INVOLVE HISTORY IN ELECTROSTATICS AND STUFF X 4 = QUAD!!!!!!

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chucky3042

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Dear All

I am on Xmas holidays at the moment, we take it seriously in Australia and we get around 2-3 weeks off work (unfortunately I have visited the factory 2 times in 4 days of holiday!).

Oh, FYI we are virtually COVID19 free in Australia with a minor outbreak in one state that should be clamped back to zero in a few weeks, so its all busy and huggie our there at the moment. Lockdowns do work if they are not half arsed, so does extensive contract tracing, masks are bullshit and are just an attempt by government to appear to be doing something....just sayin.

Back to audio, I have been chatting with my old mate (and frequent foe....we abuse each other a lot, its a tradition) Zel, and he reminded me of a report we had to have commissioned way back in June 2006 by an independent technical audio authority in order to satisfy investors that the work and technology we had developed on electrostatic speakers was in fact different and better than the opposition. Our Investors commissioned Professor Greg Cambrell of Monash University. Well here it is, it really is a fascinating read for all those interested in speaker technology and Electrostatics in general as it includes a great deal of good theory and a wonderful calculation of the maximum possible SPL of an electrostatic speaker of 117 dB!! We are approaching 112 dB at the moment- yay us.

Back then we created a company Immersion PLC and managed to get funding to develop a new electrostatic speaker for Nakamichi.....The Nakamichi Dragon electrostatic in honour of the 25th anniversary of the Naka dragon cassette deck in an attempt to resurrect the brand. Back then and now Naka along with Sansui, Akai and Emmersion were owned by the Grande group of China who continue to ride all of these great names into the ground with rebranding of cheap Chinese shit.

So based on the technology we created in Immersion PLC we created this for NAKA:
1609223386278.png

Initially it was called the Phoenix (Naka raising up from the ashes) but after Kobayashi's approval it was renamed the Dragon.

So, sad story, the Grande Group had financial issues, our management were exceedingly stupid and the product died......only 140 sets in captivity around the world. The collapse of Immersion lead me to start Involve audio as we needed a life boat!

Anyway have a look at the attached PDF it also had some very interesting independent testing of our electrostatic speakers back then in 2006, we have actually come a long way since with some new wiz bang technology. It is currently used in our Y4 system and we are designing a stand alone desktop electrostatic speaker at the moment for release next year....more soon.
 

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par4ken

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This thread revives my interest and largely unfulfilled passion for electrostatics. Over the years I've read construction articles in Audio Amateur, visited web sites regarding the construction of electrostatic speakers. The prices charged for commercial units, the complexity of construction of DIY units, the high cost of pre-constructed component always left the idea of electrostatics as a pipe dream.

My passion was partially fulfilled via headphones. Back in the day we (myself and a friend) purchased a set of Magnavox electrostatic headphones from "Etco" (a Canadian electronics surplus dealer). I think they cost $10.00. The caveat was that they didn't have the necessary high voltage amplifier (or transformer) to drive them, so they sat unused for years. Along came "Glass Audio" with an article by Joe Curcio using 6DJ8 tubes to drive (Stax) headphones directly. I constructed the amp and finally got to hear the electrostatic phones. Well they are amazing they reproduce the finest detail. I used them for monitoring the restoration of vinyl and found that they actually revealed too much! The only negative thing that I found was they weren't quite loud enough. I wrote Joe about it and he suggested reducing the value of the high voltage bias resistor. I tried that to no avail, I suspect that I would have to raise the level of the bias voltage but that would necessitate redesigning the power supply. Like this thread those phones got me thinking about electrostatic speakers yet again!
 

chucky3042

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This thread revives my interest and largely unfulfilled passion for electrostatics. Over the years I've read construction articles in Audio Amateur, visited web sites regarding the construction of electrostatic speakers. The prices charged for commercial units, the complexity of construction of DIY units, the high cost of pre-constructed component always left the idea of electrostatics as a pipe dream.

