Exclusive Interview with Evolution Acoustics – December 11, 2009
By Frank Berryman of Ultra High-End Forum
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing fellow member Jonathan Tinn and his partner Kevin Malmgren of Evolution Acoustics. Please make them welcome.
Would you give our readers a little background on your company – when and why it was formed, what its design philosophy and goals are, and where it sees itself positioned relative to other high-end loudspeaker manufacturers?
Evolution Acoustics was started in 2002. The idea was to create a “no holds barred” loudspeaker line that provides a “real life” sound at a “real world” price. If other more mainstream companies were building loudspeakers like we do, they would be charging two to four times the amount we charge.
Evolution Acoustics was founded on these principles:
a. Design and build the finest possible products and offer them at the fairest prices (smallest margins) possible based on true parts and labor costs. Never include advertising and marketing expenses into the margins. People will recognize the value and not think over inflated prices means better quality in sound or construction.
b. Properly invest our time in design research and engineering development prior to the release of a product to ensure there will be no need to upgrade them later on. Our goal is that the first unit produced and delivered will be identical to the 1000th.
From a design and engineering standpoint, the goal for each and every Evolution Acoustics loudspeaker is extreme accuracy and the ability to reproduce the signal input as faithfully as possible in any listening room. The only true way to achieve this is to engineer a speaker assembly which can come very close to passing a square wave. Of course it is impossible to pass a perfect square wave, but our loudspeakers come extremely close.
Other manufacturers may try to claim accuracy through flat frequency response and even phase consistency, not to be confused with phase coherency, through minimal phase shift at the crossover points. However, this does not translate into the most accurate representation of the recorded signal. These types of designs, or high order networks, will never be able to reproduce the signal with 100% accuracy, it is impossible. Even the very best designs can only reproduce with as much as 90% accuracy. Of course, we can not claim to reproduce 100% accuracy as well, but we can get as close as say 98%, if you can even quantify this.
There are several elements which must be addressed when trying to achieve this design objective. The speaker must have flat acoustic frequency and phase response. In the case of our speakers we typically achieve frequency response within +/-3dB from 10 Hz to 40 kHz, with +/- 1 dB deviation throughout the mid band. The acoustic phase response stays typically within a +/- 5 degree window from 400 Hz to 40kHz and +/- 15 degrees from 10 Hz to 400Hz. It must have extremely fast spectral decay response throughout the frequency spectrum. Our speakers exhibit a decay that falls like a cliff within 3 ms from 400 Hz all the way up to 40 kHz. This type of decay is rarely seen and sometimes only seen above 10 kHz in other loudspeaker designs.
It must be time coincident. All of our speakers have the acoustic centers of each driver perfectly aligned for proper transition from one driver to the next, given the crossover frequency handoffs, an aspect which is often overlooked in speaker design. Finally, it must also have flat electrical impedance and phase response. All of Evolution Acoustics designs employ electrical impedance response which is +/- 1 to 2 ohm deviation throughout the entire range, with electrical phase shifts that fall within a maximum +/- 15 degree window.
When all of these elements can be achieved, or nearly achieved, the result is a speaker with near perfect impulse and step response, which translates into a near perfect ability to pass a square wave. However, there is a design concern when targeting this type of response, and is the reason why the majority of manufacturers do not try to go down this path. This type of accuracy can only be achieved when the listener is precisely positioned between the two loudspeakers both horizontally and vertically. Any deviation from this “sweet spot” will degrade the integrity of the reproduced signal.
Typically the reason for this is due to variances in time coincidence between the drivers resulting in phase shifts and cancellations in frequency response. In a typical parallel crossover network, these changes can become quite extreme and sometimes result in reverberated response in the room which is highly inaccurate coloring the overall presentation, requiring heavy acoustic treatment to help remedy the problem.
In our constant voltage crossover networks, which we will talk about later, these differences are not as extreme. We achieved a design which splits the difference between the off-axis benefits of high order network design, good for a large sweet spot and reflected music energy, and the off axis-detriments of phase coherent and time coincident design. The result is a time coincident speaker which exhibits good off-axis behavior, allowing for near perfect reproduction accuracy in the “sweet spot” without the added room colorations which result from normal room boundary interaction of poor off-axis response.
