music through technology
Viennese Arts and Crafts
Viennese Arts and Crafts
Loudspeakers are the most crucial link in any music reproduction system, with the greatest impact on sound quality. The reason for this is simple: of all system components, the speaker has the most difficult job, namely to transform electrical energy into acoustical energy. The importance of speaker selection is compounded by the fact that speakers also exhibit the largest difference in sound performance from product to product. At Vienna Acoustics, we have always been fascinated and motivated by the dramatic sound improvements a quality speaker can provide. We are committed to creating speakers that bring you nearer to music, and we try to achieve that in every step of the speaker production process.
While music is the object that inspires us, attaining the sonic results present in all Vienna Acoustics loudspeakers is the result of painstaking technical research.
A loudspeaker consists of seemingly countless parts. Because every part in the loudspeaker has a discrete (mainly acoustical) task, each of these parts has a much bigger sound impact than those of an electronic component, such as an amplifier or cd player. The quest for true fidelity requires innovative parts crafted through exacting precision mechanics, and furthermore demands precise control of each unit produced. What’s more, different versions of the same part will exhibit their own unique sounds; for example, if the same cone material is used to produce two drivers of different shapes, each will have its own characteristic sound. Change even a little part in a loudspeaker and the whole sound is altered dramatically.
Development at Vienna Acoustics scrupulously evaluates and refines the impact of each part.
The text below will help you to understand the exceptional artistry and unsurpassed technology that go into each Vienna Acoustics product. But it’s impossible to convey the quality of the Vienna Acoustics sound through mere technical specifications. Our computer-based measuring systems are able to assess and perfect countless parameters, but nothing can identify musical fidelity as your ears do. We invite you to listen to understand our commitment to the loudspeaker – and to your musical experience.
Founded in 1989, Vienna Acoustics has been hand crafting loudspeakers of distinction in Vienna, Austria for over thirty years now. Today as in the early beginnings, Vienna Acoustics is characterized by founder and chief designer, Peter Gansterer.
A great loudspeaker is a synthesis of the arts. It’s an organic whole, whose sound derives from the harmony of countless sound-determinating parameters in combination, mirroring the composition of the truly harmonic high-end system of which it is a vital component. Peter Gansterer understands this like no one else.
Peter is a passionate devotee of music and its reproduction who came of age in Vienna, Austria, where he studied acoustical engineering. Through his studies of the great concert halls of Vienna, Peter came to understand the dynamics of live music and, in a unique case of reverse engineering, develops loudspeaker designs that uncannily reproduce that experience.
Successfully combining the individual characteristics of a loudspeaker’s many parts, the heart of design work, is a task of such complexity that it falls into the realm of an art: it´s like crafting, tuning, and balancing a fine musical instrument. Only a very few people are gifted with such a talent.
Over the years, Vienna Acoustics speakers have secured a commanding place in the world market.
Our motto is team spirit, but the complex art of design falls to one exceptionally talented man.
This patented flat spidercone technology is the latest revolutional step in our steady sound development and progress.
Being in all of our Reference speakers of the KLIMT Series, the design was further enhanced to fit in our LISZT model.
Creating a reference
It was a technology that Peter Gansterer had been thinking about and working on for a long time. It was years of Peter’s work that produced a driver that used a revolutionary flat cone. It was that lightweight cone, with the best mass-stiffness ratio in the industry, that led to “THE MUSIC’s” truly remarkable sound.
This driver is created from a compound of several thermal plastic polymers as well as added glass fibers. This material composition offers both a considerable stiffness to mass ratio while also possessing the necessary self silencing necessary to ensure a lack of coloration in sound reproduction. That is, the cone material itself is virtually silent eliminating the need for notch type filters in the cross-over. The goal is to eliminate the problem of cone resonances before they begin. Added to the special material composition is the new flat design which further removes the sonic signature of the driver by eliminating the cone diffraction of the cone walls most often referred to as horn-loading. It is through the process of concentrating on both physical construction or forming and with special quiet materials that we are able to achieve this new level of performance that is free of the normal mechanical limitations as well as resonances present in most conventional midrange cone designs.
In addition to this entirely new flat midrange driver, we have installed a special, hand crafted silk dome tweeter in its middle or pole location. Doing so allows for a timing or phase correctness that cannot otherwise be achieved. Ultimately our final complete coincident driver pairing is capable of reproducing the entire human vocal range, and beyond, without any cross-over interference particularly within the most critical human vocal range. The end result is a system that takes on a presence which until now has only been available in compact monitors. A further advantage of this design is the mentioned timing or phase correctness of the overall combination. The complete assembly results in a dispersion characteristic that creates much more of a “sweet area” versus the typical “sweet spot” found in most designs. For this reason we prefer to describe this entire assembly as the Music Center.
