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Where are the graphene headphones & speakers?!

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by kingkrush, Jan 11, 2017.
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  1. KingKrush
    I recall this article from back in 2013:
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/512496/first-graphene-audio-speaker-easily-outperforms-traditional-designs/
     
    Highlight:
     
    To me this is incredible. How much better would this technology be when actually paired with specialised acoustic design.
     
    It's 2017 now. So where the heck are all the graphene headphones?! Even my tennis racquet claims to have graphene. [​IMG]
     
    Did all this turn out to be baloney?
     
  2. Dohyun
    Well, I read an article where these graphene drivers outperformed the sennhieiser mx400, but its not that impressive. Besides, there are other technologies such as tesla drivers, electrostatic speakers, and the beryllium drivers of the focal utopia that probably perform better. Its an interesting concept nonetheless.
     
    I also have a "graphene" tennis racquet. It's the older speed mp [​IMG]
     
  3. watchnerd
    I don't see anything in that article that would make them superior to electrostatics.
     
  4. Dohyun
    True but this craze on graphene drivers happened about 4 years ago. There are many other technologies out there but I find this quite interesting.
     
  5. mywing
    Actually I saw that the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro
    http://www.mi.com/en/headphonesprohd/
    and the Ora Sound
    www.ora-sound.com/
     
    are graphene, I am interested in the ora
     
    When I go to research, why electrostatics is so good is because it is thin, I think (really think as I am not a Physics) that Graphene is Strong and thin while can conduct electricity therefore is better material to achieve a thin membrane (although not as thin as electrostatics) but can drive by normal current (amp).
     
    Please tell me what you think.
     
  6. Dohyun
    These puppies have a "graphene driver diaphragm."
    http://www.fiio.net/en/products/64
     
  7. BearMonster
    I've not bothered or followed the story of graphene in audio in a long time but one of the problems i think is mass producing pure graphene is too expensive. I think some of the graphene we actually see in out right now are actually CVD graphene.

    There are lots of techniques that can create graphene but none are the right answer that will allow us to mass produce large scale high quality graphene at a cost efficient manner.
     
  8. NewWaveAudio
    The Xiaomi Pro HD uses a graphene diaphram. Has two graphene dynamic drivers and a ba
    Screenshot_2017-03-31-08-29-46.png
     
  9. Roseval
  10. daltonlanny
    Been reading some about the new ORA headphones with the GrapheneQ composite drivers.
    Seems very interesting indeed, and a very promising technology if production costs can be lowered, and production efficiencies can be improved.
    Out of curiousity,
    can anyone tell me how well the Graphene material compares to other headphone diaphragm materials such as beryllium, for example in the Focal Utopia, in such areas as stiffness to mass ratio, youngs modulus, dampening properties, speed of sound, etc?
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  11. castleofargh Contributor
    I suspect the name of the material might be such a small portion of making a good diaphragm(with all that it might imply) that it's not relevant to us consumers. even using the same material there is most likely some "know how" that is specific to each manufacturer and if it's any good, probably a secret.
     
  12. bigshot
    I have 40 year old JBL speakers that sound a lot better than my Oppo PM-1s. Honestly, whenever I see people comparing the relative quality of a speaker and a headphone, I'm always amazed when they judge by abstract theoretical numbers instead of actually listening to them.
     
  13. Silvian
    Hey bigshot, for a start, I absolutely agree with the points you made in your signature. Actually only today I added a few similar pointers in mine. Regarding listening instead of looking at numbers, I think it would be worth adding some context - I hope you'll agree: knowing "how" to listen implies experience. People who prefer something that might not be "correct" still do prefer that, and, from their point of view they're not wrong. Like anything, the more you play, the more you know, the more you understand. On technical progress, including the science of materials - and you are all for science, as I am, I believe there is no denying that there have been major improvements in the last 40 years, and so, again, some context is probably needed and only you can provide it since you know your speakers. In particular, I didn't like the PM1s either.

    ORA is on Kickstarter. I ordered one, for 50% off. They do provide quite a bit of details on the technical side. If I remember well, the % of graphene was quite high - I remember I was surprised. As for how they compare with other materials, they only mention mylar, they have a gif which looks quite impressive - can't tell if it's real or animation, and I don't know how a beryllium driver would look like in a similar movement. They also give an idea of the FR: quite impressive too, although that's relatively easy to adjust with an EQ. Actually, these gifs were the reasons I ordered them for. As for the production cost daltonlanny, they'll retail at $US500, which only goes to show that, as I've been suspecting for a long time, this is how much a very good headphone should cost, simply based on the fact that this is how much the top of the range of most brands used to cost for many, many years, before this inflation - and there was proper R&D back then too. How they'll sound? I'll tell you in March or so.
     
  14. bigshot
    I love my Oppo cans. They're the best headphones I've ever heard. It's just that headphones don't come close to matching the experience of a good speaker system. Headphones can't match the important aspects of directionality or the visceral impact of sound pressure all around your body.

    There have been a lot of advances in speaker technology in the past twenty years. The average mid priced speakers of today are better sounding, better designed and more compact than the average mid priced speakers of the 70s and 80s. And the top of the line modern speakers are much more accurate than the best speakers back then. But that's only part of the story. I know a lot of people around here ascribe to the lofty goal of accuracy and nothing else, but I feel a little differently. There is no such thing as perfect accuracy with speakers. There are always compromises dictated by the room, the design of the speakers and the way you listen to them. Accuracy to me is a general goal, it isn't my ultimate destination.

    The reason I love my old JBLs is partially because of accuracy... they're pretty close to the pinnacle of accuracy that was achievable in the 1970s. Even compared to modern speakers, they're no slouch. Sure there are more accurate speakers today, but not by that much. However, their design gives them some added impact that may not be completely accurate but still is highly desirable. Modern speakers perform spectacularly at normal listening levels, especially in clarity and balance. My JBLs can't match that. They still sound great, just not quite as spectacular in that context. But at high volume levels, my speakers wipe the floor with more polite modern speakers. I can crank the volume so you can hear the music six blocks away and there's still no distortion- amazingly clear and balanced. It's almost impossible to overdrive them. Also, they pack a solid dynamic punch. When you push them, they put out astounding dynamics, especially in the upper bass through the mids. It's relatively easy to do good sub bass if you have a good subwoofer, and upper mids and treble is easy with the very sophisticated designs on modern speakers. But the bread and butter upper bass and mids are usually presented accurately in modern speakers, but without the huge impact and lifelike presence that classic JBL drivers give them. Today, audiophiles worry about frequency extension a lot. That's great, but the sound in the middle is what really counts to me.

    Inside the classic Fender guitar amps that rock musicians cherish are the same speakers that are inside my 70s box speakers. So when my speakers produce the sound of bass or lead guitars, it's going through the exact same transducer that originally produced the sound at the recording session. Vocals, especially baritone voices are extremely dynamic. You can feel the power of vocals better. Upper mids and treble are handled very well because my brother had the presence of mind to spend a fortune on buying super high quality bullet tweeters with an exponential horn design. They are very directional and don't have very good off axis performance compared to modern tweeters, but if you sit in the right place, they are fantastic. I've solved that in my room by backing up my mains with the highly directional and dynamic sound with a pair of modern JBL towers that have great high frequency dispersion and super clear upper mids. Cake and eat it too.

    My approach may be anachronistic, because I don't follow the rules of accuracy strictly. I realize that I inevitably have to rob Peter to pay Paul, so I do that in a way that gives me what I want most. For me, I want a huge sound that is balanced and detailed. It may not be perfect off axis, but I can fudge that. The overall presentation may not be quite as accurate on paper, but when you listen to it, it is alive and you can feel the power behind it... kind of like the difference between realistic color in a film and vivid Technicolor. A recording is already an approximation, and any sound engineer worth his salt will tell you a sound mix is never intended to be a completely accurate representation of a live performance. If sound mixers can apply sweetening techniques to make a recording sound better than real, I don't feel guilty doing that on playback. Better sounding is better than accurate to me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
    oyobass likes this.
  15. Niouke
    I'm sorry for the out of topic :)

    I'm curious about your 70's speakers, did you maintain them in condition? I have JMlab DB18 (now focal) speakers from the early 90's and putting them back into good shape seems like a huge task: cleaning the drivers, verify the electronics, re-stabilize the tweeters and as I have more money than time I went for a brand new pair of floor standing Klipsh RP-250F with an integrated yamaha A-S701 AMP/DAC. I'm not sure I'll need anything better in the long term as the sound is superb on this "mid-fi" setup.

    My take on cans/IEM's/speakers is that IEM's have the best bang for the buck for critical listening and analyzing (over-analyzing?), followed by the cans which in turn produce a more emotive experience. Speakers can provide a very analytical sound but the conditions are complicated (floor noise, echo, speaker positioning) and require expensive equipment and a conditioned room...what speakers of all prices do best is provide emotions, maybe because as stated listening with speakers is a full body experience?
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
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