My passion was partially fulfilled via headphones. Back in the day we (myself and a friend) purchased a set of Magnavox electrostatic headphones from "Etco" (a Canadian electronics surplus dealer). I think they cost $10.00. The caveat was that they didn't have the necessary high voltage amplifier (or transformer) to drive them, so they sat unused for years. Along came "Glass Audio" with an article by Joe Curcio using 6DJ8 tubes to drive (Stax) headphones directly. I constructed the amp and finally got to hear the electrostatic phones. Well they are amazing they reproduce the finest detail. I used them for monitoring the restoration of vinyl and found that they actually revealed too much! The only negative thing that I found was they weren't quite loud enough. I wrote Joe about it and he suggested reducing the value of the high voltage bias resistor. I tried that to no avail, I suspect that I would have to raise the level of the bias voltage but that would necessitate redesigning the power supply. Like this thread those phones got me thinking about electrostatic speakers yet again!
I to had an early start in electrostatics. At the age of 15 I got my first set of STAX SR3's, when they died I got a set of Audio Technica electret headphones, they died and I have settled on the Stax Lambda's - love them.

For those wanting to explore DIY electrostatics, may I suggest you contact Rob Mc Kinlay of ER Audio in West Australia. Rob has been developing Kit electrostatics for years and he is responsible for me getting into making our own.

Way back in the mid 90's I was on a xmas holiday pondering the coming death of the electronic industry in Australia and searching for a new direction. I was thumbing through some Electronics Today magazines and I saw an article by Rob and thought to myself that I could help commercialize and improve the kit technology and it would only take me a year or so! Well here I am 25 years later (getting real close).

Rob an I decided to meet and when he flew into Melbourne airport we decided we needed to recognize each other, He said he was "big and ugly", I said I was "big and ugly" and we decided to let that be out guide. Come the day we found each other at the airport instantly!!

We have worked parallel paths ever since but with me focusing (for market reasons) on the bookshelf stuff. Rob has been doing the big stuff. Actually my passion is the big unlimited stuff. I have no shares or interest in his company - but Rob does have significant shares in Involve Audio and is a great friend.

May I humbly suggest that you visit his site:


Some of them are my designs like the ELS3 and some of the mini panels.

But if you want the current WORLDS BEST SPEAKER- I suggest you invest in the ACORN kit.


For around USD $3500 it is the best value in the world!! I in parallel designed a speaker that turned out to be a replica of its characteristics (by accident) and it is very similar to the 880's mentioned in the above attached report .

Just do it, Robs a great guy and very helpful in all ways
1609285979971.png


IF YOU CONTACT HIM- SAY CHUCKY SENT YOU!!!!!!
 

par4ken

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Yes Chucky that was one of the sites that I remember visiting. Still priced out of my range though, I would insist on four matched speakers, that would be $7000 USD! Nice to see the pricing in Australian rather than USD (the last time I checked the Australian and Canadian dollars were almost at par). I so often purchase bargains on flea-bay only to have the price double when the money is converted and shipping added. If I forgo those bargains for awhile maybe I could start to think about electrostatics!

I suppose one could start off with some smaller panels, maybe bi-amp using conventional woofers for the bass. How to integrate bi-polar panels with uni-polar woofers could be a challenge. Off the top of my head how about two woofers in one cabinet, one on the front the other on the back with the woofers wired out of phase with each other. That would put them in a push-pull arrangement. That might poise problems of bass cancellation and over excursion of the woofer cones. You could try low compliance woofers or divide the box in half, so that the two don't interact with each other. You could try enclosing the electrostatic panels in a cabinets to absorb the back wave. There is so much room for experimentation!

How is the imaging of electrostatics? Could they benefit from the addition of sound absorbent panels on the walls behind them?

I'm sure that driving them from a conventional amplifier via transformers would work fine but the ideal would be to drive them from a special tube based amplifier, no transformer would be necessary! High voltage tubes and electrostatics are a perfect combination!
 

Sonik Wiz

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Yes Chucky that was one of the sites that I remember visiting. Still priced out of my range though, I would insist on four matched speakers, that would be $7000 USD! Nice to see the pricing in Australian rather than USD (the last time I checked the Australian and Canadian dollars were almost at par). I so often purchase bargains on flea-bay only to have the price double when the money is converted and shipping added. If I forgo those bargains for awhile maybe I could start to think about electrostatics!

I suppose one could start off with some smaller panels, maybe bi-amp using conventional woofers for the bass. How to integrate bi-polar panels with uni-polar woofers could be a challenge. Off the top of my head how about two woofers in one cabinet, one on the front the other on the back with the woofers wired out of phase with each other. That would put them in a push-pull arrangement. That might poise problems of bass cancellation and over excursion of the woofer cones. You could try low compliance woofers or divide the box in half, so that the two don't interact with each other. You could try enclosing the electrostatic panels in a cabinets to absorb the back wave. There is so much room for experimentation!

