Loudspeaker Design Overview

'speak no evil - you'll hear no evil'

For over twenty years our award winning turntables have 'spoken no evil'.
We followed with phonostages and our Reference Pre and Mono Amplifiers.
Now with our new Reference Loudspeakers 'you'll hear no evil'

AVID HIFI synonymous with turntables, established itself over twenty years ago, is now a globally recognised brand.
Over five years ago we launched our first phonostage, again to critical acclaim and successfully selling worldwide.
Following this success and building upon our knowledge we launched our Reference Pre and Mono Amplifiers.

Our desire to eventually design a full AVID audio experience leads us to explore loudspeakers.
Outwardly loudspeaker design appears completely different to any other audio system component.
Appearances can be deceptive and interestingly both loudspeakers and turntables share similar issues.

Both are closely linked, in that one of the fundamental problems in both their designs is the control of vibrations affecting the final sound.
In the same way stylus vibration left unimpeded through the turntable structure colours the sound, drive unit caused vibration left unimpeded within the enclosure or diaphragm colours the sound. If there's something we know about, itís controlling vibration.

A loudspeaker drive unit includes a cone, a chassis, a voice coil and driver magnet. The cone is typically attached to the chassis with a flexible suspension of sort and the voice coil is attached to the cone so that when an electrical current is applied to the voice coil generating an electromagnetic field, this interacts with the magnetic field of the driver magnet and the voice coil and consequently the cone move.

This cone movement creates unwanted vibrations in the drive unit chassis which can adversely affect the loudspeaker's sound, adding unwanted sound colouration and distorting the acoustic response of the loudspeaker. That same unwanted vibration is found in a turntable too.

To achieve the best sound quality when used, the drive unit is usually installed in a loudspeaker cabinet. It is desirable for the drive unit to produce a controlled vibration in the cone whilst minimising, or otherwise controlling the unwanted vibration in the other components of the loudspeaker drive unit and cabinet, otherwise the final sound becomes coloured and distorted.

Normally loudspeaker drive units are fixed directly into a cabinet with fixing screws and cabinets are typically manufactured from veneer covered MDF to be attractive. Such cabinets suffer because they are less rigid than the loudspeaker chassis and vibrations in the drive unit are transferred to the cabinet which then undesirably vibrate, this resulting in a coloured acoustic sound.

With cabinet vibrations having a negative effect an alternative way would be decoupling the drive unit, thus reducing the transmission of vibration to the cabinet. The problem is without this rigid connection the vibration is effectively trapped within the drive unit resulting in poor acoustic sound caused typically by the cone vibrating undesirably and the heavy magnet oscillating on the chassis, this in turn negatively effecting voice coil performance and ultimately giving a reduced overall sound quality.

There are obviously other aspects to loudspeaker design such as cabinet size, crossover topology, driver design and configuration, but the catastrophic effects vibration can cause and its influence on the final sound cannot be understated which makes it the paramount issue to resolve.

AVID turntables transmit vibration caused by the 'needle' away from the record so that the pick-up cartridge only reads a vibration free disc.
Achieved through an understanding of materials technology, establishing vibration paths and effectively channelling and dissipating the vibration into an environment which does not affect the sound quality.

The effect of this is whatís called lowering the noise floor and the lower the noise floor the more clean music you hear.

The application of the same holistic approach to loudspeaker design as with our turntables therefore predetermines many aspects of our design.
Designing the whole loudspeaker structure as a controlled vibration path we effectively control the purity of sound you hear.

AVID's approach is to start with the manufacture of an ultra rigid loudspeaker cabinet.
Using Aircraft grade aluminium, up to 40mm thick makes for a rigid structure but importantly more rigid than the drive unit chassis.

Different to the traditional screw fixing, the drive unit is clamped to the cabinet using a peripheral support encompassing the front ring of the driver chassis, massively increasing its rigidity and reducing the chance of unwanted vibration entering the speaker cone.

Importantly by doing this the vibration entering the cabinet from the drive unit is almost eliminated. The vibration always flows in the path of least resistance and the rigid cabinet and peripheral clamping does not offer such a route due to mechanical resistance. With the vibration effectively trapped in the drive unit however, it is prone to vibrate undesirably, resonating the cone and even the heavy magnet can oscillate.

AVID has developed a Patent Applied solution, where we offer a path of least resistance to dissipate the vibration and stabilise the magnet assembly.
Attaching a tuned mass to the rear of the driver, decoupled but restraining the magnet assembly the vibration is effectively dissipated.

With this in place there is an immediately noticeable improvement in sound quality.
The loudspeakers noise floor is reduced, opening up a wealth of detail and dynamics, enhanced soundstage, pure and clean sounding.
With the grain you never noticed before gone, music comes to you rather than having to listen for it and becomes a satisfying pleasure.

AVID designs critically award winning turntables, electronics, cables and accessories.
Do you honestly think we'd settle for less with our loudspeaker designs?