Tag Archives: midrange

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.

Adding another way

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.

 

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 has been working on a new speaker system that Arnie Nudell was helping Paul design.  Unfortunately, Arnie recently passed away, so Paul is now on his own, although he has an excellent team to support his efforts, so the future of the project seems bright. Here is what he is thinking.

Live music

Before Infinity Speaker founder Arnie Nudell’s unfortunate passing, he and I were working on a new concept in loudspeakers, one based on the idea that it just might be possible to get closer to live orchestral sound levels than we have in the past.

A full orchestra can hit peak levels as high as 120dB. That exceeds the point of hearing damage, which of course was never our intent. And it is not hearing damage we get when in row one of an orchestra because peaks of this magnitude are both brief and rare. Arnie and I had become convinced this was the one quality still missing in speakers.

A few horn-type speakers can manage these extremes but none I know of without colorations (maybe the giant Magicos with their multiple horns? and extremely high price). Might it be possible to achieve these peak extremes without distortion, coloration, mega-amplifiers and bankruptcy court?

That is our challenge. Before his passing, he had made some good progress in a prototype he referred to as the IRS Killer. And it was. What we lacked to complete the design was a midrange driver of a very special kind. And that is now being worked on. It may yet be possible to complete the dream.

If you want to see what Arnie’s last prototype speaker system looks like, you can watch this video here. The midrange driver in this amazing reference design is a Bohlender Graebener creation no longer available, but that’s ok because it was the prototype’s’ one shortcoming.