Brands

Fountek
Transmission Audio

Introduction

On the top of this page you can find an overview of all brands that supply ribbon drivers.

A ribbon tweeter uses a very thin diaphragm (often of aluminum, or perhaps metalized plastic film) which supports a planar coil frequently made by deposition of aluminum vapor, suspended in a powerful magnetic field (typically provided by neodymium magnets) to reproduce high frequencies. The development of ribbon tweeters has more or less followed the development of ribbon microphones. The ribbon is of very lightweight material and so capable of very high acceleration and extended high frequency response. Ribbons have traditionally been incapable of high output (large magnet gaps leading to poor magnetic coupling is the main reason). But higher power versions of ribbon tweeters are becoming common in large scale sound reinforcement line array systems which can serve audiences of thousands. They are attractive in these applications since nearly all ribbon tweeters inherently exhibit useful directional properties, with very wide horizontal dispersion (coverage) and very tight vertical dispersion. These drivers can easily be stacked vertically, building a high frequency line array that produces high sound pressure levels much further away from the speaker locations than do conventional tweeters.

Early ribbons electromagnetically pushed outward with the musical waveform, and used their natural elasticity as a restorative or return force. They produced high levels of distortion (up to 30%) as a result. Later designs utilized iron ferrite, and later neodymium magnets on both sides of the diaphragm resulting in a push-pull design. Push-pull ribbons are typically far more accurate than single-ended or "push" ribbons; they usually have higher power handling capacities as well, since diaphragm motion was far more tightly controlled.

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