The Music Center
The Music Center
The Klimt speakers, as well as LISZT, not only sound different, they look different too.
Each model within the Klimt Series™ features a top section or head which is a completely sealed module of equal internal volumes. This construction allows us to control and carefully position the critical Music Center. Holding this sealed enclosure is a solid alloy shoe. This single piece alloy shoe attaches to the Music Center´s cabinet in two points in the front and a single point in the rear. To further eliminate the potential for extraneous mechanical information to reach up from the bass cabinet, the aluminum shoe is similarly attached through one large alloy connection point in the rear and a single point in the front. The overall goal with this sophisticated design is to allow the entire Music Center to be positioned at its optimal height and position while also being completely isolated mechanically from the bass cabinet.
The main issue with conical diaphragms is the phase delay (difference), which causes erasements, as well as accentuation, of individual frequencies, in worst case horn-loading.
Despite that disadvantage they are still common due to the benefit of their natural stiffness.
But we are able to create any stiffness via our patented rib-construction.
The piston-like shape, that theoretical acoustics demands, is the flat round diaphragm.
These flat diaphragms are superiour in almost every respect, with the exception of stiffness.
With our rib-construction we have absolute control how much stiffness we implement on the diaphragm; and we can optimise the sound e.g. by applying a very high stiffness-factor but using softer – often better sounding – materials because of their high inner damping.
It offers both, a considerable stiffness to mass ratio, while also possessing the self silencing, necessary to ensure a lack of coloration in sound reproduction.
This may sound quite easy, but it took us over 5 years of experimenting, and the squander of 3 high-tech toolings, until I could confirm the perfect formula (X4P) and construction.
It was a constant exploring of options during the last years, e.g.: For optimum stiffness and diaphragma behaviour we use glas-fibers in our X4P cone formula, but that the glasfibers support, they have to be positioned in a certain alignment. Glasfibers have preferred directions, where they support.
So first we made flow-studies, how the fibers will array when injection moulded and cooling down, then we used up 3 tools to test it out in reality, and one was perfect. This required certain injection points at certain places, which brought a big improvement and the effort payed – with the side effect that nobody can copy that.
Why a inverted dome diaphragm inside the plane diaphragm? -What is the difference from a full flat diaphragm?
In our countless testing of different materials and their combinations, the maximum result was achieved by the development of our all new Composite Cone.
The cone is one of the most important sound determanents of the whole speaker, so it is as well important, that almost one third of the Composite Cone is the textile area. One third of the sound result arises from the „inner cone“
In the course of development I experimented with different ratio and materials, defined and adjusted the recess of the inner cone again and again, implemented it concave and convex, and ended up with this fabulous combination of the X4P cone with the inverted dome, manufactured of woven fabric, double-coated on the rearside, and originally inspired by our silk dome tweeters.
This combination was chosen by the countless hours of delicate adjustment, and solely decided because of this amazing acoustical impact, by delivering greatest accuracy and slam.
The result is transparency, timing & sound staging.
This new design delivers beautiful transparency, timing & sound staging, and reveals so much, while still leaving the music intact as an organic whole.
It is with this design ideal of concentrating on driver development in both the mechanical and the material domains that the goal of a highly simplified cross-over is achieved. As with our other designs, we begin with a first order cross-over. This we believe allows us to achieve the most seamless integration of all of the drivers into a single, cohesive whole. This is in part why we have chosen to offer only the purest and simplest hook up interface of single-wire terminals. Special care has also been taken with the formulation of the alloys used in these propriety Vienna Acoustics speaker terminals to ensure the quietest connection interface between speaker and speaker wire.
At Vienna Acoustics, only the development and selection of drivers comes close to the time and effort dedicated to crossovers and their homogeneous interaction with the drivers. A crossover contains lots of components, each with its own independent and characteristic sound, which results in countless possible sound combinations. Additionally, every little part that is changed in a loudspeaker affects the whole sound dramatically.