We take this a few steps further by allowing tailoring of the frequency response through user controls, in order to perfectly match the loudspeaker performance to the room, associated equipment and tastes of the discerning listener. We feel that when someone invests in a product like ours, they need to have the ability to customize the sound to their exact likings. It is funny when we read responses to our speakers from shows and the like, because there is often an assessment of the sound of the speaker, and quite frankly, they are simply hearing the sound that happened to be dialed in for that situation. It really is up to the listener to establish their own preferences. We just provide them with an extremely accurate foundation.
The first thing that strikes me about Evolution Acoustics speakers is their stunning cabinetry. I understand the cabinets are finish in a facility in which some of the finest guitars are produced. Who is the guitar manufacturer and how did the relationship come about.
We wanted to provide the most beautiful and durable high gloss finish possible on a cabinet constructed from stacked layers of Baltic birch. Because of the thousands of individual layers of wood, we knew there would be constant physical movement due to environmental changes. Also, because the end grain is composed of various wood textures, we knew that saturation would be inconsistent and difficult to handle.
You may have noticed that other manufacturers that employ this type of cabinet construction typically do not utilize a high gloss finish. This is not by accident. A satin finish will mask imperfections caused by movement. In addition, a satin finish will allow for far more cost effective solutions, such as conversion varnish, lacquer or even automotive finishes.
Therefore, after several experiments and months of research we concluded that polyester resin would be the ideal candidate for providing a beautiful high gloss finish that is durable and thick, allowing for consistent coverage and also able to withstand shifts and movement from the wood better than any other finish option. Polyester resin is extremely expensive and there are only two facilities in Southern California that are licensed to spray this particular finish. We actually had each facility finish a prototype speaker sample to determine who would provide the best results.
The obvious choice for us was the facility that finishes Dean Custom Guitars. The owner of that facility was also the premier finisher for Fender Custom Shop Guitars for over twenty years and still handles some of their high end custom projects today. The color and finish applied to all of our speakers is a classic Violin Sunburst Red which is still used on some of the custom guitar projects for both Dean and Fender. We felt this was appropriate because we wanted our speakers to be viewed as beautiful handcrafted musical instruments.
Each of your speakers bears an uncanny resemblance to one another. Are they modular? For instance, could you purchase an MMMiniOne and later add an MMMiniSub to form an MMMiniTwo, or purchase an MMOne and latter add an additional bass unit to form an MMTwo?
Yes, they are modular, hence the name “MM” which stands for “maximum modularity” and “maximum musicality”! Our concept was that of flexibility for the audiophile. We understand that needs change and someone may move into a bigger room at some point. Should this occur, rather than be in a position where one would have to sell or trade-in their loudspeaker to accommodate a new room, modules can be added. An MMOne can be turned into an MMTwo or MMThree quite easily. The same can be said of our MMMini series of loudspeakers. We keep a “finish” sample of every loudspeaker that is delivered and at any time someone who, for example, owns an MMTwo can simply call us and order the top woofer and easily convert it to an MMThree.
Evolution Acoustic speakers have a distinctive shape. Would you tell us about the design and construction of your cabinets?
The number one rule for us when designing the cabinetry is for form to follow function, but not to completely throw out aesthetics. Not only must we consider the entire exterior and interior acoustic influences, but also the resulting appearance. There were years of discussion with regards to material to be used. There are several options such as aluminum, carbon fiber, concrete, resin-impregnated concrete, ultra-high density fiber board, plastic, fiberglass, glass, granite, bamboo and so on. A large portion of these materials exhibit excellent acoustic properties with extraordinary strength and in some cases very flexible design possibilities.