How is the imaging of electrostatics? Could they benefit from the addition of sound absorbent panels on the walls behind them?

I'm sure that driving them from a conventional amplifier via transformers would work fine but the ideal would be to drive them from a special tube based amplifier, no transformer would be necessary! High voltage tubes and electrostatics are a perfect combination!
Not to take away from Chucky's recommendation of the ACORN speakers, I was surprised to find just the other day that the company that invented home electrostatic speakers is alive & well:

Late'50's I remember visiting a friends house & he had the Janszen tweeter add on box on top of a bass enclosure. At ~8 yo I wasn't too analytical but it sure sounded different than my parent Kuba by Telefunken console radio.

I believe Chucky has not had kind words for Martin Logan E-Stats, but I live with in an easy drive of their factory & if anyone has those types of speakers around here they are usually ML's. I have attended plenty of trade show conventions in my time & frequently music is used to entice a potential customer into a demo room for a sales pitch. Walking around it was always so easy to tell it was not live music just audio play back of differing quality. Walking past one room I said Hey! A live jazz trio! Gotta check it out. Instead it was a Sheffield direct to disc over some Martin Logan loud speakers.

I am impressed by the detail of electro-static speakers & being a planar device I think they would be quite directional with good imaging. The opposite phase back wave is a wild card & I've heard room set up can be very tricky. You can seal the back & add a dynamic woofer but E-Stat purists seem to frown on that & I'm not sure why. However I am sure Chucky could elaborate on those points.
 

chucky3042

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Yes Chucky that was one of the sites that I remember visiting. Still priced out of my range though, I would insist on four matched speakers, that would be $7000 USD! Nice to see the pricing in Australian rather than USD (the last time I checked the Australian and Canadian dollars were almost at par). I so often purchase bargains on flea-bay only to have the price double when the money is converted and shipping added. If I forgo those bargains for awhile maybe I could start to think about electrostatics!

I suppose one could start off with some smaller panels, maybe bi-amp using conventional woofers for the bass. How to integrate bi-polar panels with uni-polar woofers could be a challenge. Off the top of my head how about two woofers in one cabinet, one on the front the other on the back with the woofers wired out of phase with each other. That would put them in a push-pull arrangement. That might poise problems of bass cancellation and over excursion of the woofer cones. You could try low compliance woofers or divide the box in half, so that the two don't interact with each other. You could try enclosing the electrostatic panels in a cabinets to absorb the back wave. There is so much room for experimentation!

How is the imaging of electrostatics? Could they benefit from the addition of sound absorbent panels on the walls behind them?

I'm sure that driving them from a conventional amplifier via transformers would work fine but the ideal would be to drive them from a special tube based amplifier, no transformer would be necessary! High voltage tubes and electrostatics are a perfect combination!
Bipole is a great way to go with woofers on electrostatics, watch out for bass cancellation issues at around 150 Hz.

Imaging on electros are the best of all speaker types, thats what grabbed me from the very start. Most have +/- one inch of glory on the sweet spot! This is an area we have worked on and we are now able to disperse as wide as a cone .....if we want!
 

chucky3042

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Not to take away from Chucky's recommendation of the ACORN speakers, I was surprised to find just the other day that the company that invented home electrostatic speakers is alive & well:

Late'50's I remember visiting a friends house & he had the Janszen tweeter add on box on top of a bass enclosure. At ~8 yo I wasn't too analytical but it sure sounded different than my parent Kuba by Telefunken console radio.

I believe Chucky has not had kind words for Martin Logan E-Stats, but I live with in an easy drive of their factory & if anyone has those types of speakers around here they are usually ML's. I have attended plenty of trade show conventions in my time & frequently music is used to entice a potential customer into a demo room for a sales pitch. Walking around it was always so easy to tell it was not live music just audio play back of differing quality. Walking past one room I said Hey! A live jazz trio! Gotta check it out. Instead it was a Sheffield direct to disc over some Martin Logan loud speakers.

