How electrostatic speakers work

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Here's how electrostatic speakers work. Unless your an audiophile, you've probably never heard of the electrostatic loudspeaker. Electrostatic loudspeakers are pretty hip in the audiophile World because they exhibit levels of distortion one to two orders of magnitude lower than conventional cone drivers in a box. Electrostatic speakers generate vibrantly crisp highs and astonishingly clear mid tones which makes it easy to understand why audiophiles love them. A set of electrostatic speakers will breath new life into any old CD. I guarantee it. So, if electrostatic speakers sound so good, then why don't we see electrostatic speakers everywhere as opposed to conventional speakers? Well, the reasons are ten-fold. Cost, complexity, moisture issues, fragility, the requirement of an additional sub woofer... It just goes on and on. But... You know what's really cool about Electrostatic speakers other than their awesome sound? How they work, and that's what this video is all about. Enjoy the video and please hit the subscribe button.

Comments from Youtube

Captainmakis 952 : 4:52 1250$ well that’s not bad for hifi

Randall Grimm : thank you sir!

trublgrl : An excellent demonstration and explanation. Thank you.

britishcomposers : A very well presented lecture. However, there is one fundamental mistake in your narrative. Due to the short and very precise travel of the planar diaphragm, nearly every commercially sold electrostratic loudspeaker (forget hybrids for the moment, using reflex moving-coil drivers - which never integrate 100%, across the frequency divide with the dissimilar materials/technologies; even with digital signal processing techniques in place) has insufficient structural support or mass loading to fully embrace and retain what is effectively a far more powerful interface with air molecule displacement (within a stat's given volume envelope, which is lower than a moving-coil speaker, but still good enough in a decent size and quiet room for realistic listening levels) as compared to the massy and much slower moving-coil speaker system and it's attendant cabinet resonances which add further delays to the delivery. I have made near 60kg supports for my Quad ESL's, (the early Quad model, designed in 1956), and with a Benchmark AHB-2 power amp which has real control and range, gets me the most powerful, clean and accurate bass down to just below 40 Hz I have ever heard in my room. This includes using Focal Scala Utopias, Tannoy Westminsters, Edinburgh's, ATC's. They have defied hi-fi critics who have been here and heard sounds they never before thought possible. All rear damping materials on the ESL's have been removed and the speakers placed one-quarter of the way into a 20' x 14' room; listening at the other end near the wall. Seriously, no-one understands that the sheer energy and speed of these large surface areas demand far better rigid support before they can even begin to show what they're capable of. Anyone wanting to hear their old Quads sounding better should begin by removing the back mesh panel and then G-Clamp the speaker's base to a heavy 12" tall, sand-filled speaker stand of solid proportions, positioned at the distances mentioned. Note, with backs removed, make sure that no-one goes near the dangerous voltages that lurk within!

Mason Shaffer : Whats with the apocalyptic music??

Vitor Madeira : Outstanding video. Thank you for this precious lesson. Greetings from Portugal.

ultort : It would be nice to have frequency response of the electrostatic speaker without the conventional one to see how low it can get.

Manish Mandal : Thank you sir for the informative video. Greetings from India.

Pluck my Feathers : This video makes me desire world domination

John Gaval : Thanks for the info. Seems like a cool program you guys have down in Monterrey.

Why Restart : good technology  how would still make thin woofer

RUN & GUN : Better video/review than Martin Logan themselves have ever put out. Lol

J.Rabbi : I made couple of  conventional diy, homemade speakers, but electrostatic speakers will challenge me.LOLThanks for your sharing

Aaron : The content was very interesting, and the production value was high, but some notes: -the background music was loud, distracting, and tone-inappropriate -the delivery was stiff and excessively slow; the speaker should make eye contact with the camera. Some things I'd like to see elaborated on: -The materials and design of the homemade ES speaker -Design considerations in developing a hybrid speaker; after all, the electrostatic driver is fundamentally capacitive, and the dynamic driver is fundamentally inductive. Does that factor into crossover design?

Aryamaan Jain : amazing

Trevgod : This music is giving me a great deal of anxiety.

Practical Guy : Interesting and I've heard these exact Martin Logan electrostatic speakers shown in person. I prefer a well designed conventional speaker over the electrostatic speakers. I think the Q Acoustics Concept line or even for a little more money Kharma loudspeakers sound much better and less compressed also if your listening to well recorded music especially classical. This might be due to the woofer and how its is designed in the Martin Logan's rather than the electrostatic panel.

Jai K R : nice explanation

David Park : If there need no amplifier, it would be good. Right?

efertheredfish second : My friend there. Mgentostats are better but they already died out....

My Chess : does it work with OTL tube amps?

Nikola Tesla : Does it matter if the diaphragm is positively charged (1000v for instance) or negatively (so -1000v) I have seen different things around the internet. this video says it is positive, but others say negative.

LohnS : Fantastic!

hyylo : Hi How does touching the metal case of the computer help to discharge the body of electric charge if the computer is unplugged? My view was that you can only discharge the body if connected to an earthed/grounded cable?

HeavenReservation : Dr. Bruce, thanks for the fantastic demonstration. I recently purchased some used Yamaha electrostatic speakers, however, I never noticed that the bottom of the speaker had powered amp per speaker with a 9-pin output. Can I convert that 9pin output to simple left and right channel inputs to use on any type of amp? I cannot find any information about these online. Is there anyway I can send you a photo of them?

Frank James Bonarrigo : are there penises involved?

Josh H : I like your pajama shirt. Really professional-looking, you should be talking about bed things, like porn, it's in beds at times.