However, we really value the organic appeal of natural wood and wanted to create a universal aesthetic that could be placed in both contemporary and traditional décor. An aluminum speaker just may be too cold for someone, or a carbon fiber speaker may be too modern for others. Running with that concept we felt that if we over-engineer the wood to mimic the same structural integrity of some of the more exotic materials we can get the best of both worlds.
Our cabinets are comprised of over one thousand layers of stacked Baltic Birch sheets of solid wood. These layers are glued together with special mineral-based catalyzed glue, which exhibits similar characteristics to concrete, and pressed under a six ton hydraulic press. Each one of these layers contains a different but calculated waveform shape, based on the acoustic characteristics which are desired within each enclosure. The resulting enclosures are shaped on the outside to eliminate cabinet diffraction and they contain interior walls that are very similar to what an anechoic chamber may look like, with cabinet wall thicknesses ranging anywhere from 3” to 6”. This results in superior imaging and frequency response, as well as virtually eliminating all back wave colorations, otherwise known as the “boxy sound”.
Each enclosure is then completely coated inside and out with extremely hard polyester resin which further solidifies the structure. To further isolate resonances, each driver is mounted on a 2” thick resin-coated ultra-high density fiber board baffle. The driver is actually decoupled from the baffle through the use of a highly absorptive putty compound. The baffle is floating and isolated on all sides from the enclosure and is mounted yet decoupled on the back side through a very thin and special anti-vibration adhesive compound.
Each entire enclosure assembly is time aligned and also decoupled from each other through the use of this same compound and separated through resin-coated ultra-high density fiber board transitional elements. The end result of this process is an extremely inert cabinet, with excellent vibration control, superior imaging and lack of coloration, as well as possessing a beautiful organic quality that can be construed as looking like a fine handcrafted musical instrument.
The subwoofer driver in your MMMiniSub and MMMiniTwo is 8” x 12” rather than a traditional round driver. Was this done for aesthetic reasons? Does a rectangular shape pose any special challenges or offer any advantages?
The subwoofer used in these speakers is very special indeed. It is actually an 8” x 12” racetrack shape with twin rubber surrounds. The shape was chosen for both aesthetic and acoustic reasons, as we wanted to minimize the front profile of the speaker to accentuate the overall appearance and minimize cabinet diffraction for the mini monitor which rests atop the cabinet. This way the MMMiniTwo will still behave like a stand-mounted monitor and exhibit all of the same great imaging characteristics that audiophiles love so much from monitors.
Also, because the MMMiniTwo is a full range monitor with a subwoofer and not a three way design, having the subwoofer fire downward is completely acceptable, since all bass information will still be firing forward through the 7” mid-woofer. The subwoofer itself was specifically designed for this application and really poses no challenges. The dual surrounds allow for substantial travel while maintaining maximum linearity. The 8” x 12” dimension moves the same amount of air as a conventional 11” subwoofer, but with the speed of a smaller 8” or 9” woofer, which is crucial when mating to our speakers. The cone shape is very rigid and exhibits no excessive or strange warping under strobe light experimentation.
All in all it is extremely fast and a powerhouse of a subwoofer, making the MMMiniSub ideal for those trying to mate a subwoofer to their planar speakers, or those looking for fast and linear sub bass in theater applications.
Evolution Acoustic speakers are designed using a transmission line rather than a sealed cabinet or bass reflex construction. What are the advantages of a transmission line design?
Let me start off by clarifying that some aspects of our speakers use transmission line construction and some use acoustic suspension or sealed cabinet design. We do not use bass reflex construction in any of our designs. We feel that even the most well executed bass reflex designs still exhibit characteristics of “one note bass”. You can try to create “hybrids”, stuff the ports, flare the ports, and line the ports, but you are still getting a peaked bass response at the tuning of the port which is typically fairly narrow and slightly disjointed in tonality from the rest of the bass response. Yes, this type of tuning can create more bass impact in the room environment and even help extend the depth of bass, but we feel that it is not tuneful and therefore, we will never employ it.
