RE: [DMCForum] Planar?
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RE: [DMCForum] Planar?

These sound almost exactly like electrostatic speakers. Very
expensive, but very good.

The problem with any sound reproduction technology is of course that
it tends to sound like ... er ... sound *re*production. I knew guys
who would spend many days and dollars to find the "perfect blend" for
their stereo because they didn't like the "cone sound" or the "horn
sound". The best single pair of home stereo speakers I ever heard was
a pair of Klipschorns (which are still produced but sadly not as good
anymore -- they use cheaper voice coils, etc.). I was listening to a
big band CD thinking "wow, this stereo image is perfect -- drums are
on the left, I can hear the acoustic bass sounding like an acoustic,
and the overtones are kicking in the brass," and suddenly the trombone
soloist was right in front of me in the livingroom. Pretty darned
impressive. I believe that those speakers used a combination of horn
and cone technology (I remember my buddy explaining to me the concept
of the "tri-fold cone" *shrug*). I have heard electrostatic
headphones, but not electrostatic speakers -- I don't know anyone rich
enough to have a set yet.

Thanks for the info on planar speakers. I will have to do some
research ... but of course I'm saving up for my DeLorean, so the
stereo "upgrade" will have to wait. Granted, I'm pretty happy with
mine, and I still listen to LPs. LOL



From: Andrew [mailto:aos+yahoo@xxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tue 5/25/2004 7:28 PM
To: DMCForum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [DMCForum] Planar?

On Tue, 25 May 2004, Farrar Hudkins wrote:

> Er, pardon me for showing my ignorance, but ... The only "planar"
> familiar with is planar geometry.

You're on the right track.  Planar speakers, also called ribbon or
quasi-ribbon speakers (two subtly different varieties), are speakers
use a thin vibrating sheet to create sound instead of a vibrating
Essentially, they consist of a tightly stretched membrane suspended in
between mangets.  The membrane is either made of plastic (often mylar)

with wires running through it or is one large membrane conductor.  As
amplified signal passes through the membrane, the EM interaction
the membrane and the magnets causes the entire plane to vibrate,
the desired sound across the whole surface.

Where cone speakers have a definite center to the sound, and thus can
sometimes give away the fact that they're speakers, not live sound,
speakers produce the sound over the entire surface of the speaker and
produce a hauntingly realistic soundstage.  They tend to be a bit more
finicky about placement, and are generally good only for small
environments (i.e. home audio room, not a dance hall), but in the
environment they sound simply phenomenal.  Cones cannot compare.

Because of the design of planars, they are very thin.  My main
Magnepan MG1.6s, have faces 19"x65", but are only 2" thick.  Planars
need cabinets to sound right, hence my initial jab at you.

Really the only downside of planars is they have a hard time with low
so it's essential they be paired with an appropriate subwoofer to
a good flat response.

Magnepan is probably te most well known planar speaker manufacturer in
world.  You can check out their site at

(also an a/v geek)
(yes, I was that kid at school.  still am, really.)

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