Ripping sound from the box

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When Darren Myers and I were working on the AN3 prototype loudspeaker one of the many challenges came from the midrange. As those who have watched the video series on building the AN3 prototypes know, we went through several midrange drivers to get what we wanted.

What we didn’t talk about was the struggle to rip the sound out of the speaker box and get it away from the cabinet.

I am somewhat of an evangelist when it comes to the need to detach sound from the speaker cabinets. On all but a few of the worst recordings, music should never sound as if it is emanating from the speaker cabinet itself. Instead, it should be divorced from the box and float behind, above, and to the sides of the stereo setup. This extraction from the box creates what we have come to call the soundstage.

As speaker designers, one of the bigger challenges is working the crossover to make this happen. The prototype AN3 used a BG Neo 10 ribbon for the midrange. This is a great driver but it is exceptionally sensitive to how it is crossed over, implemented, and working with the cabinet and other drivers. Though its response looked marvelous on the test equipment, try as we might we could not get the sound to leave the confines of the speaker’s baffle.

Over the course of days, we managed to figure it out and were able to not only extricate it from its cabinet prison but maneuver it right where we wanted in the ethereal soundstage. It had been freed from its cabinet.

The reason I bring this up is that it should be no surprise that some speakers don’t have the ability to produce sound detached from the box. Not that we are such great designers but it is likely not part of the other designer’s ethos.

If you’re not looking for something it’s hard to see.

I imagine designers have all measure of goals for their speakers.

It’s up to the potential buyer to decide if their goals line up with those of the designer.