Tag Archives: loudspeaker

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.

The active room

At my core, I am an inventor. I love nothing more than to be given a challenge—a problem—that needs a solution and the freedom to invent a new way to solve that problem. One of the greatest joys I have experienced is being part of a team of engineers that can take an idea and make it a product. My only regret is not having an unlimited sized team that could work on multiple problems at once. I suppose it is the dilemma of all like-minded people.

One idea in search of the resources to make it a reality is the active room where the interior surfaces are not reflective acoustic mirrors, as they are in a normal room. Instead, each surface is acoustically active and can be controlled. We see examples of this idea in modern aircraft, especially those of Boeing.  Their engineers have built active noise cancellation into the plane’s interior walls so that they act like the microphone/headphone contraptions passengers routinely wear to keep noise out.

Interior walls are both benefits and curses. They keep unwanted sounds out while keeping undesirable reflections in. What would happen if we made them a type of loudspeaker fed by in-room microphones? I suspect it would enable us to create amazing spaces and not just for audiophiles wanting better sound. Imagine the environments and moods you could create within your home if the walls reproduced pre-recorded outdoor spaces with streams and birds. And I don’t mean just playing back the sounds of nature, but actually placing you in that acoustic space as if the room were acres big.

It is an interesting concept, one I hope to be able to tackle someday or use if someone else beats me to the punch.

I hope they do.

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.

If this isn’t a prime example of a true audiophile, I don’t know what is. Paul has made it work…

Impossible ideas

We’re on vacation to celebrate my birthday but my mind’s never far from audio.

When I am considering a problem I often imagine the impossible in order to explore the possible. This process helps free my mind from rehashing prior art.

My impossible thought was to create a speaker where one set of drivers handles the low amplitude signals while at the same time a second set supplements the first when the loudness increases beyond a certain level. This would help the problems of Doppler (where one cone moves both far and near at the same time) experienced in drivers—and not experienced in an actual musical instrument.

I’ve done something like this before. Years ago I built an experimental speaker system with amplitude sensitive side-firing drivers that kicked in only on loud passages. The reason I did it was different than this idea, but the results would be similar. (Back then, and still now, I am fascinated with the idea of the soundstage width increasing over a certain loudness).

This idea of low and high amplitude loudspeaker drivers has a couple of serious flaws, not the least of which is how to separate the two amplitudes. Imagine an orchestra playing both loud and soft passages at the same time: the violins at a soft to medium level while the trumpets blare. From the recording perspective, the trumpet blasts are mixed in with the aggregate violin as one waveform. It would be almost impossible to separate them.

Still, an interesting thought.