Q. Why does THIEL use cone drivers and cabinet enclosures rather than panels, ribbons, or membranes?

A. When THIEL Audio was founded, designer Jim Thiel experimented with several design types in order to decide what type of speaker he wanted to make. He came to the conclusion that while dynamic (cone) speakers were far from perfect, the problems they had were not inherent, but potentially had solutions, whereas membrane speakers had fundamental limitations that could not be gotten around, especially in output capability versus size versus bass extension.

Also, membrane loudspeakers, because of their large radiating area, have poor dispersion of energy throughout the listening area, especially at high frequencies. The dipolar radiation of membrane speakers puts unnatural out-of-phase energy into the room which makes room placement critical, makes bass and imaging performance quite variable, makes placement near walls more problematic, and obscures some imaging information.

In THIEL's opinion, natural spatial reproduction requires creating a realistic sound field within the listening room by mimicking the properties of natural sound sources. These properties include wide area radiation and the absence of out-of-phase energy. To meet these requirements, all THIEL speakers employ dynamic drivers. Dynamic drivers have the advantages of providing a point source radiation pattern with good dispersion of sound over a wide area, great dynamic capability, good bass capability, and a lack of rearward out-of-phase energy. Another advantage of dynamic drivers is that their small size allows the multiple drivers to be arranged in one vertical line. This alignment avoids the problem of side-by-side driver placement which causes the distances from each driver to the listener to change with different listener positions.

The major potential disadvantages of dynamic speakers are diaphragm resonances ("cone breakup"), cabinet resonances and cabinet diffraction. Also, they share with other types of speakers the potential problems of time and phase errors introduced by multiple drivers and their crossovers. None of these problems is a fundamental limit and all can be minimized or eliminated by thorough and innovative engineering.


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