All of our individual crossover components are of the highest quality, chosen exclusively by listening tests. As a result, our designs feature very expensive handpicked capacitors, and metal-oxyd-film resistors with less than 1% tolerance are chosen for their freedom from inductance. The differences in resolution and spaciousness between capacitors that have identical measurements and identical material, but are produced by different manufacturers, can at times be unbelievable! While our crossover components are chosen purely on the basis of their contribution to sound quality, we have identified another area of sonic variance in other designers‘ speakers. Even the tiniest variations in coil inductance may dramatically affect width and depth reproduction in the soundstage. We have eliminated this issue by winding our special air core inductors using a specially designed robot able to hold a tolerance of only 0.7%. The resulting improvement is decidedly worth the effort.
A further important impact on sound derives from the layout of the pc-board and the method of manufacturing the crossovers.
Regarding the filter design: We create soft sloped filters exclusively, which feature either 6 dB or 12 dB Bessel-characteristics slopes. These filters exhibit the least phase-shifting and obviously, because there are so few components per driver, exert the least influence on sound. In conducting tests of this philosophy, the most striking result we hear is, invariably, superiority in sheer musicality. Soft filters work only with unimpeachable (therefore expensive) drivers. That’s a natural match for us at Vienna Acoustics, as we not only devote years to the development of a driver, but also use only the highest grade parts, so critical to the speaker.
A crossover may never be viewed as separate component of a speaker; it is part of a very complex interaction with the drivers connected to it. This can be represented graphically by the diagram of the crossover itself in connection with the alternate circuit diagram of the driver. Looking at that, it´s easy to understand why we only develop a driver and its dedicated crossover together. Our theory has reached its zenith in the WALTZ GRAND, in which a special subsonic filter in the crossover was predetermined as a fixed, computer-calculated constituent in the alternate circuit diagram of the special bass-/midrange driver. (To put it in technical terms: the computer-calculated transmission-function of the subsonic filter and desired bass result prescribed the necessary driver parameters.) This kind of outside-the-driver driver part was calculated and fixed before the moving parts of the driver were developed. The new method opens up all kinds of possibilities, especially enabling variations in the volume within the cabinet to produce the desired amount of bass. So it was possible, for example, to create deep and solid bass even out of our small-volume „flatspeakers.“
Resonance tuning of cabinets is critical because the cabinet´s main purpose is to provide the drivers the environment to perform at their best. In contrast to a musical instrument, in which the beauty of the sound is created by the resonant support lent by the body or cabinet, a speaker cabinet should be neutral, to the exclusion of additional resonances and vibrations. Our speaker cabinets are designed using the latest computer analysis techniques (Finite Element Analysis) and critical measurements to ensure that they are structurally inert, and extensive listening is conducted to verify the theories in practice.
One of our analysis techniques records the strength of vibrations with “accelerometers.” For example, cabinets are scanned to assess the location and amplitude of vibrations. As a result of using this technique to analyze many prototypes, we found that it is vital to the sound to spend extraordinary effort in finding the exactly defined and tested position of a bracing point. That´s why even a relatively small speaker like MOZART GRAND features two full-depth braces, forming three chambers, and two additional position-defined short-braces. A single, well-placed brace can reduce the radiation down to a tenth of the original level of the unbraced cabinet.
Obviously the front-baffle, housing drivers that produce astounding levels of energy, plays an important role and must offer true stability, which can be achieved by mass and stiffness. That´s why all of our speakers feature extraordinarily massive front-baffles, ranging from 30 mm (1.2 inches) up to 46 mm (1.85 inches), depending on the application.
An additional cause of potential sonic degradation, is the so-called “standing waves” within a cabinet. We were able to eliminate them through several means, one being the formation of chambers of three different lengths within cabinets (especially floorstanders). The chambers prevent a single wave from being amplified by three identical frequencies; moreover, these three lengths are in a proportion to even decrease one another. Furthermore, the cabinets are created with full-depth braces that are intentionally asymmetrical, dividing them internally into non-uniform shapes wherever possible. The cabinet division has an additional important effect: It limits the maximum lengths a standing wave has at its disposal, which is vital. We discovered through a series of tests that consistency and perfect positioning of the natural fibre internal damping can achieve only so much, because the damping materials are able to absorb solely mid and high frequencies, the higher the frequency the better the absorption. They are not able to absorb low frequencies, e.g., 100Hz. However, our small internal chambers prevent low frequencies (because the shorter the length of the wave, the higher the frequency), and as a result the damping material in our cabinets is able to absorb the rest of resonances.
In addition to all of the measures above for quieting the enclosures, there is another reason for making the cabinets as massive as we do – the internal pressure caused by the bass system is more easily controlled.
