Ilumnia Magister

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The EAR : “the sound was truly mind-blowing”

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Our LEMS driver is not an evolution of the electrodynamic driver. It can be called a revolution. It has 99,7% linear behaviour and has no compression at all which gives it a perfect dynamic response.Mechanical resistance of the cone is nulled so there is no absorbtion of music signal, even not the tiniest one. Therefore the smallest detail can be heard.

magister env 1

The driver is ultra fast and this quality combined with it’s linearity results in very high resolving power of complex music. The ultra low levels of distortion will guarantee hours of listening pleasure without any listening fatigue.

We can easily say this driver comes close to perfection. The Magister has been designed as a whole. We did not buy individual components and put them together. Everything was designed to match with each other in order to reach optimal synergy between components. Therefore our filter could be reduced to a minimum and the music signal is kept uncompromised.

35-20000Hz +/- 3 dB, RAR
8 ohm  (min. imp. 4 ohm @ 15khz)
89dB 1 watt / 1 meter
976mm
250mm
465mm
30kg each

MER INFORMATION HÄR

Key objectives

In line with our vision statement we started the project by defining 3 key objectives.

objective 1 : maximum speed for …

optimal micro and macro dynamics (high resolution, detail, resolving capabilities)

objective 2 : minimum distortion for …

natural sound reproduction
a non fatiguing sound

objective 3 : maximum linearity for having…

always the same pure sound, regardless of volume (and/or dynamics in the music)
no compression

In order to outperform the best speakers in the world on these 3 key objectives we designed a new driver technology by eliminating the parts which are causing the most problems in these 3 areas : the spider and the surround.

Our goal was to transmit 100% energy of the amplifiers signal (music signal) solely into the cone itself and nothing else but the cone. So that even the smallest signal is translated into movement of the cone (and thus micro detail) and with a fast transient response to large signals (and thus macro dynamics)

The result of our technology is ultimate transmission and preservation of the amplifier’s signal (energy) into the driver cone.

We would like to call this design choice : “energy-to-movement ratio”.

How has this been realized?

No energy absorption in other mechanical parts than the speaker cone itself such as…

  • spider (often referred to as rear suspension)
  • surround
  • in a smaller extend also the basket

… because in classic driver technology they absorb too much signal energy. 

Why is energy absorption such a big deal ?

1.  Energy absorption causes blurring of detail (micro dynamics as well as macro dynamics)

  • Micro dynamics : by absorbing the smallest signals (and thus detail)

  • Macro dynamics : influence on impulse and therefore also transient response

2.  The cone is the only part intented for music reproduction. Energy absorption by parts which are not intended for music reproduction (like spider and surround) also creates all kinds of distortion by means of uncontrolled resonances and non-linearities in these parts. And off course just by following the music signal together with the cone, such as the backwave distortion of the spider. 

You can see those parts moving in the animated gif below and find more information on https://animagraffs.com/loudspeaker/

LEMS Driver

WORLD’s FIRST ELECTRO MAGNETIC FLOATING CONE DRIVER

PERFORMANCE

World’s best electrodynamic driver in terms of :

  • Linearity : > 99,5% linear at full excursion (8mm)

  • Resonance : no mechanical coupling of cone to basket, no surround, no spider

  • Distortion (no spider, no surround, minimum of moving parts and mechanical connections)

  • Qts : 0,25

World’s fastest driver

  • Not physically restrained by the mechanical suspension of spider and surround

  • Very low moving mass (only 15 grammes)

    • Low kinetic energy of moving mass

    • Less inertia problems

  • Optimized impulse and phase response for maximum transient response in the mid-bas frequency range.

  • Excellent power response** characteristics

LEMS technology

The combination of above mentioned qualities result in such a high level of detail and pureness of sound that you will experience the Ilumnia’s sound as real-life sound coming from a natural source and not from a speaker driver, just like we promised you…

**Power Response is the sum of the total radiated acoustic output of a loudspeaker as measured in a sphere around the speaker at several incremental intervals  on- and off-axis in the far (reverberant) field.  This measurement essentially captures the total sound emitted by a loudspeaker at all frequencies, in all directions, and is therefore thought by proponents of this measurement method to be more representative of how a speaker will sound in an acoustically well-balanced listening environment than by what can be inferred from a simple on-axis anechoic frequency response measurement.

