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Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION The moving coil cone loudspeaker has a pedigree that extends back for over a century.

Patented in the U.K. by Sir Oliver Lodge in 1898, (British Patent 9712), and, with remarkably little change, it is still the primary component in the vast majority of present day systems. It offers an intrinsically wide bandwidth together with the most linear, large displacement drive available, Due also to the fact that there are only two active components, (cone and voice coil), between the electrical input and listeners ears, there is minimal loss of information. Even the most basic single cone driver can provide a well-detailed rendition of speech and music. Early attempts to extend the high frequency response had used small auxiliary cones attached to the centre of the main cone. This certainly achieved its purpose but resulted in an extremely uneven response. (I do, however, think that this could be worth further development). The Author, however, was so convinced that, with appropriate attention to design and development, the single cone moving coil drive unit was the ultimate approach that he put his job on the line to prove it. His foundation work on the effects of cone profiling on upper band performance commenced in 1952 at the laboratories Goodmans Loudspeakers which, at that time had one of the most advanced loudspeaker design facilities available. This resulted in the 8 inch Goodmans Axiette, a genuine full-range driver which, utilizing a single paper cone, achieved a smoother, more extended frequency range than any other driver of that era. This driver became one of the Companies most successful products and since the design was patent protected worldwide, other loudspeaker manufactures of that era had to seek alternative routes. The result of this was that the Author emerged as the only worker in this field to explore and develop the full potential of the single cone driver for over four decades Around this time, the General Electric Company U.K. produced an 8-inch driver using a straight-sided aluminium cone, which provided an illuminating comparison. Although the treble response of this unit was irregular and exhibited considerable subjective colouration, it provided a level of resolution and presence that seemed lacking in the smooth-speaking Axiette. This persuaded the Author to combine the principles of his original work on cone profiling with properties of the lightweight metals. From this originated the first high definition wideband driver incorporating a contoured aluminium cone. Launched in 1962 as the Jordan-Watts Module this driver maintained its market niche for over four decades and established the foundation principles upon which all-subsequent full-range and wideband design has been based. Continued development using the latest materials and technology has culminated in the current series of JORDAN Wideband Loudspeakers.

Jordan Manual 2011

Chapter 1

In spite of this, the notion that full range metal cone drivers could provide high quality sound was not in the interest of mass-market commercialism, and the almost universal approach to current loudspeaker design is to electrically sub divide the musical spectrum between woofers and tweeters. Narrow band drivers are far less demanding in terms of manufacturing and cost and, with suitable crossover circuitry, offer a commercially advantageous option. The JORDAN approach has, nevertheless, always had its adherents, which have been rapidly growing in number and is now becoming so widely accepted that we now see the inevitable emergence of a number low cost efforts to emulate the Authors work. In order to make comparisons between the full-range and the woofer/tweeter approach it is necessary to define the objectives. In the beginning, High Fidelity was defined as The closest approach to the original sound where the original sound was considered to be the natural sound of vocal and instrumental music. The introduction of stereophonic sound brought the potential for realism to new heights and inspired the concept of A Window on the Orchestra with the ultimate aim of re-creating in the home the full sonic experience of a live concert performance where the loudspeakers had sonically disappeared and the wall of the listening room had opened up onto a live stage performance. During the early 1960s this objective was close to realization. An often-used stratagem at demonstrations was a side-by-side comparison with live instrumentalists and a most dramatic example of this took place in Londons Royal Festival Hall where a full concert orchestra was interspersed with a number of loudspeaker systems. After the orchestra had been playing for a few minutes, one musician stood up and left the stage. This was repeated every few minutes until every musician had left, but the music played on. The effect was extremely convincing Regardless of musical preference, by far the greatest technical challenge to loudspeaker system design is the large-scale classical concert scenario embracing traditional orchestral, choral and operatic performances. These create sound fields of immeasurable complexity and we shall touch briefly on how superb sonic qualities of traditional musical instruments have evolved over the centuries by dedicated craftsman. It is the response of our hearing to the low level detail within this that provides the textural richness of the many instruments and voices performing together and which demands the minimal loss of information within the loudspeakers. The bandwidth required for the most ambitious examples of classical composition is in excess of 10 octaves starting at 16Hz for the lowest diapason of a concert or cathedral organ. The dynamic range may vary from a whisper to a crescendo Note: Loudness alone does not imply a wide dynamic range.

Jordan Manual 2011

Chapter 1

If we neglect the bottom diapason of the largest pipe organs and the claims for ultrasonics, a bandwidth of 9 octaves from 40 Hz to 20 kHz, is quite adequate for most types of music where the lowest octave can, if necessary, be delivered by an appropriate sub woofer. This level of performance is the acceptable norm for most medium sized loudspeaker systems. Perhaps more important than bandwidth is the resolution of detail especially at low levels. and has a potential dynamic range from a whisper to a crescendo. This requires the highest resolution with the minimum loss of information detail at all levels, Generally the sound power is distributed fairly evenly throughout the spectrum. Capturing the sense of physical scale of the performance, which is all part of the experience, requires attention to less quantifiable factors such as the homogeneity and stability of the sound stage. Any loudspeaker system that can come close to these requirements will afford an excellent quality of sound for any musical experience. NOTE: Wideband. Describes a single cone driver having an acceptably level frequency range exceeding nine octaves. Full Range. Describes a single cone driver where this bandwidth is centred upon the traditional musical spectrum. If the foregoing is to be a reference by which loudspeakers are judged then the woofer/tweeter approach is flawed: Firstly, the high mass, high rigidity of the conventional bass cone seriously inhibits the mid-band resolution of fine detail. Secondly, the crossover circuitry, introduces frequency and phase deviations in the mid-kilohertz range where our hearing is most critical. And thirdly, the audio spectrum is sub-divided where musical overtones are parted from their fundamentals and radiated from spatially separated drivers, each with its own sonic idiosyncrasies and widely differing dispersion characteristics. It is inconceivable that this dissected sonic structure could then seamlessly reintegrate throughout the listening area whilst the possibility of stable stereo imagery away from a critical hot spot is precluded by the basic laws of physics -which is why hi-fi buffs are often seen at demonstrations, squatting their haunches between the sound. Ironically, It can be shown that a wide dispersion, so desirable for monophonic sound, contributes to the very restricted listening area for what is currently regarded as stereophony. Nevertheless, the demand for the classical concert hall scenario could not, in itself, support a burgeoning industry with access to rapidly advances in technology. It therefore became necessary to appeal to a much wider customer base, a large proportion of which would not be familiar the classical sound and, indeed would regard realism to be of lesser priority or even irrelevant.

Jordan Manual 2011

Chapter 1

In order to achieve the closest approach to the original sound, there has to have been an original sound in the first place whereas a great deal of the mainstream music today is electronically synthesized and processed with more emphasis on the visual aspects of performance. In addition, modern lifestyles demanded a drastic reduction in system size, a problem further exacerbated by the need to handle the high bass power levels demanded by much modern music. In these circumstances the woofer/tweeter approach becomes the most viable commercial choice and where any qualitative reference is based upon a preconceived concept of good loudspeaker sound. The effect of this has been a change in direction rather than a forward advance in loudspeaker technology - a situation beautifully highlighted by one listener who, having agreed that a system based on wideband single cone loudspeakers provided the most realistic sound he had ever heard, then added but they do not sound like loudspeakers. The Wideband Alternative Taking as our ultimate live reference the full concert orchestra, choir and organ, the embraced bandwidth extends from 16Hz to 22Khz, which exceeds 10 octaves. If we neglect the bottom diapason of the largest pipe organs and the claims for ultrasonics, the spectrum covered by the vast majority of all musical forms can be embraced within 9 octaves. This is shown in Fig:1. With the latest advances in metal foil processing technology wide-band single cone drivers, by definition, avoid the problems associated with woofer/tweeter systems and current designs can now achieve a smooth bandwidth of over this spectrum. For example, a wide band driver using a 4inch diameter cone, mounted in a correctly designed enclosure, can embrace the bandwidth from 40Hz to 22kHz, whilst a 2inch diameter cone can extend from 100Hz to 30kHz. By comparison, the bandwidth of a quality 1-inch dome tweeter having a similar upper limit would start from about 1500Hz. The sound distribution from a wide band driver can provide superior stereophonic imagery. The low frequency performance can match that of any other conventional small to medium sized system and can be extended if so required by the use a suitable passive or powered sub-woofer. Wide band drivers offer tremendous versatility for system design. For example, a vertical array of small drivers can re-create the impact of a full-scale sound stage, which is realistically maintained throughout the listening room, even up close to the nearest speaker. To those accustomed to conventional stereo this provides a totally new listening experience where the original definition of High Fidelity as The closest approach to the original sound is completely fulfilled. Finally, if brute power is required there is no limit to the sound pressure levels that can be achieved by multiple array designs.

Jordan Manual 2011

Chapter 1