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  1. #1
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Ribbon Tweeters VS Dome,Good read

    With all the hoopla about Ribbons I thought I would post This.
    http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 46minaudio
    With all the hoopla about Ribbons I thought I would post This.
    http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/
    This is sure to start a flame war

    Funny thing, I agree with Zaph's claims to a certain extent. One thing I've learned, however, is that many people actually enjoy a small amount of distortion. A friend of mine used a Boehlender Graebener/Aurum Cantus combo. The distortion figures aren't the greatest, but damn, that speakers sound incredible. It's a matter of weighing the good and the bad when evaluating the whole package. Some people are so loyal to ribbons that nothing else is acceptable.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Considering that the link wont work.......
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Considering that the link wont work.......
    Hmm, works fine for me....
    http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    It wont open for me. Properbly because i will find a thousand things to complain about
    Can ya send me a copy or something?
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  6. #6
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Hmm, works fine for me....
    http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/
    And me. And I am a PC Midget!

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Hey Bernd, can you please send me a copy per mail of the artickle. It cant find the domain for me....
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  8. #8
    RGA
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    46 min audio

    I don't think it's really necessary to post this information. People who only like Ribbons are going to ignore it anyway and people who have heard a number of ribbons over the years and elected to not have anything to do with them -- probably hear something off putting in the listening session -- which may be exactly what this fellow is noting. What has been a long slow process for my understanding is that this hobby is multi-faceted and is largely based on one's own perception. What the guy in the site is providing is distortion figures but if people hear that as accuracy then that is the way they hear it. If you and I hear it and think there is something amiss then we can choose to buy something else and may very well do so. The fact that a few people will shout you down for preferring something else really is irrelevant.

    I think the best thing is to not get caught up in the technology - I much prefer listening to speakers without any forknowledge of what the drivers are. This way you can listen evaluate and then backtrace what it is the speaker was using to create a correlation of what you like. Still, even here you may be impressed later by a speaker using a driver you thought you did not like.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Bernd and Kex, please DO NOT send me the link or ANY info.

    RGA has been quiet for a LONG time and now suddenly sees another chance to take a stab. I havent read the article but be sure that i can find the opposite on google from another person.

    If i reply to this thread it will be in the steelcage and i wont do that. (we are starting to get along) I just close by naming some references ..... Genesis 1.1, Infinity IRS-V, Apogee GRAND, Fullrange, DIVA (Jon Atkinson) and Scinitlla (Ken Kessler has a pair), DALI Megaline, Alon Grand Exotica, Magnepan MG20.1 ( Jonathan Valin,) etc...

    all ribbons If they add distortion then so be it, but they sound damn good. What they have in distortion they make up in the lack of coloration and non-existant box resonances.

    PS: Maybe find an article of Domes vs. Electrostatics too? Or domes vs. other domes?
    Last edited by Florian; 04-04-2006 at 06:27 AM.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  10. #10
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Bernd and Kex, please DO NOT send me the link or ANY info.

    RGA has been quiet for a LONG time and now suddenly sees another chance to take a stab. I havent read the article but be sure that i can find the opposite on google from another person.

    If i reply to this thread will be in the steelcage and i wont do that. I just close by naming some references ..... Genesis 1.1, Infinity IRS-V, Apogee GRAND, Fullrange, DIVA (Jon Atkinson) and Scinitlla (Ken Kessler has a pair), DALI Megaline, Alon Grand Exotica etc...

    all ribbons

    Got a question for you Florian -- Do you think that the B&W CDM series and 700 series were and are pretty much the class leaders in their price range and do you think the B&W N801 is one of the world's best loudspeakers?

  11. #11
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Got a question for you Florian -- Do you think that the B&W CDM series and 700 series were and are pretty much the class leaders in their price range and do you think the B&W N801 is one of the world's best loudspeakers?
    No i do not think that. I think some of the most musical amps tough where the Kondos....

    PS: I do not want to fight and argue with you, enjoy your speakers and i will enjoy mine. Lets not get back to the old days.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  12. #12
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    It wont open for me. Properbly because i will find a thousand things to complain about
    Can ya send me a copy or something?
    Here ya go..
    About the Test

    This test is divided up into 3 sections - Standard tests, Extended tests and Comparisons.

    The standard tests consist of frequency response, cumulative spectrum decay and harmonic distortion sweeps. The results of these tests can be directly compared to the results in the Tweeter Mishmash collection of dome tweeters. All settings are the same. Please see the test information on that page for more details on the testing setup. Because the Vifa D26NC55 is accurately described in the Tweeter Mishmash, it is not included in this section with one small exception. The exception is the harmonic distortion sweeps, where it has been included, but this time with the same protection capacitor used on all the ribbons and planars.

    Another difference from my previous tests is that the vertical off axis is shown at 15 and 30 degrees. While practically all 1" dome tweeters have similar off axis response, this is a critical consideration for the taller ribbons and planars. Note that horizontal dispertion for all of these tweeters is excellent, and very close to the on-axis response curve. Because of this, only vertical off axis is shown and not horizontal.

