...of loudspeaker has its good and bad points. None are perfect. Not even close. With electronics we can get closer to the ideal, though perfection will always remain an elusive goal. Single driver loudspeakers, of which we have been discussing as of late, are no different. I have heard many good ones, and just as many bad ones. Though not a true single driver speaker, Walter Liederman and Mark Schifter's work on the Emerald Physics line of open-baffle single-point speakers always impresses. And there are more, though my goal in this series is neither one of praise nor condemnation of any one design. As I wrote, they all have their strengths and weakness. Before we leave single drivers for the divided world of tweeters and woofers, it's probably worth a moment to look at another method of separately enhancing highs and lows with one driver. The whizzer cone. I don't know the history of these funneled protrusions but they are a mechanical means of improving high frequency response, one that does not rely on an electrical crossover. The whizzer cone is a small and separate cone attached to the voice coil. To be effective, designers must decouple the larger woofer cone by the addition of a small bit of flexible material. As the woofer voice coil moves faster, the whizzer cone stays perfectly synched while the larger woofer cone has reduced movement. The idea is that at the highest frequencies the whizzer acts as a tweeter, its small cone area pumping out higher frequencies, while the larger woofer cone relaxes and sticks with lower notes. These types of cones have fallen out of favor for two reasons: most had a sound to them that wasn't all that natural, and designers had moved on to what is known as the coaxial driver. Coaxial drivers are not new. This picture is of an Altec Lansing 601 from 1943. Unlike a whizzer cone, coaxial drivers require a crossover. They are, after all, a two-way loudspeaker, with a tweeter and woofer. That's what we'll cover tomorrow.
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