Adding another way

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When loudspeakers were first introduced they were essential 1-way designs: a single driver that carried the limited frequency range possible in those days. Soon we added a tweeter to augment the single driver’s high-frequency response in what became known as a 2-way and there the state of the art sat for many years.

Hardly satisfied with a woofer’s performance in the demanding midrange area a third way was later added in the form of a midrange driver that fit in between the woofer and tweeter and thus the 3-way was born.

It is certainly possible to add even more ways and speaker designers have by the addition of internal subwoofers for the lowest octaves and super tweeters for the ultra high harmonics.

What all these ways have in common is fundamental to their task of producing a full range musical performance. They divide up in ever smaller chunks the job of frequency reproduction. Regardless of the number of frequency divisions, not much has changed in the art of loudspeaker design for the last 50 years. That is until Infinity founder Arnie Nudell introduced the Variable Midbass Coupler.

Arnie always had a love of midbass (the range of frequencies between 100Hz and 600Hz) because this range is the basis of tonal balance. It’s fundamental to voices and many primary instruments and, coincidentally, where the loudest peaks of music happen. When we set up a pair of speakers it is this midbass region we struggle with most. When the left and right speakers are too far apart the midbass sounds thin and we think of it as strident or anemic. Too close together and it’s the opposite requiring a diet to remove unwanted fat. Yet, every time we move the speakers for best tonality we screw up the imaging. It is a never-ending battle.

Arnie’s invention of the VMC changed everything. By building 4-way speakers with an internally amplified subwoofer and VMC, the difficult setup process suddenly vanished. Now it was possible to place the speaker pair where it imaged best and adjust low bass with the subwoofer controls and tonality with a turn of the VMC control. More than that, by separately amplifying the VMC it would be possible to achieve stunning amplitude levels in the very area nearly every speaker on the planet cannot come close to reaching.

When we launch the line of AN speakers in 2019, you will have your first chance at experiencing for yourself the power of Arnie’s invention that we believe will fundamentally change our expectations of music reproduction in the home.

Stay tuned.