    A 20uF capacitor is used on all tweeters for all tests. Ribbons in particular are very fragile, and they have an impedance that droops to zero at DC. Because of this, a capacitor is required to prevent damage. Additionally, ribbons require careful observance of levels and amplifier clicks and pops.

    The effects of the capacitor are not visible in the frequency response curves and cumulative spectrum decay charts. The capacitor is placed between the amplifier and the speaker on the positive terminal, but there is no effect because the testing probe is placed after the capacitor. Harmonic distortion however, is based only on the actual reproduced level of the fundamental, and the 20uF cap causes a rolloff of a few dB at 1kHz. In reality, the harmonic distortion sweeps in the range around 1kHz are just a bit higher than shown in these tests. The Vifa D26NC55 has been included to show this.

    The extended tests are single tone and multitone spectrums. These show a slightly more indepth look at what's going on higher in the spectrum. At the same time, there is less information there because the tests are limited to 2kHz and 4kHz. Single tone spectrums show all the harmonics above F5. The multitone tests show a bit better glimpse into intermodulation distortion than the harmonic distortion sweeps do. Ribbons seem to be more varied in this regard, so I've included this kind of testing. In all of these tests, the fundamental frequency is set to 96 dB at 1/2 meter. Disregard the decible markings on the charts - the vertical chart increments are not 10dB per line. Look at the spectrum performance relative to the other plots. The Vifa D26NC55 is included in these tests for a reference of a good performing cheap standard dome tweeter.

    The comparisons take a few select combinations of tweeter multitones and lay the better performing tweeter on top in a different color so the difference can easily be seen. Without these comparisons, it's a little hard to digest and compare all the info in the extended tests. In these plots, wherever you see red is comparitively more spectrum noise. The lower blue plot is generally the better driver. In some cases, the comparison may be shown twice with the layers inverted if the performance is too close to call. The Vifa D26NC55 is also included in these tests for a reference of a good performing cheap standard dome tweeter.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Results:

    Standard tests

    Extended tests

    Comparisons



    Commentary

    Aurum Cantus G3Si ($213) - Of the three true ribbons, the G3Si has the best low end performance. This isn't saying much since low end distortion is still horrible by dome standards. High tall order harmonic distortion, which is more evident in the single tone spectrum plots. Poor vertical off axis response. While the faceplate is metal, I still consider the build quality lower than the Fountek or LCY.

    LCY 130 ($199) - Very low sensitivity. Excellent vertical off axis response. Very close in on-axis performance to the Fountek, but at a much higher price. Good built quality - You have to like red and black jewels on the terminals to designate positive and negative. One of my test samples had a misaligned ribbon, but it did not affect things so I assume it was not touching the magnets.

    Fountek NeoCD2.0 ($118) - Comparitively durable ribbon element. Of the three true ribbons, this has the best performance above 4kHz. It has the worst performance at 2kHz, rendered somewhat irrelevant because they are all terrible at 2Khz. It's excellent 4kHz+ performance is more obvious in the HD sweeps than the single and multitone spectrums however. Smooth response curve. Poor vertical off axis response.

    Bohlender Graebener Neo3 PDR ($55 w/flange) - This B&G tweeter outperformed everything here, in most cases by a large margin. Response curve is ok, but nonlinear distortion is excellent. This is a very clean and natural sounding tweeter. Note: these were tested with the rear chamber in place. Later, with a different pair, I also tested with the chamber removed. The tweeter was far too overdamped in that case, and I recommend leaving the rear chamber installed.

    Silver Flute YAG20-1 ($40) - Every test has to have a loser. This is it. Fairly flat and controlled response, but the distortion kills it. In fact, it may be the worst tweeter I've ever tested.

    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)
    A Bit About Line Arrays

    These tests do not address usage of ribbons stacked in line arrays. A line array will spread the load among several drivers, which will lower harmonic distortion. When the level of a tweeter is lowered, the harmonic distortion is also lowered. This in itself does not help the level of distortion, but the ratio of the level of harmonics to the level of the fundamental does not remain linear at different levels. So, as the level goes down, the harmonics also go down, but a little bit more. This is where the improvement in harmonic distortion comes from.
    Don't assume stacks of ribbons in line arrays lower distortion to levels equal to the better dome units. Evidence of that will have to wait until it's proven with actual measurements. Ears can not be trusted to make a distortion measurement, particularly when there is an emotional $5k price tag interfering with your judgement.

    A note about power tapering - a stack of ribbons in a power tapered arrangement will have much more distortion than a stack of ribbons wired so that they all share the load evenly. Power tapering is simply a method to bring the design closer to a point source, which unfortunately has the side effect of bringing the distortion closer to the level of a single tweeter. How much closer simply depends on the tapering configuration.

