I was listening last night a string quartet rehearsal. The play was for the most part justifiably non-so-glorious and I was thinking about my little audio things. For sure our upper MF drivers nowhere near where they need to be. There is too much confusion out there as Jimmy Hendrix use to say. In my view the most limiting factor in audio to do more interesting MF are dynamic range and disorder of transients.
The 110dB that we achieve is a good dynamic range for a sustain tone but we need transients dynamic range that would have extra 6-12dB and we do not have it in audio. Any further increment of dynamic range comes with narrowing the radiation angle that very dramatically shrinks usable bandwidth. Than the upper octaves transients – they are the bitch as we have a lot of phase mess in the drivers, plus we have damping that eats transients like hell.
So, thinking more about it I come up with a notion of a new MF driver. It is a hypothetic driver, not something that you will run and buy off eBay. I post it as a concept, just to log my thoughts, if somebody has any further idea then be my guest.
So, pretend a vertical array of 5-6 narrow high-gain horn located on parabolic curve and strictly parallel. Why parabolic? Well, I shall not even mention time-alignment for this configuration – it goes without saying. The horns are very slow opening with the horns located on the peripheral of the array (in the position 1 and 6) have faster opening rate. Each horn run own very narrow bandwidth, let say ¾ of octave. Now is the key – the drivers are compression but do not use any damping. A few of you who have brain would read “no damping compression driver” and will ask if I am out of my mind. You will be right - “no damping compression driver” is a ridicules idea. A compression driver by nature is damped by mass of air in horn and by zillion of other factors. Still, I am taking about very new and very different concept. Let think about it.
They are MF horns, very small size, they care very little air in horn’s bell and have negligible throat reactance. If the driver has VERY strong magnet and VERY narrow bandwidth then it is possible do not damp it at all. So, I basic lay propose to custom made driver like a tuning fork (an acoustic resonator) or like a quartz oscillator – tuned for specific very specific octave. Now is the twist – the tuning of the driver have to follow the compression driver principle and it has to be tuned being loaded into the horn as the horn equalization need to be factored into the driver tuning.
So, we basically have 5-6 narrow miniature horns and 5-6 custom different size compression drivers with infinite back baffle and infinitely hard suspension. Sounds impossible, right? Well, how about to make those compression drivers to have infinitely loose suspension and to drive them with negative impedance? Then the driver will be damped in own operational bandwidth ONLY but the signal the drives it and will not be exposed to any suspension influence.
What I proposed will yield no damping will have around 118-119dB sensitivity and will yield max transient available by means of electro-mechanic. Probably MF plasma driver will be able to do more but one need another life to investigate all the options. Ironically what I propose is accomplishable and it would be VERY interesting to try it another day. My estimation is that to render the project like this for a person, including all listening test would take a year or two and probably another year or two to make this new MF array to work with the rest of playback. It might cost $30K-$50K expenses, plus a divorce and pay to psychologist (or most likely psychiatrist) to the rest of the life. Still, it is pretty conceptually is very interesting if not a project but at least idea.
I think the key is to develop some kind of prime, or some kind of algorithm according to which a bandwidth-tuned driver of n-octave might be made. Then, as a successful pattern was found the driver and horns of multiple sizes might be made. I am kind of too late in my life to undertake projects like this. I do feel sorry about it on another hand gratefully. Still, I love to think about it. Somebody out there has to push the envelope of possibilities and to keep the touch of advanced sound reproduction. I do not make claim that the array that propose will solve anything but unfortunately the only way to know it is to try. Yes, the high-end audio is the bitch…Rgs,
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche