Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

PS Audio in Chicago. We tried to make it this year, but no go for us.

Building a new speaker Part 4

This is the last in our series of how we built the AN3 speaker system prototypes and may be one of the more interesting of the four. In this latest video, I give a quick demonstration of how the reference Arnie Nudell speaker’s midrange and tweeter sound, then turn around and play the same on the AN3’s tweeter and midrange. Even on my crappy little lapel microphone, the differences between the two are evident.

With newer driver technology and the luxury of standing on the shoulders of a giant, Darren and I were able to build an even more coherent and musically rich system than the reference we started with.

Improving on an existing standard is how modifiers and tweakers of equipment make forward strides in sound quality on existing designs. It is one thing to start from scratch and wander into the wilderness of the great unknown with a new design. It’s a lot easier to have a great starting point to begin the quest, which is fortunately what we had to work with. (For those having attended RMAF last year you might have had a chance to hear Arnie’s reference speakers).

The AN3s are boxed up and probably halfway to Chicago by the time you’re reading these words. If you’re going to the Axpona show in Chicago, please do drop by the PS Audio room and give them a listen. Ted Smith will be available to speak with folks (he’s always a treat) and engineer and loudspeaker designer Darren Myers will be in the room on Friday. On Saturday we’ll do a live Ask Paul video.

Yes, they are only a prototype, but I think they’re polished enough for savvy listeners to get a measure of what they’re all about.

And one final note. The cosmetics of the speaker have a lot of work left. Their base is too big, the frames around the drivers are ugly, the rears are unfinished, there’s no grille, and there will be cables and few boxes hanging off their rears. They are a prototype, after all, so cut them a little cosmetic slack if you can (though we’d love to get your feedback).

PS Audio is showing in a fairly big room on the ground floor behind registration. Hope to see you there!

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Building a new speaker Part 2

In yesterday’s post, we kicked off the first of our 4-part series on speaker building. In this series, I wanted to share with you what we were trying to achieve when we designed the first in our new line of reference standard loudspeakers, the AN3, and how we went about achieving our goals.

One point of confusion with the AN3 is where it sits in our eventual line of speakers—it is in the middle. AN3 is one of three in the AN Series, but we plan two series. The second series will move downward in price and size from the AN line but will have a close family resemblance in appearance and performance. Eventually, there will be 6 models of full range loudspeakers ranging from (we hope) as low as $3K the pair to the mighty AN1. All will have servo powered bass, separate midrange and tweeter. The long-awaited Sprout speaker is also looming on the horizon though it will be bookshelf sized and not powered.

They say (whoever “they” are) that it’s best not to watch the process of sausage making. Perhaps designing loudspeakers would have the same cautionary warning attached but you know me, I cannot resist pulling back the kimono and sharing with you the entire story: the clip leads, the helter-skelter, the computer modeling, the successes and failures.

I know that many readers have this Pollyannaish notion of how speakers are designed—white-coated engineers bristling with slide rules and spouting knowledge like Dilbert, but I am here to tell you that’s a rare scene. I’ve spent many years of my life watching and practicing the art of design with some of the best and it ain’t that way for those that use our ears and calculators to design. It’s a combination of meters and screens and computers and sweat and patience and listening.

In the second of the four videos, which you can watch here, I spend the time showing viewers how Arnie’s 4-way system works and how each of the 4 parts actually sounds. So, if you’ve ever wondered how a multi-way crossover works and sounds this is an instructive video to watch.

The demonstration and the information we gain from this is important to the final design. That is because it’s easier to clone the sound of one system into another if it is done in small increments such as just the midrange and tweeters.

I think you’ll find today’s video illuminating.