Electromagnetic suspension

ELECTRO MAGNETIC SUSPENSION NO SPIDER – NO SURROUND

This chapter is the most important one if you want to understand why the sound of our speaker is so wonderfully musical, pure and detailed. We hope you will enjoy reading and especially you will understand.

Please remember that ANY electrodynamic driver in the world suffers these problems. Among all different types there are better ones but even the best suffer these non-linearities.

The use of electro-magnetic suspension has remarkable advantages compared to the classic mechanical suspension

  • 100% free of resonance in the audible freq. band. 

  • >99,5% linear

  • Adaptable damping of the cone (5 selections) in relation to the damping factor of your amplifier for a perfect marriage

    • We have included the possibility to choose between 5 possible damping factors. For instance, on powerful solid state monoblocks recommend 3 (basic setting). On a class A triode tube amp  we recommend selection 4 because the tube amp has wonderful 2th harmonics but lacks some control over the driver due to low damping of tube amps. On a 300B tube amp some will even select position 5.

We will analyse this graph together with you because it perfectly shows the difference between a mechanic suspension (purple) and our electromagnetic suspension (red) :

We first study non-linear behaviour (distortion)

In this graph you clearly see the non-linearity of the mechanical suspension (the purple line). The more the cone moves (x-axis) the more energy (ampères, y-axis) it relatively requires to be moved equally further.

Our EM (electro magnetic) suspension (red) is perfectly linear. Each millimeter of movement requires an exact equal increase in current. 

Maybe an example by numbers will explain it more clearly :

If you reed the purple curve (for mechanical suspension) you’ll see that 1mm of movement equals approximately 0,2A of current.

If a driver was linear you should expect that for 2mm of movement 0,4A (2 times 0,2) is required, right?

But look at the graph. It shows that for 2mm of movement you need almost 0,6A of current. Talking about a non-linearity here.

Now we explain why this is so bad.

In reality if the music signal is twice as strong your amplifier will send 0,4A instead of 0,2A. So you should expect the cone to move twice as far (and generate a sine wave twice as big). But it doesn’t. Because looking at the graph it will move only about 1,6mm instead of 2mm. Thus creating a smaller sine wave than what’s on the recording. This is what is called “compression”. The cone can’t move freely and is restrained by the mechanical suspension of spider and surround. The louder you play or the stronger the dynamics in the music get, the worser the effect gets. 

This is why the dynamic response of our driver is so much better than the one of classic drivers, no matter how good they are. Our LEMS driver has no compression at all because it’s more than 99% linear.

Now we study energy absorbtion (or loss of detail)

If you look carefully at the graph you’ll see that the lowest point of the purple line doesn’t touch the “0”-point on the x-axis. This means if you put a very small signal (micro detail) of energy in the driver it doesn’t move at all. Otherwise stated : your detail (small signal) is lost.

Once again we will show it with an example by numbers.

Check on the graph below what would happen if we put 0,05A of current in the driver?

Right, the cone moves 0,00mm! Yes, you are right. This small signal (let’s call it detail) is completely absorbed by the mechanical suspension! 

The same happens at larger excursions of the cone. Spider and surround will absorb more and more energy as they are pulling harder and harder to get the cone back on it’s “0”-point. That’s because the excursion is stretching the spider and surround more and more. This is also the compression explained before. With normal speakers this is what audiophiles often describe as “the detail is pushed away to the background” by the lower frequency’s.​​​​

Now take a look at the graph of our EM suspension :

  • It’s completely linear (the red line is a straight line), so it has no compression

  • It does not absorb energy because it moves with every 0.01A of energy you put into it and because our cone floats freely in the air this movement starts already at point “0”.

