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Author Topic: What is A Ribbon Driver  (Read 3732 times)

Brian Charbobs

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What is A Ribbon Driver
« on: November 20, 2018, 02:24:31 pm »

Peavey RBN112 I know these have been out for a while, but what is a Ribbon Driver? Is it superior to the compression driver?
Thanks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTYO4g5aV_4
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 02:29:02 pm by Brian Charbobs »
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Brian Charbobs

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2018, 02:35:10 pm »

Peavey RBN112 I know these have been out for a while, but what is a Ribbon Driver? Is it superior to the compression driver?
Thanks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTYO4g5aV_4

Well here is this guys answer anyway.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMJPB1G41w4
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Dave Pluke

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2018, 04:59:45 pm »

Peavey RBN112 I know these have been out for a while, but what is a Ribbon Driver? Is it superior to the compression driver?

For home audio/theater use, perhaps.  For Live Concert audio, I don't think so.

Dave
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2018, 05:26:37 pm »

The inverse of a ribbon microphone?

I've owned 5' long ribbon drivers in my home (Magnapan MG3s), and heard Decas and others.  Fantastic sound quality.  They have all the attributes of a uniformly driven flat diaphragm.

There is a finite excursion limit however.  Which is much less than a coil driven transducer.  In home use, the length of the Magnepan's HF section made for adequate SPL.  There have been some horn loaded ribbons to try and get enough output.  The Decca was one such.  Peavey also horn loaded their ribbons.

A true ribbon has only the very thin metal diaphragm suspended from either end and held in the lateral (typically) magnetic field.

There are a number of devices where the ribbon element was laminated to a non-conductive film to make the whole thing more robust.  Appogee (home, not the SR) speakers for one, and the Infinity EMIT on a smaller scale.  These are more properly called planar magnetic transducers.  The bass panels of Magnapans are also planar magnetic but they have actual thin wire conductors bonded to the film diaphragm rather than flat planar conductors.

I'm not sure if the Peaveys are true ribbons or planar magnetic.  Either way, there are some definite SPL limits.

10 years ago, I built some small LA's using the Dayton planar magnetic HF driver which was supposed to handle 80w.  I had 8 of them stacked in a line with a small amount of horn loading.  After a couple years of clubs and occasional street festivals I noticed browning discoloration of the film in some of them.  So that was probably their limit (drove the HF with a PLX1202).
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Dave Pluke

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2018, 05:47:02 pm »

I've owned 5' long ribbon drivers in my home (Magnapan MG3s), and heard Decas and others.  Fantastic sound quality. 

A guy introduced me to his Magnapans by playing Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side".  The stereo field imagery was amazing, when the vocals went from wide and wet to center and dry.  And that sax solo!

Dave


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Luke Geis

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2018, 06:27:25 pm »

What it is:

A very thin sheet of aluminum, or other lightweight material suspended by two conductors, one + and one -. The element is suspended between two magnetic poles one North and one South. The element faces outward and the magnets flank the left and right of the element. When a current is placed across the element it energizes within the magnetic field created by the surrounding magnets.

The very light mass of the element lends them to very accurate sound and detail but do have limitations. The low mass element can't move very far or it will rip off of the conductors, can strike the magnets or tear and rip because of the excessive movement. Furthermore, the element is very small in comparison to say a conventional 18" subwoofer and simply can't move the same amount of air, so it is very inefficient at lower frequencies.

Ribbon drivers have seen a comeback in recent years with a few companies employing them for LA and PS units. It's not that they can't get so loud, but more what it takes to allow them to get that loud without sacrificing the benefits of the driver type. In low SPL situations where accuracy and detail is paramount, I would put my money on a Ribbon driver any day. Because of their size and low mass, they do a very good job at HF media reproduction.
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2018, 06:46:18 pm »

Just a quick FWIW, I'm quite into home HiFi and wouldn't use a ribbon. They really suffer towards the bottom of the tweeter range, to a point where a 1" dome tweeter is preferable for 2kHz-20kHz use.

http://zaphaudio.com/nondomes/

At this point, I'd argue ribbons are mostly a marketing device, unless for some reason you absolutely have to have a HF response up to 50kHz, to the detriment of things happening lower down in the range.

Chris
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Peter Morris

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2018, 07:10:41 pm »

Peavey RBN112 I know these have been out for a while, but what is a Ribbon Driver? Is it superior to the compression driver?
Thanks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTYO4g5aV_4


There are basically 2 types of ribbon drivers. Here is the basic principle of one type

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsgUgFQIYGc

To improve the efficiency an aluminium voice coil circuit is etched on to a planar substrate (see attached picture).  Here is an example of these types.

https://www.alconsaudio.com/proribbon/

The second type is a pleated ribbon or air motion transformer.   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5D5IkYajpg


The advantage of ribbon drivers is they typically have much lower distortion than compression driver and a much better impulse responses and waterfall plots.

https://www.supersonic.se/dokument/tpl-150%20BEYMA_esen.pdf


The main issue with ribbon drivers has been their lack of efficiency and power handling compared to compression drivers, but some of the newer drivers are now quite good.

Ribbon drivers are more or less a line sources and as such tend to have narrow vertical dispersion particularly at high frequencies. This may or may not be a good thing depending on your application.

« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 07:18:20 pm by Peter Morris »
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 04:02:31 am »

The advantage of ribbon drivers is they typically have much lower distortion than compression driver and a much better impulse responses and waterfall plots.

https://www.supersonic.se/dokument/tpl-150%20BEYMA_esen.pdf


The main issue with ribbon drivers has been their lack of efficiency and power handling compared to compression drivers, but some of the newer drivers are now quite good.

Lower distortion but lower power handling..?
Which is it?

The Beyma PDF was interesting, although I'm dubious about their multi-tone testing. The compression driver was putting out ~10dB more below 2kHz, so I wouldn't consider it a fair comparison.

Chris
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2018, 07:57:07 am »

Nobody has mentioned a huge reason they are not used in pro audio more often. They are fragile! You can't throw your ribbon tweeter SOS in the back of a pickup and expect it to survive the drive. The wind while driving down the road will shred a ribbon diaphragm.
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Re: What is A Ribbon Driver
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2018, 07:57:07 am »


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