All of our woofer and subwoofer cabinets use acoustic suspension and all of our midrange and mid-woofer cabinets use transmission line. In the case of the MMThree and MMTwo we utilize transmission lines for the midrange drivers to aid in the elimination of back wave energy, but more importantly to try to mimic the electrical benefits of an infinite baffle as well as smoothing and extending the overall response of the drive units. Simply put, this type of design yields a much smoother impedance plot and helps boost lower end extension without giving the “one note bass” effect.
In the case of the MMOne, MMMiniOne and MMMiniTwo they are all true transmission line two-way monitors. The benefits are the same as previously mentioned in that they help provide much smoother electrical impedance, eliminating large resonant peaks, while also elevating the low end response with a very wide and smooth boost. It really is the best compromise for tight yet extended bass response. What is most beneficial about transmission line engineering is that the bass roll off is very gradual, as opposed to sudden and steep like with sealed and ported designs. So, while our monitors are rated down to 32 Hz, you are still getting bass information all the way down to 20 Hz and below, which gives the overall impression of much deeper bass response than a ported or sealed monitor of the same specification.
The reason more manufacturers do not use this type of construction is because it is extremely difficult to perfect, especially in mass production, and more expensive to build. That being said, you may wonder why we utilize acoustic suspension in our woofer and subwoofer enclosures. Well, our acoustic suspension woofer enclosures come with built in amplifiers which are tuned and equalized to provide deep extended bass to 10 Hz and below, if desired. Having extreme low end extension eliminates the need to generate deeper extension through cabinet design. Honestly, when it comes to a subwoofer, having a sealed enclosure really is best for providing extremely tight bass response and this is critical when trying to integrate large subwoofer drivers with ceramic midranges and aluminum ribbon tweeters.
Each Evolution Acoustics speaker utilizes a midrange/mid-bass driver with a ceramic cone. What are the advantages of a ceramic cone over paper, carbon fiber and Kevlar cones?
There are many different types of cones employed in midrange and mid-bass drivers, and they all have their benefits and detriments. Paper is well damped but slightly soft in presentation. Aluminum and magnesium are stiff and relatively light but can possess a little ring and impart a slight metallic coloration to the sound. Carbon fiber and Kevlar are strong and also relatively light but can sometimes exhibit somewhat of a hard leading edge, but perhaps a little better overall than metal or paper. And of course there are hybrids of the before mentioned materials, which can help with shortcomings of any single material.
There are two important reasons we chose these particular ceramic cones. The first and most important reason we chose this particular cone and motor assembly was that the spectral decay waterfall plot was perfectly matched to the aluminum ribbon tweeter that we are utilizing. Both of these drive units have a decay that drops within a 3ms time window at their crossover point and extending a couple of octaves in each direction. This is a perfectly matched performance specification which results in both drivers perfectly blending with no excess lag coming from any one driver. The end result is a reproduction which sounds as if it comes from a single unified transducer. This is an extremely rare occurrence and is not often found in other cone combinations, even when manufactured by the same company.
The second reason is that the ceramic material, outside of extremely expensive diamond, has the greatest Youngs Modulus, or stiffness to weight ratio, which makes it an ideal transducer. Now many have said that the ceramic material exhibits ringing in the upper frequencies which greatly color the presentation. This is true. However, these particular drive units have laser-cut holes precisely placed in the diaphragm with constrained-layer damper inserts. These “black dots” greatly reduce the ringing at that resonant frequency to a minimum. In addition, the crossover point is more than two octaves below that resonant frequency further eliminating any influence that it may have on the overall response.
What sets us apart from other manufactures that utilize this type of driver is that we take it a couple of steps further with our constant voltage crossover circuit which further reduces the impact of these resonances as well as our custom in-house damping treatment to the motor assembly. There really is no better solution for our application, which is why we use this driver combination in our entry MMMiniOne monitor all the way to our statement MMSeven.
You also use aluminum ribbon tweeters in all of your speakers. What are the advantages of ribbon tweeters over cone and dome tweeters?
