Intro/ribbon drivers

terryj

New Member
Jul 5, 2010
512
0
0
bathurst NSW
#22
I had a less than positive experience with ribbons than most here.

I tried the RAALs in my system, but had an odd effect.

Oh, I guess I should add that mine are DIY so could substitute and try different drivers.

Anyway, in MY room I much preferred my normal dome tweeters. Now my room is rather 'unique' I guess, the ceilings are seventeen feet high.

What I suspect happened was that the ribbon had a more 'horizontal' dispersion pattern than the domes, which radiate in every direction. In most normal rooms the horizontal pattern of the ribbons can be advantageous, less energy directed towards the ceiling (which is then reflected back).

In my room, with the ceilings being so high, it is not a problem I have. the reflection is quite delayed in time and intensity.

With the ribbons, I got the distinct impression of am 'horizontal band' in the treble. almost like when you watch TV and a movie is in a different ratio I guess you'd call it, with the black bands top and bottom.

Same with the ribbon, 'no energy' above or below this 'band'. It limited the height of the soundstage.

Back to the dome, and the ambience was back as well as the height.

Horses for courses??
 

soundofvoid

WBF Founding Member
Apr 22, 2010
173
0
0
Athens/Greece
#23
There is a cure for your problem:it's called "tweeter array" and you can make it with ribbons!This way you can have your cake and eat it too!
 
Jul 1, 2010
8,713
0
0
#24
Domes for me too, and old-school silk at that, but there are a lot of ribbon implementations I haven't heard.

P
 

clayton72

New Member
May 25, 2011
38
0
0
Bothell, WA
#25
I've got three 48-inch carver ribbons. They were for a speaker project that was never completed. What should I do with them? What are they worth?
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
#26
I've got three 48-inch carver ribbons. They were for a speaker project that was never completed. What should I do with them? What are they worth?
They are worth quite a bit! The Carver ribbons were used in the large Genesis loudspeakers prior to 1996. These are $20,000 loudspeakers, so if someone blows a ribbon, they will pay quite a bit for a replacement as they are no longer available.
 

rbbert

Active Member
Dec 12, 2010
3,423
0
36
Reno, NV
#27
Ribbon: Since those Little Ds, I’ve been a fan of ribbon drivers. Went a long time with domes and cones before returning to ribbon tweeters and mids in my VMPS RM40s, and the Sunfire CRM2s I use for surrounds.
What's in the rest of your system (your profile info there is blank)?
 
May 30, 2010
13,959
38
48
Portugal
#28
They are worth quite a bit! The Carver ribbons were used in the large Genesis loudspeakers prior to 1996. These are $20,000 loudspeakers, so if someone blows a ribbon, they will pay quite a bit for a replacement as they are no longer available.
Gary,
Can they be replaced with the existing Bohlender Graebener RD48 Planar ?
 
#29
I'm really quite amazed that no one here is talking about the excellent swedish ribbon speaker designer that makes some of the very best and highly sensitive ribbon based speakers bar none! I believe you all will really enjoy reading about Bo Bengtsson's approach to designing & building ribbons. Bo also teamed up with Ted Jordan so he could learn to make Transmission Audio's 6.5" & 8" woofers fast enough to keep up with their ribbons. There's a lot of valuable information to read on this site's many pages. One of the bits of info I enjoyed was Bo's explaining what the myths of ribbons are and what the corresponding truth to these myths are...

Some myths and facts:

Myth #1: "True ribbons can’t take high input power."

Fact: If constructed properly, they can take hundreds of Watts of input power, more so than any other technology within the same frequency range. One of the reasons is the membrane itself. It acts as an efficient double-sided heat sink.

Myth #2: "Ribbons are excellent but suffer from bad efficiency."

Fact: Ribbons can be made to have a sensitivity that equals or surpasses that of many conventional dome tweeters.

Myth #3: "Ribbons can be a tough load for an amplifier."

Fact: Ribbons are the closest thing to a resistive load. Even a traditional dome tweeter represents a tough load by comparison.

Myth #4: "Ribbons have to be dampened by utilizing a plastic film onto which the aluminum is applied, in order to avoid coloration."

Fact: In fact the opposite is true. Any damping layer will add mass and cause lower efficiency. The damping layer will store energy and thereby destroy one of the ribbon’s most obvious advantages - its low mass. As a true ribbon is supported at its ends only - furthermore corrugated in its elongated direction - it is less prone to inherent resonances than any other driver technology.

Myth #5: "By encapsulating the back side of the ribbon, you can make it suitable for acoustic suspension speakers."

Fact: Even if that were possible, it is strictly not recommended, unless the rear cavity is formed to act like a dampened quarter wave transmission line enclosure. This is mandatory for MF and HF transducers in general. The thin film in the ribbon is very transparent. Any reflections will bounce back through the membrane and cause time-domain perturbations and distortion.

