Notes on ribbon loudspeakers


As for the planar magnetic, its strengths are similar to those of the ESL--although the addition of several feet of wire and an adhesive coat make for a somewhat more massive diaphragm, limiting this designs transient capabilities by comparison. But the planar magnetic requires no step-up transformer or bias voltage supply, and it has the added benefit of being an extremely manageable load for most amplifiers. However, the most specific drawback of the traditional planar magnetic is that it is a single-ended (as opposed to push-pull) device: As the diaphragm's physical excursion increases, the voice grid moves further away from its optimal location within the permanent magnetic field (at least in one direction). Thus, at the very instant when this speaker is called upon to reproduce large-amplitude waveforms, it is least able to do so without distortion.