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Ribbon vs Electrostat vs Planar Magnetic

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Can someone, using a mildly electrical/computer engineering and physics populated vocabulary, please explain the difference between these 3 types of drivers?
post #2 of 5

Ribbon and Planar magnetic are variations of the same thing. 

 

A thin metal film (or metal impregnated pattern in a thin plastic film) - connected to the signal - is suspended between to opposing plates of magnets. As charge is applied, the film moves en masse back and forth within that suspension - generating sound. 

 

--

 

An electrostatic driver uses two electrically charged (high voltage) stators in place of the magnets from above - with a coated mylar or other thin film between them which is coated with something that gives it a high surface resistivity - suspending the film between the stators in a static electric field that when the audio signal is applied to the stators (anti-phase - positive on one side, negative on the other) it pushes and pulls the film back and forth generating sound. 

 

-

 

So in one the signal is applied to the film between magnets, and the other the signal is applied to charged stators on either side of the film. In both the sound is generated by the movement of a low mass, high surface area thin film moving back and forth in a flat plane. 


Edited by liamstrain - 3/1/12 at 8:47pm
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much. How about some sound characteristics and advantages/disadvantages of each?
post #4 of 5

That I'll have to leave to others to fill out. I have very little experience actually listening to them. 

post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

Thank you very much. How about some sound characteristics and advantages/disadvantages of each?


 

I had the same (initial) question as you a while back and found some pretty good links:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/how-planar-magnetic-headphones-work

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question713.htm

 

It seems that ES is lighter and thus faster.  But it doesn't move far (think how much a tweeter moves compared to a woofer) so it can't push big volumes of air; thus bass is usually a challenge for these drivers.

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