Finally, all of our designs feature narrow front baffles, created so slim to minimize early reflections, allowing the sound to release freely into the room and thereby enabling holographic depth in imaging. Also, the baffles are carefully curved on all four edges to limit box-edge diffraction effects.
Cones & Domes
Cones & Domes
The cone is one of the most critical contributors to the sound of a modern driver. Overlooking certain aspects of a cone’s performance, especially when stiffness is maximized without regard for good self-damping, results in drivers that sound less than musical. Colorations created within the material of the cone cannot be eliminated by elaborate crossovers. Because the sound of the cone so directly dictates the sonic signature of the resulting loudspeaker design, we at Vienna Acoustics have spent a great deal of time researching cone materials and applications.
After first making pre-selections through precise measurements, and then conducting extensive listening sessions, we determined the superiority of only a very few cone materials for bass-midrange drivers and basses: air-dried ribbed paper, XPP, XPP with spiderweb ribs (for bass), and honeycomb structures (for bass only). We’ve taken two of these materials to new heights at Vienna Acoustics, with our breakthrough flat-spider cones.
For tweeters, clearly, there is still only one choice: hand-coated silk domes from the Scandinavian school of design. The aspect that makes them singular in their ability to fulfill their task in a high-end system is the precise measurement and application of the cone coating liquid, including the number of layers applied. When this hand-coating is executed flawlessly in agreement with the exact speaker specifications, these silk-domed tweeters reveal the slightest nuances of the sound and extend well down into the midrange. Further, ferrofluid in the magnetic gap represents an important sound tuning feature: Not using it, or even using it in different viscosities, results in interaction with the cone. If this harmony is sensitively developed, voices and instrument timbres are perfectly rendered.
As the signal enters a loudspeaker, a critical juncture is reached. Normally, the signal goes through several connections, as well as through additional wiring to a remotely located crossover. This has the negative effect of decoupling the amplifier from the speaker, resulting in loss of clarity. At Vienna Acoustics, we have addressed this issue by designing proprietary terminal blocks that form a direct connection to the speaker terminals with no additional wiring. These connections are both mechanically and electrically hardcoupled. The elimination of transition resistance improves the transparency and microdynamics for a naturally effortless sound quality.
Having avoided this transition resistance, the next issue of concern is the means of connection between amplifier and speaker components. Our belief is that single wire input connection is superior to bi-wiring, due to the clear benefits of utilizing one central ground point. Our crossovers are configured as an organic whole, intended to optimize every aspect of sound impact. And, by the way, we also think that within a given budget, you are able to obtain much higher performance from a single run of superior cable than with two lesser runs of cable.
Our high-quality input terminals are designed to accept banana plugs, spade terminals, or bare wire connection. We use gold-silver plated terminals that do not oxidize.
Our listening sessions have indicated that the clarity of voices is especially improved if the crossover and its components are partly decoupled; we execute this now on every crossover by applying silicone underneath the pc-board.
Bass performance is determined by the parameters of the driver, the crossover, the volume of the cabinet, and, if it is not a closed cabinet, the system of cabinet support for the woofer (for example, bass reflex, horn-loading, transmission line, and so on). Throughout our years of experience, we’ve noted the superiority of the Helmholtz resonator (known as bass reflex) compared to the other systems, if all influences are exerted according to an exact methodology. A perfectly tuned bass-reflex system with complementary designed drivers not only enables fast, solid bass foundation and slam; interestingly, it also affects the midrange, allowing the driver to breathe and sounding more natural and more free, compared to a closed cabinet.
Also, it was the best system for our quest to create relatively compact speakers that fit nicely – like furniture – into your living room, rather than dominating it. The bass performance we’ve developed exhibits such true deep bass that most listeners wonder how it’s possible. One answer, besides the exact tuning of all parameters, lies in the choice of drivers and their cones; their quality and development really make the difference. To cope with the demands of handling high power and achieving fast and deep bass response, we have chosen long throw units: the wire on the voice coil layer is wound higher over a long distance, so that even at long strokes the voice coil is always totally within the magnetic gap. This enables very deep, undistorted bass. We compensate for the subsequent loss in efficiency with bigger magnets, an easy solution well worth its expense.
Our innovative technology for creating deep bass out of compact enclosures is the result of extensive research undertaken in the development of small-volume, flat cabinets dedicated to near-wall application. The task was to create new drivers with bass-function components that are externalised to the crossover and capable of creating a perfect bass response.