We touched on one aspect already, being that the particular ribbon tweeter we use is perfectly mated to our midrange driver. It was the combination of these two drive units which had us sold on this design. However, there are other reasons which led us down this eventual path. Obviously there is no shortage of tweeter design available. Air motion, cones, domes, dual concentric ring radiators, flat ribbons, folded ribbons, plasma, horn, magnetic planar, leaf, and so on all have very strong points and low points. Having evaluated just about everything available, it became very clear that a pure folded aluminum ribbon tweeter is our best solution. There is a purity and extension in the upper frequencies that this type of tweeter possesses, that no other tweeter design does.
The other aspect which had us sold on this type of tweeter was the extremely wide and linear dispersion. Our goal was to create good off-axis response and this strength will certainly aid in that effort. Of course ribbon tweeters have horrible vertical dispersion, but the majority of our speaker designs are concentric line arrays. Concentric line arrays, sometimes mislabeled as D’Appolito designs, inherently have poor vertical dispersion because of the woofer and midrange drivers being above and below the central tweeter axis. Filters can be created to minimize this effect. However, doing so would not result in a true MTM concentric array.
In a true MTM concentric array and based on the laws of physics, driver path lengths change as you move your head up and down causing cancellations, so we knew that having good vertical dispersion from the tweeter is really non-essential for this type of loudspeaker. In addition, time coincident design requires a precise seated listening position, so horizontal and vertical dispersion is not as critical as the on-axis directed response
When it came to selecting a particular make of ribbon tweeter there were several options at all price points. We settled on a customized OEM unit which is not necessarily the most expensive, with the highest sensitivity, or the widest frequency response. However, this particular ribbon has the fastest decay response of any ribbon tweeter available and is perfectly mated to our ceramic drive units. Once again, we use this tweeter on every model we make at every price point, so we stand behind it 100%.
Evolution Acoustics speakers (with the exception of the subwoofers) employ a “Constant Voltage” crossover. Would you explain how such a crossover is constructed, how it differs from an ordinary passive crossover, and what its benefits are?
First of all we need to clarify that a Constant Voltage Crossover Network is not that mysterious. It is simply a passive network which exhibits constant voltage transfer, and is the only type of engineered design that will result in true time coincidence and phase coherence, otherwise known as first-order. Typically, most manufacturers will try to obtain this result through a common parallel network design, having one part in series with each driver. However, we employ what is known as a series design which is inherently advantageous.
Crossover components and transducers all have various tolerances in their values. These tolerance differences will always affect the total network voltage response in a typical parallel network, making it almost impossible to guarantee a true constant voltage design from speaker to speaker. In a series network, the drivers are connected in series across the amplifier output, and there are no crossover component tolerances in the direct signal path to contend with. In this type of design the sum of the voice coil voltages will always be equal to the driving voltage, thus a true constant voltage design.
The main benefit to this type of design is that there is no energy or driving voltage loss. This results in a much more dynamic presentation, because there is nothing between the amplifier and the drivers. Basically, transients are fully in tact and not suppressed by capacitors, inductors or resistors. So, when we rate a speaker at 93 dB sensitivity that is an extremely conservative estimate. You basically will experience greater dynamic contrast than with traditional parallel network speakers rated at higher sensitivities.
Another benefit to this type of design is extreme purity of signal. Because there are no capacitors or inductors directly in the signal path, there is nothing to color the integrity of the signal. Not even the most expensive capacitor in the world will sound better than a direct wire from the amplifier to the tweeter, and there is no arguing that. It is true that all of the shunt or parallel components can have some influence on the overall resulting sound of the speaker, so that is why we use all top shelf components in our crossover network, from hand made reference grade film and foil capacitors to heavy gauge pure copper flat ribbon air core inductors.
The final advantage of this type of crossover topology is the way it handles driver behavior above and below the crossover point. Without getting too technical, this type of design maintains a wide overlap of typical first order slopes around the crossover point and then sharply falls off after a few octaves in each direction. The result is true phase coherent performance with added protection on the bottom end of the tweeter and filtering of upper frequency break up in the midrange, which aids in providing better off axis response than typical first order parallel network engineering.
