The membrane filter

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The membrane filter

Reproduced music's complexity, depth, and texture depend largely on the membranes involved in its reproduction. Just think of music's path from the material of a speaker, to our eardrums, to the microphones used for recording.

Every single membrane introduces its own colorations, subtly altering the tonal quality and sound character we hear.

We can wax enthusiastically all day long about the virtues of different membranes: ribbons vs.planars, domes vs. flat drivers, aluminum cones vs. Kevlar. The list is endless and the choices perhaps a bit daunting.

One membrane we cannot ignore is the one we've grown accustomed to.

Our ears. 

Our eardrums are delicate structures: thin skin, fibrous tissue, and mucosa called an eardrum, which converts acoustic vibrations to fluid movements transmitting sound to our brains. And these membranes all have a sound inherent to their makeup. 

Fortunately, we've grown so accustomed to our ear/brain's interpretation of sound that we can cross it off the list of concerns.

The membranes of loudspeakers and headphones? 

Be concerned.

Those colorations you hear are real—which is why PS Audio designer Chris Brunhaver is so insistent on low mass, thin film transducers that impart so little colorations as to be nearly invisible.

We may focus our attentions on all manner of driver specs from distortion to speed to breakup modes. But, when it comes down to the listening, I find no greater measure of musicality than the colorations (or lack thereof) of membranes.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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