The pressure within the speaker cabinet is extremely high. It´s indispensable for the Helmholtz resonator to work effectively that the cabinet be massive and absolutely airtight, with the obvious exception of the tuned port. Not only the cabinet needs to be built accordingly, but also, the reflex ports need two reinforcements. (1) We developed port tubes with a wall thickness so massive that it is not possible to twist or otherwise distort them with bare hands alone. (2) We screw the port tubes to the cabinet, absolutely the only way to ensure the solidity required. You’ll find both methods of reinforcement on Vienna Acoustics speakers, and, as you may have realised, another result of our sound testings is that we do not favour rounded or tapered ends of port tubes, neither in terms of air movement noise, nor in terms of efficient and precise Helmholtz resonator tuning. Apropos of tuning, the exact length of the ports determines the correct resonant frequency of the port-cabinet-driver system; this tuning is a matter of millimeters, so we devote much time to production of tubes of the right length.
Stereo, multichannel, and home theater systems converge. No matter which system or format you prefer, one thing is sure: you need excellent loudspeakers.
Years ago, when we initiated fundamental research about home theater technology, we performed extensive tests and devoted many months to careful listening. The indisputable conclusion was that speakers for home theater really do need to adhere to exactly the same high-end criteria as speakers used exclusively for music. For us, this discovery was of major importance; we could not have accepted any kind of compromise in our music loudspeakers to adapt them for customers who might want to use them for both audio and video applications. Happily, not any compromise is necessary, and Vienna Acoustics speakers can magnificently serve in the dual role that makes them as practical as they are exceptional.
With this conclusion, home theater became a must for us: we personally, like so many people, are fascinated by the possibility of experiencing the thrill and emotional impact of a good movie not only at the cinema, but in our own living room. We want to dip into the magical world created by a film and sense its visual and acoustical fireworks, as well as its subtle details and ambiance. This experience is possible only if one can hear and feel the sound effects, voices, and music tracks in the way the director intended.
To make this happen, speakers must meet very high demands, and they must be created with the same commitment and sensible sound development as high-grade stereo speakers.
No matter how high the quality of an individual speaker may be, it is also extremely important that all speakers used in a multichannel system were developed together. This is a must in terms of both theory and simple practicality. When a new Vienna Acoustics speaker is created, its homogeneity in a home theater application is a dedicated development point. Great effort goes into achieving similarity in like timbre and dynamics, identical phase-shift, etc. Listening sessions are conducted to affirm cohesive match with all other Vienna Acoustics speakers existing. Only this painstaking care enables the speakers of a system to blend into each other and ensures that the sonic image is aligned, stable, and perfectly balanced.
Our development of speaker model to model coherence, and the consequent flexibility it affords, allows you to choose your Vienna Acoustics multichannel system easily, because all of our speakers are dedicated to home theater demands and can be combined in any multichannel application. Our speaker range offers a variety of applications, from a system with big floorstanding models in a household where music is the priority, to a less overt system in which our flat, compact beauties are combined with subwoofer use. The inherent compatibility not only enables you to add center and rear speakers to your existing Vienna Acoustics pair, it is also your guarantee of success if later you decide to expand your stereo system to a multichannel one (whether you’re moving to five or even seven channels).
Speaking of the center channel, it’s a perfect example for why the home theater speaker needs the full gamut of exceptional sound and technology qualities. As the heart of the system, the center channel plays a crucial role. Our ears are most attuned to catch every subtle nuance of a particularly expressive instrument: the human voice. The task for the center speaker in a home theater system would be sufficiently arduous if it were called upon solely to reproduce these nuances, to reveal the heart of theater. However, the center speaker must also be able to meet the potentially extreme, as well as subtle, dynamic demands of contributing to the overall presentation of music and sound-effects tracks. Further complicating this task are the locations normally available for placement of a center speaker, which usually require that the cabinet be compact and the tonal balance carefully tuned. All of these critical requirements must be met in every center speaker if the film is to live and breathe. The inclusion of a carefully chosen Vienna Acoustics center speaker in a home theater system will allow a film to come alive, find its voice, and speak from the heart to the heart.
At Vienna Acoustics, home theater inspired us to further technological innovation as we pondered how to integrate a number of speakers into a living room in a pleasing way. We ended up with beautiful speakers dedicated to near-wall application, which to our opinion are the first to reach true high-end performance without the least bit of compromise.