When it comes to leading-edge woofer design, nothing beats a Signature Series woofer by Phil Jones. From his earliest days founding Acoustic Energy in the late 80’s, Phil has been perfecting the art of manufacturing his own woofers, with dual-layer, hard-anodized aluminum cones, under-hung voice coils, and powerful neodymium motors. These design elements and recent advancements in venting led Phil to declare the other day that his current series is the best he’s ever built. I can vouch for that, they are.
The heart of the new AIRPULSE A300 ($1099 a pair) is the 6.5″ Phil Jones Signature Woofer: This dual-layered hard anodized aluminum cone is combined with a large “underhung” (more expensive) edge-wound voice coil, a neodymium motor to provide a high magnetic flux that covers the entire voice coil, resulting in 3x to 4x lower harmonic and inter‐modulation distortion than conventional “overhung” (less expensive) designs.
The voice-coil is thermally coupled to the aluminum woofer cone, which acts as a heat sink. This clever innovation dissipates heat build up in the voice-coil, preventing thermal dynamic compression, enabling the speaker to be played at higher levels for longer periods of time with no distortion. This is the design feature that made Phil’s Acoustic Energy AE-1 so famous it became a “classic” among knowledgeable audiophiles worldwide. Stereophile Magazine’s John Atkinson said of the AE1 “…it redefines the art of miniature speaker design” in his 1995 review. Every woofer Phil’s built since then has been an improvement and continued refinement of his original brilliant woofer for the AE1.
Courtesy of Wikipedia on voice coil design:
“The image below shows two ways in which a voice coil is immersed in the magnetic field. The most common method is the overhung design where the height of the voice coil is greater than the magnetic gap’s height. The underhung design which is used mostly in high-end speakers has the coil’s height smaller than the gap’s. The differences, advantages and disadvantages of both methods are listed below.
Both topologies attempt the same goal: linear force acting on the coil, for a driver that reproduces the applied signal faithfully. The majority of loudspeakers use less expensive ‘overhung’ voice coils, with windings that are taller than the height of the magnetic gap. In this topology, a portion of the coil remains within the gap at all times. The power handling is limited by the amount of heat that can be tolerated, and the amount that can be removed from the voice coil. In ‘underhung’ voice coil designs, the coil is shorter than the magnetic gap, a topology that provides consistent electromotive force over a limited range of motion. This design has a cooling effect that improves power handling and lowers distortion.”
The AIRPULSE A300 uses the “underhung” voice coil usually found in expensive high-end speakers. It’s fair to say that not many other speakers in the under-$1000 category do. This is Phil’s advantage; he can deliver better sounding speakers at a lower price because he builds them from the ground up in-house, the original equipment manufacturer, better known in the trade as “the prime”.
If you’re thinking about getting a pair of active wireless monitors please consider the AIRPULSE A300 at $1099 a pair including free shipping in the USA. The aluminum woofers are among the best reason I know to buy them. They’re superior to all the paper and plastic woofers found in most of the competition unless you spend twice as much or more today, they actually far outperform the competition in their own price range with better clarity and resolution, higher sensitivity, and higher reliability than the other brands. This is where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
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