Therefore our driver with LEMS (linear excursion motor system) motor is the world’s best. We hope we have sufficiently explained why. It’s not because of some vague special characteristics of esoteric materials. It’s because we reinvented the electrodynamic driver by completely eliminating the source of these problems instead of trying to cure them. 

If this page was of interest to you and you want to know more about loudspeaker non-linearities you can check the internet for “Klippel Loudspeaker Non-linearities”. This is an extensive research paper describing all non-linearities of electrodynamic drivers. It was of great inspiration to us while developing our LEMS technique.

Cone

PYRAMIDALLY SHAPED OMNIDIRECTIONALLY MOUNTED

Our choice for an omnidirectional speaker maybe needs some more explanation. Our first prototypes were in fact also directional mounted drivers with conventional shaped cones. As the months and even years went by we did more tests with different shapes, cabinets and placing. We found that the current setup offered the most realistic soundstage.

Optimized radiation pattern because of the inversed “pyramidal” shaped cone.

  • Omnidirectional sound dispersion with an exceptional in-room far- and near field power response                       (Power response is a much better reference for measuring in-room performance compared to frequency response)

  • Optimal horizontal alignment and tilt and as a result of this :​

  • Less doppler effect at listening position compared to a directional 2-way speaker. How much is depending on your listening position as doppler occurs in the direction of the moving cone. So if you are seated in front of the speaker (as you would do at normal listening), the effect is even more dramatic and can reach up to 300% less doppler effect. Anyway, absence of doppler is translated into more tranquility in the sound. This is one of the reasons why 3-way speakers have been invented (but this type of speaker has other limitations such as complex filtering and thus more components in the signal path. But also 3 drivers all do have their own distortions, non-linearities and absorb energy). This is why we believe that a very good developed full-range 2-way is the way to go.

  • Highly realistic 3D soundstage with coherence between individual instruments and performers. Just like you would experience in a live (non amplified) performance, you will notice the sound coming from a specific point in the soundstage but evolving much faster to a bigger halo around the source (instrument or voice). There’s a subtle balance in small and big sounds present in the soundstage. Imaging of small sounds can be pinpoint present in 3D. A big sound can originate in a point and after that fill the complete room and draw you into the music.

  • Most instruments and sources have a 360° radiation pattern, like piano and drums for example. The horizontal alignment and tilt of our mid-bass has been carefully chosen in order to mimic real instruments as much as possible and at the same time put them on their specific place in the soundstage.

We have developed cones with paper, composites, kevlar, carbonfiber, aluminium and mixtures of all these materials in variable quantities. The old school simple – but widely used – hard impregnated paper proved to be the best choice to our ears. This choice has been made by listening. Every material has it’s pro’s and contra’s but the proof is in the pudding.

Size DOES matter

We tried  different dimensions ranging from 10cm to 30cm in diameter. Too small couldn’t provide enough air displacement for the lower octaves. On the other hand, cones which were too big were also too heavy.

And because of their weight they had more inertia problems and kinetic energy storage (which is bad for speed). We found 15,5 cm (which corresponds to a classic 8″/20cm driver) the ideal compromise between sufficient air displacement and speed.

Decompression chamber, no surround

DECOMPRESSION CHAMBER, NO SURROUND

The surround is the part of the driver which connects the outer diameter of the cone with the basket.

It has 2 functions :

  1. It’s part of the suspension and alignment of the cone. So the cone can move in axial direction but limits movement in non-axial direction.

  2. It prevents acoustical short-circuiting between cone and basket (with low frequency cancellation as a result).

In some drivers it also has the function of damping reflections in the cone itself. In our driver this function is not relevant as these resonances occur well beyond the operating range of our mid/bass.

In below measurements of our driver you see these resonances pop up at around 10Khz where our driver is filtered at 5Khz.

graph 1 : with rubber surround (0,5mm thickness)

graph 2 : without rubber surround

As explained in our section “electromagnetic suspension” a surround does have disadvantages with a negative effect to the music.

  • non-linearity = distortion

  • mechanical suspension = absorbtion of energy and loss of detail

Therefore we replaced the surround with an outer ring mounted to the cone in combination with a decompression chamber.