We must also point out that all of our crossover engineering is performed through the use of very sophisticated computer-aided design applications. However, we do not rely entirely on computer generated optimizations for final circuitry, as some manufacturers do. We perform real time measurements as well to verify all computer-based suggestions. We do use our ears to also verify results, but unlike some manufactures that design by ear, we always insist that the design must be as perfect as possible from a measurement standpoint, and will always double check through measurements that any changes made by ear are truly valid. We do this to ensure that we are not imparting our own coloration preferences on the design to ensure as natural a presentation as possible.
Do you have any plans to introduce a center channel speaker, perhaps an MMMiniOne on a one-half height stand or a d’Appolito design with an aluminum ribbon tweeter flanked by two ceramic cone midrange drivers?
In fact, we already do. The MMMiniOne employs an extremely inert and modular base unit also known as the Evolution Acoustics – Segmented Stand System (EA-SSS). The Evolution Acoustics – Segmented Stand System (EA-SSS) is unique in its design as it allows, at any time, a conversion from a conventional height floor standing loudspeaker to a center channel which is designed to fit perfectly into any home theater or multi-channel audio application simply by removing one of the segmented modules.
Please visit our website at http://www.evolutionacoustics.com/mmminione.html for a more in-depth explanation.
Evolution Acoustics also manufactures interconnects, speaker cables and power chords. What lead you to enter the cable business? What special materials and design characteristics have you brought to the table for your cables?
Entering the cable business came out of the design engineering research and development of our internal hook-up cabling within our loudspeakers. We spent years developing our best internal wiring solution and felt that extending that same philosophy outside the speakers and into the electronics would further benefit the overall presentation of our loudspeakers. We put more into our internal hook-up wire than most cable manufacturers do in their top-of-the line offerings.
In our entry line of signal cables, each individual run of wire from component to component within the loudspeaker comprises 96 individually air-spaced Teflon-insulated high-purity solid-core copper small gauge wires. The result is an extremely fast velocity of propagation, with delicacy and weight due to the sheer volume or mass of cable. They simply posses tremendous ease. The amount of labor to terminate these cables to all of the internal components is staggering, but we feel worth every penny.
Our DRSC speaker cables and DRIC interconnects take this same philosophy and doubles it to an astonishing 192 conductors per run. The terminations are silver rhodium and the cable assemblies are treated with constrained-layer damping techniques to reduce unwanted micro-phonics. Like the internal wiring, there is an extraordinary ease and effortlessness, but to an even greater degree. You get the benefit of small gauge conductors, like high frequency extension and sonic purity, and the benefit of large gauge conductors, like dynamics and bass extension.
All individual wires are cut and terminated to the exact same length so there is no time smearing. All individual wires are spaced from each other to eliminate any field issues or skin effect. We believe the main reason no one else is really doing this on a commercial level is the ridiculous amount of skilled labor involved in making and terminating cables like these. There simply is no easy solution to stripping 192 Teflon-insulated small-gauge conductors multiplied by eight for a set of speaker cables. It simply must be done by hand and if you accidentally cut just one, you have to start over.
There are two other types of cables we manufacture, a cost-no-object 50 ohm BNC LINK cable for use between darTZeel and Playback Designs components, and a power conditioning power cord called the PC2One. The LINK cable uses every possible technology we could come up with to provide the best possible interconnection solution between those extremely high caliber components. Utilizing the same philosophy of multiple conductors in this design, it is basically a vacuum assembly with 99.9999% purity copper and silver conductors and shielding, utilizing layered and air-spaced porous Teflon dielectric, with proprietary precious metal alloy connectors of a precision design, uniquely engineered to provide maximum electrical, mechanical and environmental performance. It is produced in a clean room environment and welded by laser and is guaranteed to maintain consistent performance for no less than thirty years. The 50 ohm BNC connection solution between these components is already spectacular in performance. With our cables, it is just truly beyond anything else out there.