I am impressed by the detail of electro-static speakers & being a planar device I think they would be quite directional with good imaging. The opposite phase back wave is a wild card & I've heard room set up can be very tricky. You can seal the back & add a dynamic woofer but E-Stat purists seem to frown on that & I'm not sure why. However I am sure Chucky could elaborate on those points.
Hi Sonik

Dont get me wrong as the Logans are better that 95% of cone speakers and still image quite well. The issue with the logans are:

1 The bass is a woolly shit sandwich
2 The cross over frequencies are quite high due to the use of the curved arrays (only way to keep a curved array a little bit linear is to limit its excursion and keep it away from bass). This results in a bad top/ bottom separation of the sound.....mids up top bass down below. This disturbs me
3 The curved array does ZERO to improve dispersion, it looks like it would work but the mylar is non stretchable and cannot move in a linear manner on a curve without buckling and distorting.....its still a piston but looks curved. Its a publicity stunt!
4 Our Naka dragons dispersed way better than the logans (I had a set of Summits), our new ones piss on them - yet they are flat! (trade secrets)

The treatment of the rear wave is not as hard as you have heard, basically you need a room with curtains, furniture and a mat/ carpet is good. Rectangle is better than square and irregularities in the room shape ARE GOOD.

To this day my best surround sound experience was with a huge set of electros hybrids I made late 90's that had dual 12 inch subs- bipole and a 4 way huge array. IT WAS WITH TWO SPEAKERS, listening to Ground hog day with Bill Murray- the crowd scenes playing the Pennsylvania Polka. it was as if I was there total 3D. That set was stollen in a nasty liquidation episode at the end of Immersion. Bad memories

I am working towards a super speaker at the moment and it may involve my crazy mad foe/ friend Zel the king of Bass.
 

Soundfield

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Electrostatic speakers have a long and distinguished history. The Quad Electrostatic Loudspeaker (the ESL57) was the world's first mass production full-range electrostatic loudspeaker, launched in 1957 by the Acoustical Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (QUAD).They have been in production in various guises ever since.

A typical advert from Wireless World of 1959 -

Quad ESL-Advert-1959-Wireless-World.jpg


And one from 1965 –

ESL WW 1965.JPG


As a proof of it's slogan "For the closest approach to the original sound" QUAD did a series of famous demonstrations in theatres in the sixties where they employed stacked arrays of ESL panels and live performers hidden behind curtains inviting the public to try to identify which was playing! –

ESL_stacked array.jpg


The QUAD ESL speaker also played a significant role in the development of surround sound. Audio pioneer Michael Gerzon used them in his experiments in the 1970’s –

Michael Gerzon archive

The current range is rather more attractive than the ‘radiator’ look of the originals, although sadly now made in China –

current ESL.JPG


I've always been impresed by them and wanted to use them - but never really had the space (let alone for 4 of them!).
 
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DuncanS

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I've always been impresed by them and wanted to use them - but never really had the space (let alone for 4 of them!).
Me too! I've just taken a look at Chucky's recommended Acorn ESLs and thought they look good and seemed 'reasonably priced' (though it would be +the import duty) then realised they are very tall, and the matching centre is quite large as well!
 

hobie1dog

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Dear All

I am on Xmas holidays at the moment, we take it seriously in Australia and we get around 2-3 weeks off work (unfortunately I have visited the factory 2 times in 4 days of holiday!).

Oh, FYI we are virtually COVID19 free in Australia with a minor outbreak in one state that should be clamped back to zero in a few weeks, so its all busy and huggie our there at the moment. Lockdowns do work if they are not half arsed, so does extensive contract tracing, masks are bullshit and are just an attempt by government to appear to be doing something....just sayin.
looks like there are new covid-19 problems down there in Sydney and Melbourne
 

chucky3042

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looks like there are new covid-19 problems down there
Yep around 10 cases in NSW today , zero in Victoria today (8 yesterday). Stupid state premier was too slow in closing state boarders. So far QLD, TAS, SA, WA , NT are covid 19 free. It leaked from NSW. So far zero deaths.

Our stupid state premiers immediate trigger response has been to re instigate useless masks indoors- moron
 

hobie1dog

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My Martin Logans did have boomy bass. I came close to buying the all electrostatic CLS panels but didn't know of a good subwoofer at the time. and the CLS panels have a sweet spot the size of a mosquito's head. Now since Stereo Integrity subs are made, it's possible to cross over speakers around 100hz and have incredibly tight/accurate bass. 85 to 125 pound magnets control the cones like Putin controls things. The tightness of kick drums are as tight as the buttocks of a single digit aged Asian gymnast. And they play down into the single digits unlike 90% of the so-called subwoofers out there that peter out at 25hz.
 
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