It is worth mentioning that acknowledged designers such as B&W are recognizing this problem. In their Nautilus series, the dome-tweeter’s rear wave passes through a hole in the magnet structure and then is progressively damped in a long tapered tube.

Myth #6:"Cavity resonance problem can be easily dealt with by implementation of notch filters.”

Fact:To deal with a problem by implementing its reverse doesn’t mean you solve it. You merely walk around it.

You can check out the entire site here: http://www.transmissionaudio.com/ This truly a ribbon lovers site if ever there was one.
 
Last edited:
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#30
Welcome to the forum. Very nice first post :).
Some myths and facts:

Myth #1: "True ribbons can’t take high input power."

Fact: If constructed properly, they can take hundreds of Watts of input power, more so than any other technology within the same frequency range. One of the reasons is the membrane itself. It acts as an efficient double-sided heat sink.
I think both they myth and fact are true :). It is true that these drivers have large surface area and can cool off that way. But it is also true that they don't really like to get hot as that can deform the substrate and or delaminate it. The company we were working with really sweat this as they had drivers destroyed this way and they were always looking for ways to make them better.
 
#31
Welcome to the forum. Very nice first post :).

I think both they myth and fact are true :). It is true that these drivers have large surface area and can cool off that way. But it is also true that they don't really like to get hot as that can deform the substrate and or delaminate it. The company we were working with really sweat this as they had drivers destroyed this way and they were always looking for ways to make them better.
Amir talk to Bo Bengtsson at Transmission Audio. He responds quickly and will take the time to answer your questions. IIRC Bo believe's the only ribbon drivers that will be destroyed by large quantities of clean & undistorted power, are ribbons that's are not properly constructed from the beginning. As Bo states "The best ribbon would be a transformerless, purely resistive, (coil-less and carrier-less), pure metal film ribbon of open dipole-type, suspended at its ends only, wide enough to give a good coupling down to the lower frequencies. This is exactly what the Transmission Audio Ultra Propulsion© technology is all about."

The problem Amir is most of what passes as being a "ribbon" driver today is actually a form of Planar Magnetic Transducer. Perhaps the company you were working with should contact Bo? Transmisson Audio offeres a variety of services: http://www.transmissionaudio.com/servicesandportfolio.html as well as being able to provide the company you were working for an incredible variety of ribbon speakers to choose from, should they only be looking for one or a few pairs! With that I should probably end this by stating I am not affiliated with Transmission Audio in any way and say Good-bye...
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
0
0
#32
Tom

Valid points but it remains that any conductor can be destroyed by heat and in the case of ribbon it can be rather low... In ribbon the main problem remains that of the substrate usually a plastic (Mylar, Kapton, etc) .. when submitted to high currents the substate, the film itself can deform or be damaged permanently. True the large area allows cooling of the wires but the sibsrte itself as a (rather) low melting temperature, compared to that the metal reach under sustained high current... but indeed I have been surprised to see how much power some ribbons and quasi-ribbons can take at times... (Apogee and Magnepan)
 
#33
Tom

Valid points but it remains that any conductor can be destroyed by heat and in the case of ribbon it can be rather low... In ribbon the main problem remains that of the substrate usually a plastic (Mylar, Kapton, etc) .. when submitted to high currents the substate, the film itself can deform or be damaged permanently. True the large area allows cooling of the wires but the sibsrte itself as a (rather) low melting temperature, compared to that the metal reach under sustained high current... but indeed I have been surprised to see how much power some ribbons and quasi-ribbons can take at times... (Apogee and Magnepan)
Frantz while I agree wholeheartedly that any conductor ---**even a ribbon}--- can be destroyed by heat, but I disagree that in the case of ribbon it can be rather low. The problem once again is too many "supposed" ribbons aren't ribbons at all! If the "ribbon" has a substrate of plastic (Mylar, Kapton, etc) I say that is actually a form of Planar Magnetic Transducer and not a ribbon! I agree with Bo Bengtsson at Transmission Audio i.e., a ribbon is a transformerless, purely resistive, (coil-less and carrier-less), pure metal film ---{no substrate}--- that's suspended at its ends only!

Of course you're free to have a completely different interpretation of what a ribbon truly is...
 

DonH50

Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
3,525
3
38
Monument, CO
#34
Hmmm... IME, the problem with burning up ribbons was because the (metal) film was so thin and narrow the tweeters would fry (separate, actually) over time. I suspect this issue was exacerbated by the low (if resistive) impedance of the ribbon, which may lead to amps clipping and pushing more HF energy into them than they were designed to take. Almost every ribbon and quasi-ribbon maker I have known (Magnepan, Infinity, Appogee, Carver) seemed to have struggled with this now and then. While I seem to recollect one owner claiming to have damaged a bass panel, I do not recall seeing any bass/mid ribbon panel issues.