This decompression chamber absorbs the over-pressure when the cone is moving down en returns this over-pressure when the cone is creating under-pressure whilst moving up.

This way, our surroundless design does not suffer acoustic short circuit

Advantages :

  • No resonance

  • No distortion

  • Eliminating nonlinear behavior

  • No energy absorption by surround

  • Possible to use lighter cone because there is no counterforce on the edge of the cone (as it lacks a surround). This results in less flex of the cone.

Cabinet

DESIGNED & BUILD TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS
  • The cabinet contour is a result of 4 circles  for a well-balanced natural look.

  • Cost-no-object design.

  • Layering of CNC machined plywood proved to be the best method for building cabinets.

  • Aluminium bars are vertically aligned inside the wooden parts to form a very rigid structure.

  • The bracing structure was carefully designed in order to reach a musical sounding cabinet, capable of portraying real-life instruments.

  • The cabinet is assembled by hand from the highest quality marine grade plywood.

  • Asymmetrical milled inside shapes to avoid internal standing waves.

  • Bass reflex ports directly milled into the wooden cabinet for better resonance control, no use of plastic inserts

  • 6061 aircraft grade aluminium for the nicest finish available.

  • Lasered text

Filter

LESS IS MORE, ONCE AGAIN …

The combination of drivers, cabinet and damping material was physically designed this way that we could avoid complex filtering.

Instead of cheaply altering the filter by adding more and more electronic components which all compromise the music signal, we altered the physical properties of the driver, cabinet or damping material.

Every optimization was not only simulated by computer but also build and tested in real-life conditions because computers only validate numbers but no “soul”. Sometimes our computer simulation came up with the right solution, sometimes it did not.

This extensive (and foremost expensive) way of prototype building and testing was necessary to produce the best speaker ever.

The result is that we now have a museum full of prototype parts. We kept them all just to remind ourselves how much effort and costs we made to develop our reference speaker.

The most important features of the filter are :

  • Second order for tweeter

  • First order for mid/bass

  • No notch filter

  • No phase correction

  • With the special alignment of the tweeter in relation to the mid-bass driver we managed to bring the acoustic center of the mid-bass and the tweeter well within the distance of one wavelength of the crossover point. This way they act as being only one point source without phase shift.

  • Hard wired

With these combined efforts we managed to create a filter with only 5 components.

Tweeter & Mid Bass

TWEETER & MID-BASS – YIN & YANG

We have tested our proprietary mid/bass driver together with lots of different tweeters from as many OEM manufacturers before deciding to use a tweeter from Scanspeak.

We choose this one for it’s perfect balance in our speaker design and not for it’s price. There are many good tweeters around. The most important feature of a tweeter is how good it matches with the other components of a speaker.

That’s why we “marry” a tweeter. In a good marriage there is balance. Tweeter and mid/bass are considered Yin & Yang.

This scanspeak tweeter has undergone slight changes to fit better in our design. Special attention was paid to it’s airiness to match perfect with our ultra fast mid-bass driver.

The tweeter is installed in a special designed bullet.

This bullet exists of 2 parts : the “inner” housing and the “outer” housing. Both are decoupled from each other with a rubber suspension in such a way that resonances and reflections are reduced to a minimum.

Power Supply

HIGH-END 3V RATING POWER SOURCE

The power supply is needed to generate an electro magnetic field for the cone to float in. 

To be clear : our speaker system is completely passive (don’t be fooled by this power source)

The power supply is in fact a very high-end 3V rating power source. If you would connect an AAA battery to the power connector of the speaker, the cone will float also.

  • 100% galvanic isolation from the amplifiers music signal (in other words : the power source is 100% isolated from the amplifiers signal source so the music signal cannot be affected or compromised by the power source of the speaker)

  • Ultra-low noise

  • Very stable

  • Intelligent (to protect the speaker but also in case of a tube amp the amplifier)

  • Build with 99% of discrete components to the very highest standards in electronics. Just like they build Sansui amps in the seventies…

 

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