    Summary

    None of the three true ribbons have very distinguished performance. They are more similar than different. But if I had to choose one, it would probably be the Fountek NeoCD2.0 because of it's durable ribbon, smooth response and clean top end performance. I'm not sure if I could live with that vertical off axis response, as I occasionally don't like to be locked in to sitting ear height. 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.
    None of the true ribbons, when used one at a time, should be used below 2.5kHz. The higher you cross them, the better you will avoid low end distortion. On the other hand, these are all large flanged tweeters, and as you cross higher, lobing at Fc becomes worse.

    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.

    The B&G and Silver Flute are both planar designs, but they are also polar opposites. The YAG20 is probably one of the worst performers I've ever seen, while the B&G performs on level with the best domes. It's hard to say what went wrong and what went right in their designs.

    Folks, we have a winner - The Bohlender Graebener Neo3 PDR.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Thanks 46minaudio for the post.

    By reading the summery they do not employ these in a special way. There is no mention of the magnets, the alignment or anything on the rooms or amps etc.. This is to me worthless and by far too incomplete. They choose 60$ commerical ribbons, this is not what i run and this responce is from short ribbons. The ribbons mentioned are too small and too short to produce the dynamics and responce desired.

    -Florian
    At the same time, there is less information there because the tests are limited to 2kHz and 4kHz. Single tone spectrums show all the harmonics above F5.
    This wont work well, if you run a limited range on the ribbon it causes them to wiggle and distort. I do not know why, but i can demonstrate that on my speaker. If you play those steady tones the ribbons go nuts, but if you play music this problem does not exist.


    They do not mention the rise and fall time.
    They dont mention the lack of coloration.
    They dont mention the linierity in the drive
    They dont mention the weight of the driver
    They dont test any really big ribbons
    Last edited by Florian; 04-04-2006 at 06:47 AM.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  14. #14
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    No i do not think that. I think some of the most musical amps tough where the Kondos....

    PS: I do not want to fight and argue with you, enjoy your speakers and i will enjoy mine. Lets not get back to the old days.
    I don;t want to argue I am trying to get an understanding on why you put so much stock into what others say about speakers. I know you dislike B&W and that is my point -- her eis what Mr. Atkinson said about the N801 "Finally, the cumulative spectral-decay plot on the tweeter axis (fig.9) is astonishingly clean and free from resonant modes. No wonder the B&W sounds so grain-free and easy on the ear.---John Atkinson" By the way it is a class A rated loudspeaker which means it got his stamp of approval.

    This is in no way shape or form an argument I just want you to be aware of the people you are quoting. The man likes a lot of speakers that you would hate (and a lot that I really don't like) - so why do you think that because he likes a speaker everyone else will. Also note what he says about the grain free aspect of the B&W -- A LOT of posters on AA disagree with him very very strongly about that speaker.

    Again no argument just try and see that the guy is not infallable. You might be interested to know what some of the other writers on their staff like - such as Peter Van Wellinsward, Art Dudly and John Marks and some of the others -- one of them owns Paradigm Studio 60's for example. Bottom line is that this is a preference -- these guys have all heard most of these speaker designs -- and not all of them choose the same thing -- which is what I said in a way to 46 min audio...I in no way knocked ribbon loudspeakers.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    I dont like quoting other people, i would rather invite listeners to my home and let them judge for themselfes. I had a Magnepan MG20 owner cry in my listening room, Austrian reviewer attest that this system was better then the Wilson X2, A Augsburg Choir singer sit here with his jaw glued to the floor. ( It could well be that the next owner tells me the DIVA is not to his liking)

    I invite people to listen, but many people on this site only read reviews and quote other people. You have donet so many many times and their credibility is just as bad as those i quote. So lets never quote another person again, ok? I remember Martin DeWulf giving a good review to a VMPS RM40 and in the same year gave a glowing review to a BOSE system. Argh!

    The bottom line is we have to respect each others choices and if someone doesnt like my Apogee that is fine, after all i love them and that is all that counts :-)
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  16. #16
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Thanks 46minaudio for the post.

    By reading the summery they do not employ these in a special way. There is no mention of the magnets, the alignment or anything on the rooms or amps etc.. This is to me worthless and by far too incomplete. They choose 60$ commerical ribbons, this is not what i run and this responce is from short ribbons. The ribbons mentioned are too small and too short to produce the dynamics and responce desired.

    -Florian

    This wont work well, if you run a limited range on the ribbon it causes them to wiggle and distort. I do not know why, but i can demonstrate that on my speaker. If you play those steady tones the ribbons go nuts, but if you play music this problem does not exist.


    They do not mention the rise and fall time.
    They dont mention the lack of coloration.
    They dont mention the linierity in the drive
    They dont mention the weight of the driver
    They dont test any really big ribbons
    60$ is the low end of the bunch.And the Vifa dome is a 30 retail tweet.

  17. #17
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Should have added a horn.
    Look & Listen

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