Quasi-ribbon drivers utilize metal film on a plastic'ish carrier (substrate). I have read a couple of pro/con articles and don't know enough to say which is better. The con folk say the substrate adds mass and is a poor conductor of heat, hurting the sound and reliability. The pro folk claim the substrate helps protect the metal film and dampens ringing. I have no idea which is true and/or to what extent. Of course, having had Maggies for ages, the delamination problem can be a bitter pill to swallow after years of use. I wonder if their new QR designs eliminate, or at least reduce, that issue (?)
 

A.wayne

New Member
Jan 15, 2011
1,289
0
0
Front Row Center
#35
Amir talk to Bo Bengtsson at Transmission Audio. He responds quickly and will take the time to answer your questions. IIRC Bo believe's the only ribbon drivers that will be destroyed by large quantities of clean & undistorted power, are ribbons that's are not properly constructed from the beginning. As Bo states "The best ribbon would be a transformerless, purely resistive, (coil-less and carrier-less), pure metal film ribbon of open dipole-type, suspended at its ends only, wide enough to give a good coupling down to the lower frequencies. This is exactly what the Transmission Audio Ultra Propulsion© technology is all about."

The problem Amir is most of what passes as being a "ribbon" driver today is actually a form of Planar Magnetic Transducer. Perhaps the company you were working with should contact Bo? Transmisson Audio offeres a variety of services: http://www.transmissionaudio.com/servicesandportfolio.html as well as being able to provide the company you were working for an incredible variety of ribbon speakers to choose from, should they only be looking for one or a few pairs! With that I should probably end this by stating I am not affiliated with Transmission Audio in any way and say Good-bye...

Agree,
Most call planar drivers, ribbons and they are not, very difficult to burn a pure ribbon transducer, with the right diaphragm for the job ...

regards,
 

Justus

New Member
Dec 12, 2012
27
0
0
CT, USA
www.purestmusic.com
#36
Frantz while I agree wholeheartedly that any conductor ---**even a ribbon}--- can be destroyed by heat, but I disagree that in the case of ribbon it can be rather low. The problem once again is too many "supposed" ribbons aren't ribbons at all! If the "ribbon" has a substrate of plastic (Mylar, Kapton, etc) I say that is actually a form of Planar Magnetic Transducer and not a ribbon! I agree with Bo Bengtsson at Transmission Audio i.e., a ribbon is a transformerless, purely resistive, (coil-less and carrier-less), pure metal film ---{no substrate}--- that's suspended at its ends only!

Of course you're free to have a completely different interpretation of what a ribbon truly is...
Hi there from another ribbon enthousiast (if fact..I wrote the book "Ribbon Loudspeakers").
I fully agree with your notion that the "ribbon" term should generally be used to exclusively refer to an aluminum strip-like conductor suspended at 2 ends with very low resonance frequency.
Yet, outliers do exist still worthy of calling ribbons.
Many examples do have xformers when physically small (Raven, etc), or have support at the sides (Magnepan). Others do use a substrate (Apogee). Etc.
So, we should leave some leeway for practicallity.

Planar-magnetic is a different beast altogether, indeed clamped at sides, but more importantly (typically) with magnets in front and behind the membrane, with its own pros and cons.
For one, they can be easily designed to play lower then most practical true ribbons...(think Bohlender)

Power-wise generalizations are tricky (think Stage Accompany!), it depends...but a high-order XO is recommended as usual
:p
 

Manolis

New Member
Apr 13, 2017
1
0
0
#37
Need to talk about Vulkans....

Been into ribbons since i've first heard the Emit K on my Kappa 8s and then 9As.No other type of tweeter can come close (to my ears-you can have all the beryllium and diamond dust of the world onto your domes-i don't care).Then the sickness progressed when i had my first encounters with Maggies and big Infinities.Soon i understood that the placing of a dipole speaker is a pain in the ...,so i turned to speakers that have tamed the rear
sound wave.I now own a fine speaker that has a cult following in central Europe which i have modded with double panar mids and ribbons. View attachment 217
This way i could lower the mid cross point to the TL loaded woofer at 300Hz and gain more body/presence all the way up.
My next speaker will be completely diy with arrays for planar mids (LFT-10s)and ribbons (also LFT new neodymium long tweeters),plus double symmetrical TL woofers...I will have the time of my life making it!
Hi,
I have a very similar experience with my old Vulkans and I did some improvements over the time, but I'm amazed with your MID and Tweeters.
Could you please contact me for further discussion?
Manolis
 
May 11, 2015
17
0
1
#38
Just tried a pair of ribbon tweeters from a russian outfit called Viawave and they sound excellent. Very smooth, holographic etc. Good price too
 

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