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  • Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

    Does anybody mind explaining what the difference is between these technologies? For example, lets take these 3 examples:

    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=277-074
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=276-400
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=297-406

    What are the pros/cons to each?

    What is the most "neutral" sounding? Meaning highs aren't exaggerated and give extra crispness that doesn't sound natural? Which have the flattest response? Etc etc. I'm looking for info that wouldn't show up in specs or graphs since I have never heard ribbons or planars in person.

  • #2
    Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

    Originally posted by Fusion916 View Post
    Does anybody mind explaining what the difference is between these technologies? For example, lets take these 3 examples:

    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=277-074
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=276-400
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=297-406

    What are the pros/cons to each?

    What is the most "neutral" sounding? Meaning highs aren't exaggerated and give extra crispness that doesn't sound natural? Which have the flattest response? Etc etc. I'm looking for info that wouldn't show up in specs or graphs since I have never heard ribbons or planars in person.
    First, describe the taste of a banana.
    R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
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    "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

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    • #3
      Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

      The technologies are obviously different, in that a heavy coil and former are needed for a dome compared to the very light weight of a planar, and even lower in a ribbon.

      The advantage of a dome is that it can usually be driven to a lower frequency than a planar or ribbon. But the higher mass can also lead to a loss of detail with some program material in comparison to their lighter weight siblings.

      Trying to describe the difference in sound? . . . see the post above.
      R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
      Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

      95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
      "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

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      • #4
        Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

        First, describe the taste of a banana.
        Hrmm. Challenge accepted.

        Bananas taste like sweet solidified pulp with just a hint of sour and richness.

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        • #5
          Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

          Originally posted by NickJ View Post
          Hrmm. Challenge accepted.

          Bananas taste like sweet solidified pulp with just a hint of sour and richness.
          Sweet like mashed strawberries, or sweet like ice cream with oatmeal in it?

          ;)
          R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
          Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

          95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
          "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

            There are 'neutral' and 'flat' examples of each mechanism. In other respects, its kind of like comparing apples to oranges to melons. Some people really favor certain mechanisms for their treble. My dad wastes no time telling me often how lifelike this one ribbon tweeter he heard was, while I still have fond memories of many domes over the years.
            Audio: Media PC -> Sabre ESS 9023 DAC -> Behringer EP2500 -> (insert speakers of the moment)
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            • #7
              Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

              Originally posted by JasonP View Post
              There are 'neutral' and 'flat' examples of each mechanism. In other respects, its kind of like comparing apples to oranges to melons. Some people really favor certain mechanisms for their treble. My dad wastes no time telling me often how lifelike this one ribbon tweeter he heard was, while I still have fond memories of many domes over the years.
              Exactly . . . you have to experience them to really know the differences. They can all measure very similarly, and still sound different. Words can't describe accurately, the taste of a banana, or melon, or orange. Only vague general terms, so instead, you simply hand a slice to someone, and say, "here, taste."

              If you have the time soon, look around for audio "shows" that may be coming to your area. If you're in the east, the Capitol Audiofest would be an upcoming event that will allow you to visit dozens of different manufacturers, and audition a variety of gear, including ribbons, planars, and domes, along with compression tweeters, and Heil AMTs, even PLASMA tweeters. In the west, RMAF in October, or midwest, PE's sponsored Midwest Audiofest in Dayton. The AK Fest recently in Novi Michigan, featured most of those tweeters, including ring radiators and beryllium domes.

              An audition is worth 10,000 words.
              R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
              Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

              95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
              "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                Different pass band.
                Different linear and non linear distortion character.
                Different impedance
                Different axial response.

                The question is too broad really. If you want to look at the measured response, look at Zaphs tests.
                I have a few tweeter tests on this forum too.

                HTH
                http://www.diy-ny.com/

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                • #9
                  Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                  :eek:
                  First, describe the taste of a banana.
                  I'm afraid I'm not qualified to do that ...:o;)
                  .

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                    Sweet like mashed strawberries, or sweet like ice cream with oatmeal in it?

                    ;)
                    Good question. All I know is bananas have super slow bass.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                      The interesting thing about how the less mass transducer handles transients "faster" is that the physco-acoustic window of integration is much greater than the time difference that is often quoted in the attack time of the few instruments that sound "better". Golden ears aren't good enough in that case ... better have platinium or better.
                      .

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                      • #12
                        Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                        Originally posted by flatfinger View Post
                        The interesting thing about how the less mass transducer handles transients "faster" is that the physco-acoustic window of integration is much greater than the time difference that is often quoted in the attack time of the few instruments that sound "better". Golden ears aren't good enough in that case ... better have platinium or better.
                        Most folks with wooden ears can hear the difference between a good dome, and a good ribbon.

                        Platinum not required.

                        ;)
                        R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
                        Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

                        95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
                        "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                          When they do , it's probably not for the reasons usually cited !

                          Which wooden ears are best ; coniferous or deciduous ???
                          .

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                          • #14
                            Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                            Originally posted by flatfinger View Post
                            When they do , it's probably not for the reasons usually cited !

                            Which wooden ears are best ; coniferous or deciduous ???
                            And what are some of those "usual" reasons?

                            And I'm really curious . . . what is your experience when you get a side by side comparison, listen to some well executed ribbon vs. dome speakers using the same audition material complex enough to really stress a system? It's not too difficult to make out differences between systems using material with which you're very familiar.

                            I get to compare some accurately measured systems that are within a dB of each other, in terms of relative response across the spectrum, especially from 500Hz on up. I can assure you that the differences in the top quality dome systems, and those using a RAAL ribbon or the Beyma AMT, are pretty stark, when rendering the upper part of the musical spectrum that contains the harmonic signatures of massed strings or brass for example. The domes, while they measure exceptionally well, just don't deliver the same "immediacy", for lack of a better word, as do the ribbon or AMT. The AMT and ribbon, just sound more "real." If you're familiar with actual musical instrument sounds without amplification, it makes it easier to hear that improved realism in the reproduced sound. It's obvious when you get to listen within a short time window. And that lack of realism during the comparison is less of an issue after a few hours, and you go back to the excellent dome system.

                            The differences are probably measurable, if we knew exactly what to look for. The frequency response and distortion spectrum are quite comparable, especially in the audible range. But there's one measurement that really shows a difference, and that's the impulse response. The time domain performance of the RAALs and AMT is simply superior to that of the dome. Is that the reason for the sound difference? Who knows?
                            R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
                            Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

                            95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
                            "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Dome vs Ribbon vs Planar

                              First, describe the taste of a banana.
                              I think I may have a new lifelong goal ^ ;)

                              The scary thing here is that I'm finally getting to where I can actually understand bits and pieces of what you guys are talking about! Still a lot of learning to do!

                              I've never heard a planar tweeter before, always interested me though. I've heard countless domes and a couple ribbons. I like both and it would be tough to pull a favorite. They both seem to have pros and cons. My unexperianced opinion so far is that you can't pull enough realism or life out of a dome, and you get a little too much realism and life out of the ribbon if that makes any sense; like its a little exaggerated. That doesn't mean I don't like either one, the Statements blow me away when I listen to their crispness and clarity. But I also have some soft spoken Polks that are warm and soothing on the highs, while I have some JBL's that are a little too harsh and both are domes.
                              "The ability of any system to produce exceptional sound will be limited mainly by the capability of the speakers" Jim Salk
                              "Audio is surely a journey full of revelations as you go" JasonP

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