Diamond loudspeaker cones for high-end audio components
CVD-Diamant Lautsprechermembranen für High-End Audiosysteme
Conventional loudspeaker membranes made of metal or synthetic material such as fabric, ceramics or plastics suffer from nonlinearities and cone breakup modes at fairly low audio frequencies. Due to their mass, inertia and limited mechanical stability the speaker membranes made of conventional materials cannot follow the high frequency excitation of the actuating voice-coil. Low sound velocity causes phase shift and sound pressure losses due to interference of adjacent parts of the membrane at audible frequencies. Therefore, loudspeaker engineers are searching for lightweight but extremely rigid materials to develop speaker membranes whose cone resonances are well above the audible range. With its extreme hardness, paired with low density and high velocity of sound, diamond is a highly promising candidate for such applications. We report on the realization of dome shaped CVD diamond membranes by deposition on curved silicon substrates. Domes with diameters between 20 and 65 mm and with a thickness ranging from 50 to 120 µm were prepared. After deposition, the substrate is dissolved and the rim of the diamond dome is cut by laser scribing. Free standing diamond membranes are mounted onto dynamic voice coils and integrated into tweeter and/or midrange driver chassis. Extended tests and optimisations led to loudspeaker systems that show a second and third harmonic distortion behaviour in the important frequency range between 3 to 10 kHz that is reduced by 40% in comparison to already excellent established values obtained with sapphire membranes. Cone resonance frequencies of CVD diamond membranes are increased by a factor of two, as predicted by simulations.