Most audiophiles go through the time and expense of installing dedicated lines to use with each component in their system only to defeat the benefit by plugging multiple components into a single line conditioner. With the PC2One we wanted to create a “power conditioning power cord” that would allow you to get the most out of these isolated runs. The goal was to create the highest level of isolation from noise and impurities that are inherent in most power lines without limiting bandwidth or dynamics. Generally one would go out and spend a great deal of money on a power cord which then plugs into a separate and very expensive line conditioner, which then connects to the wall outlet with another very expensive power cord. This is remedied with our PC2One at a fraction of the price.
I noticed that you recommend several hundred hours of break-in for your interconnects and speaker cables. Would you tell us why that is necessary, in particular what physical and electrical changes occur in the cables during the break-in period?
This is always a hot topic in the discussion forums. We do not believe there is anyone who truly understands what is happening with break-in, which is why it is so highly debated. We have a theory that there is some sort of change occurring on a molecular level which is influencing the travel of electrons down the path of the conductors, possibly related to crystal structures within and on the surface of the metals changing when voltages are repeatedly applied. That being said, we have conducted several blind listening evaluations, across several test subjects, to confirm with 90% accuracy that changes are indeed being heard and that the changes do become more dramatic with more break-in time and the amount of change seems to diminish after a given period of time.
Following our theory and actual tests, we believe that due to the extraordinary amount of metal contained within our cables, best results will not be achieved until there is a significant amount of break-in. We are not asking customers to allow their ears to get adjusted, because they can perform break-in without even listening if they would like. However, we recommend listening to the various stages of change because we find it very fascinating and mysterious and we think the customer will as well.
Do your speakers also require a break-in period? If so, what break-in period do you suggest, and what physical and electrical changes occur in the crossovers, drivers and internal wiring during that time.
This is another highly debated topic, but definitely one with actual measurable physical and electrical changes. First of all, with regards to internal wiring, terminals and crossover components, the changes that take place with these are similar to what we believe happens with cable break-in as we discussed earlier. However, the changes which happen with the drivers are an entirely different situation. Drivers are mechanical and they do exhibit changes with break-in. Primarily this break-in occurs with the suspension components, being the surround and the spider. When you physically break-in a driver the suspension components begin to soften, much like a brand new baseball glove will as you work with it. This softening actually shifts the overall resonant frequency of the driver lower and attenuates the peak or intensity of resonance, which affects the entire electrical impedance curve of the driver slightly. Crossover performance is based on these electrical impedance curves and will change as the curve changes. That being said, when we engineer a crossover circuit, we first make sure to fully soften suspension compliance by breaking in the drivers for 1000 hours. This way when your speaker becomes fully broken-in, it achieves the engineering target.
There are several manufacturers that do not take this step. The result is a speaker which will sound great out of the box, but will become lackluster and lacking focus after several hundred hours of play time. Conversely, our speaker may sound bright and slightly ill-defined out of the box, but will ease into perfected performance after thorough break-in. This makes us wonder about other manufacturers who claim that each speaker is uniquely engineered for proper performance. Are they actually spending the time to fully break-in each individual driver on every speaker for several hundred hours before uniquely tailoring each and every crossover? That just does not seem very practical from a commercial production point of view, but possible we suppose. If they are not taking the time to do that then it is completely pointless.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your current line of speakers and cables? What are your plans for the future?
It is very easy to look at a loudspeaker or signal cables multiple times the cost of our products and assume that because they are more expensive, they must be better. That is just not the case. The cabinet, finish and parts quality in our products is unsurpassed. Sonically we believe we produce the most accurate and involving full range loudspeakers ever built. As we state in our principles, Changes and upgrades are not something we feel need to be done with our products. We spent the time prior to the launch of our products to ensure everything was done to the highest standards and that there was nothing we could do better, given the parameters we worked under. If in the future better driver or parts technology becomes available we might consider upgrades, but for now, the Evolution Acoustics loudspeakers represent our definition of “state of the art.”
Currently we are completing the first pair of MMSeven loudspeakers. These loudspeakers are our “statement” product.
All the best for a terrific holiday season!
Jonathan Tinn & Kevin Malmgren