version of the plasma tweeter. The speaker required a tank of helium gas which was used to form the plasma which glowed a wild shade of pinkish purple when subjected to the high voltage field that was modulated by the audio signal. Reportedly, this speaker had the best high-end response of any speaker available but never caught on (no s**t).

    Ionovac and Hill Plasmatronics are names that come to mind. A search will result in quite a few hits. Roger Russell mentions the latter briefly.

    http://www.roger-russell.com/ionovac/ionovac.htm
  • 03-07-2005, 10:31 AM
    topspeed
    I just dialed 911
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Oh, man...making sound...with FIRE...
    That's got my name written ALL over it!!!

    Topspeed, call the ambulance, I'm starting my next project...

    LOL! I had a feeling you'd like the idea of a plasma tweeter. Maybe Ed and yourself can come up with a new kit featuring a plasma tweeter?


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PatD
    Ionovac and Hill Plasmatronics are names that come to mind. A search will result in quite a few hits. Roger Russell mentions the latter briefly.

    http://www.roger-russell.com/ionovac/ionovac.htm

    Thanks Pat! Not being an engineer, I'll have to pore over that link a few times but it's very cool information. Much appreciated.
  • 03-07-2005, 11:32 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by risabet
    Reportedly, this speaker had the best high-end response of any speaker available but never caught on .

    Technology issues aside, a practical problem with the plasma tweeter was matching it to suitably fast transducers. The Hill unit was mated to conventional cones with what some considered an especially "honky" midrange. Naturally, I think the best full range electrostats get it fast enough, along with their bottom to top octave coherency. There is only one pebble in the pond.

    Nelson Pass built his "Ion Cloud" speaker in the early 80s, but the ozone it created was kinda noxious to nearby humans.

    rw
  • 03-07-2005, 11:37 AM
    kexodusc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by E-Stat

    Nelson Pass built his "Ion Cloud" speaker in the early 80s, but the ozone it created was kinda noxious to nearby humans.

    rw

    Noxious? Good way of putting it...I just read an article that suggests a beer can worth of gaseous ozone would kill every human in a square mile. Yikes.
    Think I'll stick domes, and ribbons, and horns, oh my.
  • 03-07-2005, 11:56 AM
    risabet
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Pat D
    Ionovac and Hill Plasmatronics are names that come to mind. A search will result in quite a few hits. Roger Russell mentions the latter briefly.

    http://www.roger-russell.com/ionovac/ionovac.htm

    Thanks, I was referring to the Hill Plasmatronic. I had completely forgot about the Nelson Pass design and its deadly ozone emissions. The Plasmatronicx unit avoided that problem by using the helium instead of air.
  • 03-08-2005, 09:27 AM
    rjhalla
    Magnat of Germany
    The company that manufactured and marketed the plasma tweeter was Magnat of Germany. The top speaker to use this technology was the MPX-088, I had the chance many times to listen to these and they were nothing short of amazing, a top end so open it would be hard to describe. There was a pair of these plasma tweeters for sale on Agon recently, finding replacement electrodes for these guys is all but impossible, or I'm sure you'd see alot more of them around.